Gear & Reviews

Check out my Amazon Store: Backpacker’s Shopping List

It took me forever to research all my gear and find the best prices. You can use my Backpacker’s Shopping List as your one-stop-shop for most of your hiking needs!


2015 PCT Gear List

To see a list of things I took on my 3 month PCT hike from Tahoe to Canada, click on the link above. To see every piece of gear I’ve used, scroll down.



All My Gear

Shelters and Pack

Zpacks Pertex Quantum Bivy
5.8 oz$195Zpacks
Zpacks Hexamid Solo Tent + Groundsheet
15.4 oz$430Zpacks
Tarptent Double Rainbow
41 oz$289Tarptent
Hennessy Ultralight Asym Classic Hammock
31 ozI paid $185, but it's up to $239 now.Hennessy Hammocks
Zpacks Arc Blast Ultralight Backpack
Grassy Hollow Visitor Center
16.5 oz$279Zpacks
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack
27 oz$222Gossamer Gear
Zpacks Backpack Cover
Ultralight ZPacks pack cover
1.2 oz$44Zpacks Backpack Cover

My favorite shelter is the Zpacks bivy because it’s so light and easy to manage. I’m not a big fan of dealing with tent stakes and this little mama takes all of 5 seconds to unroll or roll-up.  If I can’t find a tree branch to hold the face screen up, I’ll rig up my trekking pole to hold it.

That being said, I do love the sense of security, privacy, and spaciousness that comes with a fully enclosed tent; and so the Zpacks Hexamid is considered a luxury item for me. I’ll take it on trips when I think I may encounter some rain or snow or even nosy neighbors.  This tent uses one trekking pole for set-up.

When travelling with a partner, I’ll bust out my two person Tarptent Double Rainbow. It can feel pretty cozy inside, but it’ll fit two adults just perfectly.

The Hennessy Ultralight Hammock is hands down the most comfortable thing I’ve ever slept on, excepting maybe a bed at The Westin.  It’s like floating on air, plus it always stays cleaner than tents because you never drag the dirt inside.  For insulation beneath me, I’ve used both under covers from Jacks ‘R Us and sleeping pads.  When there are no trees available, you can still string up the suspending ropes to your trekking pole(s) and use the hammock as a bivy sack to keep bugs away.

The Arc Blast has been an a great pack for me.  It’s barely over a pound and has held up marvelously for over 1600 miles.  Zpacks does an excellent job of offering customizable options for gear.  Since I love pockets, I had them add two hip belt pockets for holding my smart phone, snacks, tissue, and other small items I want easily accessible while I’ll hike.  I also added top side mesh pockets, one shoulder pouch (which I use to hold a small water bottle or sunscreen), and shock cord lashing.  If I could do it over, I’d also add-on the trekking pole holders.

This older generation Arc Blast has been a great pack for me. It’s barely over a pound and has held up marvelously for 1,400 miles so far. Zpacks does an excellent job of offering customizable options for gear. Since I love pockets, I had them add two hip belt pockets for holding my smartphone, snacks, tissue, and other small items I want easily accessible while I’ll hike. I also added top side mesh pockets, one shoulder pouch (which I use to hold a small water bottle), and shock cord lashing. If I could do it over, I’d also add on the treking pole holders.

Since this particular design is no longer made by Zpacks, probably because the material is delicate, I’ve decided to try out a Gossamer Gear Mariposa pack. It’s has a generous capacity of nearly 70 liters and can carry weights of up to 30 lbs. It’s also made out of the strong, but lightweight Dyneema nylon. This pack is incredibly comfortable with it’s thick and wide shoulder straps and hip belt.  I also love the large side pocket because I can pack and unpack my tent and jacket without having to dig through my entire pack.  I’ll be using it this summer on my hike from Tahoe to Canada.


Sleep System

Mountain Hardware Phantasia 32°F Sleeping Bag
Mountain Hardwear Phantasia 32-degree Womens Sleeping Bag
23.0 oz$410Mountain Hardwear
REI Halo 25°F Sleeping Bag34.0 ozcurrently unavailableREI
Zpacks 20°F Sleeping Bag + roll top bag20.4 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
Klymit Interia X Frame Sleeping Pad
Klymit Inertia X-frame Ultralight Sleeping Pad
9.1 oz$79.95Klymit
Gossamer Gear Thinlight 1/8" Sleeping Pad
2.8 oz$16Gossamer Gear
Thermarest Z-lite Sleeping Pad
Thermarest Z Lite Sleeping Pad
10.0 oz$34.95Therma-Rest
Sea To Summit Reactor Thermolite Mummy Bag Liner
Sea to Summit ReactorLiner
8.1 oz$56.95REI
REI Inflatable Neck Pillow2.6 oz$11.50REI

Both the Mountain Hardware and REI sleeping bags are lightweight for their temperature rating. Since I do tend to run cold at night, I always use a sleeping bag liner and super warm pi’s.  The Phantasia is less roomy than the Halo, but it packs down to the size of a football!

Klymit has come up with an incredible new design for sleeping pads using Loft Pocket and Body Mapping technologies.  The pads work by supporting your body at your head, shoulders, hips, calves and feet while your sleeping bag insulation fluffs-out to fill the holes in the sleeping pad, keeping you quite warm.  You can also use this pad INSIDE your sleeping bag for added warmth and stability.  The full size version, the Intertia X Frame, is great, but because my smaller proportions don’t exactly line up with the sleeping pad support points, I sometimes fall through the holes and end up on the ground.  To fix this, I place the X Frame on top of my 1/8″ Thinlight foam pad.  I’ve recently switched to using the 3/4 length version, the Interia X-Lite, and it fits my smaller dimensions perfectly.  Both pads are incredibly comfortable and SO easy to set-up and pack-up!  While everyone else on the trail is going nuts for Thermarest’s Neoair, I’ll be proudly touting my X Frame.  You can check out my review of the X-Lite here:


I love the simplicity of the Z-lite sleeping pad: just unfold and lay down. Having it handy on the outside of my pack also means I can use it during hiking breaks so I’m not sitting on awkward rocks or in the dirt. Of course, it’s not as comfortable as inflatable pads, but it does keep me warm!

The Sea To Summit Reactor Liner is supposed to add “up to 15 degrees of warmth.” It’s hard to tell if you actually get 15° of added warmth because it all depends on how much heat your body is putting out.  I definitely feel warmer with it than without.  I often stick my feet in the bottom of my sleeping bag with the liner and then pull it up to my armpits, tying it sarong style when I’m working in the tent at night- keeps me toasty warm!

I don’t usually use pillows; instead, I’ll fashion my clothing, shoes or other gear into a make-shift pillow or even make a pile of dirt under my head.  I find that I have a hard time keeping my head on most inflatable pillows, I just keep sliding off not matter what the surface material.  When I do use a pillow, the REI neck pillow is super comfortable and stabilizes my head whether I’m sleeping on my back or side.  Usually, I’ll fold up my day clothes and stick them under my head for added lift. It did start leaking air on the 8th night of using it on a trip.  I simply applied some seam sealer to the leaky seam and it’s been great ever since!




Ursack s29
7.3 oz$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
MSR 2L and 4L DomLite Bags
4.6 oz for the 2L
5.1 oz for the 4L
$29.95MSR DromLite Bag
Sawyer Squeeze Mini Water Filter
3.0 oz$16.13Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
Bearikade Weekender Bear Keg
32.0 oz$249Wild Ideas

The Jetboil is an amazing stove.  It boils water SO quickly, it’s easy to light because it has a built-in igniter, and it has a silicon lid so I won’t burn my lips on it when I use the pot as a mug.  I’ve used this stove in wind, rain, snow, and temperatures done to 13°F.

The Cook-in-Cozy saves fuel because you’ll only need to burn enough to bring your water to a boil. Simply add boiling water to your dehydrated or freeze-dried meal, seal shut, and place in the cozy for 10-18 minutes. Your dinner will come out piping hot and delicious!

The MSR DromLite water bladder is versatile in that it can hold both boiling and freezing water.  That means you can use it as a hot water bottle to warm up your sleeping bag or ease aches and pains.  (I once used it this way to save me from hypothermia in sub 20° temperatures.)  For tendonitis or other injuries, just fill the bag with icy cold water at the next alpine lake and ice the inflamed area.

I’ve had really good success using the Sawyer Squeeze Filter, it’s never clogged on me or gotten me sick. I do tend to play it safe with the sketchier looking water sources and add some iodine tablets before drinking.

As far as I know, the Bearikade Bear Canister products are the lightest on the market to be approved for use in all bear country parks and forests. You get what you pay for!

Since I’m always eating directly out of baggies, I LOVE the Sea To Summit long-handled spoon. It keeps my fingers clean and helps me get all the tasty bits from the bottom of the bag.

When going solo in areas NOT prone to wildfires, I use the Caldera Cone Stove.  It’s exceptionally lightweight and effective, even in wind and rain.  When using only a simple titanium pot for cooking, as I do with the Caldera Cone Stove, I like to stick the Snow Peak Hotlips on the edge so the pot can double as my mug without burning my lips.




Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S44.59 oz
I LOVE this phone. I specifically researched the best smartphone cameras and was immediately sold on the Galaxy S4's dual camera option. It allows me to shoot from both the front and back cameras and the same time.
Lifeproof Nuud smartphone case
1.6 oz
Waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof, & shock proof. Plus excellent customer service!
$31.95LifeProof Nuud Samsung Galaxy S4 Case
Suntactics Solar Charger-5
8.5 oz
I've had great success with this little charger. Using industrial strength velcro, I attach it to the top of my backpack and run a USB cable down to my phone in my hip belt pocket or to my external battery. It charges best in direct sunlight. It will not charge in the shade or when a cloud blocks the sun.
$129.99Suntactics sCharger
PowerGirl External 3000mAh Battery with LED Flashlight
2.68 oz
This little battery comes with a flashlight and a 24 month warranty!
$13.95PowerGirl External Battery 3000mAh
Halfmile's Navigation App
This app is great for helping me pinpoint distances to campsites, roads, or water sources. It also has a "Return to Trail" feature that points you in the correct direction & distance from the trail when you loose it. It's incredibly accurate!FREEHalfmile's PCT Map App
Guthook's Navigation Apps
Guthook's App has the wonderful feature of locating you on a topo map similar to Google maps. I used this app for my 1,118-mile hike on the PCT this past summer and loved how much detail it offered on water sources, campsites, and trail junctions.$24
Guthook Hikes App
SPOT Gen 3 locator beacon
4 oz
This little guy allowed my loved ones to receive preset emails from me and follow me on the SPOT website in near real-time as I hiked.
$150SPOT Store
Eversame Durable USB Cable
Eversame USB Cable
0.68 oz$1.10Eversame Nylon Braided Durable USB Cable
Noot Earbuds
Noot Classic Earbuds
0.42 oz$8.99Noot® Classic Earbuds
Travel Wall Charger
0.64 oz$4Travel Wall Charger
Homemade Plastic Cup Speakers
1.1 ozFREE




Tevas Women's Zirra Sandals
6.5 oz$69.96Teva Women's Zirra Sandal
Kahtoola NANOspikes
8 oz$39.95Kahtoola NANOspikes
Billi Bandana
1.86 oz$18.95Billi Bandana
Outdoor Research Spectrum Sun Gloves
0.6 oz$24Outdoor Research Spectrum Sun Glove
Montbell Ex Down Jacket
4.5 oz$199Montbell Ex Down Jacket
Montbell SPMW High Neck Shirt
7.1 oz$89Montebell
Icebreaker Everyday Leggins
8 oz$47.99Icebreaker Women's Everyday Leggings
Zpacks Mirco Fleece Hat0.95 oz$12.95Zpacks Micro Fleece Hat
Icebreaker Neckie (Flexi Half Chute)
3.2 oz$14.99Icebreaker Flexi Chute
Icebreaker Quantum Gloves
1.7 oz$16.53Icebreaker Quantum Gloves
REI Merino Wool Socks
2.86 oz$14.50REI Merino Wool Socks
Marmot Crystalline Rain Jacket
6.5 oz$160REI
Sierra Designs Microlight Rain Pants
6.5 oz$45REI
Columbia Insect Blocker II Long Sleeve Shirt with UPF 30
Columbia Insect Blocker Long Sleeve Shirt
5.36 oz$70Columbia Insect Blocker II Long Sleeve Shirt with UPF 30
Asics Racerback Tank
2.5 oz$35Asics Women's Racerback
Mountain Hardware Dynama Skirt
5.0 oz$55Mountain Hardwear Dynama Skirt
Injinji Toe Socks
1.52$15Injinji Mini-Crew Toe Socks
Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boots




Petzl Tikka RXP Headlamp

This headlamp is a great weight for being rechargeable and powerful.
4.1 oz$ Petzl Tikka RSP Headlamp
Cocoon Thermolite Silkweight Mummy Sleeping Bag Liner
5.6 oz~$70?Cocoon
Kahtoola MicroSpikes
13.6 oz$64.95Kahtoola MicroSpikes