The nuts and bolts of our PCT preparations: Gear!

Gone are the days when I used to carry two pairs of hiking pants, two pots and 15 pounds of beloved field guides for a multi-day backpacking trip!

Over the last few years Gabriel and I have steadily upgraded our gear replacing old equipment with lighter weight options. We’ve overhauled our systems entirely: stove,  tent, backpacks, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, shoes, pots, clothing layers, etc.  We’ve worked to shed pounds and ounces.

Since I started to replace my original gear with lighter options in 2008, I’ve shaved off a good 8 pounds from my base pack weight (all gear except consumables of water, food, fuel). All the better to prepare for the PCT and the better to have weight and space available to bring luxury items on more leisurely trips (a la Yellow Aster Butte or Tank Lakes).

Some gear highlights for our 2011 PCT Hike:

Gabriel made the penny stove we’ve used since 2009, and while it may not saute up the veggies and pineapple for a Rainbow Curry, at 1.1 oz it’s perfect for the PCT! People ask if it takes longer to boil up water, but we haven’t noticed a significant difference beteen the heating time for this stove and other manufactured stoves.

I think the biggest gear upgrade for the both of us has been the Lunar Duo Tent by Six Moon Designs that weighs in at 43 oz. Besides the mesh enclosure that is sanity preserving protection for mosquito country, the best feature about this tent is that a 6’4″ person can sit up in the middle and not have her/his head touch the ceiling! A welcome amenity since this green silnylon abode is to be our home for the next five months!

My personal biggest gear upgrade for the PCT was purchasing a long-desired Feathered Friends sleeping bag: the Hummingbird – a 20 degree F down bag weighing in at 28 oz! A great big shout out and thank you to my friends and colleagues at Cascade Land Conservancy who contributed to such a fantastic send off gift (as well as pancakes in the Seiad Valley)!!!!! I’ll be warm and carrying a much lighter sleeping bag thanks to Liz, Jodie, Hayes, Ryan, Kristina, Kristin, Erin, Taylor, Bonnie, Gene, and Michelle. So much appreciated! Also a bonus to get to support a local gear company that makes high quality down products and represent the Cascades down south.

As for the rest of the gear that I’ll be carrying, check out the PCT Gear List page. Gabriel has a similar list of items in his pack.

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