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Thru-Hike the Pacific Crest Trail: Gear List & Strategy for 2022


Mike Unger is one of a handful of people who has thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) three times—twice northbound (NOBO) and once southbound (SOBO). Together, with editors Naomi Hudetz and Liz Thomas, author of Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-hike, this PCT gear list features what we’ve learned on six Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikes, in addition to numerous other long trails and routes.

Our goal is to walk you step-by-step through what gear to carry as weather and ecosystems change along the Pacific Crest Trail. We also offer tips on how to get the most out of your gear for each section of the trail.

Whether you’re planning the ultimate long-distance hike or section hiking parts of the PCT,  want comfort gear upgrades or ultralight essentials to move fast, this in-depth guide will help you create a PCT gear checklist, while offering strategies for hiking and developing self-care routines to thrive. With this PCT guide, our goal is to help you complete your goal, however big or small that might be.

Considering hiking the PCT Southbound? See our PCT Southbound Gear List & Strategy.

Looking for other Thru-hiking Guides? See Our Favorite PCT Gear, PCT Southbound Gear List & Strategy, Appalachian Trail Gear List & Strategy, Arizona Trail Gear List, Oregon Coast Trail, Oregon Desert Trail, Wonderland Trail, Blue Mountains Trail


The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile trail that traverses between Mexico and Canada and goes through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Most PCT thru-hikers start in the spring from the Mexican border and head northbound (NOBO) in hopes to arrive in Canada before the cold and snow. A PCT thru-hike typically takes 4-5 months and travels through deserts and mountain ranges at elevations near sea level to over 13,000’.

Thru-hikers must prepare for a wide range of conditions and will need to make two to three significant gear changes during the trip. Whether you prefer ultralight gear or want a complete gear list tailored to luxury, this story discusses gear strategies for each of the four distinct ecosystems and conditions that a northbound PCT hiker faces.

Head here to read the complete guide on thru-hiking the PCT, written by Mike Unger & Liz Thomas & Naomi Hudetz.


December 3, 2023

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