A Vegan’s PCT Gear List

When I was planning my thru-hike on the PCT, I loved looking at people’s gear lists. Like many other hikers, I got sucked into the world of ultralight backpacking. Even though there are plenty of great gear companies out there, it can be tricky to find ethical options. This is my tried and tested cruelty-free gear list.

For the gear nerds among us, here’s my LighterPack list.

Big 4
backpackHyberg Attila Xw/ trash bag liner
tentSix Moon Design Lunar Solow/ piece of tyvek + 6 MSR Mini Groundhog stakes
sleeping bagEnlightenment Equipment Apex 20° Quilt
sleeping padTherm-a-Rest Neoair Xlite

The backpack was kind of a last-minute buy, only a week before I got on trail. I had downsized my gear so much that it was tempting to get a lighter backpack as well, even though I loved my Osprey Exos 58. I looked into options and went with Hyberg, a German cottage company focused on affordable ultralight backpacks. The Attila X being my first frameless pack, I didn’t really know what to expect, but the pack turned out to be super comfortable and held up great the entire hike. I was lucky enough to get some good deals on the tent and sleeping pad on eBay and loved both on trail. There were a couple of really chilly desert nights where I wished I would have had a warmer sleeping bag, but at the end of the day I was happy with the quilt as well. As for tent protection, I started out with a cheap polycro groundsheet, which I switched out for a piece of tyvec pretty early on.

Food Bag & Cookware
food bagGranite Gear Zip 9Lprobably my fav piece of gear
water filterSawyer Micro Squeezeprobably my least fav piece of gear
knifeVictoriox Classiclost and replaced w/ a cheap pocket knife
sporkSea to Summit Titanium Spork
cook potTalenti Jarfor cold soaking
water bottlesI liked the LIFEWTR bottles1-3 depending on the section +1 for filtering

I didn’t really mind cold soaking, and I certainly loved its simplicity and the weight savings that came with it. If you’re interested in going stoveless but unsure if you want to fully commit to a hike without morning coffee and hot dinners (all the hot food in town though!) consider giving it a try for the first 500 miles or so to see if you like it or not. That’s what I did. When I picked up my stove and pot (the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 + TORKS 450 ml Titanium Pot) at Hiker Heaven, I honestly wasn’t too excited about it. I thought I might want a hot meal in the Sierra, so I kept it for then and ended up using it for about a month until I sent it to Portland with all my snow gear. In the end, going stoveless worked out great for me!

Couscous magic

As for the water filter, I went with the Sawyer Mini. It only took a couple of weeks until the flow rate decreased dramatically, even though I back-flushed the filter every time I got to town. I refused to get a new filter on trail, because technically, it worked, but I wouldn’t take it on a long trail again (and I saw a lot of Sawyer Minis in hiker boxes!). Most of my hiking pals who used the regular Sawyer Squeeze where happy with it, though. I got to try out the BeFree Katadyn on trail as well and liked it a lot.

Extra Clothing
puffyPatagonia Micro Puff w/ hood
long sleevePatagonia Capilene Lightweightfirst sleeping, later hiking shirt
bottomsPatagonia Capilene Thermalweightsleeping pants
rain protectionFrogg Toggs UL Rainjacket+ a cute trash bag cape in Washington
tube scarfBuffused as pillow case
hatrandom brandhiker box find
socksDarn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew1 worn, 2 extra
undiesrandom brand1 worn, 1 extra

Patagucci is quite pricey, but one of the few brands that offers high quality eco-friendly synthetic options. Clothing is probably where you can save the most, especially when you keep an eye on mid-season sales and consider buying second hand (which doesn’t always have to mean used). I was happy with all my clothing choices, but would probably carry rain pants for particular wet sections (like allll of Washington) next time.

powerAnker 10000mah+ 2 cords
wall chargerrandom brandquick charge
sosInReach Mini
phoneSamsung Galaxy S8
headphonesKLIM Fushion Earbudsgiven to me after I lost mine
lightPetzl e+Lite

The only thing better than sleeping in a tent is sleeping under the stars.

toiletriestoothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, lip balm, small comb, wet wipes, menstrual cup, ear plugsin zip-lock bag
+ sunscreen for CA, bug spray in OR
first aidleukotape, ibuprofen, needle, alcohol wipes, b12in zip-lock bag
💩The Deuce, toilet paper, pee ragtp in 2 zip-locks
trekking polesBlack Diamond Ergo Corkw/ duct tape wrapped around the top of one
sit padpiece of a Zlitehiker box find
documentsID, visa card, permitsin zip-lock bag

There’s no need to carry soap, shampoo or razors, since you’ll most likely find those in hiker boxes and Motels. I enjoyed every single shower in town, but I also fully embraced the hiker trash life on trail.

Snow Gear
ice axeBlack Diamond Raven
micro spikesSnowline Chainsen Pro
bear canBearVault 500
sleeping bag linerSea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Compact Plusfor the Sierra + WA
glovesOutdoor Research PL 150 Sensorlost in Northern CA

There’s not much to say about snow gear. Everything worked out well for me and I was hella glad to get rid of everything again once we got out of the Sierra.

The Outfit
braNike Pro
socksDarn Tough
shoesSaucony Peregrine 7
Altra Lone Peak 3.0
shadesvariousnot proud to say that I went through 6-8 pairs of sunglasses
fanny packVelveeta’sbroken but loved

Once on trail, I was stunned by how little it actually takes to make me feel comfortable in the wilderness. Going light allowed me to pack out some luxury items every now and then – mostly fresh/heavier food – without immediately feeling the added weight on my shoulders. Without snow gear, my pack came in at just under 5 kg (~10-11 lbs). Whatever you decide to pack, remember that on a long trail like the PCT you’ll have plenty of options to add, ditch and switch out gear (: