In an earlier post I covered all the gear i’ll be using on the PCT, now it’s time to talk clothing. One question you may have is how much clothing I’ll bring with me and the answer is only what is necessary. This means that I’ll be wearing the same thing for most of my time on the PCT, washing it periodically and only replacing items as the wear out. Here are the basics.
Columbia Thistletown Park T-Shirt – Basic T-shirt that is advertised to wick away moisture. I’ll probably swap this with a Merino wool shirt. Merino wool is great in both cool and warm weather, wicks moisture away, is quick drying and resists odor.
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants – My go-to hiking pants as they are light, wick away moisture, offer sun protection and easily convert into shorts. Although I found that they can restrict movement in some situations so I may switch it up and go with a pair of shorts that allow for better movement.
Darn Tough Hiker 1/4 Socks – Merino wool socks! Really durable, comfortable and odor resisitant, what more do you need?
Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Shoes – Obviously footwear is very important. These are arguably the best through-hiking shoes. They are light with natural foot positioning, gaiter attachment points, drainage holes and are quick drying. I definitely go through a few pair of these.
So that is what i’ll be wearing most of the time, but since the the PCT crosses through almost every type of climate I’ll need to switch it up a bit as conditions change. The first thing I need to be prepared for is the desert, where sun protection is of the utmost importance. While in the desert I’ll swap out my t-shirt for a white long sleeve shirt, which provides SPF 50 protection, and swap out my hat for a big dumb floppy sun hat. I’ll also have my pair of Julbo MonteBianco Sunglasses. Another item i’m considering is a pair of light weight gloves to protect my hands from sun exposure, I’ve heard of hikers getting pretty nasty sunburns on the top of their hands when using trekking poles in the desert.
When I get into colder climates I’ll start layering up with my favorite material for outdoor activities, Merino wool! I have a pair of Icebreaker Lightweight Leggings and a Icebreaker Lightweight Hoodie (Which I would link to but apparently it’s no longer available), and an Icebreaker Sierra Beanie. These do a great job of keeping me warm in cold weather while i’m moving but for the times it gets really cold or i’m relaxing after a day of hiking I also have the Mountain Hardware Ghostwhisper Down Hooded Jacket, which is super light, really warm and packs down nice and small. Other items that will keep me warm are a Merino Wool Buff for my neck and face and Mammut wool gloves.
The final thing I need to be prepared for is something I’ve been dealing with my entire life… rain. For the rain I have the Outdoor Research Helium HD Jacket, which packs into it’s own pocket. I considered getting the matching pair of rain paints but since i’ll most likely be wearing my convertible pants as shorts, I would rather avoid the extra weight and just dry my legs off when needed. I have come to terms with the fact that no matter how hard I try to avoid it I will end up being wet.
Speaking of getting wet I also have a pair of Xero Z-Trail Sandals for water crossings and for at camp. Like the Altra Lone Peaks they have natural foot positioning and I’ve heard that some people will actually hike in these, I may end up being one of those people if they are awesome as they sound. Also, when it comes to feet, I have a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters to keep debris from finding its way into my shoes and a super comfy pair of heavyweight wool socks to wear after a long day of hiking.
The last thing I need to figure out is what i’m going to wear when I need to wash everything at a laundromat when I stop in a town…..