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A Tale of Two Trails: AT vs PCT Gear List

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

So the time has come around once again. Thru-hiking season is almost upon us, and around the globe, clean professionals are getting all their dirty, smelly gear out of the closet. I couldn’t be more excited.

For anyone stumbling onto this, I’m Connor Chapdelaine but out in the forest I’m better known as Jackrabbit. I got the name Jackrabbit from running down descents and conveniently, eating shit right in front of those who are very eager to give someone their first trail name. Completing the Appalachian Trail last August was the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done with my life. I had never backpacked before and had barely spent more than a few nights in a tent in my life, but it seemed like a challenge and a fun one, too. I never could have expected the perspective and confidence it would share with me. Hopefully, my blog with The Trek will help me share some of that with the world.

You can see views in your backyard, but to sharpen your mind with the minds of others you have to travel the world. After finishing the AT last August, I knew I wanted to get back out and the PCT seemed like a natural segue. I’m excited for the Sierra and to explore the West coast, but more importantly, I’m excited to start a backpacking trip where I actually know what I’m doing from the start.

Experience and Terrain

One thing I definitely had no idea about before starting the Appalachian Trail was gear selection. I had the mindset that “I’m strong, I’ll carry anything I want happily”. Like pretty much everyone with that mindset going into a thru hike, I began tossing things out of my pack the first chance I got. I had too many things and average/bad selection of many essential items. My pack volume was way bigger than necessary, my layers were heavy, and I barely knew how to use half the stuff I even had. Needless to say, the first 100 miles was my “shakedown hike”.

While I didn’t change a lot of my gear and only reduced the total items in my pack, I was excited to get home and replace some of my gear with more durable/UL options. My experience on the AT was critical in knowing what gear works for me but even more importantly, the experience of the hundreds of hikers I shared gear conversations with was INVALUABLE! Seeing the techniques and gear of seasoned hikers I began taking mental notes. I slowly began to get an idea of what my next kit would look like.

Fast forward eight months and my pack list is almost complete for the PCT this year. I’ve made a lot of changes for a few different reasons. One of the main reasons I’m making some of these gear changes is the terrain. The PCT’s climate is a lot different than the AT’s and with it come different obstacles and advantages. I think the gear I’ve picked this time around will be a lighter load on my back and be optimal for the different weather I’m expecting heading from Mexico to Canada.

With that being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Read the complete article written by Connor Chapdelaine here.


December 3, 2023

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