PCT 2014

We hiked the Pacific Crest Trail Southbound in 2014.  The Pacific Crest Trail is roughly 2650 miles long, and runs from Mexico to Canada.  It is therefore roughly 500 miles longer than the Appalachian Trail,  but runs only through three states: Washington, Oregon and California.  We are excited by pretty much all of the trail because it runs through many of the Iconic National Parks of the Pacific States.

Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

We started our hike on July 1st and finished November 1st with 200 miles skipped due to wild fires.  We then completed 100 of those miles after reaching the Mexican border.  We have 100 left to finish our thru-hike.   If you want to learn more about hiking the PCT SOBO, visit: The Southbound Scoop

Gear:

Most hikers talk about their “big three” (tent, backpack and sleeping bag).  These three items combined will weigh the most, and are universally accepted as necessary gear.

BIG THREE:

Shelter: Six Moon Designs Haven tarp with the Haven Net Tent.

The first time we tested this tent, we found that the floor of the net tent was so slick that our pads were sliding out from under us like surf boards.  We then read up on how to avoid this, and bought some seam sealer, and painted dots with it on the bottoms of our sleeping pads.  This works great.  This tent has held up for many thousands of miles, the only thing we’ve had to replace were some zipper pulls.

Sleeping bags: Western Mountaineering Versalite and Feathered Friends UL Humming bird

A good sleeping bag is probably the best investment gear-wise.  A good high quality down sleeping bag with a high fill count is what we were after, given that the PCT is a drier trail than the AT.  Dormouse decided to go with a 10 degree bag (the Western Mountaineering Versalite), and Dirt Stew opted for a 20 degree bag (the Feathered Friends UL Hummingbird).  Both of these bags are GREAT and we love them.

Backpacks: Golite Quest (women’s), ULA Circuit and Six Moon Designs Starlite

Dormouse started with her Golite Women’s Quest (Golite has now stopped making this version of the model), as she liked it so much on the Appalachian Trail.  Dirt Stew decided he needed a new backpack, not only because his was filthy and stinky and falling apart, but also because it had one major problem: it didn’t really fit our two-person bear canister.  Dirt Stew has therefore decided to purchase the Six Moon Designs Starlite backpack (Six Moon Designs has now stopped making this pack).  The moment it arrived he took it out of the box, brought the bear canister up to it, and attempted to shove it in.  He shifted it around a little and found not only did it fit in upright, but it also fit in sideways!  He looked up with his mouth open and a huge smile on his face.  “This is the best backpack EVER.”  He proclaimed.  Ever since then, he has had basically no complaints.  The best part about this backpack is that it has huge mesh pockets all around the outside, and Dirt Stew can stuff all sorts of stuff there and be able to easily locate it because he can see what is inside each one without unpacking them. Dormouse switched to a ULA pack half way through the trail because the Golite pack was digging into her hip.  The ULA pack was a bit big for the limited gear she carried (Dirt Stew carried more than his fair share), but it was comfortable for the remainder of the trail.

 

Gear Lists:

Dirt Stew
Item Manufacter/Model Weight (oz) Season
Backpack Six Moon Designs/Starlite 28.15 ALL
Pack Cover Sea to Summit 4.66 ALL
Tarp Six Moon Designs/Haven 19.26 ALL
Bug net Six Moon Designs/Haven Bug Net 14.11 ALL
Footprint Gossamer Gear/Polycro Sheet 2.33 ALL
Tent Stakes 2.65 ALL
Sleeping bag 20F Feathered Friends 26.46 ALL
Sleeping pad Thermarest/Prolite(S) 11 ALL
3L Platypus System Platypus 6.17 ALL
1L Gatorade bottle 1.23 ALL
Stuff Sac YAMA Mountain Gear/Cuben fiber kit 0.02 ALL
Stuff Sac YAMA Mountain Gear/Cuben fiber kit 0.02 ALL
Hanky 0.95 ALL
Maps in bag ALL
Headlamp Pretzel 2.72 ALL
Umbrella Golite/Chrome Dome 7.94 ALL
Ice Axe Camp Corsa, 70cm 11.11 Winter
Crampons Kahtoola/KTS Aluminum 19.2 Winter
Camera Cannon/S110 7.1 ALL
GPS Garmin/eTrex 30 5.11 ALL
Cell phone Verizon (same charger as smart phone) 3 ALL
Smart Phone + Charger Verizon Android (for wireless use only) 6.6 ALL
Tupperware Container Ziplock/Twist and Lock (4cups) 1.9 ALL
Spoon Long Sea to Summit 0.67 ALL
Spoon Short Sea to Summit 0.28 ALL
Plastic bowl From GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist set 1.59 ALL
Water filter Sawyer Squeeze system 2.8 ALL
Spare t-shirt Champion ALL
Long underwear bottoms Ice Breakers 7.76 ALL
Long underwear tops Ice Breakers 7.76 ALL
Spare Underwear EMS 3.32 ALL
Pair of Socks Darn Tough 2.19 ALL
Rain Jacket Golite/Malpais Trinity 7.69 ALL
Rain Pants 9.56 ALL
Beanie hat Smartwool 2.22 ALL
Sandles Xero Shoes 7.62 ALL
Neck Warmer Columbia 1.23 ALL
Down Jacket Golite/Selkirk 7.05 ALL
Down Jacket Golite/Bitteroot 14.53 Winter
(oz) (lbs)
Summer 213.12 13.32
Winter 257.96 16.12
Worn: (oz)
Shorts 4.2
T-Shirt Champion 6.38
Socks Darn Tough 2.19
Shoes Various
Trekking poles Leki 19.68

 

Dormouse
Item Manufacter/Model Weight (oz) Season
Backpack Golite/Quest 45.5 ALL
Pack Cover Sea to Summit 6.14 ALL
Sleeping bag 10F Western Mountaineering/Versalite 32.84 ALL
Sleeping pad Thermarest/Prolite (XS) 8.47 ALL
Pillow FlexAir Pillow 0.9 ALL
Headlamp Pretzel 2.72 ALL
3L Platypus Platypus 4.13 ALL
Bleach in dropper bottle 0.6 ALL
Stuff Sac YAMA Mountain Gear/Cuben fiber kit 0.02 ALL
Stuff Sac YAMA Mountain Gear/Cuben fiber kit 0.02 ALL
Go Pro + Charger Go Pro 3 ALL
Journal Rite in the Rain ALL
First Aid kit 4.76 ALL
P-Style P-Style 0.7 ALL
Hanky 0.46 ALL
Umbrella Golite/Chrome Dome 7.94 ALL
Ice Axe Camp Corsa 60cm 8.9 Winter
Crampons Kahtoola/KTS Steel 22.2 Winter
Spare sports bra EMS 1.98 ALL
Spare underwear 0.92 ALL
Long underwear top Patagonia synthetic 4.44 ALL
Long underwear bottoms Golite/BL2 Baselayer 4.4 ALL
Rain Jacket Golite/Malpais Trinity 6.5 ALL
Rain Pants Marmot 7.2 ALL
Wind Shirt Mountain Hardware/Ghost Whisperer Windshirt 1.6 ALL
Pair of Socks Darn Tough 2.2 ALL
Sandles Xero Shoes 6.1 ALL
Gloves NorthFace 1.5 ALL
Hat Mountain Hardware 2.47 ALL
Visor Champion 1.2 ALL
Down Jacket (light) Golite/Selkirk 5.75 ALL
Down Jacket (heavy) Golite/Bitteroot 11.64 Winter
(oz) (lbs)
Summer 164.8 10.3
Winter 207.54 12.97
Worn: (oz)
Tanktop Champion 3.99
Shorts The NorthFace 2.96
Sports bra EMS 1.6
Pair of Socks KEEN 1.7
Shoes Various
Gaiters Dirty Girl 1.2
Trekking poles Leki 18.87
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16 thoughts on “PCT 2014

  1. Hi! I am not sure, if you still check your blog. Nice writing by the way! Like it a lot. I would like to ask you, how the Haven Tarp worked out for you? There are stories about issues with the wind/snow stability of the tent, as well as some poorly designed seams that are prone to breaking.

    I hope you see my message, and would be very curious about your insights. 🙂 I am currently preparing for a ~1000 miles section in 2016.

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    • Hello Andreas! I do still check my blog 🙂 I loved the Haven Tarp. On the AT we used the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2, and I also loved that tent (more sturdy, more weight). We never got actually snowed on, so I cannot really comment on how well it would hold up to that. We did have some quite windy nights, and it did flap around a great deal, and at one point one of the corners did get “un-staked”. The tent takes more skill to set up than a typical free standing tent. I’d say it took a week or so to get used to setting it up. It also really helps to face it the correct direction into the wind if you cannot find a sheltered spot. I really did like this tent a lot, especially it’s weight :).

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      • Wow, that was instant reply. 🙂 Thank you for the insight! I will be hiking by myself, but my experiences hking here in Europe here involve a LOT of rainy hikes. So, I thought a twin tent is actually a good idea, to sit out a rainy day. Would you consider a Haven Tarp a waste of space for one person? Were you always able to find a decently sized spot to set it up?

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      • Hey Andreas. I’d say that bugs are more of an issue than rain, although that is dependent on season. We opted for the bug netting, which did add significant weight to the tarp. Bug season, generally is June-early August. It definitely rains less on the PCT than most places in Europe. To give you an idea, on the whole 4+ month hike we had 15 days with some kind of precipitation (not necessarily at night). I’d say most people on the PCT choose the smallest tent/tarp they can get away with, but that’s probably just the ultra-light mentality. In the end it’s personal choice- weight vs. comfort. Another point is that the Haven has very small vestibules, only large enough for a pair of shoes. We always slept with our backpacks under our legs to keeping them inside the tarp with us. I hope that was helpful.

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