No items found.

The PCT Thru-Hike Checklist: 29 Things To Do Before You Start

Getting ready for a thru-hike is a daunting process. Unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life for a multi-month trek sounds incredible, but first, you have to actually get to the starting line. Not only do you have to prep for the logistics of the hike itself, but you have to make sure your home affairs are in order. That way, you can focus solely on the trail when the time comes.

Trust me: getting your ducks in a row before you hit the trail (while you still have cell service) will make your hike go much more smoothly. If you’re getting ready to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail, make sure you complete everything on this checklist before you go.

The PCT Thru-Hike Checklist: 29 Things to Do Before Starting the Trail

1. Get your permits in order.

2. Learn snow skills and practice with your ice axe.

3. Download the first water report.

4. Keep an eye on the snowpack.

5. Get in shape.

6. Learn to identify poodle-dog bush.

7. Make a hitchhiking sign.

8. Figure out section-specific gear.

9. Get your bills on autopay.

10. Health insurance.

11. Cancel car insurance and surrender plates/registration.

12. Cancel or pause subscriptions.

13. Visit your doctor: renew prescriptions + address outstanding health concerns.

14. Put your stuff in storage.

15. Notify your landlord and employer.

16. Notify your credit card company you’ll be traveling + make sure you know your debit PIN.

17. Entrust someone with your important personal information and passwords.

18. Designate someone to handle your mail.

19. Set your vacation reminder.

20. Shakedown hikes: test your gear + make needed returns and exchanges.

21. Gear TLC

22. Activate subscription for your GPS beacon + program the device and practice using it.

23. Download books, movies, music, apps, maps, etc. that you plan to use on the trail.

24. Get your blog/social media/etc. set up.

25. Familiarize yourself with the trail: outline a tentative itinerary + choose where you want to send boxes.

26. Arrange travel to the trailhead.

27. Personal grooming.

28. Try not to freak out.

29. Enjoy the comforts of home while you still can.

You can find more details on he things you should do before starting trail, written by Kelly Floro here.

LAST UPDATED

December 3, 2023

Written by
Photo thumbnail Blog Author

The Trek

Media Mentions from the Trek

Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and everything in between. We are dedicated to serving long distance backpackers.

We are All Things Long-Distance backpacking.

Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and everything in between. We are dedicated to serving the thru-hiking and long distance backpacking community.

NOTE: Cordial debate is allowed and encouraged. If you're rude, however, your comment will be deleted. If you make personal attacks at another commenter or a Trek Blogger or Writer, you will be banned from this page.

Explore More Content

Media Mentions

This repellent is easy to apply and effective without staining clothes.

Eating Well
Media Mentions from Eating Well

Media Mentions

Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent uses 20 percent picaridin to protect against ticks, mosquitoes, black flies, gnats, and other biting insects. It provides up to 12 hours of protection, so a little bit goes a long way.

Maggie Slepian

Media Mentions

Sawyer’s 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent delivers long-lasting protection against pesky insects like mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and gnats. Formulated with 20% picaridin — an odorless, non-greasy alternative to DEET — you can count on this spray to provide up to 12 hours of protection against mosquitos and eight hours against other bugs.

Clarissa Buch Zilberman