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A Quick Guide to Thru-Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is a fun, powerful, and rewarding experience. After completing mine, I’ll never be quite the same. I took in so much fresh air and natural beauty - it’s still filling my soul and memory bank to the brim. Hiking the PCT taught me to be present and appreciate the small pleasures of life. I also learned to look to nature and exercise for health and sanity. On top of that, I forged some of the most meaningful friendships I probably ever will.

Long-distance hiking is a beautiful thing, but overcoming the challenges of a thru-hike requires a lot of research, planning and dedication. We put together this guide to help get you started. Below, you’ll find tips about choosing a start date, buying gear, what to expect on the trail, and so much more.

Have you completed a PCT thru-hike or are you planning to go for it?

Read the full article on Clever Hiker's website here.

LAST UPDATED

May 5, 2022

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Clever Hiker

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CleverHiker.com is a website dedicated to providing knowledge, skills, and gear recommendations for lightweight backpacking adventures. We make tutorial videos, gear reviews, and in-depth trip guides to make backpacking easier for everyone.

We're Dave and Annie, the gear nerds behind Cleverhiker.com. Dave is a thru-hiker, Eagle Scout, and nature nut who's trekked every continent on the planet. Annie is a "retired" teacher who swapped out the classroom for wilderness adventures. We built CleverHiker.com to help share our backpacking knowledge, inspire people to get outdoors, and help conserve our wild spaces.

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My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick

MEDIA MENTIONS

Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz
Writer

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere