Soapbox's gear review: pt 2

Use sites like Steep and Cheap if you can tell they post brands or gear you like. Also, this is a great gear reference: 10 lb Backpack. Feel free to ask questions. Try things on before you buy them. Go to a store and look before you make an online purchase!

Wearables (clothing):

In general you're going to probably be able to figure out what clothes to wear without consulting blogs, but here's my data for the sake of completion. I hope someone finds it useful.

Shirt - Columbia Silver Ridge

It’s a shirt. Whatever. Oh - it cleaned up well in the wash. You’ll want to wear something. Or maybe you are a nudist? Me? I prefer a “Tradewinds Grey” color to protect from the sun and harsh elements on the PCT. 

Bottoms - "I can't begin to care.” - Pedi.

I wore these stupid heavy canvas pants I bought for $2 at a thrift shop until I stopped worrying about getting sunburned behind my knees then I tied the pants to the bottom of my pack and forgot about them. Seriously… I left these things tied to my pack for 200 miles or so until I threw them away in Bishop, CA when I was doing a shakedown. I wore some elastic Prana shorts I found on Steep and Cheap the rest of the way. Sometimes I wore compression shorts or running tights.

Compression shorts - Nike something.

Personal decisions are hard. 

Underwear - Ex Officio / Give-n-go boxer brief


I really can’t improve upon Jonathan’s review. I hope to own these boxers for a long time and I intend on taking them all over the world. And damnit, for $20 they better last forever.

Extra shirt - Stoic / Breathe Composite (pretty light?)

Warm long sleeve. Especially nice to have in the Sierra otherwise useful as a pillow or sleep shirt (protect your sleeping bag/quilt from getting dirty). Personally? I don’t use sleep clothes and I ended up getting rid of this after the halfway point. Probably could have gotten by without it the whole way.

Sleep pants - I had running tights but definitely did not sleep in them more than a few times. I am a warm sleeper.

Socks - Stoic Synth / Trail Crew Sock

I used Injinjis and Stoics almost exclusively. Stoics were the best; I went through six pairs or so the entire trail and still have a few of them. Injinjis were nice early on to help prevent blisters, but they wore out within 100 miles and were a pain in the ass to get my weird toes into. I only picked these because I found them on Steep and Cheap for a great price.

Interesting side note - Injinjis make great sun gloves if you cut holes in the toes once you wear them out as socks. I started the trend and Pedi picked up on it pretty fast. You’re going to want to wash them before you put them on your hands…

Shoes - Solomon / Sense Mantra (16 oz) AND Brooks / Cascadia (13 oz)

I had very few foot problems the entire trail. I went through 3 pairs of shoes, but only two different models.  In general, I think shoe choice is very personal and you'll know what is right when you try them on.

Brooks Cascadia: Join the Brooks Club! If the PCT had a fork in it, we'd search for Cascadia shoe prints. It was usually the right way. A very popular shoe for a good reason. I hiked 1300+ miles with one pair. 10mm heel-to-toe drop

Solomon Sense Mantra: Really loved this trail runner while I was in the desert. I was able to get 800+ miles out of them. I trained in them then wore them to Kennedy Meadows, CA. Solomon has a great manufacturer guaranty as well. I think if you are hiking with under 25 lb, this is plenty of shoe and it's light, dries very fast, and is pretty durable. Note: the synch shoestring never broke, someone told me it definitely would. It did not. Also, I think this is a 6mm drop shoe.

Gaiters - I’d wear 'em if the whole trail was in the snow, but otherwise they make taking my shoes off too much work.

Jacket Mountain Hardwear / Ghost Whisperer (7oz)

Expensive, but worthwhile, I think. This lasted the entire trek and I washed it with Nikwax and it’s like-new (minus the hole and lack of branding/logos). The material is very delicate. Wear something over it if you are being active, I climbed a tree and the bark caught and ripped a hole instantly. No bueno. That said, all down is an investment. It lasts if you treat it well.

Rain Jacket - Outdoor Research / Proverb (13oz)

Another Steep and Cheap find. Great value when found on sale. Certainly not the best jacket on the market, but it served its purpose.

For "next time": Jonathan said in his review, consider: Outdoor Research / Helium 2. I'm also researching some Marmot-made options like the Mica and the Essence. Check out Snarky Nomad's reviews.

Rain pants - Mountain Hardwear / Alkane Pant (9oz)

Great pants. They saw heavy use in WA when we were in the rain for days on end. Also great for in the Sierra. Not sure if they are essential, but it was nice to have them, particularly in the multiple day long downpours.

Warm hat - Some outdoorsy hat, you need a hat. It's just a hat. There are many like it.

Gloves - Nope.

I thought about buying gloves every time I went into an REI or outfitter… But I never bought them. I would have worn them in WA if I had them. In the desert and in the Sierra I would cover my hands with a bandana, cut up injinjis, cut up sleeves from a cotton shirt. Whatever. HYOH.

Sunglasses - Solar Shields

Solar shields. Solar shields. solar shields. They may get worn out, scratched, or lost, but never stolen. Don’t get attached to your shades because you’re going to lose them at some point. Or break them. Probably both.

Happy hiking,