There are few things that give me as much satisfaction as figuring out the best gear for a trip. All the research that goes into finding the perfect piece of gear, comparing functionality, comfort, weight, and price pays off in creating the best possible experience on the trail. People often exclaim that they couldn’t possibly carry all the necessary gear or hike without certain creature comforts. With enough research, you can find great gear to meet your needs and your comforts without breaking your back, and that will make or break your experience.

The value of all this gear is just below $3,000. That’s a lot of money for a hobby, but when you consider how much people spend on vacations, cycling gear, or computer hobbies, then $3,000 sounds more reasonable. Most of us can’t drop $3,000 just before a thru-hike, so if you plan it right, you can get away with paying much, much less.  Buying items on sale or gently-used second hand over the course of a couple years meant I probably only spent around $2,000.

My base weight (the pack weight excluding all consumables and worn items) for my upcoming 3 month hike comes to 11.8 lbs., or 12.7 lbs. if I include the trekking poles. Whoohoo! Considering how many electronics I’m bringing, I’d say that’s pretty good. After adding in consumables such as sunscreen, food, and water, my pack weight will range from 20 – 30 lbs. There are a few undecided items sitting on the sidelines: a Golite Chrome Dome Umbrella (8 oz) and a warmer, yet heavier wool cap.


Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack
27 oz
*Came with hip belt pockets and a chest strap emergency whistle.
$222Gossamer Gear
Zpacks Backpack Cover
Ultralight ZPacks pack cover
1.2 oz$44Zpacks Backpack Cover
Zpacks Hexamid Solo Tent + 8 Zpacks stakes
14.4 oz$430Zpacks
Zpacks Groundsheet Poncho5.1 oz$155Zpacks Groundsheet Poncho
Zpacks 20° Sleeping Bag + roll top bag
20.4 oz$410Zpacks Sleeping Bag
Klymit Interia X-Lite
Klymit Interia X-lite
6.1 oz
6.9 oz with the pump
$69.95Klymit Interia X-Lite
Gossamer Gear Thinlight Pad
2.8 oz$16Gossamer Gear
Ursack s29 Bearbag
7.3 oz
*Update: I ditched this bag after Nor. Cal. and then wished I hadn't because the rodents were a nuisance!
$68.88Ursack Bearbag
Jetboil Sol Ti Cook System
Jet Boil Sol Ti Cook System
8.5 oz$149.95Jetboil Sol Titanium Cooking System (Sand)
Packit Gourmet Cook-in-Cozy
Packit Gourmet Cook-in-Cozy
1.75 oz$5.99Packit Gourmet
Sea To Summit Alpha Light Long Handled Spoon
0.4 oz$10.99Sea To Summit Alpha Light Long Spoon
Sawyer Squeeze Mini Water Filter
3 oz$16.13Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
MSR 2L DromLite Bag
4.6 oz for the 2L bag$29.95MSR DromLite Bag
Gossamer Gear Trowel
0.6 oz$19.99Gossamer Gear Trowel
Zpacks Ultralight Toothbrush
0.23 oz for the toothbrush and the handle extension$2.95Zpacks Toothbrush
Nano PackTowl Towel- Medium
0.9 oz$10.95Packtowl Nano Light Towel
Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife
0.75 oz$14.48Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife
Needle and thread
0.04 oz
Mini Nail Clippers
0.52 oz$3
Black Diamond Spot Headlmap
3.25 oz$30Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
SPOT Gen 3 locator beacon
4 oz$150SPOT Store
Suntactics Solar Charger-5
8.5 oz$129.99Suntactics sCharger
PowerGirl 3000 mAh External Battery with LED Flashlight
2.68 oz$13.95PowerGirl External Battery 3000mAh
Eversame Durable USB Cable
Eversame USB Cable
0.68 oz$1.10Eversame Nylon Braided Durable USB Cable
Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S44.59 oz
Lifeproof Nuud smartphone case
1.6 oz$31.95LifeProof Nuud Samsung Galaxy S4 Case
Joby GripTight Gorillapod Smartphone StandJoby-gorilla-pod-griptight_stand2.4 oz
*Update: only used it a couple times, but was SO glad I had it!
$21.95Joby GorillaPod Stand for Smartphones
iPod Nano + Roo Case
1.4 oz$199Apple iPod Nano
Noot Earbuds
Noot Classic Earbuds
0.42 oz$8.99Noot® Classic Earbuds
Halfmile's Navigation App
0 ozFREEHalfmile's PCT Map App
Guthook's Navigation Apps
0 oz$24Guthook Hikes App
Travel Wall Charger
0.64 oz$4Travel Wall Charger
Homemade Plastic Cup Speakers
1.24 ozFREE
Passport + Tyvek wallet with ID, health insurance card, and credit card
1.2 oz for the passport
0.98 for the wallet and it's contents
$9.50 for the walletDynomighty Tyvek Wallet
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack/Stuff Sack
2.4 oz$32Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack
Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles
15.6 oz$179LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles
Tevas Women's Zirra Sandals
6.7 oz$69.96Teva Women's Zirra Sandal
Montbell Ex Down Jacket
4.5 oz$199Montbell Ex Down Jacket
Montbell SPMW High Neck Shirt
7.1 oz$89Montebell
Icebreaker Everyday Leggings
8 oz$47.99Icebreaker Women's Everyday Leggings
Icebreaker Neckie (Flexi Half Chute)
3.2 oz
*Also worked great as a head rag.
$14.99Icebreaker Flexi Chute
Icebreaker Quantum Gloves
1.7 oz$16.53Icebreaker Quantum Gloves
Zpacks Mirco Fleece Hat0.95 oz$12.95Zpacks Micro Fleece Hat
REI Merino Wool Socks
2.86 oz$14.50REI Merino Wool Socks
Sierra Designs Microlight Rain Pants
6.5 oz$45REI
Billi Bandana
1.86 oz
(worn item)
$18.95Billi Bandana
Outdoor Research Spectrum Sun Gloves
0.6 oz
(worn item)
$24Outdoor Research Spectrum Sun Glove
Columbia Insect Blocker II Long Sleeve Shirt with UPF 30
Columbia Insect Blocker Long Sleeve Shirt
5.36 oz
(worn item)
*Update: this was a fantastic shirt, but I ditched it once I hit the Nor. Cal humidity. I sweated so much more with it than without.
$70Columbia Insect Blocker II Long Sleeve Shirt with UPF 30
Asics Racerback Tank
2.5 oz
(worn item)
*Update: I loved this shirt!
$35Asics Racerback Tank
Mountain Hardware Dynama Skirt
5.0 oz
(worn item)
*Update: I started this hike in a longer cotton skirt, but couldn't stand it. This M.H. skirt was comfortable, breathable and durable.
$55Mountain Hardwear Dynama Skirt
Injinji Toe Socks
1.52 oz
(worn item)
$15Injinji Mini-Crew Toe Socks
REI CoolMax Socks
(worn item)$11.50REI CoolMax Socks
Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boots
(worn item)$99.95REI

2 Thoughts on “2015 PCT Gear List

  1. My only comment is that last year during my thru-hike of the PCT I started with a Sawyer Mini and found that over time (even with backflushing) that it slowed down to where it was taking 6-7 squeeze-filled minutes to filter 0.7L of water, and when I replaced it with the slightly larger Sawyer Squeeze regular it was much much better with much faster flow. Also the 16 oz. squeeze bag typically tears near the top nozzle after about 400 miles of daily use which I also replace with a 1L Desani/Pepsi bottle. Although you have to release the vacuum when using a rigid plastic bottle, I found it more convenient both when filling it and by using it to carry “dirty” water. That is, I would fill it up with stream water, cap it and carry it and only filter when I needed it later which saved me time. BTW, I never used the Sawyer filter directly attached to my drinking tube, instead I chose to filter from dirty into clean which allowed me to guzzle the clean because the Sawyer’s flow was insufficient to chug water which I preferred to do. Finally, consider Crystal Light Lemonade water flavoring as a water additive. I received it as a unsolicited gift resupply package, and found it a wonderful way to get plenty of delicious water, that is, to clug-a-lug 1L of water to insure you’re hydrated. Have a great hike! Sincerely, Tartan PCT 2014

    • katemonster on May 25, 2015 at 9:28 am said:

      Hi Tartan! Thanks for your ideas. Yeah, the Sawyer Mini does slow down a lot. I used it last year and found that I had to whack it really hard on the side of the sink between backwashes to clean it out. Whacking super hard seemed to get all the gunk out & then the filter would work fine for another 4-5 days. I also carry iodine tablets for days when I don’t have the patience for the squeeze filtering. And you’re right about those flimsy bottles- Gatorade bottles are much better! I’ll try out the Crystal Light- sounds yummy. 🙂

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