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The Ultimate Gear Guide for Hiking the PCT

Choosing the right gear for a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike can be tough, but we've got you covered. Check out our gear recommendations below for guidance on choosing the gear that's right for you.

Choosing the right pack is about body fit and capacity. Most hikers will need a 55 - 70 liter pack, while experienced hikers with minimal gear can work with 40 liters. To make sure you get the right size, buy the rest of your gear, get a (returnable!) pack, and pack it. All of the packs listed below are returnable within 30 days or more. Check for fit when it's fully loaded, and don't forget to leave room for food. Read more

ULA Catalyst Backpack

ULA Catalyst Backpack

  • 75L Capacity ·
  • 40lb Max ·
  • 48 oz
Mariposa 60 Backpack

Mariposa 60 Backpack

  • 60L Capacity ·
  • 35lb Max ·
  • 30.5 oz
ULA OHM 2.0

ULA OHM 2.0

  • 63L Capacity ·
  • 30lb Max ·
  • 34.5 oz
Gorilla 40 Ultralight Backpack

Gorilla 40 Ultralight Backpack

  • 40L Capacity ·
  • 30lb Max ·
  • 30.5 oz
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Pack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Pack

  • 40L Capacity ·
  • 40lb Max ·
  • 32.3 oz
Clear Waterproof Pack Liners

Clear Waterproof Pack Liners

  • 48L Capacity ·
  • 1.2 oz

When hiking the PCT you'll need to choose between a tent or tarp for your shelter. Tents offer greater privacy and a larger bug-free zone, while tarps are lighter and cheaper than tents - though they take more thought to set up. Which option is right for you depends on your concerns while hiking. Read more

MSR Hubba NX1

MSR Hubba NX1

  • 1 Person ·
  • Freestanding ·
  • 39 oz
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 Tent

  • 1 Person ·
  • Freestanding ·
  • 34 oz
Zpacks Duplex Ultralight Two Person Tent

Zpacks Duplex Ultralight Two Person Tent

  • 2 Person ·
  • Non-Freestanding ·
  • 19.4 oz
Duct Tape

Duct Tape

  • 0.3 oz

Your sleeping bag is the one piece of gear you should not skimp on when it comes to weight or money. Being warm is the most important consideration here. Most hikers carry a 10° to 20° bag. If you are new to cold-weather camping, sleep cold, or are starting early, go with the first. When it comes to fit, the only way to really know if a sleeping bag works for you is to try it. All of the retailers listed below accept returns within 30 days or more, though double check the details. Read more

Western Mountaineering Versalite Sleeping Bag

Western Mountaineering Versalite Sleeping Bag

  • 10° ·
  • 850-fill down ·
  • 32 oz
Feathered Friends Lark Sleeping Bag

Feathered Friends Lark Sleeping Bag

  • 10° ·
  • 950+ Down ·
  • 31.3 oz
Feathered Friends Flicker 20° Quilt

Feathered Friends Flicker 20° Quilt

  • 20° ·
  • 950+ Down ·
  • 26 oz
Katabatic Alsek 22° Quilt

Katabatic Alsek 22° Quilt

  • 22° ·
  • 900+ Down ·
  • 21 oz

A good sleeping pad should both insulate you from the ground and provide comfort. If you're a back sleeper you can save weight with a thinner pad, while side sleepers will want something thicker. You'll also need to decide whether you want save weight with a short pad (your legs will hang off the end) or have greater comfort with a full-length pad. Read more

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Mattress

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Mattress

  • Air ·
  • 2.5" Thick ·
  • R3.2 ·
  • 12 oz
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad

  • Air ·
  • 2.5" Thick ·
  • R5.7 ·
  • 15 oz
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad

  • Foam ·
  • 0.75" thick ·
  • R2.6 ·
  • 14 oz

Staying connected on the trail means making sure you have electricity for your phone when cell service is available as well as the ability to contact emergency services when it is not. External batteries, lightweight chargers, and solar cells will help with the former, while Spot Messenger is a popular option for the latter. Read more

SPOT 3 Satellite Messenger

SPOT 3 Satellite Messenger

  • $200/year subscription ·
  • 4 oz
Anker 10000mAh External Battery

Anker 10000mAh External Battery

  • 3.5 iPhone Charges ·
  • 6.4 oz
AUKEY USB Wall Charger

AUKEY USB Wall Charger

  • 2 Ports ·
  • 1.6 oz

Most hikers use canister stoves on the PCT these days, though canister-less stoves are also an option. While canister-less stoves may be lighter (and use lightweight fuel), the convenience and efficiency of canister stoves can't be beat. If you do choose a canister stove, keep in mind that the fuel canister will add 4oz to 16oz to your pack depending on the canister size you carry. Read more

Titanium stoves are the way to go on the PCT. They're light, durable, and corrosion-resistant. Most hikers get by with a single pot and lid. Look for a pot with measurement gradients, a tight-fitting lid, and handles that fold to save space. If you're solo-hiking, you'll want a pot with at least 600ml of capacity, while couples should look for a pot that holds at least 1000ml. Read more

Evernew Pasta Pot

Evernew Pasta Pot

  • 700ml ·
  • Titanium ·
  • 3.4 oz
MSR Titan Tea Kettle

MSR Titan Tea Kettle

  • 830ml ·
  • Titanium ·
  • 4.0 oz
TOAKS Titanium Pot

TOAKS Titanium Pot

  • 750ml ·
  • Titanium ·
  • 3.6 oz
Sea To Summit X-Cup

Sea To Summit X-Cup

  • 250ml ·
  • 1.6 oz
Sponge

Sponge

  • 0.3 oz

You'll need to choose between filtration, chemical, and ultraviolet treatment. Chemical is lightweight, though it takes about 30 minutes to work. Filtration is faster, though the filter requires maintenance to keep a decent flow rate. UV is convenient but pricey, and (like chemical treatment) you'll need to run the water through pantyhose or a bandana to get something that looks appealing. Read more

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

  • Squeeze/Gravity ·
  • 3 oz
SteriPen Ultra Water Purifier

SteriPen Ultra Water Purifier

  • Ultravoilet ·
  • 4.9 oz
Aquamira Water Treatment

Aquamira Water Treatment

  • Chemical ·
  • 2 oz
EVERNEW Water Container

EVERNEW Water Container

  • 2 Liters ·
  • 1.5 oz