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Jeremy helped me out quite a bit by reviewing my gear list. (Thanks very
much, Jeremy!) At his suggestion, I post it here, 'cause I know the rest of
you '98ers are pondering the same questions... :-) Hope it helps.
Remember: It's not a gear thing. Think about the gear now so you don't
have to think about it this summer.
Oh yeah -- this is about a lightweight system. As has been beat to death
here and elsewhere, this approach is certainly not for everyone, and it is
better to evolve into it of your own experience rather than unquestioningly
adopt it wholesale.
See you on the Trail!
>Date: Thu, 05 Mar 1998 12:38:08 -0700 (PDT)
>Subject: Re: pct gear list
>On Wed, 4 Mar 1998 firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>> Thanks! I look forward to hearing your feedback! I would love to hear a
>> lightweight perspective, so please bring it on! I go very light, so I'm
>> frustrated that my base PCT packweight is 19.25 lbs. and holding.
>> Basically, except for the footwear and the bag/tent (although my winter
>> bag/tent are very light too), this list is pretty much my standard
>> New Hampshire winter backpacking/climbing kit.
>> Basically a big part of the ultralight method is timing (especially on
>> a PCT thru-hike, apparently). I'm resigned that huge amounts of
>> lingering snow and the very real possibility of spring El Nino storms
>> are going to trump this. For this year, maybe a 19lb pack isn't bad.
>> Getting a digital scale really helped get me down from the 25 lbs that I
>> finished the AT with (including 0 degree bag), but I just can't see where
>> to go from here with the PCT gear. Sorry to ramble -- thanks!
>> At 06:54 PM 3/3/98 -0700, you wrote:
>> >I couldn't get your attachment, please email it to me. Don't worry about
>> >rambling on, a light pack takes a lot of thinking and rambling. Just
>> >from your intro, I think I'll be able to make some suggestions. Can't
>> >wait to see the list.
>> Item Weight (oz.)
>> Osprey Impala (w/ hipbelt) 3200in3 44
>I've heard this is a great pack and it has a good weight, too.
>> Trash bag 3
>I assume this is a "pack cover". How waterproof is your pack? I used 2 OR
>waterproof stuffsacks for my sleeping bag (down) and clothes. I stuck
>all my small stuff in the top pocket in a quart-size ziploc, just in
>case. This was all I needed until I got to "rainy" Washington, when I
>also added a large garbage bag on the inside of my pack, just to make
>sure everything stayed dry. Get the toughest one you can find. Save 3 oz.
>> Cookpot, lid & stuffsack 8.7
>If you went with a 1.3 liter titanium pot, your weight would be 6 ounces
>including pot, lid, handle, lighter, and spoon. That would save you 4-5 oz.
>> MSR Whisperlight w/ pump, reflectors 14
>This is the stove I brought (Whisperlite Int.), but the Trangia 28
>alcohol stove is only 6 oz. and the fuel is available at most places.
>That would save you 8 ounces.
>> Lighter, stove kit, spoon, grippers 3.1
>Is the stove kit the repair kit? Try and take the minimum repair parts
>possible. Keep the rest in your "drift" box. Save 2 oz.
>> 22 oz aluminum bottle w/ duct tape 7
>Use the 11 oz fuel bottle. Keep the 22 oz bottle for the High Sierras
>portion of the trip (Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne). The rest of the
>sections are short enough to get away with an 11 oz bottle if you only
>cook one meal a day. You can find someone to split fuel with at most
>resupply points. This will save you 3 oz.
>> Foodbag w/ rope, P-51, vitamins 3
>Many people don't use food bags that much. I never had to worry about
>small animals and 95% of the time I didn't hang my food. If you stealth
>camp, that is, not camp at established sites, not eat dinner where you
>sleep, and not camp near water, you shouldn't have problems with animals
>at night. Also, have you seen the Kelty triptease line? It's 1 oz for
>50 feet, and you could get away with 25 I would imagine. Use your
>sleeping bag stuffsack for a food bag. Always look for ways to not bring
>"extra" gear. P-51 and vitamins are good ideas. This should save you 2 oz.
>> Spice bag: salt, garlic/onion, Mexi 3
>Bring only enough spices for each section. Keep the rest in your drift
>box. This should save you 1 oz.
>> 1 liter soda bottle 1.6
>> 3 2.5 liter Platypuses 5
>> Platypus, 1L 0.8
>Bring 8 liters total capacity. I preferred 3 2.5-liter platypuses with
>one platypus hooked up to the platypus hydration system. That was my first
>time using a hydration system and I absolutely loved it. I still use that
>system while hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. It's
>especially nice for desert hiking when you have to drink copious amounts
>of water. With the 2.5 liter hydration system, you can go for 2-3 hours
>without stopping for water if you want. For a 20 mile waterless stretch
>(quite common), I would suggest carrying 6 liters of water for
>drinking. Eventually, you will probably be able to get away with less
>than this. Just make sure you drink a lot when you get to a water
>source. Never carry water for cooking. Always cook at a water source,
>even in the middle of the afternoon. I have some desert hiking tips on
>the ALDHA-west web site under tips and techniques. Also, duct tape
>works good for patching up small holes in the platypuses. That whole system
>is about 6 oz., so that would save you 1.5 oz.
>> PUR Hiker 11.6
>Excellent filter. You might consider switching to just iodine through
>the High Sierras. Most of the water is very nice! This would save you
>12 oz while going through the "heaviest" section of the trip. Remember
>to use their one-year guarentee. My brother and I went through 5 filters.
>> Shorts & T shirt (worn)
>I liked nylon hiking shorts w/liner and coolmax t-shirts.
>> Silkweight Capilene pants 4.6
>I brought these, but never used them, even in the High Sierras. My legs
>were always warm enough just wearing my nylon pants. As long as you have
>windproof pants and warm clothes on your torso and head, you shouldn't
>need too much warmth on your legs. Save 4.6 oz.
>> Silkweight Capilene longsleeve crew 5
>I only used this in the High Sierras and Washington. Too warm for the
>rest of the trip. Save 5 oz most parts.
>> Thermax shirt 7.2
>I brought a polartec 100 fleece pullover that weighed 10 oz. I found
>this the most versatile piece of clothing I had. I could use it without
>the capilene shirt for most of the trip. I could also use it as a
>"windbreaker". It had a special anti-bacterial coating on the inside
>so that I could wear it without a shirt underneath if I wanted. The
>combination of my lightweight capilene, t-shirt, fleece pullover, hat, and
>gloves kept me warm enough in both the High Sierras and Washington.
>is probably colder than the High Sierras, so make sure you have some warm
>clothes for the end of the trip. Add 3 oz.
>> Powerstretch fleece balaclava 1.3
>I haven't tried this product, but I want to check them out.
>> Thick fleece hat 3.3
>I wouldn't bring both the balaclava and the fleece hat. Bring the
>warmest one. You can probably get away with just the balaclava if it's
>warm enough. Save 3.3 oz.
>> Powerstretch fleece gloves 1.1
>Sounds good. Some people saved weight by wearing their extra pair of
>socks for "mittens", but I prefer lightweight fleece gloves.
>> Sun hat 4
>Aren't you going to be wearing this the whole time? Don't include in
>pack weight. You'll wear this the whole time you're in California. I
>used a wide-brimmed Columbia hat that was good for both sun and rain for
>the whole trip.
>> DriClime Windshirt 10.5
>See above comments. Just to make things clear, here's all the clothes I
>Clothes I had the whole trip:
>crew socks (2 pr spare) 4 oz
>polartec 100 fleece (microfleece?) pullover 10 oz
>nylon pants 10 oz
>w/b jacket 19 oz
>windblock fleece hat 3.5 oz
>fleece gloves 1.5 oz
>total weight in pack: 48 oz
>Extra clothes in High Sierras and Washington:
>lightweight capilene top 6 oz
>waterproof socks 3 oz
>1 pr liners 1 oz
>1 pr lightweight merlino wool socks 2 oz
>total weight of all clothes in pack: 60 oz
>Like I said, I used my fleece for a windbreaker. If the wind was really
>cold, like in Washington, I wore my w/b jacket for a windbreaker. This
>saves you 10.5 oz.
>> Polyester microfiber windpants 10
>Sounds good. Might be nylon pants on the market that weigh less than this.
>> Gore-tex jacket (w/ pitzips) 19.9
>You might consider going with some sort of lightweight activent jacket
>for most of California and Oregon. There is very little precipitation in
>both these states while you will be hiking through them. At most, an
>afternoon thunderstorm. I remember only 5-6 days with precipitation in
>the first 3 1/2 months of the trip! Use your gore-tex in the High Sierras
>and Washington (especially). You could probably get away with not having
>the gore-tex in the High Sierras, but once in a while a summer storm
>moves in and dumps snow for a couple days. It depends upon how
>comfortable you are taking this risk. Snow does'nt get things as wet as
>rain does though. Another option is to get those cheap "packable" rain
>jackets from Sierra Designs or Mountain Hardware that are only 12 ounces,
>but not really breathable. I know a coule of hikers that used these for
>CA and OR and didn't have a problem with them. When I do the hike again,
>I'm only going to bring a real w/b jacket for WA. Save 7 oz.
>> 3 pair polypro liner socks 3
>My brother wore these once in a while. You might need to double them
>up. They dry really fast, so you can easily wash them every day.
>> Running shoes (worn)
>Running shoes are great. I even wore mine through the High Sierras with
>no problem. Just make sure you have an ice axe. I found it was VERY
>important to not use your shoes too long. I would suggest a maximum of
>500 miles on each pair. You don't want to screw your feet up by not
>switching to new shoes every 500 miles. You often don't know that your feet
>are in trouble until it's too late!
>> Low gaiters (worn)
>Have you seen the gaitors that are only 1-2 oz? There is an address for
>them in the PCTA archives. I never wore gaitors except in the snow. I
>wish I had the lightweight ones. I had the low OR gaitors and they weigh
>4 oz. The lightweight ones would be nice for keeping the dirt out in
>> DryLoft 20 degree down mummy 30
>Very nice. Feathered Friends?
>> "Waterproof" stuff sack w/ trash bag 4.2
>This sounds heavy. That's 1/7 the weight of your sleeping bag! My OR
>waterproof hydroseal "basic" stuffsack was about 2.5 oz. Like I said,
>you should rarely encounter precipitation in CA and OR if you leave after
>May 1. Save the trash bag for WA. Save 1.5 oz.
>> Deluxe Ridgerest (cut down) 7.8
>Is this the full length or 3/4? I used a regular 3/4 ridgerest and stuck my
>empty pack (after using spare clothes for pillow and taking out food)
>under my lower legs and feet. After modifying, it is 6-7 oz.
>> Eureka Gossamer w/ guylines, stuffsack 48
>Seriously consider using a tarp or bivy sack for CA and OR. The first
>time it rained at night for us wasn't until northern OR! That is how dry
>the southern 3/4 of this trip is. We only had problems with bugs near
>Vermillion Valley Resort, Tuolumne Meadows and a little in OR. Bring a
>headnet (I like the kind with an aluminum band around it to keep it off
>the face) to sleep with and you'll be fine. My brother and I slept out
>under the stars for most of the first 3/4 of the trip. This might be a
>new experience for you, but it's great! I would use the tent in
>Washington because of rain, wind, and cold at that time of the year (late
>September). A tarp could be a pound or less. Use Kelty triptease line
>and titanium stakes. The whole setup will be maybe 20 oz. Save 30 oz.
>> 6 Titanium stakes 2.8
>> space blanket groundcloth 4.2
>These are good groundcloths. Consider switching to tyvek to save
>weight. Pare the groundcloth down as much as possible to save weight.
>> Ditty Bags with: 9.7
>> AAA flashlight and small Swiss Army Knife
>> Sewing Kit
>> Heavy & medium needle
>> Heavy nylon thread
>> Safety Pins
>This sounds excellent. Is this the mini-mag solitaire that only takes
>one AAA battery? These work great. Dont' forget a spare AAA battery and a
>spare camera battery. I assume that this is the Swiss Army Classic
>knife. You don't need anything more than this. I would bring a couple
>spare flashlight batteries if you are planning to do any night hiking
>while in Southern California. This is really fun, and it's a lot cooler
>than during the day!
>> First Aid Kit
>> triple antibotic ointment
>> a few bandaids
>Looks good. I prefer "vitamin I", but whatever works. I also found a
>supply of anti-diarrhea pills to come in handy. Sometimes the 'ol body
>doesn't like that town food once you get on the trail!
>> Glacier goggles
>I assume you mean sunglasses? Glacier goggles are overkill, even in the
>High Sierras. You can always fashion some side protectors out of duct
>tape if you feel you need them. I never did. Sunglasses and a
>wide-brimmed hat are very important in Southern California because there
>is rarely shade and no clouds.
>> "Wallet ziplock"
>> Toothbrush w/ travel-sized paste
>> Lip balm
>> Emergency firestarter
>You might consider a couple other "ten essential" items like a dozen
>stormproof matches and a lightweight whistle like the Fox Fire 40. Never
>know when you might need these. Also, a small packtowel comes in handy.
>Add 1.5 oz.
>> Ice axe w/ cord wrist leash 15.3
>I used the Cassin Dragonfly which was 12 oz and didn't bother with a
>leash. If you drop the axe while trying to self-arrest, you're screwed!
>Hang onto that thing at all costs. This will mostly be on your
>pack anyways, and you'll only use it while traversing steep hills or going
>over passes. If you don't know how to self-arrest, practice when you get
>to the first gentle snow hill.
>> Ziplock containing: 3.4
>> Guidebook pages
>> Journal pages, stamps, pen
>Sounds good. Bring the lightest compass possible because you'll rarely
>need it. I mostly used mine for the guidebook directions. Use the topos
>in the High Sierras.
>> Camera 8
>> TOTAL (oz) 308
>> TOTAL (lbs) 19 1/4 lbs
>> At Kennedy Meadows, I was going to pick up:
>> Midweight Thermax pants 6.9
>> Gore-tex shell gloves 2.3
>> "Dayhiker" boots (worn)
>> 1 pair wool socks 3.4
>> Gore-tex socks 3
>Let me first say that the High Sierra are a very mild range (even in the
>winter). During the summer it is hot up there! You will likely be
>wearing just your t-shirt and shorts for most of the day. This range is
>not like the White mountains in the winter. Even at 13,000 feet it's not
>too bad, usually just windy. Daytime temperatures are often in the 70s
>and nightime temps rarely drop below 30. It's really quite comfortable
>at most times of the day. The only time you'll get precip is if a freak
>storm moves in for a couple days (which did happen last year from June
>13-15) and drops some snow. It's still possible to keep moving during these
>though. I've already discussed what I'd bring in the High Sierras. The
>only thing I had to add was my lightweight capilene top, lightweight
>wool socks (which I put on when my feet got cold, and while sleeping),
>waterproof socks, and a pair of liner socks to wear with them. I like the
>lightweight merlino wool socks because they aren't itchy and you can
>wear them without liners if you want. They are also lighter than
>regular wool socks. When it was at it's coldest, I simply wore every
>piece of clothing I had with me. This was pretty rare. It's
>only really cold after the sun goes down. Don't plan on making as many
>miles through the High Sierra, say 15-20. Get in your sleeping bag once
>it really cools down and you'll be fine with hardly any cold-weather
>gear. I'm serious, it's not that bad.
>As far as boots go, I sent some light ones to KM, but never used them and
>sent them home at Independence. It all depends on how comfortable you
>are traveling on the snow. Neither my brother and I ever wished we had
>the boots after we got rid of them. It's much better to have no boots
>and an ice axe than heavy boots and no ice axe. Boots cannot save your
>you slip! I had trail-running shoes that had a stiffer sole and a nice
>stiff toe box (much better than regular running shoes) so I could kick steps
>with them alright. Probably not much different than a pair of really
>lightweight boots, except that thy didn't cover my ankles. Whatever you
>think will work, go for it. I was glad I still had my running shoes with
>me so I could get rid of the boots after I figured out I didn't need
>them. Remember that most likely you will only be traveling on snow for,
>at most, 5 miles a day (probably less). Running shoes are great for the
>rest of that "dry" trail. Also, what are you going to do for creek
>crossings? You have to wear something on your feet for these. Going
>barefoot is not an option. Were you planning on taking both your shoes
>and boots? This is a good idea.
>I think the thermax pants are overkill. Bring the lightweight capilene
>ones if you are worried. I never found a need for shell gloves. Fleece
>gloves dry quickly and keep your hands warm while wet. You can usually
>just brush the snow off of them anyways.
>> And I am still trying to figure out if I should send any of the
>following to KM:
>> Primaloft Vest 10.2
>> Down vest 10
>> Powerstretch fleece top 9.3
>The fleece top is what I'd bring for the whole trip. I think the rest of
>the clothes are overkill for the Sierras. Use your sleeping bag if you
>get too cold in the evening.
>> Instead of the tent, I am considering carrying one of the following items
>> instead (and pick up the tent at Kennedy Meadows):
>> 8'x10' Nylon Tarp w/ guylines 34
>> Bivy Sack w/ stuffsack 23.8
>I think you can find a tarp that weighs much less than this. Check out
>"The Lightweight Backpacker" at backpacker.net and look under
>the comments section. There's lots of comments on tarps and shelters.
>Consider using tyvek for your tarp material. Look for tyvek under
>the comments section of that web site. Also, this tarp size is way too
>big for one person. Consider a 6x8 or 7x8 size. This will also decrease
>the weight. I've seen 6x8 ft tarps for as little as 6 ounces. My
>brother and I only had to set up our tarp a couple times in all of CA and
>OR.! It will spend most of the time sitting on the bottom of your pack.
>Most of the time, my brother and I simply found a flat spot, threw down
>our groundcloth, threw down our sleeping pad and sleeping bags, used our
>spare clothes for a pillow, put our food between us or at our feet, stuck
>our empty packs under our feet, and fell asleep. No shelter required!
>That is why I suggest bringing the lightest shelter possible.
>There are bivy bags on the market that are lighter than this. Check out
>"The Lightweight Backpacker". Charles is selling one of his 18 oz Bibler
>bivy sacks for $150. That's a good alternative for a tent in CA and OR.
>Feathered Friends has a bivy that's around 19 ounces, I think.
>Well, here's the totals.
>For most of the trip:
>I came up with a total of 207 oz or 12.9 pounds (!) if you use all of my
>suggestions, including bringing the fleece pullover, the activent jacket and
>not bringing all the extra clothes you mentioned (basically the list I
>put down for clothes I always carried), bringing a lightweight tarp,
>using a titanium pot, switching to trangia 28 stove, etc.
>For the High Sierras:
>I came up with a total of 239 or 14.9 pounds if you add a lightweight
>capilene top and bottom, the gore-tex socks, the wool socks, and the ice
>axe. If you drop the filter and add the shoes (while wearing boots), this
>will come out to about 15 pounds total. Add nine days worth of food (at
>2.5 pounds per day) and you have a 37 pound pack for going from KM to VVR!
>I came up with a total of 267 or 16.7 pounds if you added the tent,
>gore-tex jacket, lightweight capilene top and bottom, gore-tex socks, and
>wool socks to your basic pack weight.
>John, this is a really good gear list, but it appears that you can still
>drop a few pounds off of it if you make a couple changes to your equipment
>and don't bring as many clothes. I never found I was too cold on the
>whole trip as long as I had my w/b jacket, fleece pullover, nylon pants,
>fleece gloves, and fleece hat.
>I hope that this helps you. Give me an email about you thoughts on my
>suggestions, and we can discuss them or any other concerns you have.
>(You can also post this to the list if you think other '98 thru-hikers
>would find it beneficial).
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