By: Kelsey Sportsman
On January 20, 2014, I made the decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I immediately began researching and planning in an almost obsessive manner. My daily routines shifted from going to school and working to going to school, working, and in any spare time, researching gear and planning to hit the trail in May 2014. Unfortunately, my plans did not come to fruition that time around for multiple reasons and although I was seriously disappointed, I recognized that it was not my time to complete a thru-hike just yet. As the months have quickly unfolded, I have completed many more hikes, planned, researched, and most importantly, acquired some amazing gear in which I am officially leaving for my thru-hike in April 2016. While my gear list is constantly being revised, through the countless late nights in front of the computer screen and gear tests on the trail, I am able to provide a great insight of light, effective, and comfortable gear. I will highlight a few key pieces of gear that I will be taking with me on the trail.
- 86 x 42 (foot width) 30 inches
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Footprint
- 86 x 42 inches
This tent is made by Big Agnes and is known for its ultralight design with freestanding aluminum poles and nylon fabric throughout the tent’s body. This three-season, one-person tent comes with freestanding aluminum poles, aluminum stakes, and a lightweight rainfly (footprint sold separately). I tested this particular tent out this August in Joshua Tree National Park. Much like other pieces of lightweight gear, this tent is fairly small in size and is just big enough to fit me, a pair of boots, and a loaded pack. My favorite things about this tent are its quick set up time and the fact that it provides great shelter and offers wonderful views from inside with a woven nylon mesh ceiling and footbox- perfect for stargazing. With its flawless, lightweight, strong design and construction, it’s sure to make any explorer happy.
Water is, of course, essential yet more difficult to plan and acquire during a thru-hike or backpacking adventure. The Nalgene 96oz Wide Mouth Cantene allows for lightweight, easy planning when it comes to bringing and getting almost a gallon of water on the trail. It is soft yet flexible and durable where it can stand when full of water or can be rolled up while not in use. My only gripe is that with use, I can see how folding or rolling up the Cantene may cause the seams to tear or split. LifeStraw is a personal water filter that filters 99.9% of waterborne parasites and/or bacteria and up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water without the use of iodine, chlorine, etc. My favorite things about this straw are 1) the filter will no longer work once it becomes clogged and nears the 1,000 liter limit which allows maximum safety and prevention against waterborne illnesses 2) it comes with a lanyard so you can wear it around your neck 3) it is so incredibly quick, easy, and lightweight compared to other methods of water filtration. Ultimately, the Nalgene 96oz Wide Mouth Cantene is the perfect complement to the LifeStraw.
The CRKT Eat’N Tool is one of the most lightweight multi-purpose tools on the market. This all-in-one tool is a fork, spoon, bottle opener, and has three hex wrenches. My favorite thing about this tool is that it has a carabiner clip included for easy storage and accessibility on a pack or belt loop. Overall, it’s a very lightweight, durable, multi-purpose tool fit for any adventure.
Asolo Fission GV Hiking Boots
Wigwam Ultimax Hiking Socks are made of 100% spandex and are designed to keep hikers’ feet warm in cold weather and cool and dry in hot weather. These socks keep my feet free of blisters, odor-free, and clean after a long day of hiking. I have these in the pro length style which pair wonderfully with my hiking boots. The women’s Asolo Fission GV hiking boots are made with GORE-TEX waterproof material that keeps feet and ankles dry when unpredictable weather strikes. These boots are surprisingly very lightweight for a hiking boot all while providing great stability with the positives of these boots being highlighted with breathability, GORE-TEX construction, and blister prevention.