Obsessive. Preparedness is a state of mind. Getting the gear, food, water, and other logistical challenges for the PCT is a part time job, not even touching on training or actually doing the hike! Always I am cognizant of balancing cost with weight and size and necessity.
Lynne Whelden proposed the idea that packed weight is fear. Fear of wet, cold, sore feet, bears, hunger... one could apply the axiom to anything.
I'm a gearhead, I'm thrifty, and I've walked more than a couple of miles with a backpack. But I haven't bought a new sleeping bag, backpack, hiking shoes, or jacket in a couple of years and my kit is a bit threadbare. Additionally, I'm trying to join the ultralight to light weight club, which means hiking with a base weight (everything I carry not including food and water) ringing in at a total of 10 to 20 lbs. Why is this difficult? My old sleeping bag = ~4 lbs, my old hiking pack = ~5 lbs, tent was ~4 lbs, and my boots were 1 lb apiece (that's 15lbs for four items!) so I've had to research new, lighter gear and become conservative about my packed weight economy.
I think I've invented to gear buying indexes. For example, using assigned scores to pick trail running shoes:
- Total Cost = Cost of Shoes * (Total PCT Length / Projected Mileage per Pair of Shoe)
- Score = ( Total Cost * Weight in Oz. ) ± Feature Factor
*Feature Factor is an attempt to give shoes with "exceptional breath-ability, comfort, good reviews" a subjective adjustment for the added value (from 0.00-1.00).
Did I use this when buying my trail runners? Hell no. My point is that switching from my old backpacking style to lightweight backpacking means that everything I carry must be justifiable to the ounce. The research can be fun, but has driven me a bit crazy. I think about why I really need anything at
There will be more posts on gear to come - what I'm bringing, why, what I'm not bringing - and our final gear list will be available (cant wait), but I want to share some references I've been using while I research and prepare for the PCT.
- Outdoor Gear Lab - interesting and helpful reviews by experienced hikers
- Halfway Anywhere - Love this guy's blog.
- Jason Hikes - another great source
- Mexico to Canada 2013 - hiker blog
- In These Woods - still getting updates!
- lighterpack - great design!
- yogis guidebook - dare I say, essential? At the very least - great for research and planning