I planned to through hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018. I wanted to hike the entire 2650+ miles but my Visa was unfairly denied twice. I will be hiking the Great Divide Trail in Canada instead. The gear lists can be very similar, but a solar panel works much better on the Pacific Crest Trail and down jackets work better than synthetic.
In my favour, I still have a burning desire to hike the Pacific Crest Trail one day. Hopefully I can find enough money at some point and I can re-apply for a US Visa after hiking the Great Divide Trail in Canada, and the experience will help approval. Photography is hugely important to me, so I am sure I will enjoy hiking the Pacific Crest Trail regardless of how many miles I achieve, when I am allowed to actually hike it that is.
I will get around to reviewing all of the equipment I have bought and used for the Great Divide Trail at some point too as a lot of it can be used on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Embedded into this Pacific Crest Trail 2018 Gear list page is a lighterpack gearlist. It’s overwhelming as to the amount of information available online and I’ve been using lighterpack as it’s easier than WordPress to mess around with pack weights and whatnot. I suggest you try it out as it doesn’t cost anything. Even though I’m not going to be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this year, hopefully a few items here will give you some Google inspiration. They’re taken from my Great Divide Trail gear list.
Pacific Crest Trail Photography
I have gone overboard with camera equipment for a reason. If you’re interested in photography but want to keep your weight down, a Sony a6500 might be more appropriate. After my Visa was denied, I was a bit lost with what I wanted to do and I felt I could travel to a few different places and take photographs.
On the Pacific Crest Trail, I planned to take much smaller lenses. For the Great Divide Trail, I’m taking more equipment. If my hiking ideas get stuffed, I still have a lot of camera equipment on me to turn it into a photography trip. For that reason, please discard some of the information about camera equipment but certain things you might want to consider e.g. how you plan to charge your equipment. Where will you store it? etc. If it’s in your backpack, you won’t be using it. To reiterate, the camera equipment is a backup plan of mine for Canada, I’m not suggesting you bring all of it on the Pacific Crest Trail.
With the above in mind, if you remove the camera equipment, change synthetic jackets to down, fleeces to merino (if you like that kind of thing, if not, find a thinner fleece), have a thinner rain jacket, versalite pants instead of torrent flier pants, etc. You’ll reach a sub 15 lb base weight pretty easily.
Camera and electronics equipment
- Sony a7rII ~ This can be powered directly from a solar panel
- Sony NP-FW50 x4
- Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens
- Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens ~ I probably wouldn’t bring this as changing multiple lenses is a nuisance
- Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens
- Breakthrough Photography X4 52mm 6 Stop Neutral Density Filter ~ This thing is amazing
- Solar Paper 7.5 watt ~ This works well and is closer to 8 watts
- Semi home-made tripod with a Giottos 1004 head
- Neewer® USB Battery Charger for NP-FW50 Rechargeable Batteries
- Garmin Fenix 5x Sapphire ~ For geotagging photographs and creating daily GPS tracklogs
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – For communication and backing up photographs
- Op/Tech Rainsleeve ~ This is lightweight, simple, cheap and extremely effective
- Lowepro Toploader 45 AW II. I’m in favour of this versus a peak design clip because it’s lightweight and allows you to put your camera somewhere while it’s not in use but it still allows protection and easy access. At some point, I will show photographs of how to attach this in a way you can grab at your camera quickly without the strap being around your neck :).
If I had an unlimited budget, I’d go with the Sony 16-35 f/2.8 G Master lens and call it a day. It’s lighter than the 24-70 f/2.8 G Master.
Cooking and Water Research
Due to fire bans on the PCT, unless you take a dedicated cooking solution, there might not be much point bringing a pot without a stove i.e. you could consider a peanut butter tub. I’m taking a Vargo Bot on the GDT because I can use it to soak meals, store water, and if I find a place where I can create a fire, I can cook a meal.
The PCT is a bit different in that regard I hear. The Vargo Bot is pretty cool though, so give it a look.
Some alternatives to the heavy Jetboil Flash:
- Olicamp Kinetic Ultra Titanium Stove ~ 48.2g (1.7oz for free folk :)) ~ decent in winds ~ not very stable
- ~ 65g (2.3oz) – 113g (4oz) ~ better in winds ~ stable with 4 prong setup
- Aquamira – Part A and B Drops ~ 28g
- Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralight Carbon Fibre Trekking Poles ~ 436g ~ adjustable ~ 145cm max ~ works with tents
I own the Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralight Carbon Fibre Trekking Poles. I’m 6ft3, long legs and these things are absolutely no use for most women. Even at their lowest point, they’re probably going to be too long (they’re perfect for me.) I’d buy something more fitting and then get the ZPacks extender thing, if I planned to use their tent. They might do female versions, I haven’t looked. Feminists get pretty excited these days, so when I talk about male or female, I am referring to the fact males are generally taller.
I think people who buy duplex dents are playing russian roulette. I chose the altaplex because if one hiking pole snaps, I can still put the tent up with the other pole. Don’t get me wrong, the duplex looks like an amazing tent, but I think the altaplex makes a bit more sense for a solo hiker and I think it’s plenty big enough. It’s just my opinion and I’m sure many people who’re quite experienced would disagree.
For shoes… I love La Sportiva Bushido’s, they’re so comfortable in general, except the arch support was horrible for me (this is the case with a lot of shoes for me.) If you can find a pair of these that fit well, give them a look. I’m suggesting these because you can read about a bunch of shoes on other blogs, but these don’t get a mention.
Other hiking poles you might want to consider
- Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles Carbon Fibre ~ 400g ~ £25
- Leki – Carbon Titanium – Trekking poles ~ 422g ~ adjustable ~ good clamp system ~ 135 max
- Leki – MICRO VARIO CARBON ~ 448g ~ adjustable ~ good clamp system ~ 130cm max
- Black Diamond – Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles ~ 284g ~ lightweight ~ nonadjustable ~ 130cm max ~ review says not durable
- FIZAN Compact Trekking Poles ~ 340g ~ great but not available in the USA
- Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralight Carbon Fibre Trekking Poles ~ 436g ~ adjustable ~ 145cm max ~ works with tent