Dan’s Gearlist – 12 lbs

There’s about 10 weeks until we start the PCT and I’ve pretty much got my gear ready to go. I still need to pick up a sun hat and sew some shorts, but that’s about it. I sewed a quick rough copy of a pair of shorts last week and they came out a bit tight, so hopefully the actual version turns out better. They’re mostly just something light to wear swimming or while I’m doing laundry so a bit ill-fitting is okay. Maybe I’ll model them on the blog here in a few days.


I made a quick video (5 min) tonight showing my gear for the trip. The full ensemble is about 12 lbs plus food and water, which could easily double or triple that weight. I’m also required to carry a 2-3 lbs bear canister in the Sierra’s (somehow this stuff ends up in my pack and not Tara’s. Tent, pot, stove, fuel, first aid kit, repair kit, most of the food – yeah all in my pack).

My full list is below, but some stuff we’ll swap out along the way. Right now I’m leaning towards bringing rain gear for southern Cali, but I’m on the fence because it’s going to feel pretty ridiculous hiking across the Mojave desert with a full set of rain gear.


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9 Responses to Dan’s Gearlist – 12 lbs

  1. Jill says:

    Hi Dan and Tara! I really enjoyed reading your blog…I wish I had found it earlier in the year!

    I have question about your bear canister. My partner and I are planning on thru-hiking next year and I’m having trouble finding info on whether one canister (like the bv500 or the bearikade weekender) is enough to hold two people’s food for a typical stretch in the Sierras. How well did one canister work for you two? Thanks!

  2. Kari says:

    Hi Dan and Tara! I’ve loved reading your blog, a friend and I are planning hiking the pct next summer and would love to hear your thoughts on how they worked out during your trip!

  3. dandurston says:

    I really should get some gear comments posted. Everything worked pretty well but there were some lessons learned.

    Jill: We used one BV500 for the two of us. It definitely wasn’t big enough to get all our food in there. If you actually want all of your food in a container at all times, you’d need at least two because there are some long stretches in the Sierra.

    Kari: Everything worked great with the following exceptions
    1) Headlamps were overkill. They are great lights but a lot more power than needed. A single AAA light like the Fenix HL10 would be ideal.
    2) As a result of #1, our 4 x AA charger was total overkill. A Fenix HL10 headlamp and 2 x AAA USB charger would have been way lighter.
    3) Small #3 zippers on tents tend to not last. Trail dirt and grit wears them out until the zipper starts separating. Quite a few hikers had worn out #3 zips by the end. You can fix a worn out zip by squeezing it flatter with some pliers, but I never got around to doing this until I was back home as ours didn’t fail until near the end.
    4) Kind of a personal Vendetta, but I don’t understand all the fanfare for the Zpacks Hexamid shelters. For SoCal they are too complicated (10 stakes?) and don’t provide 360 wind protection. In Washington they’re tiny and single wall so it’s a challenge not to get covered in dew. Tons of people with the Duplex etc shelters hated the hassle and finickiness of setting them up. Thankfully you don’t really need a shelter much in California so most Hexamid owners just cowboy camp. A pyramid shelter (ie. MLD DuoMid) with a inner solo net tent is so much more simple and functional when the conditions actually warrant a shelter. Our shelter (TarpTent StratoSpire2) wasn’t perfect (also too complicated to set up and vulnerable to high winds) but it was spacious and provided double wall protection from condensation in Washington.

    If I was hiking solo, I would take a 13oz MLD DuoMid and use that with a groundsheet until the bugs come out (Sierra’s sometime). Then swap the groundsheet for a solo inner (8oz) and use that to stay sane for the rest of CA and OR. The bugs will be mostly gone by WA, but keep the solo inner to protect you from contacting the condensation in WA. This setup is simple, light, spacious and functional.

  4. Two Left Feet says:

    I am thinking of hiking the PCT next year (2016). I am thinking of using a MLD DuoMid, but rather than using the solo inner, having a lightweight bivy instead. That might be more suitable for cowboy camping, gives bug protection, etc, and seems simpler than having the solo inner.

    Do you see any pros and cons to using a bivy instead of the bug inner?

    Thanks – great blog!

    • dandurston says:

      For SoCal, neither a bivy nor a bug inner are very appealing because it’s often pretty hot/sweaty and the bugs are minimal. Ants are really the only substantial bug in SoCal. They can be a bit annoying once in a while but no big deal. A groundsheet would be ideal. With a bivy or bug inner, you’d probably just sleep on top most of the time. This would work fine – just a bit heavier than needed.

      Beyond SoCal you’ll sometimes want/need bug protection. I personally prefer bug inners, because I find bivys a bit claustrophobic, and a bug inner is a lot more space for not much more weight (7-9oz vs 5-6oz typically). I normally leave my bug inner clipped inside the mid, so it’s really simple to set up. The bug inner also gives me a bug protected space to read, cook etc, while a bivy doesn’t let you do much besides sleep. So I don’t really see an advantage to the bivy besides saving a 1-3oz, and it provides the option of not setting up the mid once in a while. With a more complex/annoying shelter the ability to cowboy camp with the bivy would be nice, but since mids are so simple it’s a smaller advantage. If you like bivys and desire to cowboy camp a lot then do it, but if you see yourself setting up your shelter the majority of the time then I’d go with the bug inner.

      With out Stratospire 2, we occasionally just set up the bug inner in SoCal if we were worried about ants or something. Many of these nights were hot, so a bivy would have been a choice between getting sweaty or having ants on us.

  5. Two Left Feet says:

    Thanks Dan. I have a year to think about it, so maybe the right move is to take the DuoMid + a sheet of Tyvek until the bugs start, and then add the bug inner at that point.

    Where do the bugs start … the Sierra or so?

    • dandurston says:

      You want to be prepared for mosquito’s for the Sierra’s (Mile 700 on) but they probably won’t hit until mid Sierra’s (mile 900). Then they’ll be on and off for the rest of the Sierra’s and Oregon, before probably being light in Washington. They were only ridiculous on 1 or 2 occasions.

  6. Joe says:

    Hi Dan, I think I saw a pair of Trailroc 235 in one of your videos? I probably will use them on my next hiking tour. What do you think about these shoes after your trip? Did they do a good job?

    • dandurston says:

      Joe, Yeah I used TrailRoc 235’s. I think they’re great. I’ve been using pretty low drop shoes for a while so I thought I was good to start in the 235’s with no training, but my achilles were killing me the first week. Super painful. After that they were primo the whole trail. I used two pairs, which was aggressive since I’m frugal. The upper fabric will start to crack open around 700 miles, but adding some seamgrip or aquaseal before that can push it to about 1000 miles before the uppers start opening up. The soles are also pretty bare by 700 miles but I just kept walking. It’s not like these shoes have much support and padding in the first place.

      I used my first pair to Mammoth (mile 900) and then used pair 2 to the end, but used some hikerbox sourced Altra Superiors for about 300 miles in oregon while I carried the 235’s because I wanted to be sure they’d make it. I’m still using that 2nd pair of 235’s. They look super beat and haggard, but they function.

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