As you’re about to embark on this wild adventure of thru-hiking a long trail, you first need to do a lot of things. Figure out if you have the time to do it, how long it will take, are you financially prepared, and finally, what gear will you bring. Choosing what gear you will bring can sometimes be a very overwhelming task. Yes, there is a ton of information on each piece of gear and what people have used in the past. This is all good information, but to be honest, what works for some people, might not work for you.

When I began my research of what gear to bring, I must admit, I was influenced by what previous hikers had done. I went with a frameless pack (something I had never done) as well as splurging on a few high price items (EE quilt). Normally, I would try to be a bit more economical, but my thought process was “If I’m going to be using it for the next 6 months in extreme conditions, I want it to work”.

Throughout the hike, I didn’t make any major changes. I added a long sleeve and tights for the last section (Washington) since it was beginning to get cold, but besides that, everything stayed pretty much the same.

So, without further adieu, here is my gear list for my PCT Thru-hike, as well as the price that came with it.

Biggest Item Reviews

Overall, I was really pleased with my gear! The biggest learning curve was choosing to go with rugged trail running shoes, instead of breathable light shoes for the dessert section. Luckily, I was able to switch them once reaching the first town!

Having said that, here are a few of my thoughts on some of the most important items

Waymark Lite 50L

Although I had never used a frameless backpack, I was really excited to try it. I must admit, at first, and while going through the steep learning curve, I did find that I was overpacking and therefore exceeding the recommended weight of the pack. This resulted in some back and shoulder pain. As the hike continued and I dialed in my food/water carries better I was able to have a lighter pack which made everything significantly better!

I found the capacity to be more than enough, never struggling with not being able to fit what I needed to get me to the next town. The side pockets are the perfect size to carry a few water bottles as well as my Toaks cooking set. This made getting lunch or a quick drink very easy and convenient.

Lastly, the mesh pocket at the back provided me with the option to store what I would need for the day perfectly. This made every break so much better since I didn’t have to unpack my pack and search through what I wanted. instead, I would store it in the mesh pocket, get it when I needed and continue hiking.

MSR Hubba 1 Person

The MSR Hubba NX solo, Im not really sure where to begin. I bought it just a few weeks before starting the trail so, to be honest, I didn’t really have a lot of time to test it. So, like everything, there was a learning curve. In this case, though, it was very big. MSR makes it incredibly easy to set up and take down. The structure of the tent itself is really sturdy, overcoming intense storms and very windy nights.

the only thing I would suggest for future hikers is to get the Hubba Hubba 2-person. I wanted to try to be as light as possible and thought by reducing the tent size, I would accomplish that. Yes, in hindsight, I did shave off 1 lb, but it turned out to be pretty snug in there. Halfway through the hike, I thought “I’ll take on that extra 1lb if I could have just a little bit more room to spread my things”

Enlighten Equipment

Last but not least, let’s talk about something you will use every day on trail, your sleeping bag/ quilt. I decided to go with the Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 Fahrenheit. This for me was a love and hate relationship. Let’s begin with the pros: the weight of the quilt is unbelievable. weighting just over 1 lb, I barely felt it. I also experienced the versatility of a quilt. This being something new to me, I saw how many different ways I could use it, which to be honest, was really cool. The stretch bands allow you to wrap it around your sleeping pad so it doesn’t fall off in the middle of the night, and the foot box can be fully sinched up. limiting the air getting in or out.

Now, for the cons: I did find myself waking up cold a lot of the time. This could be due to the fact that we were cowboy camping and it was really windy, which, I completely understand. For me, I’ve found the quilt to always be a bit cold. The last thing would be the amount of feathers that were constantly coming out. I got worried throughout the hike that was losing too much down. I understand the equipment might not get the best care on trail but it worried me that I was losing warmth as the trail went on.

Besides those 2 points, the quilt is a great way to go and the only thing I would change about it is going for the same one but the 10 or the 0 Fahrenheit option.

At the end of all this, my biggest advice would be to do your own research, ask people around you what they have done (not just the internet), and see what works for you!