2021 PCT Ultra-Awesome Gear List
My PCT Thru-hike Preparation
Here is a breakdown of how I spent my time preparing for my 2021 PCT NOBO thru-hike:
- 90% analyzing gear
- 9% watching vlogs of other people hiking the PCT
- 1% calculating food and water resupply
- 0% learning navigational skills and how to read a topographic map
So yes, you could say I am feeling very prepared for my thru-hike…if my thru-hike consisted of a multiple choice quiz on the weight, fabrics, and volume of the items on my gear list. However, this will not help me when I am wandering through the Mojave Desert in 100° temperatures, wondering how difficult it is to self-diagnose heat exhaustion after my phone died and I hope I am walking in the right direction before I run out of water.
I rest easy knowing I am not alone. My echo chamber of UL (Ultra Light) backpacking gear subreddits and YouTube videos has confirmed other thru-hikers love talking about gear as much as I do. I have made multiple gear lists and spreadsheets in search of the perfect, yet personal balance of the backpacker’s Holy Trinity of Comfort (or Quality), Weight, and Cost. My well-versed cousin and PCT alumnus shared with me while I was preparing for my 2018 SOBO JMT hike that you can pick 2 out of 3 attributes for any given piece of backpacking gear, but you can’t have all three.
My JMT gear list heavily favored cost and comfort. I suffered the weight consequence the entire 220 miles along the JMT. One of the thru-hiking sayings is that you pack your fears. As the raw skin turned to callouses on my shoulders and hips on the JMT, I told myself I’d make lightweight gear my priority next time. With that, I’d have to sacrifice cost or comfort. My PCT Big 3 (backpack, shelter, sleep system) weighs half of what they did for the JMT. I’m still not in the sub-10 pound UL Cool Kids Club because I am not yet willing to give up certain comforts, like my pillow, sleep clothes, and flip-flops. We’ll see what happens on the trail, how my starting gear varies, and what my finishing gear ends up being.
Continue exploring Daniel Gerken's complete gear list here.
May 8, 2022
Outdoor Life: Do You Really Need a Water Filter for Backpacking and Mountain Hunting?
Sawyer Permethrin Premium Insect Repellent is used on clothing, not skin, and it provides long-lasting protection against ticks.
One of the most popular, and readily available, means of tick prevention these days is the use of permethrin. Sawyer Permethrin Fabric Treatment is easy to find at most any sporting goods store and applies quick and easy to your clothing, boots, gear, etc.
While not technically a filtered water bottle, Sawyer Products’ water filtration system can transform anything into a safe, clean drinking vessel. Simply fill up the included reusable pouch at any water source, screw the pouch onto the filter, and either drink directly from the filter or squeeze the now-filtered water into another vessel (like a water bottle or pot for cooking).