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JackandBarb - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2011

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Jack and Barb
City: Encinitas
State: CA
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 17, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Oct 15th, 2011
Trip Distance: 2,656.7

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 9,703
Journal Visits: 387,668
Guestbook Views: 167,248
Guestbook Entrys: 482

Last PLB Location

Gear list Journal Plan

Pacific Crest Trail Map

GEAR LIST - Clothes and gear we took.

Many people have asked us what we carried with us on the hike. Well, here it is. Rather than list it in the box on the right, we preferred to list and evaluate here. Some items were very useful, others not so.

You might also be interested in watching a video of Jack, tearing his pack apart and showing what was all inside it. Video is 20 minutes long and can be seen here.

Jack's base weight (no food, fuel or water) was 22 lbs. He carried the tent, stove and all of the electronics
Barb's base weight was 13 pounds.

We usually carried about 2 liters of water each at the beginning of the day. One liter was maltodextrine sport drink. Our food weighed in at about 2 pounds of food per person per day. With two liters of water and four days of food, our packs ran about 34 lbs (Jack) and 25 lbs (Barb). In the Sierras, the load was much heavier.

The Big Three - Pack, Tent and Sleeping

Tent:Big Sky Evo 2p- This is a two person, free-standing, tent, very light and roomy. It was used from Campo to Mammoth and Jack used it (solo) from Central Oregon to Canada. Weighs in at 3 lbs. 13 oz with fly, bag, footprint, pegs and poles. It has zip openings on both sides and large vestibules. Excellent

Tent: Big Agnes, Fly Creek UL-1 This is a one person tent used by Jack in Northern California and parts of Oregon. Weighs in at 2 lbs. 9 oz with fly and footprint. Quite roomy for a 1 person tent and can be set up freestanding in a pinch although the bottom end should be pegged down. Handles wind and rain well.

Packs: ULA Circuit.This seemed to be the pack of choice for the thru-hiker, you would see them everywhere. We both used the same. Jack had a large, Barb had a small. Jack's pack suffered the most wear. The internal bow snapped in the Sierras. Pack still worked and bow was replaced by ULA, Bow pocket at bottom punched out, fixed by sewing it up with dental floss. Wear on the back panel and bottom, ripped seams at the top snap connector - caused by over tensioning the top cinch strap, trying to secure the tent. - Note: This top strap is not designed to secure a tent. You will have to use other cord to tie it down or relocate your tent.

Sleeping Bags: We both used the Swallow down bag from Feathered Friends, with NanoSphere fabric. Rated at 20 degrees, they contain about a pound of 850+ fill and weigh about 2 lbs each. They have a double zipper so you can open up a section by your feet to reduce condensation. Note: by the end of the hike, Jack's bag was quite dirty and needed cleaning - the down wouldn't loft as much and our guess was that it was now rated at 35 degrees. Barb used a cocoon sleeping bag liner. She swears by it and adds that it offered additional warmth.

ThermaRest NeoAir mattress: We used the regular (72 inch) size but now recommend the medium (66 inch) size. These are lightweight (less than a pound), durable and pack down to a small size. Note: protect them from sharp objects and carry a patch kit. It is a special type of patch.

Clothes / Jack

Shoes: I tried three different brands: 1) The Montrail AT-Plus (NO longer available), size 10.5 (weight 30 oz / pair). I burned up three pair of these, all 10.5. This was my favorite shoe but the tread on the bottom was the slipperiest on snow. They fall apart after 500 miles 2) Merrill Moab Ventilator, size 11 (weight 25 oz / pair). Worked fine for me. This shoe was the most durable but *seemed* heavier. It showed little wear after 500 miles when it was retired. 3) Patagonia Drifter A/C (No longer available), size 11 (34 oz / pair). This shoe was the stiffest and worked best on snow with its Vibram sole. It was the best of the three for kicking steps. After about 400 miles, the sole tore and started peeling back. This could have been caused from all the sharp rocks.

Custom Orthotics - Note: my feet remained at about 10.5. I did not have to order larger shoes each time. (weight 5 oz / pair)

Socks: Fox River liner socks (4 pair) Note: Feet always dirty, slept in liner socks to keep bag clean - Liners were Wick Dry CoolMax. Over these I wore Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew socks, (had 3 pair). Note: These socks lasted for about 1,700 miles. This sock combo worked well for him. Liner socks reduced blistering. Note: You will wear out your socks. Have some spares standing by at home for quick shipment as they may be hard to find at the trail towns.

Pants: REI Sahara Cargo Pants

Swimsuit, with pockets, worked well as town shorts on wash day. Could have hiked in them but never did.

Sleeping, extra warmth: Hot Chillys long underwear, Wore the top a lot but rarely the bottoms. Bottoms worn in the Sierras, under the Cargo Pants for about 3 days and also, once in Washington when eveything else was wet. These two items, total weight 11 oz - I recommend leaving them both behind and using the Icebreaker shirt (see below).

Shirts: Columbia Omni-Dry titanium, long sleeve (this is my main shirt. It lasted the entire trip), Ice Breaker Merino Wool long sleeve "Oasis Crewe" 150 weight shirt (wore in towns and when very cold as a base layer).

Underwear: three pair, cotton briefs, worked fine

One Bandana - Very useful for a variety of things - filtering particles from water, cleaning glasses, wiping sweat, protecting neck from mosquitos and sun, dipping into rivers to cool off.

Gloves: 1) Ultra light weight Icebreaker gloves, 2) In the Sierra, moved up to Mountain Hardware Power Stretch gloves. 3) Lightweight eVent Rain Mitts from MLD. Only used in Washington.

Hiking Gloves: Sungloves from Dr. Shade. I love these gloves and wore them every day. The one time I misplaced them, it was like riding in a car without a seat belt. These gloves protect your hands from the sun, they reduce sore spots from the hiking pole straps and even provide a certain amount of warmth on cold mornings. We bought ours at an outfitter in Idyllwild but you can get them at Amazon. One pair lasted the entire trip but were thrashed by Washington. Get some!

Hat: Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap - An excellent lightweight hat. It has a removable sunshade cape that keeps the sun off your neck and face. The chin strap also keeps this hat on in high winds. I mostly wore the cape in the desert areas and took it off from the Sierras onward.

Rain Gear: Marmot Precip Jacket, Marmot Precip Pants - The jacket was used almost every morning when I started out. It was good at stops and in the cool evenings as well. I kept it handy. The pants were used mainly in Washington where it drizzled and the vegetation would otherwise soak your pants.

Gaiters: Campo to Oregon, Dirty Girl Gaiters. They work well and are lightweight but you must stick the velcro on to your shoes for the back connection. In wet areas an in the Sierra, you will want something heavier. I used superlight gaiters from MLD and even moved up to a heavier, longer gaiter in Washington.

Down Jacket: Western Mountaineering Flash Jacket. I think I wore this jacket maybe 10 times on the entire trip, mostly in the Sierras. I was glad to have it when I needed it and it was a good insurance policy in case the day went South (but remember, I have a down sleeping bag). It kept me warm for most of a day in a Washington snow storm but once wet, it was useless and heavy. Dry, it only weighs 11 ounces. I recall hiking in it only a few times. I could have put on the icebreaker, the sleeping shirt, my outer shirt and precip jacket and stayed warm enough.

Clothes / Barb

Shoes: La Sportiva Wild Cats, I wore a mens size 9.5 - they fit better than the womens model. This equates to a womens size 10.5 This is one and a half size larger than I would normally wear. I rate these shoes 8 out of 10.

Socks: Icebreaker light hiking socks (3 pair) . - one pair used for sleeping sock; Injinji toe socks (liners) 3 pair, Fox River Wick Dry Cool Max (3 pair). I wore three pair of socks each day in this order 1 Injinji toe socks, 2 fox river socks and over these, the Icebreakers.

Custom Orthotics: My feet got wider but not longer (size 9).

Gaiters: Dirty Girls, then in the Sierra I used Outdoor Research Verglas gaiters - they were wonderful

Underwear: Mens Roadrunner briefs (RRS Light 6" Boxer Brief) 2 pair. I tried so many different kinds and settled on the RR product. They worked well.

Pants: Ex Officio zip off leg pants- with Buzz Off. I liked these a lot but never wore them as shorts. The Buzz off treatment worked ok (not stellar).

Tops: Patagonia Active Cami - Nice (2); Ex Officio shirt with Buzz Off.

Skirt: One Patagonia polyester skirt, I wore this everytime we were in town. Comfortable


Sleeping: Patagonia Capaline 1 top (I had two of these - one for sleeping, a second for towns)

Rain Jacket: Patagonia H2No Torrent Shell - I like this jacket a lot and wore it daily.

Rain Pants: Go-Lite Reed Pants. These pants worked well but I was never in a driving rain in them. I wore these to sleep in a few nights when it was really cold.

Hat: OR SunRunner hat with sun shade cape. I wore the cape with my hat most of the time.

Gloves: Dr. Shade hiking gloves and Icebreaker glove liners - I wish I had a heavier glove in the Sierras.

Down Jacket: Patagonia (no longer available) Special edition Nano Puff - It seems that the Nano Puff is now only available with synthetic fill. Still a very nice warm jacket. I wore this in bed a few nights too but I usually got too hot and had to remove it.


Stove: We used an MSR WindPro for the first part of the trip. This stove uses Isobutane cannisters and has a very stable base. It worked very well, especially in the cold, windy Sierras. After that, Jack moved to a small alcohol stove. It is very lightweight and did the job. If you use a stove of this type, get a windscreen to go with it and we highly recommend the primer plate too.

Pot: REI Titanium 1.3 liter

Long Spoons, one each, REI titanium

Inflatable pillows, one each : Exped Air pillow

Headlamps: Barb Princeton Tec Eos, Jack, lost his Eos on Fuller Ridge but was gifted a Petzl E+light - For extended night hiking, we recommend a light with more power like the Eos. Jack: I had both headlamps near the end of the trip. Note, the Petzl is about as lightweight as you can go but it uses button batteries. Carry spares (CR2032)

Water Purification: Steripen Adventurer model, Worked well but uses (qty 2) hard to find photo batteries, CR123's. It is rated to sterilize 50 liters per battery set but Jack saw numbers as low as 20 liters. This could be a result of partially discharged batteries. We sterilized about 6-10 liters per day (for two people). Jack usually went 6 miles per liter of water - when it was cooler, water consumption was less. We never treated tap or spring water. We purchased these batteries in bulk (qty 40)and shipped them in every other resupply box. We always had at least two spare batteries and usually had more than we needed. Backup was a Sawyer 3-way inline water filter - it was only used for three days. It can clog easily. Recommend you take the reverse flushing device if you choose to use one and reverse flush the filter at every resupply stop. It was used in conjunction with our Platypus big zip water bladders (see below). The tubing must be cut and the Sawyer connectors added before your hike. Filters are lightweight and do the job however it takes awhile for the water to drain from your *dirty bag* to your *clean bag*. The Steripen whips out a liter of clean water every 90 seconds.


We each had a smart phone. Droid X. Jack carried three additional phone batteries. We had one charger for these batteries.

We each had a SanDisk mini mp3 player with earbuds and one cable that could be used to recharge it. The Droid charger was used with this cable.

GPS: Garmin Oregon 450 model. Loaded with the 48K topo maps and Halfmile's waypoints and tracks. We were able to load all necessary maps and data on the internal storage (no added cards).

A small voice recorder, carried by Jack. Sanyo ICR-FP700D. Uses one AAA battery. lasted for 1500 miles. You can find similar models for as low as $ 25 (This recorder was very useful!)

SPOT - Personal locator beacon. Uses three lithium AAA batteries. Did not replace batteries on the trip.

Camera - Cannon Elph 300HS, a wonderful camera. carried one spare battery and the camera battery charger. If you shoot lots of video, bring extra batteries. Also, get a small case for this camera. Dust can get lodged in the lens shutter cover. There may be an improved model out as you read this. Note: No matter what camera you choose to take, be sure you set the image size to 16X9 rather than 4X3. The wider images will fit better on the newer types of TVs and computer screens.

Spare SD memory cards: Used the mini cards with an adapter so we could transfer images from the camera to the phone for uploading, Qty 6 - Eight Gig cards.
One SD card reader - to transfer images from the card to a computer. Note: SD cards are cheap. Get 16 or even 32 gig cards. You will not have to exchange them as often. Many newer cameras have built in Wi-Fi. With it you can easily transfer images directly to your phone for uploading.

Spare batteries for the Steripen and spares for the GPS. Steripen uses CR123 and GPS uses 2 AA batteries (Lithium recommended)

Miscelaneous stuff

Toiletries, carred by each - toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, small amt shampoo, razor (jack), dental floss, fingernail clippers and tweezers (1)

sewing kit with scissors

First Aid kit: Band-Aids, 4X4 gauze pads, tape, blister remedy, neosporin, salt tablets, cipro (antibiotic by Rx), pain relief tablets, etc.

Gorilla Pod and StickPic camera connectors

Ziplock wide mouth plastic quart container with screw lid (the "Quartie") - Has a variety of uses. Perfect for use with the Steripen or scooping up water from a tiny stream. Fits well in ULA pack side bottle pocket.

Gatoraid bottle used to hold malto sport drink - You can fit the steripen inside the mouth of this if it is completely full - swirling the pen is difficult though.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Liner, one each, size M, 70 liters, weight 3.4 oz (Note: We did not take pack covers. Could have used them on about 4 occasions - see Sept 26 entry)

Mosquito Head Nets - Sea to Summit, one each

Platypus big zip water bladders, 3 liter, modified to take the Sawyer water filter if necessary, one each. Note: we rarely filled these full, at most, 2 liters.

MSR Dromlite 4 liter water bladder, used only twice in the desert section, sent home from Agua Dulce, qty one

Ice Axes: Camp Corsa Nanotech, one each. Loved this lightweight axe! Carried from Warner Springs, shipped home at Mammoth

Microspikes: Kahtoolas - Carried from Warner Springs, Used in the Sierra, shipped home Sonora Pass

Bear Canisters: Bear Vault BV500, one each, shipped in to Lone Pine, shipped home at Sonora Pass

The Pigs - Nitas and Car plus their little plastic home

Small notebook, pen, marking pen

Hiker cards (sent in resupply boxes)

Paper maps from Halfmile collection (sent in resupply boxes), selected pages from Yogi's guide, Yogi's laminated town data cards (carried all four).

TP (sent in resupply boxes)

Small pack towel

Paracord, 30 feet

Sun screen (Ocean Potion, Face 45), Lip balm - Ocean Potion moisturizing Lip 45 - good stuff

Sunglasses, leash

And, least we forget, a small 8 oz bottle of Tequila ("Ciento por Ciento" Has to be 100 percent agave!)

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