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Planning PCT Hike for April 2017

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Planning PCT Hike for April 2017

Postby WichitArtist » Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:39 pm

As the name implies, I am an Artist living in Wichita, KS. I started thinking about the PCT at the beginning of the year, and then made my commitment and started the planning process in early February. I discovered Postholer last week and have been reading some of the journals and posts. I thought that it was time I introduce myself. I am 43 years old, very nearly 44, and I will begin walking on the morning of my 45th birthday, April 4th, 2017.

I have many challenges that I will need to face over the course of the next year to prepare myself for this daunting task. There is one challenge though that I can't seem to figure out. Financing! As you can imagine, Artist's don't make a lot of money. Especially those living in Wichita, KS, probably the single worst place to be an Artist. So my first question is, how do I fund this trip? I know I can get a certain amount of help from Trail Angels, as well as digging through hiker boxes. But that just barely scratches the surface. Buying the best gear I can afford on my budget is the worst kind of gear. I wouldn't trust it to camp 5ft from my vehicle. And I am trying to be as practical about gear as I can be, only looking at things that I absolutely have to have, and it's still adding up to ridiculous numbers. Saving for several years and trying some other time isn't an option. I have to go next year. I started an account on GoFundME, but looking at other accounts asking for money to hike the PCT, there isn't a lot of aid there. Plus I really don't think I could sleep at night knowing that some kid isn't going to get their heart transplant because someone gave me money instead of them. So I haven't even been able to fill out the campaign description. I mean seriously, what do you say?

So any helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated. This is something that I absolutely must do. I can lose the weight, get my body into shape, handle the surgeries on my feet and probably my knees, and get my mental inadequacies in order to complete the hike. But sadly I can not snap my fingers and produce cash out of thin air.
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:10 pm

Re: Planning PCT Hike for April 2017

Postby Samo » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:47 pm

Hello Wicitartist,

I am Samo. I too will be starting my little stroll in April of next year. I am 57, turning 58 on the trail. Last year I completed the Camino Norte, walking 1000K across the top of Spain. A remarkable and georgeous trek. I highly recommend it.

As far as funding your adventure, I would suggest collecting your gear now, if you haven't already done so. You can buy used gear from multiple sources to save money. Make friends who hike and perhaps you could borrow items such as a bear canister, ice axe and spikes, things you won't need for the whole trip. These can also be rented.

As far as food goes, staying away from pre-packaged trail foods and creating your own meals will shave off the bucks. Get a food dehydrator and a food saver, vacuum packing to save space. Buying food on the trail, while convenient at times, probably won't be your most economical option.

To generate income for your kitty, have you considered crowd sourcing? I don't know what medium you work in for your given art form, but are trades an option? If you paint, work with scenes from the trail. Target the outdoor audience. You might find a niche there.

Good luck and Buen Camino.
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Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:16 pm

Re: Planning PCT Hike for April 2017

Postby WichitArtist » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:49 pm


Thank you for your comments. Perhaps I will see you on the trail next year.

I am currently developing multiple strategies to help me raise the money. Including but not limited to Sponsorships. I have started a campaign on GoFundME, which you can read here,, if you're interested. I have also started a Video Blog on YouTube, and will probably be starting a written blog in a few days. I am also hoping to generate more traffic at my website,, and increase sales to help with expenses.

I have looked at the dehydration route. I am not entirely sure that it is for me. I am diabetic, so I know that I need to manage my diet as best I can, and not just eat junk. But, I don't know. I will probably start experimenting with different options in a couple of months.

I am hoping to start collecting gear as soon as possible. I need to get some money and then buy the absolute basics and start working with it. Now that the weather is starting to stay consistently nice, I hope to go for at least a small, 5-10mi, hike each weekend.

Best of luck to you to. If there is anything that I might be able to help with please don't hesitate to ask.
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:10 pm

Re: Planning PCT Hike for April 2017

Postby foxchard » Mon May 16, 2016 9:51 am

One thing you can look at, if you or your friends are skilled, is creating your own equipment. There are a few sites and blogs that I've read that discuss or provide instructions on how to make your own tarp, mosquito tent, lightweight alcohol stove, sleeping quilts, hammocks, or even backpacks. Lots of people carry the foam therm-a-rest rolls or foldy-things, but apparently the basic brand of foam camping pad is competitive in price, weight, and insulation. Youtube carries a lot of good material showing step-by-steps or links to other forums.

I've found articles on (especially the nutrition article!) very useful and for youtube I've really enjoyed Joe Brewer's page (just search his name). If you're not making your own gear, I've also found that a lot of cottage / small-scale production companies produce quality products at a reduced price compared to some of the other more mainstream options.

Good luck and be safe!
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Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 11:46 pm

Re: Planning PCT Hike for April 2017

Postby Terminator » Thu May 19, 2016 10:33 am

Research online, research online, research online.
Ideas for saving money before trail:
Shorten your trip. Less time means less food, less town stops(you can skip some). Get in shape now. Slowly working up to carrying 30 pounds for 20 miles a day as your final goal. Train walking on a set of stairs or bleachers at the local school on the weekend for muscle. Being in shape before the trail allows you to feel better now because of the exercise and walk 20 miles a day from day one of your hike. This allows you to shorten the time of your trip while still having fun on the trail.
As an artist can you learn to sew? Making your own Tarp, hiking clothes, rain gear, backpack, sleeping quilt and stuff sacks allows you to have Silnylon gear at rock bottom prices. This is the number one way to save money on gear, especially the big three (bp, sleeping bag and tarp). Make the tarp first and practice with it. Being good at setting it up makes camping easy on the trail. Don't get in shape or learn on the trail. Do it now.

Minimalist thru hiking gear lists. Don't buy what you don't need.

Minimize mail costs. Buy in big towns and carry more food for say 5 days. Fine because you are in shape it is not just fine but fun. If you need to mail food do so from big towns on the trail which is cheaper than mailing from KS?
One gear list for the whole trail. Don't swap out gear.
Buy or make last generation gear (silnylon $12 a yard) which is now cheaper but still really light.

Some ideas to consider as ideas-
Buy or make your backpack last in order to make sure you can fit all your stuff in it.
Use light but sturdy items-
Use an old fashioned zrest sleep pad for about 15 bucks.
Homemade alcohol stove (google: catfood stove) or go without a stove. under $2
Plastic bowl, water bottles, spoon and aluminum grease pot instead of titanium or hard plastic stuff. You probably have these in your cabinets right now.
Grease pot from walmart. $10.

That is just a quick start. Research your whole list and you can find stuff. Lastly, don't look at what people started the PCT with. Look at what they ended with. Usually it is a lot of the stuff above.
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:05 am

Re: Planning PCT Hike for April 2017

Postby Bombers » Tue May 24, 2016 2:19 pm

hello All,
I am researching and getting my gear ready for 2017 PCT Hike, some of my friends are very supportive while others think I am crazy, I just want to experience something new and I'm sure each day on the trail will do just that. I am from Grand Prairie, Tx and although I am looking to go solo I wouldn't mind working with someone in the DFW area to help me with planning, tips and advise. Looking forward to 2017
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Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 2:01 pm

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