The PCT -- What is in our packs

Everything but water packedSolar Panel Out











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.

all of my clothing... for 6 monthsdown jacket and shell

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!

MH Phantom 15, Coolmax Liner, NEMO Fillo and Astro

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:

Item Company Description Weight(oz)
Sleeping Bag Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 33
Liner Sea to Summit Coolmax Liner 9
Pack Gregory Z65 67
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 Boxers Icebreaker Beast 2.5
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
Camp Shoe Kigo Edge 5
Cup/Bowl/Mug GSI Insulated Nesting Mug 3.3
Spoon Primus Lightweight Spoon 0.3
Water Resevoir Platypus BigZip 3L 5.6
Water Bottle Miir 800ml 6
First Aid Self Made   6
Toiletries Various   4
Stuff Sacks x5 Granite Gear Uberlite CTF3
Misc. Things unaccounted for 8
Pillow NEMO Equipment Fillo 10
    Total Weight (lb):


**Boots not included (haven't decided which ones to get yet!)

 Everything but my portion of the tent

above image packed into stuff sacks

Communal content and weight:

Item Company Description Weight(oz)
Tent NEMO Equipment Losi 3P 93
Stove Primus Express Stove Ti
Pot Primus EtaPower 2.1 7.1
SLR Camera Canon Rebel t2i 19
Sport Camera x2 GoPro HD Hero with LCD 16
SLR Tripod Joby SLR 5.8
Small Tripod Joby Video 1.5
Guide Book PCT Atlas Volume 1-5 (separetly) 5
Solar Panel x2 Brunton SolarRoll 9 21.2
Battery Pack x2 Brunton Sustain 44
Water Purification
    Total Weight (lb): 13.7
    Weight Per Person (lb):


 group gear thats not in my pack

Primus Express Stove Ti

Look for upcoming reviews with field-tested, TDC approved gear!