Pacific Crest Trail Gear List: Mexico to Kennedy Meadows

Section: Mexican Border to Kennedy Meadows

Pack ULA Circuit Pack (XL) 40
Pack Liner Trash Compactor Bag 2.3
Tarp Cuben Tarp w/ guy lines 8.14
Bivy Ptarmigan Bivy 5.9
Ground Cloth Gossamer Gear Polycryo 2.95
Isulation Top Enigma Quilt 22.75
Insulation Bottom Thermarest NeoAir Xlite 15.59
Socks 2 REI Lite Hiker Socks 1.6
Underwear Patagonia Underwear 4.7
Hiking Shorts NYU Basketball Shorts 11
Hiking Shirt Marmot LS Shirt 7
Insulation  Top Montbell Down Jacket 6
Wind Shell Bottom Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants 3.1
Wind Shell Top Montbell Tachyon Anorak 2.6
Rain Shell Top DriDucks Poncho 8
Insulating Hat Outdoor Designs Hat 0.74
Bandana Bandana 1.29
Sun Hat Baseball Cap 2.82
Shoes New Balance Trail Runners 23.52
Socks 1 REI Lite Hikers 1.6
Stove Snow Peak Giga Power 3.71
Cook Pot Imusa Pot with DIY Lid 4.05
Utensil Spork 0.54
Towel Paclite Towel 0.45
Water Filter Sawyer Mini 1.62
Water Scoop DIY Scoop/Adapter 0.59
Water storage x4 Platypus 2.4L Bladder 5.16
Water Bottle Smart Water Bottle 1.29
Water Bottle Smart Water Bottle 1.29
Light Petzl Tikka Head Lamp 2.86
Fire Starter Mini Bic Lighter 0.4
First Aid First aid kit 2.86
Toothbrush Portable Toothbrush w/ toothpaste 0.85
Toilet Paper Small Roll of TP 2.23
Soap/Toothpaste Dr. Bronners 2.71
Line 25 feet MSR Utility Line 0.54
Repair Kit sil tape/needle/thread 1.28
Cash/Credit Card cash/Cards/ID/Permit 0.54
Stuff Sack Cuben Fiber Stuff sack 0.22
Phone Galaxy s4 6.27
Charger iPhone/gopro Charger 2.45
Camera GoPro Hero 3 10.51
Trek poles Black Diamond Trek Poles 20.22
Base Weight 165.82 78.42

 Conditions Faced:

The first 702 miles to Kennedy Meadows are mostly desert, with the odd foray into higher, and cooler elevations. Distance between water sources is a serious consideration, while rain/snow were pretty much a non factor (2014).

After Hike Notes:

Backpack System
  • The ULA Circuit was more than adequate for my hiking and hauling needs.
  • The trash compactor bag made it the entire way, unscathed, and used daily to keep my gear dry. The lack of rain made it unnecessary as I never had to hike in the rain in this section.
Shelter System
  • The Hammock Gear Cuben Fiber Tarp is lightweight, durable, and effective, and I set it up maybe three times during this 702 mile sections. Any waterproof tarp will do for the few times it will rain, and mosquitos were never a problem. Those who do not wish to lay with the spiders, scorpions, and rattlesnakes may want the ‘security’ of an enclosed tent.
  • The Titanium Goat Ptarmigan Bivy was not necessary for warmth, but came in handy during some of the windier, grittier nights. Condensation was certainly a nuisance when using the bivy.
  • The Gossamer Gear Polycryo ground cloth was a mystery. I was never really sure it actually helped, but it was so light I didn’t care. Good campsite choices will save you from needing anything too rugged to protect your sleeping pad, but a lot of pointy, prickly things exist in the desert. I would recommend a heavier duty groundcloth like Tyvek.
Sleep System
  • The Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 degree Quilt performed perfectly in this section. I rarely slept in my puffy jacket, and many nights I slept in just my shorts. Temperatures never came close to 20 degrees. That being said, I was never cold.
  • The Thermarest NeoAir Xlite is the best sleeping pad money can buy. Worth it. Always.
Clothing System
  • I carried two pairs of socks, but would carry three if I did it again. Grit kills socks. I had many holes in my socks, and replaced them at least once in this section.
  • One pair of boxers was enough for me. The Patagonia Boxers were very comfortable and durable.
  • My NYU shorts had survived four years of sporadic use so they did not have any problems. I could only hike in shorts in this section due to the heat. Pants were never really needed, except for the random cooler night, or while hanging around in the wind.
  • The Marmot Shirt was a button down. Most hikers used button down, travel style shirts. I definitely needed the sun protection of a long sleeve shirt, but the versatility of a button down. I could roll the sleeves up and unbutton when it got too hot.
  • The Montbell EX Lite Jacket was just enough insulation. It is a very light jacket (possible the lightest in its class) and was warm enough for the coldest night I faced. A lot of insulation was not needed in this section.
  • My wind shell, composed of the Montbell Dynamo pants and Tachyon Anorak, was nice during the windier, cooler nights at camp. I could have left them at home, but they were so light, and provided some extra comfort.
  • My poncho was NEVER used. Make of that what you will.
  • I found a hat and gloves unnecessary in the heat, but still carried a lightweight fleece hat for some reason.
  •  My baseball hat/bandana combo was a life saving necessity. Without it I would have fried.
  • New Balance 610s have about a 450 mile life span. I had mine replaced once before Kennedy Meadows. The lightweight trail runner technique has pros and cons. I felt most sharp rocks, but my feet breathed well and didn’t overheat.
Cooking System
  • Snow Peak Giga Power Stove combined with the Imusa Cook pot was fine. Jetboils are faster at boiling but not as light. There are so many variations on cook systems. Many other hikers did not carry a stove.
  • A spork is enough.
Hydration System
  • The Sawyer Mini filter is terrible. Even after being thoroughly backwashed, the filter time is unbearably slow. At one point we timed it at 17 minutes per liter. It was laughable. Save yourself the trouble and use Aquamira or the original Sawyer Squeeze.
  • I would recommend having at least 8 liters of capacity for this section.
  • I found uses for my pocket knife daily.
  • A lighter should always be in your pack.
  • An extensive first aid kit was not necessary, though other hikers carried heavy, packed kits.
  • Hygiene Products are nice, but don’t overdo it. Only the essentials like toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.
  • I used the Halfmile App and PCTHYOH App on a daily basis on my phone.
  • I started with a GoPro but sent it home at the first resupply as it stopped working.
  • Having a charger that can charge multiple items (ipod and phone) at once are great. Many hiker towns and hangouts have limited outlets and hikers are always looking to charge. One plug might be all that is available.


2 thoughts on “Pacific Crest Trail Gear List: Mexico to Kennedy Meadows

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