A Detailed List of my Travel Gear

I have decided to compile and publish a list of all the gear I will be traveling with on the Pacific Crest Trail along with the total weight of the pack without consumables such as food and water. I have separated the gear into different kits for organizational purposes but obviously much of the gear is multi-use. The pack I’m using is a medium military issue ALICE style rucksack which employs an aluminum external frame to bear the load onto the wearer’s hips rather than their shoulders and back. This is heavier than most conventional hiking packs, however this system is extremely robust and reliable. It’s the same carrying system used by soldiers in the Vietnam war, so it’ll probably hold up to any abuse I can subject it to. Here’s the list of gear that will be in or on it:

Shelter and Sleep Kit

  • Bivy tent
  • Down sleeping bag
  • Cotton sleep bag liner
  • 9×9 plastic tarp
  • Folding foam sleep pad

Clothing Kit

  • Cold weather shell jacket
  • Thermal shirt
  • Merino wool liner gloves
  • Wool army issue gloves
  • Silk shirt & pants liners
  • Skin-tight base layer shirt & pants
  • Small cotton t-shirt
  • Breathable long sleeve shirt & pants
  • Cotton poncho
  • Small windbreaker/rain jacket
  • 4 pairs underwear
  • 4 pairs socks & liners

Main Outfit

  • Safari shirt
  • Cargo pants
  • Pocket vest
  • Belt
  • Boots/Sandals
  • 2 Buffs
  • Shemagh
  • Adjustable brim hat

Cooking Kit

  • Sterno stove
  • 2 canned fuel 7oz (4.5 hours burn time)
  • Metal canteen cup
  • Canteen stove (for backup)

Water Kit

  • 4 canteens (1 quart each)
  • Stainless steel bottle (1 liter)
  • Camelbak hydropack (1 liter)

Survival Kit

  • 2 4×4 gauze sponges
  • 15 bandaids
  • 3 ft gauze roll
  • Medical tape
  • Tweezers
  • Triple antibiotic
  • Burn gel
  • Sting relief pen
  • 2 antiseptic pads
  • 5 packets electrolyte tabs
  • 4 acetaminophen
  • 6 Excedrine
  • 6 anti-diarrhea
  • 10 Benadryl
  • Moleskin
  • Latex gloves
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Aspercreme
  • 6 cotton swabs
  • Tums
  • 6 AAA batteries
  • Waterproof matches
  • Duct tape
  • Iodine tabs
  • Lifestraw
  • Krazy glue
  • Emergency blanket
  • Signal mirror
  • Compass
  • Emergency plastic poncho
  • Mosquito head net
  • Red blinker light
  • Small reflective vest
  • Small funnel with strainer
  • Handkerchief
  • Folding saw
  • Small BIC lighter
  • Long refillable grill lighter

Sewing Kit

  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Wax
  • 6 Safety pins
  • Folding scissors
  • Thimble

Hygiene Kit

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Razor
  • Soaped paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet paper

A few notes on the locations of these items and a few unlisted items:

  • Bivy tent, sleeping bag, and bag liner are all contained in the same compression sack, which is tied to the top of the pack. Also tied to the top of the pack is the rolled up tarp and the sleep pad.
  • All cold weather clothing is wrapped up in the shell jacket. All other clothing is kept in a plastic bag except for the cotton poncho, which is tied to the bottom of the pack.
  • Most survival items are contained in a first-aid kit bag kept in the middle fast-access pocket on the pack. Items that are not kept in that pocket are kept in the pocket vest such as the folding saw and the long grill lighter, and other items are clipped to the outside of the pack, such as the handkerchief, which I’ve sewn a hole into so I can clip it, the funnel strainer, and the head bug net.
  • Not listed is 2 PVC flutes, which are attached with gear ties to the frame of the backpack, and trekking poles which are either carried or stay in an area behind my back where I have room because of the metal frame.
  • In the pocket vest is extra cordage, flint and steel, extra matches, an extra handkerchief, tent stakes, the hygiene kit, gear ties, and any food I want at quick access.
  • Attached to paracord around my neck is a small knife with both a sharp and a serrated edge.

The entire pack loaded with all the gear excluding water and food totals 36 lbs, which is definitely on the heavier side. With water and food it may weigh up to 50 lbs or more. Ouch!
I’ve test hiked with it and it will definitely take some getting used to which will almost certainly involve a great deal of pain and blisters. However it does allow for a surprising amount of movement since it places all the weight on the lower half of my body. The shoulder straps literally just hold the pack close to my back, I don’t have to carry any weight on my shoulders or back. Also the external frame gives a lot of room near my back from the pack, which gives me nice airflow and the ability to wear my Camelbak with the pack. I can also slide my trekking poles in the cavity there and they stay pretty secure and easy to get to.

Not a bad setup. I think.

Why am I Doing This?

This question has come up a few times, so I wanted to write a post about why I’m doing what I’m doing and what I hope to get out of it. This is all about me but I believe many people can benefit from what I have to offer, so I want to explain why I’m thru-hiking the PCT, and also why I’m sharing this journey through this blog.
The first part of this is that I am on a journey already, and I haven’t even set foot on the trail yet. This is an inner journey as much as an outer journey, if not more so. I have recognized in myself a great deal of immaturity and egotism, and having faced this I find the reality of it unacceptable. Rather than coming at this from an angle of shame, I aim to pinpoint the areas that I am lacking in and draw attention to them so that I can determine the source of my egotism and address it directly. In this way I hope to gradually move further away from my egoist thinking and shift instead into awareness. Awareness of myself, who I am, what my weaknesses and strengths are, the world that I live in, the relationships I participate in, so on and so forth. The goal is truth, and in order to reach that I have to start being honest with myself, and in order to do that, I have to accept myself.

This is my goal.

Second to that is my desire to motivate others to do the same thing. I hope that in sharing my journey, it may give you some perspective into how many different ways there are to explore your own journey in life. I want people to question themselves, to explore possibilities not yet considered, and to always be moving forward in some way. I want to inspire them to create, destroy, live and breathe. I want them to ask themselves why they are in so much pain inside, and I want them to consider what role they’ve played in their own suffering.
Why do I want this? Because I did it and every day that passes I free myself of another aspect of my ego. I am learning how to use my mind instead of it using me. It isn’t easy and I would not have come to this on my own, so perhaps there are some who can benefit from my stories as I learn how to accept myself for who I am. You can do this too. You are not alone in your suffering. However, you do not have to continue suffering. You can be free. I cannot free you. But perhaps I can show the entrance to the path.

Also, I love nature and camping and hiking, I’ve been doing it for a while, and what better place to practice my survival skills and find beautiful landscapes than the Pacific Crest Trail? About 60 mountain ranges to traverse, 57% pure unadulterated wilderness, and little camping towns packed with like-minded people. So of course I want to share the wealth of pictures and stories I will have as I explore this amazing trail. No doubt I will have many difficulties, which I will share along with my triumphs and everything in between. I know some of you simply want to live precariously through someone else, and I would be happy to be your window into a life of adventure and travel. If someday you ever take it upon yourself to join in the fun, just remember me fondly as the one who showed you the way to this awesome path. If not, that’s okay too, I hope you enjoy my articles and pictures and videos. One side of my journey as well is learning to do away with my self-image. This is one reason why I like to share videos of me exploring music even when I’m not terribly good at it. The point isn’t whether the music is perfect or I look good doing it, the point is that I am on a journey of exploration, and this is where I start from. I will pick things up, practice them, and get better over time. You get to see this process in action, which may help you see that literally anyone can do it. That musical instrument you want to learn? Pick it up and make a noise. That language you want to speak? Start with one word. The world you want to explore? Take one step outside.

In the end, this is about me growing up. I have recognized that I am still a kid. I’m 25 and I know as much as a 25 year old knows. Not any more than that. When I am 60, I will know as much as a 60 year old, but for now, I am 25, and I have a LOT of growing up to do. I am going to embrace this and explore my potential. I hope you join me in this challenging, yet immensely rewarding journey.

What is the Pacific Crest Trail?

I mentioned in my last post, My Unfortunate Update that I would be abandoning my previous itinerary and instead bussing out to San Diego, where I will connect with the Pacific Crest Trail and start traveling north. You may not have heard of this before, so I thought I’d go into a bit more detail on what I’m planning on doing.

The Pacific Crest Trail is a system of paths through remote regions spanning from Mexico to Canada, going through California, Oregon, and Washington. The path is marked in places with official PCT trail markers, however there are numerous stretches in which the path is faint or nonexistent, so there will be a major degree of self navigating using maps and a compass.

 

pct

Not exactly a walk in the park

 

There are towns along the way but for the most part it’s fairly primitive. I’ll be collecting water from natural resources and purifying it, camping in unmaintained wilderness, and dealing with major changes in climate and weather. Everything I am bringing with me will need to fit in my medium sized external frame military backpack (ALICE style for those in the know).
There is extreme and potentially dangerous terrain in some places. I will be doing everything I can to avoid that but it’s bound to come up at some point. There are a lot of extremes that I will be dealing with, but it will all be worth it to be doing what I want to do. Also, from what I hear, the beauty of this trail is unmatched.

 

pacific-crest-trail.jpgRitter_Range_Pacific_Crest_Trail.jpg

 

tm591.jpg

Worth the hike, I’d say

Of course there are sure to be many challenges I have yet to consider, but I believe in the end everything will work out, and I will get to see some amazing things along the way. I will likely be starting this trip within this month, and I’ll be posing updates along the way. Remember that if you would like to support me in this endeavor, you can donate to me. Literally anything helps and will allow me to continue exploring the world and sharing its beauty. Also if you like my content please share it and tell people about me. I’ll be updating the blog later with a new Facebook page and YouTube account. Thanks for reading!