Right now, my base weight is 13.6 lbs. That's not as low as I'd like, but I’m trying to think of this more as a work in progress, pre-PCT gear list. I anticipate that I will be learning a lot as I go, and finding ways to cut my pack weight further. **If anyone has any suggestions, please comment or email me.**
A few notes about me and my hiking style to provide some context. This is my first long-distance hike. Much of this gear is what I’ve used backpacking in the southeast on weekend trips. I tried making a few changes for the conditions that I expect along the PCT. I’ve already covered the hammock-specific gear in a previous post (here).
You may notice that my sleeping clothing tend towards the heavy side (i.e. down booties and fleece hoodie). I tend to be cold, both at night and while hiking. I’ve been testing various systems all winter, spending several nights VERY cold and uncomfortable, trying to see how little insulation I could get away with. There is a tradeoff between weight of sleeping clothes and weight of quilts- when I use lighter sleeping clothes, I needed warmer quilts to stay tolerably warm. I decided to go with lighter quilts and heavier sleeping clothes so that I can then also use the clothes when I am cold while hiking. For example, I wrap my head with my down jacket when I sleep because my quilt doesn’t have a hood, but I often wear my down jacket (and fleece hoodie, and rain pants) while I hike.
|That's me on the left with my rainpants and fleece hoodie, while everyone else is in tshirts.|
Stove I’ve enjoyed the simplicity and speed of stoveless meals for several years. With the drought and fire restrictions in So. Cal. I believe that it is important to do everything possible to prevent forest fires- I’ll definitely NOT bring an alcohol stove or have campfires. I know there is an argument for carrying a stove for safety reasons, so I will consider bringing one into the Sierra and Washington at a later time.
Solar charger I’m going with a battery pack to charge my iPhone between town stops. I will keep my phone off as much as possible and use my paper Halfmile maps.
Camp shoes I don’t use these now. I just air out my feet during breaks and wear my trail runners through water crossings.
Things I’m still undecided about:
I’ve been trying for months to use the camera on my iPhone, but I’m still disappointed with the quality of the photos compared to my Canon S120 (7.5 oz). The weight cost of my camera is 7.5 oz, even if I bounce the battery charger ahead (2.3 oz) or omit the extra battery (0.9 oz). I was talking to JJ about it last week- and she really urged me to think about my priorities for my PCT trip, and how it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I do value having nicer photos to remember my trips and to post here on the blog, and I have always regretted all the trips I’ve previously done without my camera- without exception. But 7.5 oz is a lot.
I’ve got a 2.5 oz Sunday Afternoons hat that is huge and provides lots of coverage. But I wonder if this is needed with the umbrella. I’m going to be on the lookout for something lighter in the next month. Any suggestions?
Hiking clothes- pants vs. skirt.
I’ve got two hiking clothes options: what I normally wear and love here in the southeast, and what I think could be better adapted to the sun of So. Cal. I love the versatility and breeziness of my DIY skirts and tall gaiters. And I actually sewed up a new skirt for the PCT (out of the lovely galaxy print fabric from one of my old trapeze costumes), and made it longer to protect my knees. Plus it’s even an ounce lighter than my old DIY camo hiking skirt! But, I am also considering wearing Railrider pants- they would provide better sun and bug protection, but have pleats and are an ounce heavier than my skirt plus DIY tall gaiters. The other consideration besides weight, comfort, and hideous pleats is that skirts make for super-fast peeing- and I really don’t want to go back to having to take off my pack and squatting- ugh!
|Pants/ short gaiters vs. skirt/ tall gaiters.|
I’m also trying to decide between my old long-sleeved, collared shirt and my short-sleeved icebreaker shirt plus DIY sleeves combo. The long-sleeved shirt (7 oz) provides better sun and bug protection, is possibly cooler because of the side vents and material, but it weighs a bit more. On the other hand, I wear my icebreaker wool short sleeved shirts (4.2 oz) all the time in the southeast, and I like how they feel. My DIY sleeves (1.5 oz) are versatile- I love that I can take them on and off without taking off my pack, and I sewed up new DIY sleeves for the PCT out of a favorite old, lilac capilene shirt that come down over my hands with little slits for my thumbs- this will provide extra sun protection for my "freakishly" long arms.
I’m leaving for a trip to the southwest, and I will be bringing all these clothing options and thinking more about my camera, so hopefully that will help me decide. And if not, I’ll leave it with my parents so they can get whatever I decide I need to me on the trail.