10 Things To Pack For Hiking The PCT.

Are you considering a multi-day backpacking trip or a long thru hike, such as the Pacific Crest Trail? Do you wonder which things to pack for thru hiking the PCT?

You can benefit from our experiences thru hiking the PCT, the Vermont Long Trail, and the West Coast Trail. Here are a list of 10 things that we pack and love!

Hiking the PCT

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For Meals and Food:

  1. Ursack Allmitey Bear Bag. This works for rodents, as well as bears. CD used this for his thru hike in 2004 and we still use it today. You may consider sleeping with it under your pillow depending on how significant the rodent problem. It is durable, effective, and convenient. It is a must – have!

2. Titanium Spork. In the world of sporks, we vote for titanium. After breaking a couple of plastic sporks each, we decided to endorse something more durable. These have lasted us 5+ years and I anticipate that they will last at least another 5.

3. GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug. CD did not have this on the trail as he was given it last year. He tells me that he would have taken it if he knew it existed. Apparently, he may consider taking it in place of water bottle. That is saying a lot since he was never far from his Nalgene when we first met.

4. MSR Dromlite Water Bag: 6 L. Methods for carrying water on the trail are a matter of personal preference and comfort . This is CD’s choice. More than 16 years later, it still has not gotten a leak.

5. Evernew Titanium Pot, 1.3 L. It is years later and this pot is still good as new. It is just the right size to feed one or two thru hikers or three or four car campers.

To Stay Warm and Dry:

1. Gators. There are different lengths, colors, and styles for different purposes. Wet grass, snow, mud, rain, and bugs are a few examples. Ours get a lot of use!

2. Camp socks. Spare socks for your sleeping bag are a must! You will thank us later! I currently love “Darn Tough” socks but any socks will work. CD carries three pair of socks. Two for hiking and one only for camp. He continues to stand the principle of camps socks. Whether we are home, in the Sprinter, backpacking, or car camping, we wouldn’t consider getting near our sleeping bags with anything other than our camp socks!

3. Marmot Driclime. This is my favorite layer of all time! CD thru hiked with in 2004 and still wears today. It works for any temperature, packs small, weighs little, and stands up to the challenge. He gave me a Marmot Driclime for my birthday the first year that we met and I was quickly convinced.

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For Health and Safety:

1. Mosquito Head Net. When you need this, you will be glad it is packed. It is small, versatile, light, and effective. We recommend wearing it over a sun hat with a brim all the way around. This will keep the net from sticking to your skin or being irritating.

For more tips on handling mosquitos while on the PCT, check out this post: https://ramblingfootsteps.com/2020/05/07/pct-packing-list-throwback-travel-journal/

2. Black Diamond Head Lamp. CD uses this every day on the trail and at home. It is a way of life I guess.

For a look inside CD’s pack from Northern California onward, please check out the following post. https://ramblingfootsteps.com/2020/05/07/pct-packing-list-throwback-travel-journal/

If you are seeking a different perspective, you can check out the “what I didn’t need” gear list from REI. You may notice some healthy differences of opinion that are worth checking out!

https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/pacific-crest-trail-packing-brought-didnt-need?cm_mmc=sm_pin-_-always_on-_-brought_didnt_need-_-blog

I hope your thru hike gives you everything you need.

Enjoy and Hike Your Own Hike!

Hiking Pack List: PCT Northern California.

Hikers load up on supplies at Kennedy Meadows to head into the higher mountain passes. Once down the other side, unloading and re-packing again is common. CD was kind enough to record a hiking pack list from his stop at Pooh Corner, north of Lake Tahoe.

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that we may get a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommend. Clicking these links will not cost you extra money but will help us grow our website. Thank you for your support!

Here is CD’s hiking pack list!

Backpack:

Bag liner: Coolmax, 9 oz. A 6-7 oz silk liner was more common among the 2004 class.

Backpack: Granite Gear Ozone (please remember this was 2004). It weighed 3 lbs, as compared to the 2 lbs packs that most people carried. The weight was a trade off for having a frame and increased comfort.

For Camp:

Tarp Tent: two person model. Floorless, ~2 lbs.

Sleeping bag: EMS Mountain Light 20 degree bag, down. 2 lbs.

Tyvek: ground cloth, 5 oz

Z-rest full length: Most hikers used 3/4 lengths but for the couple of extra ounces CD chose warm and comfortable feet

Headlamp

Cooking and Water:

AquaMira water treatment

Spoon and fork: Apparently most people didn’t carry a fork but CD found it helpful for hard ice cream. Was this before the invention of the spork?

Evernew Titanium pot, 1.3 L: The trail standard in 2004

Stove: homemade pop can stove.

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Clothes:

3 pair of socks: CD alternated between 2 different pair of bike socks while hiking and had a separate pair of camp socks. He insists on separate sleeping socks when we camp as well and it really is much better!

Camp Sandals: 3 oz

Wind shirt: Marmot DriClime

Rain jacket: Marmot PreCip

Convertible pants: Mountain Hardware. CD still has these. The shorts faded so much that when he puts the pieces together it looks like he is wearing shorts over different pants.

Tee shirt: Techwick

Hat: fleece

Gloves

Sunglasses

Miscellaneous Hiking Pack List Items:

Sunscreen

Chapstick

Burt’s Bees

Picture of family

Permit

Safety Pins

Needle and thread: He had recently used to fix his pack after he fell off the trail while looking through his camera

Compass: CD said he never used it but felt it was important to have handy

Toothbrush and toothpaste

A Book: People’s History of the US, by Howard Zinn: broken into sections and mailed along in bounce boxes

Teachings of the Buddha, pocket guide

Trail Guide: broken into sections and mailed along but CD wrote that he often ended up with the wrong section. “I accidentally sent the Echo Resort to I-80 section to Pooh corner” … and so on.

Data book: The quick reference guide, broken into sections

Bug repellent. This was a new addition to the pack

Ursack Bear Bag

Nalgene: 16 oz. Mostly for dipping water and mixing drinks

Dromlite 6 liter water bag H

Hand trowel

Gauze, duct tape, hand sanitizer, ibuprofen.

Things that were left or replaced at this point on the trail and did not make this hiking pack list:

Bear Canister (replaced with Ursack Bear Bag). Chaco sandals (they needed to be re-soled). Heavy long underwear. Ice axe. Crampons.