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Miscellaneous Gear

Below you’ll find recommendations for the Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiking gear that doesn’t quite fit in any other list:

  • Crampons
  • Ice Axes

The Best Crampons for the Pacific Crest Trail

While many people thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail without crampons, they are certainly useful in hard-pack snow. If you plan on leaving early in the season, crampons will save you a lot of energy and add several miles per day to your hiking pace. Try a couple with the shoes you intend to wear on the trail and see what works best for you.

The Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System offers great traction on winter trails. They’re made to fit almost any shoes, pack down small, and weigh only 11oz. Hikers report that they’re rugged, reliable, and high quality.

Snowline Light Chainsen Crampons are well-loved on the trail, though they’re becoming harder to find. They weigh only 8oz, fit most shoes, and pack down small. Also available here from

The Hillsound Trail Crampons are another popular option on the Pacific Crest Trail that fit most shoes. Some hikers report them to have better grip than the Kahtoola MICROspikes, though also say they can be harder to put on. They weigh 15.7oz.

If you’re wearing hiking boots through the snowy sections of the trail, then the Kahtoola K 10 Hiking Crampons are an option. They come in a single size and are made to fit most hiking boots. Though rugged and durable, they are also on the heavy side at 21.5oz.

The Best Ice Axes For the Pacific Crest Trail

Ice axes are another optional piece of gear when thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, though again, if you’re leaving early in the season (or just want peace of mind) then they’re very nice to have. Before you leave, learn how properly hold an ice axe, as well as how to self-arrest using an ice axe to save yourself from sliding down sloped terrain.

The Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is a great ice axe for beginners. It weighs 15.9oz, is very popular on the Pacific Crest Trail, and hikers report that it’s comfortable to carry.

If you want a slightly lighter version, the Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe weighs two ounces less (13.9oz). However, it’s a little more expensive than its non-“Pro” sibling.

The Grivel G1 Ice Axe is another popular option for Pacific Crest Trail hikers and anyone hiking on a moderate slope. It’s available at an affordable price, is well made, and offers excellent self-arresting capabilities. It weighs 15.8oz.

The C.A.M.P. USA Corsa Ice Axe is one of the lightest ice axes available, weighing only 8.8oz. However, its lack of weight comes with some tradeoffs, making this a good axe for those who are experienced with ice axes and have good form.

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.

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The Only Hiking Food Database You'll Ever Need

Food is one of the most important considerations when hitting the trail. With our food database you have plenty of options to choose from.

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Financing Your Thru-Hike Without Breaking the Bank

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


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