My main equipment choices to start the PCT

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Now for the popular gear post. Below I’ve outlined some of the main pieces of gear I’ll start with for my Pacific Crest Trail hike. I have meticulously researched and tested this gear to help ease my fears about my next trip while allowing me to be more excited for it. I scoured the internet and related hiking books to try to make sure I picked the best gear for me. I also learned from this process that some of the things I think I need will probably change once I’m actually on the track. With that, I think I made some good decisions on the big items and hope my gear list can even help someone who might be in the process of choosing gear for their own hike. Without further ado, here’s what I picked:

My bag, tent, duvet and ground mattress.

The Big 3 (or 4):

Pack: LiteAF Curve X40L Full Suspension

Tent: Gossamer Gear The Two

Sleeping bag (quilt): Katabatic Flex 15

Sleeping mattress: Therm-a-rest NeoAir X-Lite

Two of these choices came to me easily and the other two took some trial and error. My tent and quilt were two choices that I definitely nailed the first time around. I love how spacious The Two is and how easy it is to set up. As an added bonus, this is a trekking pole tent, which means my trekking poles will also act as a support frame for my tent. It saves me space, weight and I can make my equipment multifunctional. I have used this tent on several shakedown hikes and it has always worked well for me.

My Flex 15 duvet was also love at first sleep. I unwittingly got to put this duvet through its paces on a camping trip my friends and I had planned in Waco, TX. When we planned the trip it was supposed to be in the low 30s – high 20s at night. However, when we got there, it was the start of the 2021 Texas freeze and it went into the teens (and possibly lower) that night. This duvet has kept me warm all the time, and this experience has really boosted my confidence in it for PCT.

Unlike my first two picks, my bag and sleeping pad took some trial and error. For my bag, I wanted to find something that balances weight and versatility. When I first started hiking, I had a more traditional (and heavier) Deuter pack. Then, as I started to enter the lighter world of backpacking, to lighten the weight I was carrying, I upgraded to a Gossamer Gear G4-20. This bag was great and super comfortable for the shorter 3-5 day trips I was doing. However, I was concerned that as a somewhat novice hiker it would be too small for me in the Sierra with extra clothing, gear, and food. For this reason, I finally landed on the LiteAF Curve X40L Full Suspension Pack. This pack has been super comfortable every time I’ve used it so far and I still can’t believe how good it looks! Designing your own pack colors is a really fun option with this company!

Finally, for my sleeping pad. I initially tried to save money and worry by using a puncture-resistant closed cell foam sleeping pad, but I just couldn’t sleep comfortably on it. I toss and turn a lot at night and sleep on my side. For me, I was waking up on this pillow every two hours with shoulder and/or hip pain due to the lack of support I was getting from it. Luckily, I managed to snag one of the NeoAir X-Lite pads at REI on sale (this helped make the purchase a little less painful). This pillow feels like sleeping on a real bed most nights and I’ve been sleeping great since the change.

My stove, my pot, my spoon, my water filter and my water tank.

Kitchen equipment :

Stove: MSR PocketRocket 2

Jar: Titanium Toaks 750mL

Spork: Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork – Long

Water Filter: Sawyer Squeeze

Water storage: CNOC Vecto 3L and Smartwater bottles

These are pretty common choices that I and many other people have used with success and love. I’m a little worried that my 750ml jar is too small for the copious amounts of mac-n-cheese I’ll be craving/consuming, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Also, thanks to everyone who has written or made videos on how to gravity filter water with the CNOC Vecto bag(s) and a Sawyer Squeeze! It changed my life and saved me from using a few choice swear words sometimes! I strongly advise you to look into this technique!

My battery and charging cords, headphones, headlamp and GPS tracking device.

Electronic:

Phone: iPhone 13 Pro Max

Battery: Anker PowerCore 10000 PD

Headphones: Tozo 6 Wireless Headphones

Headlight: Black Diamond Spot 350

GPS tracking device: Garmin inReach Mini

I had the hardest time deciphering between the different Anker batteries (was it just me?). This was perhaps the hardest piece of gear for me to buy. I like to think I’m pretty tech-savvy, but was trying to figure out the difference between power inputs and outputs, wattage, USB-C to micro-USB, and charging capabilities , it was like trying to learn a different language. And, although at a glance it seems like there are only a few options to choose from, each battery bank had a seemingly endless amount of options for that particular amperage. When trying to choose a battery I went back and forth on a number of different options before buying one which I thought about only to realize it took 10.5 hours to charge (no one has time for that! I returned that one (thanks Amazon’s return policy) and eventually found the Anker PowerCore PD (Power Delivery) fast-charge (4-4.5 hour) version which, unobtrusively, gave me felt like I finally mastered the battery purchase (I’m sweating just remembering this whole situation).

I’ll also be carrying an inReach Mini that my mum gave me for Christmas, mainly to give her peace of mind, but I’m also happy to have it with me just in case (thanks mum!). As for the rest of the things on this list, I have the phone for my directions, photos, blogs, etc. I decided to use wireless headphones so I didn’t have to worry about getting tangled in my headphone cord. and the headlamp is an old one I have that still works great and hopefully will make it all the way.

My umbrella.

Miscellaneous equipment:

Sun Umbrella: Gossamer Gear Lightrek Hiking Umbrella

I went back and forth using an umbrella and finally decided to embrace my inner Mary Poppins and walk with one. This decision became much easier after realizing how many times I end up hiding in the shade when it’s hot outside or I feel like I’m getting too much sun. Seeing what others are saying about using it, it looks like it will be well worth the very light extra weight (6.6 oz).

Closing remarks:

So as not to buzz again and again, I’ll stop there. If you would like to see the rest of the gear I bring, such as hiking poles, shoes, clothing, etc., you can find it here. I’m interested to see how much of my gear will remain and how much will be dropped or changed throughout this trip. If you would like to discuss all of this with me in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Happy hiking,

Katie

Lesson I learned while preparing for the hike:

It’s hard to write a full article on the gear I bring without it turning into a dissertation…

Weird food craving I had:

Hearty amounts of mac and cheese.

* Warning: My gear prices, located under the gear list tab of my bio, are listed based on the current prices of all items I pick up. However, since I have been preparing for this hike for a while, I was able to get many items for sale or they were given to me as birthday/Christmas gifts.

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