PCT Gear 2012

The list below includes all our Pacific Crest Trail gear. To this we add food, fuel, and water as needed.

General Item Specifics Weight (oz.)
Tent Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2, stakes replaced with 6 Vargo Titanium Ultralight hooks, no stuff sacks 37.4
Stove and windscreen Caldera Ti-Tri 2.5
Fuel bottle Grocery store water bottle with Sriracha squeeze top 1.0
Lighter Mini Bic lighter 0.4
Stormproof matches (backup for lighter) Stormproof Matches 0.3
Pot, also our eating container Evernew Titanium Non-Stick 1900ml Pot 8.6
Pocket knife Gerber Mini Paraframe Serrated Knife 1.3
Pot scraper GSI Outdoors Compact Scraper 0.5
Water purification backup Potable Aqua Iodine Tablets 1.0
Toiletries In Ziplock bag – Sunscreen, Natrapel insect repellent, lip balm, travel toothbrushes, toothpaste, Campsuds biodegradable soap in tiny bottle, Diva Cup, contact solution, Wet Ones, hairband 8.0
First aid and gear repair kit In Aloksak – bandaids, Hypafix, moleskin, gauze pads, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, duct tape, needle and dental floss, safety pins, type A patches 2.0
Solar charger and cable Suntactics sCharger-5 and iphone cable 9.1
Charger for Town Universal Battery Charger (charges any battery via solar panel or wall socket) 3.0
Map Halfmile’s PCT maps and Yogi’s PCT Handbook Town Guide 2.0
Compass Suunto compass M-2D 1.1
Extra Cheep Cheep 1.0
Total Shared Gear Weight 79.1
Total Shared Gear Weight/Person, oz. 39.6
General Item Specifics Weight (oz.)
Backpack Osprey Talon 44 – Small/Medium with lid removed, straps trimmed, and hip belt pockets replaced with Moutain Laurel Designs pack pockets 32.5
Sleeping bag Mountain Hardware Lamina 20 (synthetic fill) 46.8
Sleeping bag stuff sack Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack, 10 L 2.6
Sleeping pad Thermarest NeoAir XLite – Small 8.0
Waterproof backpack liner Husky 18 gallon trash compactor bag 2.3
Warm hat SmartWool Cuffed Beanie 1.9
Insulating Jacket (also pillow) Montbell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket – Small (synthetic fill) 7.8
Wind jacket (some rain protection) Patagonia Houdini Full-Zip Jacket – Small 3.6
Gloves SmartWool liner gloves 1.1
Tights (sleeping bottoms) Asics running tights with neon stripes! 4.9
Underwear, 1 extra Patagonia barely hipster briefs 0.6
Socks, 1 extra pair Wright Socks – Medium 0.9
Bandana half bandana 0.5
Headlamp Petzl e+LITE headlamp 1.0
Water container Platypus Big Zip SL 2.0L 5.3
Water purification Sawyer 3-Way Inline Water Filter 2.0
Eating Utensil MSR Alpine Collapsible Utensil Spoon 0.5
Food Storage Bearikade Weekender bear can 30.6
Camera Canon S90 (improved version is Canon S110) 7.0
Camera accessories Aloksak (as a waterproof case) and extra battery 0.9
Cell phone iPhone 4S in Incipio silicrylic case, plus Aloksak for rain 5.9
Eye Care Glasses, glasses case, contact case 3.1
Miscellaneous Cash, credit and debit cards, picture ID 0.5
ANNA’S GEAR SUM (shared + personal), oz. 209.6
ANNA’S GEAR SUM (shared + personal), pounds 13.1
Backpack Osprey Exos 46 – Medium (lid removed, excess fabric cut off) 30.4
Sleeping bag Mountain Hardware Lamina +35 (synthetic fill) 34.9
Sleeping bag stuff sack (also day pack) Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack 2.4
Sleeping pad Thermarest Z-Lite cut in half 6.7
Waterproof backpack liner Husky 18 gallon trash compactor bag 2.3
Warm hat SmartWool Cuffed Beanie 1.8
Insulating Jacket (also pillow) Patagonia Nano Puff – Small 9.3
Wind jacket (some rain protection) Patagonia Houdini – Medium 4.0
Gloves SmartWool liner gloves 1.4
Tights (sleeping bottoms) SmartWool Microweight Bottom – Medium 4.9
Underwear, 1 extra ExOfficio Boxer Briefs – Medium 2.8
Socks, 1 extra pair Wright Socks – Large 0.9
Bandana half bandana 0.5
Headlamp Petzl e+LITE headlamp 1.0
Water container Platypus Big Zip SL 2.0L 5.3
Water purification Sawyer 3-Way Inline Water Filter 2.0
Eating Utensil MSR Alpine Collapsible Utensil Spoon 0.5
Food Storage Bearikade Weekender bear can 30.6
Camera Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105L lens 54.0
Camera accessories Extra memory cards (2.5 oz), extra battery (2.7 oz), battery charger (4.5 oz), ThinkTank Digital Holster carrying case with extra straps removed (12.1 oz), folding mini tripod (1.7 oz), Giottos Professional Mini Ball Head (1.6 oz), AirStash (to transfer images to phone, 1.4 oz) 26.5
Cell phone iPhone 4S in Incipio dermashot case, plus Aloksak for rain 6.1
Eye Care Glasses, glasses case, contact case 3.0
Miscellaneous Cash, credit and debit cards, picture ID 0.5
CHRIS’ GEAR SUM (shared + personal), oz. 271.4
CHRIS’S GEAR SUM (shared + personal), pounds 17.0
General Item Specifics Weight (oz.)
Shoes Saucony Omni running shoes with Superfeet insoles 21.6
Socks Wright Socks – Medium 0.9
Shorts/pants Merrell Lenaia zip-off pants (left skirt at home) – Size 4 7.5
Underwear Patagonia barely hipster briefs 0.6
Sports Bra Nike Pro sports bra 3.5
Shirt Under Armour Heat Gear Fitted Shirt – Medium 3.6
Sun hat Headsweats velocity visor 1.5
Trekking poles (also creates tripod) Gossamer Gear LT4 Trekking Poles with baskets – Short 7.5
Shoes Brooks Glycerin running shoes 27.4
Socks Wright Socks – Large 0.9
Shorts/pants Patagonia Rock Guide Zip-off 11.4
Underwear ExOfficio Boxer Briefs – Medium 2.8
Shirt Patagonia Capilene 1 Silkweight – Medium 4.1
Sun hat Sunday Afternoons Cruiser Hat – Large 3.0
Trekking poles (also creates tripod) Gossamer Gear LT4S Trekking Poles with baskets and Lightrek camera mount – Regular 8.6
Sleeping pad Thermarest Z-Lite cut in half, temporarily replaces Neo Air due to cactus needles 6.7
Water bottles (additional) 32 oz. Soda or sports drink bottle, each 1.6
Wide brimmed sun hat REI Paddler’s Hat temporarily replaces Headsweats visor 3.6
Sunglasses Tifosi sunglasses with cloth bag 1.0
Warmer Insulating Layer Montbell U.L. Thermawrap Parka – Medium (synthetic fill) temporarily replaces Montbell Thermawrap Jacket 10.8
Microspikes Kahtoola Microspikes – Medium 12.6
Mosquito Headnet Sea to Summit Insect Shield Mosquito Head Net 0.9
Sunglasses Tifosi sunglasses with cloth bag 1.0
Oregon and Washington
Rain Jacket Patagonia Rain Shadow Jacket – XS 11.0
Rain Pants Patagonia Rain Shadow Pants – Medium 7.3
Water bottles (additional) 32 oz. soda or sports drink bottle, each 1.6
Sunglasses Serfas Yoga sunglasses with cloth bag 1.0
Warmer Insulating Layer SmartWool Midweight Thermal Crew Top – Medium 8.3
Microspikes Kahtoola Microspikes – Large 14.4
Mosquito Headnet Sea to Summit Insect Shield Mosquito Head Net 0.9
Sunglasses Serfas Yoga sunglasses with cloth bag 1.0
Oregon and Washington
Rain Jacket Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket – Small 12.4
Rain Pants Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Pant – Medium 9.9


  1. Love the list, how do you like the solar charger you picked out? I was thinking about getting one of the GoalZero models but I have heard mixed reviews about them

  2. Thanks Slimms. We love the sCharger! In bright sun, it puts out 5 watts (5 volts, 1 amp). When you plug a phone into it, the phone charges at the same rate as if you’d plugged into your laptop or a wall adapter. It doesn’t have a battery, but we don’t find it needs one. Just plug any USB device into it and it works. It can fully charge an iPhone in about two hours.

    We did drill holes in the corners so we can mount it on our backpacks, since it doesn’t come with any kind of mounting system. Otherwise, it seems just right.

    1. I just talked to the Suntactics people who sell the solar charger about strapping it to your backpack and walking with it, and though they agreed that it is possible they didn’t like the idea of it moving in and out of shade. They said that if there were trees the charge results would be poor as sometimes devices like phones need to be rebooted when light is not consistent (ie going in and out of trees) Did you notice any issues with your devices when going in and out of shade?

      1. The Suntactics sCharger 5 works perfectly in continuous bright light, whether it’s sitting next to you at lunch or strapped to your backpack. When the panel moves into sunlight for a few minutes and then into shade for a few minutes, it charges slower, but we did not experience any problems. If walking between sun and shade every few seconds, the phone will not charge and it’s better to wait and charge on a different section of trail. We used this strategy with one solar panel charging two iPhones for the entire PCT and it worked wonderfully.

  3. Hello Anna and Chris,
    Thanks for sharing your gear list. It is impressive in terms of lightweight and therefore very inspiring (I am planning a PCT hikethru or section hike in 2013). I am amazed at the ‘small’ size of your backpacks. I was considering to buy an Osprey ultralight which must be 65-70 liters, and I can see that your bag Chris is only 46 liters. Wow. Do you recommend to put together all the gear first, and _then_ buy the bag according to? Cheers and have fun on the trail, Anne :)

    1. Yes, 46 liters is plenty for a thru hike. In fact, some thru hikers have smaller packs than that! You also want to have a small, lightweight tent or tarp, and a small sleeping bag, small cook pot and stove, etc. It just makes everything much less painful. You might check out the backpackinglight forums to learn more, as a lot of the good ultralight gear isn’t as easy to find or learn about as the heavy stuff. Good luck on your hike!

  4. Hello again Chris and Anna. Yes, I found your gear list very inspiring, picked already a Tri-Ti from it, as well as the Sawyer-3, the platy, and the Suntactics. Since I am soloing, I will get a tent from Tarptent! I was ready to get an Osprey UL 65 liters, but I see now that this is way too big! This is incredible good news for me. I was used to hike with such heavy equipment, but I see that it has evolved enormously in the last years, making it much more realistic for me. But I have a feeling that it will be some water ‘missing’ in the desert part of PCT in 2013… So shedding weight is essential for me. Thanks for sharing your precious experience! :)

    1. You’re welcome, happy to help! Those are good choices.

      If your gear is small and light, you really don’t need a large pack, so I think you are right to look at smaller sizes. In addition to the Osprey packs, which we like, you might also want to check out the ULA packs, as those are very popular on the PCT. There are other small manufacturers people like as well. We prefer packs with frames, but some people go for frameless.

      We would also recommend testing out your gear on some shorter hikes first to see what works best for you. We tried a few different things to reach our final PCT setup.

  5. Thanks for posting this list, guys! Glad to be following your travels on this site! Thanks for posting everything so specifically here. (The specific number and brands of clothing items is definitely helpful in planning what to pack for my first A.T. trail trip!) Thanks!

  6. The full width of the gear list does show up on my computer but for some reason won’t copy, even though I can highlight it. I’ll just have to come to the list from time to time and refer to it. Love your pictures! Hope my hike next year goes as well as yours.

  7. Hi Chris & Anna,

    Rec’d my first serious gear today, a Mountain Hardware Speed sleeping bag that weighs just 1 pound. I am considering a FC UL2 tent, since it weighs just a few ounces more than a FC UL1 and I am bit claustrophobic. I think the extra space will be good for me at 6’1″, 165 lbs. What is your opinion of that choice?

    Also, after lots of reading and changing my focus in the direction of UL gear, I am considering. ULA Catalyst pack instead of Osprey 65 L.

    Your postings are SOOO helpful and encouraging! THANK YOU for giving so much to those of us who really need good advice.

    Dwane Koppler
    novice backpacker
    PCT 2013

    1. Glad to help, Dwane! The Fly Creek UL2 is very good. It’s a little heavier than the UL1, but that might be worth it for you if you require more space. Ideally you can see the tent in person, and lie in it, to get a better sense. A tarp would be another option if you want to go even lighter.

      ULA’s packs are well-regarded. My Osprey Exos 46 only weighed 2 pounds, and I was quite happy with it. For our next hike, I’m likely going to switch to the Gossamer Gear Gorilla, which weighs about 1.5 pounds.

  8. You two hiked together so could share a stove, etc. I plan to be equipped for solo travel when necessary, so will be heavier/bulkier. Do you think the Osprey 46 would be large enough for my needs? If so, do you want to sell yours? I’m also considering the ULA Catalyst, but I think it is only about 40 liters and recommended for lighter loads tha I will sometimes need to carry.

    1. Many solo PCT hikers use packs in the 40 liter range with no issues. In terms of weight, a base weight of under 15 pounds is a good and very obtainable goal. That base weight will give you a comfortable load for the entire PCT with most packs (frameless packs are a different matter).

      My Osprey Exos isn’t in good enough shape for another thru hike, so I wouldn’t feel right selling that to you. We recommend testing a variety of gear so you can see what works best for you. People complete the PCT with all sorts of gear combinations.

  9. When you say the “Caldera Ti-Tri” for both stove and windscreen do you mean specifically the Trail Design 10-12 stove and their Ti-Tri titanium cone?

    On the website I believe this set up is called the Sidewinder Ti-Tri. If this is not the correct set up can you give more details? The Trail Design site has many configurations and is a bit confusing. Will you use this system again?

    Also was it just the one 1900 ml pot that you shared together to eat from without the use of any other container? Will you use this size again?

    1. Good questions, Tracy. You can read our review of the Caldera Ti Tri and other cooking equipment here: https://wanderingthewild.com/2012/11/23/gear-review-ultralight-backpacking-kitchen/ . In that review, the underlined words link to the specific products we used.

      We used the Classic Ti-Tri, which is slightly different from the Sidewinder Ti-Tri. The Sidewinder windscreen breaks into smaller pieces so that you can pack it inside the pot. The Classic Ti-Tri windscreen is one piece, which makes it a bit simpler to set up, but some people have struggled to find a good way to pack it. We roll the windscreen around our fuel bottle and secure it with a rubber band. Then we store the windscreen and fuel bottle combination in an outside pocket of one of our packs. Both the Classic and Sidewinder Ti-Tri system will perform about the same. It just depends on how you like to pack.

      The 1900 ml pot was our only eating container and was a good size for two hungry people. It’s less to carry and less to scrape clean! We’ll be using the same cooking setup on the Appalachian Trail soon.

      1. Thank you. Great video clip of you using your stove and pot? Since you used a pan for a pot lid instead of the regular lid that comes with your pot did you also use the pan for frying things like Falafels? There are a few foods that I would like to fry even though I guess one can fry things in a pot too. But I will be hiking with my partner so the pan would also be a second dish to eat from.

        1. Like you, we originally thought that one of us would eat out of the pan and the other would eat from the pot. In practice we just traded the pot back and forth. We never fried anything on the trail. For our next hike we plan to use a normal lid with the 1.9 L pot, because we rarely used the pan and the normal lid is slightly less bulky. Happy hiking and eating!

  10. Did you take an ice ax for the Sierra portion? I might have missed it on your list. I have never used an ice ax before, so am not sure if it would be beneficial to bring on the hike. What are your thoughts about ice axes?

    1. We did not bring ice axes in the Sierras because we hiked during a low snow year. Many people like the extra security they provide. If you do bring an ice ax, it’s important to learn how to use it in advance. Traction devices for your shoes such as microspikes are handy on ice too. Have an awesome hike!

  11. Hi Anna & Chris – two questions re gear. (1) how do you use the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack as a daypack? (2) if you were to purchase the 3-way Sawyer Filter today, would you consider the Squeeze with the inline adapter instead? Thanks as always for your discussions and feedback.

    1. Good catch, that was confusing in the table. Chris uses his Sea to Summit Day Pack to contain his sleeping bag, though the Day Pack doesn’t provide much compression. Anna’s better insulated sleeping bag needs more compression so she uses a different Sea To Summit bag which cannot be used as a day pack.

      The Squeeze and the 3-way are both good filters. If you want an inline filter, we’d recommend the 3-way. There are fewer pieces to break or cause leaks than if you’re dealing with an adapter. We like to keep it simple.

  12. Your blog is amazing! I just wish I would have stumbled on it last year during your adventure. I will definitely be following your AT hike. Just a quick question on the bear cannisters. Did the 2 weekenders provide enough capacity? Could you have gotten by with less capacity? My wife and I are shopping for a 2014 thru-hike and we are trying our hardest to reduce weight (and $$). My thought was that maybe I could buy one larger can instead of two smaller cans. Any thoughts? Thanks

    1. Thanks Alan! Each of our bearikade weekender cans stored about 8 days worth of food for one hungry thru hiker. If we hiked out of town in the morning, we could actually carry 9 days worth of food — 8 days in the bear cans and 1 day worth of food that we would eat before locking up the cans in the evening. What capacity canisters will work best for you will depend on how many days you’ll hike between resupply points. Hope that helps.

      1. Did you just leave your canisters away form your tent as well as your packs? You didn’t also have to hang them did you?

  13. I am new to backpacking and planning a partial PCT hike next year. Your blog is super helpful! Were the running shoes supportive enough? Im looking into shoes for my next purchase and any input you have would be great

    1. Hi Alicia, hiking in running shoes worked great for us. They were plenty supportive paired with our lightweight packs and gear. Running shoes are also much more breathable and cause fewer blisters than traditional hiking shoes. In particular, Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes were very popular on the PCT, but everyone’s needs are different and we saw a wide range of footwear options out there. Enjoy your hike!

  14. hello

    I am looking to buy the exos 46, my only question is if it fit a bear canaster inside?
    For mi would quite more cheaper than ULA as I live in Uk and I would have to pay also shipment 65 $,

    great great blog, plenty info


  15. Hey,

    My girlfriend and I are planning a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail next summer and we were also looking at buying the BA Fly Creek UL2 tent. However, we were thinking about upgrading to the Fly Creek 3 person tent to gain a little bit of room while compromising for weight.

    So would you have any suggestions for us? Overall were you guys happy with the 2 person or do you wish that you had a little bit more room?


    1. Hi Andrew, for us the Fly Creek UL2 is perfect. We never feel the need for more room. The majority of our time in the tent is spent sleeping, which only requires space for two sleeping pads. The rest of our gear is very light and small so we don’t need much extra space to store it. In the mornings we would trade off getting dressed in the tent so each person had more space to straighten their arms. We shared more thoughts on the FCUL2 here: https://wanderingthewild.com/2013/01/27/pct-campsite-video-and-tent-review/

      We do know some people who opted for the larger and heavier UL3 tent — it’s just personal preference. You might want to give the tent a try at an outdoors store. That’s the best way to be sure it will work for you. Enjoy your hike!

  16. hi there chris, i have a quick question about your pack. i’m starting my pct thru-hike in about a month, and at the last minute i’m thinking of switching to a smaller pack. how did you manage a bear canister with your osprey 46? did it fit inside? on the outside? what canister did you take? thanks in advance!

  17. Great blog! I am planning a PCT thru next year together with my girlfriend. I am very interested in the Osprey packs. I can hardly choose between the Exos 46 and the Talon 44. You used both. What would you recommend to me? My girlfriend probably will buy use the Exos…What about bear canisters and the Talon, does a bear canister, big enough for the long stretch fit inside? You said they fit in the Exos, so I think they fit in the Talon too, since it is just 2 litres smaller?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Both are good packs for a long hike, and they both fit a bear canister. I would recommend trying the Osprey Exos 46 and Talon 44 on in a store. Pack them like you plan to pack on the PCT (or at least put in the equivalent weight) and walk around with each for 30 minutes or so. Choose the one that feels the most comfortable. Being only 5’2″ the Exos was a bit too long for me in the torso, but I really liked the Talon which was adjustable. Good luck with your planning! Let us know if you have any other questions.

  18. Nice to see a different list of equipment put together. I have an AT list and equipment bought but would love to hit the Pct one day. Thanks for adding me on twitter. Keep in touch. Soggy

  19. Quick question: I saw after the desert when you added the thicker insulating layer, did you keep it for the remainder of the trip through Washington? Or go back to thinner insulating layer after the Sierra.?

  20. Chris,

    Thanks for sharing your gear list.

    Did you look into alternative (lighter) cameras besides your 5DMkiii? I’d love to take mine along a solo trek but the weight may be prohibitive.



    1. Hi Charlie, I decided the 5D Mark III was the best choice given the high image quality and solid reliability I needed to create a photography book based on our PCT hike. I also wanted a single, flexible, reasonably sized, very high quality, weather sealed, image stabilized lens, and Canon’s 24-105L fit the bill there. Lenses with all those qualities are hard to find.

      These days Sony has some tempting options to drop weight and size without sacrificing much (or perhaps any) quality. I would definitely look at the A7 series if a full frame DSLR is more than you want to carry. Sony’s lens choices don’t match Canon’s breadth of offerings, but they are improving with time. Hope this helps!

      1. Chris,

        Thanks for the reply. My wife won a Sony A7 at a photography conference and I’m trying to like it but its hard when my primary camera is a 5D Mkiii with a 6D for backup. The autofocus is horrible compared to Canon as is the battery life (only get about 1/3 the shots per battery compared to Canon). The autofocus is not important for landscape so we will probably hang onto it for use on at least the long section of the John Muir Trail.

        How did you charge your Canon batteries? Your shared gear list mentions a solar charger but did that charger have 12V capability?



        1. Hi Charlie, battery life on DSLRs is generally quite good since they don’t have to power an electronic viewfinder or rear screen as you shoot. I was able to hike the entire PCT using only two standard Canon batteries for my 5D Mark III. I brought along the charger, which I used whenever we went into a town for resupply. We used the solar panel to charge both our phones and Anna’s Canon S90 (with adapter), but not my 5D.

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