Treeline Review founder Liz Thomas on the Pacific Crest Trail.Our PCT Favorite Gear
8 PCT THRU-HIKERS SHARE THEIR TOP GEAR FOR PACIFIC CREST TRAIL BACKPACKING
Everyone has a favorite piece of gear. We asked five of our writers and editors (who have all thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail at least once). This list shows what we find to be essential gear items for PCT thru-hikers.
NAOMI "THE PUNISHER" HUDETZ'S FAVORITE PCT GEAR:
SIX MOON DESIGNS SILVER SHADOW CARBON ULTRALIGHT UMBRELLA
There’s no question about this one - my favorite piece of gear on the PCT was my Chrome Dome Umbrella. I’ve always struggled in the heat (even as a little kid), and the sun protection given by the chrome dome is a game-changer for me.
The sun in Southern California is much more intense than I’m used to in my home of the Pacific Northwest, so keeping it off my head and upper body is vital. It also means I don’t have to wear my sun hat when using the umbrella, which cools me off even more.
My umbrella keeps the rain off my glasses and upper body when it rains, which is a huge morale boost. I’ll never forget walking into Snoqualmie Pass, WA, during a huge rainstorm and seeing other hikers who looked genuinely miserable. One hiker, in particular, was drenched to the bone and ready to quit - just 250 miles from the border! I was wet too, but not as wet with my umbrella. The contrast in our morale was palpable.
If you’re using trekking poles, you’ll want a way to attach your umbrella to your pack. Six Moon Designs has a hands-free umbrella kit - and it works great. You can find similar umbrellas from Gossamer Gear, too.
LIZ “SNORKEL” THOMAS’S FAVORITE PCT GEAR:
On a long hike, a quality sleeping bag is my home, solace, and place of comfort (plus, it’s my last line of defense against hypothermia). After an exhausting day, a sleeping bag becomes the thing I yearn for in those last few miles as the light disappears. On a cold day of hiking, it’s the only place I want to be (well, besides indoors). If I were to recommend a mummy bag for the PCT, it’d be the men’s and women’s Feathered Friends 20-degree bag, our recommended sleeping bag in our Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag story, and my current go-to bag.
The PCT was a much colder hike than I anticipated. Although I don’t think I sleep “cold,” I was glad to carry a solid 20-degree bag.
While the high desert of Southern California was hot during the day, nights in the desert are chilly--especially on windy nights around Mt. Laguna and San Jacinto. I got an unexpected 6” of snowfall on my camp after Kennedy Meadows and loved having my sleeping bag all the more. After a cold day of hiking in the rain in Oregon and Washington, everything was made better by crawling into my dry sleeping bag at night. Still, the PCT is a drier trail, so a quality down bag provides better warmth to weight than a synthetic bag.
September 24, 2021