When embarking on a six-month journey, you carry your entire life on your back. Needless to say, weight matters. We have been lucky to receive quality gear from our sponsors, and what that equates to is the lightest and most durable products. As the weeks motor on and our departure grows, finalizing our pack contents, and its weight have been priority... Welcome to a backpacker's world of numbers.
I've organized all gear into two lists. The first one is my personal pack weight and the second is the communal gear's weight that we'll share. The personal refers to things ONLY relating to its respective hiker. While we will have variations here and there (I'm carrying a pillow, Andy's carrying a backpacker guitar; Dave's wearing a Mountain Hardwear kilt; I'm wearing Patagonia zip-offs; Andy's wearing the MH butterman shirt; Dave's wearing the MH Elmoro, etc.). Barring this minor differences our individual pack weights are roughly the same.
Before communal gear our base pack weighs just over 16 lbs! After equally distributing the 13 lbs of communal gear between the three of us each of our packs weigh 20-pounds. Holy tomatoes! That’s light. Especially considering we have a huge three-person freestanding tent, 15-degree sleeping bags, and a butt load of camera equipment to carry along the way.
Smooth sailing right? Not so fast. The base pack weight doesn't include the heaviest items in your pack, food and water. Oh glorious H2O; can’t live without it, but it’s worse than a rabid monkey to carry. A single liter of water weighs a whopping 2.2 pounds! I drink a lot of water, about three-liters every day, which means 6.6 pounds of water on my back at the start of every day!
Bam! With that addition the pack jumps to 27-pounds. Still nice and light though. Now for the kicker -- the food. There is no way to really predict how much food you will carry, or how heavy it will be. There are so many factors; what you have access too, how long until the next resupply, and how much you want to starve yourself (on a trek like this, starving yourself is forced daily). But keep this in mind – a single jar of peanut butter (the food with the highest weight to calorie ratio) weighs a pound. A double serving of a Backpackers Pantry dinner (yes a hiker eats for two… at least) weighs in anywhere from 12-15 ounces. Right there, for a weeklong push, you are already carrying around seven pounds of food – and that doesn’t include breakfast or lunch!
Needless to say, we have a lot on our shoulders (yuk yuk yuk). What it all boils down too is our packs will never go above 40-pounds. With camera equipment and luxuries like pillows and guitars, that’s not half bad! Now for the lists I promised you. Here is a glimpse into what a thru-hiker really needs for six-months.
Ian’s Pack content and weight:
|Sleeping Bag||Mountain Hardwear||Phantom 15||33|
|Liner||Sea to Summit||Coolmax Liner||9|
|Sleeping Pad||NEMO Equipment||Astro||20|
|Head Lamp||Primus||PrimeLite CT||2.9|
|Socks (3 pairs)||Icebreaker||2 Hike Mid 1 Hike Trek||7.8|
|Camp Shirt||Icebreaker||GT Spring Zip Neck||11|
|Camp Pants||Mountain Hardwear||Power Stretch Pants||7|
|Hiking Boxers||Under Armour||Touch Boxers 9"||2|
|Hiking Bottoms||Icebreaker||GT 200 Sprint Leggings||5|
|Gloves||Mountain Hardwear||Glove Liners||2|
|Down Jacket||Mountain Hardwear||Nitrous||12|
|Hat||Mountain Hardwear||Perignon Hat||2|
|S/S T-Shirt||Mountain Hardwear||Threshold Tee||3|
|L/S Shirt||Mountain Hardwear||Elmoro||7|
|Outer Pants/Shorts||Patagonia||Rock Guide Zip-offs||12|
|Shell Jacket||Mountain Hardwear||Optimo||15|
|Cup/Bowl/Mug||GSI||Insulated Nesting Mug||3.3|
|Water Resevoir||Platypus||BigZip 3L||5.6|
|First Aid||Self Made||6|
|Stuff Sacks x5||Granite Gear||Uberlite CTF3
|Total Weight (lb):||
**Boots not included (haven't decided which ones to get yet!)
Communal content and weight:
|Tent||NEMO Equipment||Losi 3P||93|
|Stove||Primus||Express Stove Ti
|SLR Camera||Canon||Rebel t2i||19|
|Sport Camera x2||GoPro||HD Hero with LCD||16|
|Guide Book||PCT Atlas||Volume 1-5 (separetly)||5|
|Solar Panel x2||Brunton||SolarRoll 9||21.2|
|Battery Pack x2||Brunton||Sustain||44|
|Total Weight (lb):||13.7|
|Weight Per Person (lb):||
Look for upcoming reviews with field-tested, TDC approved gear!