Plan Your Hike is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Communication Equipment

You’ll need to do two things to stay connected on the trail:

  • Maintain a charged cell phone
  • Be able to communicate when there’s no cell service

Take the second seriously. It’s not a luxury. Emergencies happen.

To keep your cell phone charged, you’ll need an external battery and a light-weight charger. Some hikers carry solar cells on the PCT, though it isn’t common because they are heavy, expensive, and slow to charge when it’s overcast.

Carry a Spot Messenger for emergencies and communication outside of cell service. Most importantly, you can use it to call an emergency response team. Your friends and family can also track your progress on a map, so they worry just a little bit less.

In addition to purchasing the Spot Messenger, you’ll need to sign up for a service plan. This costs $200 per year, but that’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a broken leg or dying on the trail.

Add GEOS Search and Rescue membership to your plan when you purchase the Spot Messenger. It covers up to $100,000 in Search and Rescue fees for only $18 per year.

Cell Phone Coverage Maps

Cell phone coverage on the Pacific Crest Trail varies according to your service provider. According to the USDA Forest Service, thru-hikers have cell phone coverage roughly 70% of the time.

The Best Backpacks for Thru-Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

See our selection of the best backpacks to use on the Pacific Crest Trail and how to choose the one that's right for you.

Read More

Financing Your Thru-Hike Without Breaking the Bank

Cut the cost of your hike, bring in more money at home, and cut your at-home costs so you can save up for the hike you've been dreaming of.

Read More

The Ultimate Gear Guide for Hiking the PCT

Choose the right gear for you. Learn about balancing pack weight with comfort on the trail and see what's most popular with the PCT hiking community.

Read More


Has the information above changed? Know something other hikers should know? Leave a comment below.


Plan Your Hike is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


A man standing atop a mountain with a beautiful view A man and a woman sitting on the edge of a beautiful mountain lake