There’s a joke that pre-hike, all anyone talks about is gear. Once on-trail, all anyone talks about is food. So, now that I’m about 24 hours away from signing the register at the Southern Terminus, it’s time to post my contribution to the flock of gear lists that populate the Cloud.
You can check out my base gear list (that is, everything except food, water, and items worn), at lighterpack.com, with a nice graphic (below) and an itemized list with individual weights. The grand total is 13.94 lbs., including an unconscionable amount of “luxury” stuff – mostly electronics. Bottom line: a base weight of 13.94 lbs.- and a Day 1 water carry of 5 liters (11 lbs). This list doesn’t include gear I’ll be adding for the anticipated snow in the High Sierra (crampons or microspikes, Whippet), or the bear can I’ll be adding where required. I’ll sometimes carry an Ursack where bear cans aren’t required, but I think my food needs more protection than an odor-proof Opsack provides.
Unexpectedly, right before my start date, two very cool people at L.L. Bean collaborated to send me two terrific items to put to the test on the PCT: the L.L. Bean Microlight UL 1-Person Tent, and Bean’s NeoShell Jacket – a breathable, waterproof and air permeable jackets.
The tent features a super-fast setup, a big side door, and weighs just under 36 oz. when packed without stuff sacks, and with some of the 9 stakes swapped out for lighter ones. The shock-corded frame almost assembles itself, and then breaks down to short segments, so that the packed tent is super-compact. Why I’m so excited about this tent: it is micromesh bug netting plus a bathtub floor, so when it is set up without the rain fly, you have an unobstructed view of the sky. With its super-quick setup, it’s all the fun of cowboy camping, without exposure to creepy-crawlies.
As for the jacket, made from Polartec NeoShell – let’s just say I am hoping for some rain, to cool down my hike and let me test out this jacket (and, incidentally, to bring California some drought relief). It is beautifully designed and constructed, and even though I think waterproof-breathable is essentially impossible, I’m hopeful that this jacket will come closer than the one it’s replacing in my pack. A huge thanks to Bill, Ryan and L.L. Bean!
Special thanks also to Scout and Frodo, ArcBlast veterans from last year’s CDT hike. Frodo was kind enough to perform a detailed pack shakedown for me, and Barney expertly adjusted my new ZPacks ArcBlast to fit me perfectly. While I loved the ULA Catalyst I carried on the John Muir Trail, this pack is a compact, 23-oz. dream.