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.


4 thoughts on “A Detailed List of my Travel Gear

  1. This is an awesome list and I’ll be “borrowing” some of your survival kit items for an upcoming backpacking trip on the West Coast Trail. Thanks! I’ve been incessantly trying to get the weight down (I’m at 25 lbs without food/water). Just 1.5 litres of water is almost 4 lbs. Ouch is right! Will there be plenty of water sources along the way? How often do you stop for food replenishment?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are dry spots in the desert portion of the PCT, which accounts for the first 700 miles of the trail. I will have the capacity to carry about 7.5 liters of water but will avoid that when I can because that is really heavy, especially since food can add a few pounds as well. In the end I’m just going to have to shoulder the weight and get used to it. Once I get out to the Sierras and then into Oregon and Washington I won’t need to carry nearly as much water.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Also, most resupply areas are at most three days travel from any point on the trail. Some resupply areas don’t have good selections, and to those places I have a friend mailing packages.


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