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Old 5 January 2016, 14:24
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Pacific Crest Trail

Has anyone here done the PCT, or any significant portions of it? Beginning this spring I will start doing segments of the PCT in 4-7 day chunks throughout the year. I wish I could just bail out for six months and attempt the whole thing, but the realities of life don't allow it at the moment.

Looking for any info on experiences - what to do/not do. Gear suggestions (besides the obvious), etc. I have been to the PCT's web site and have some maps/guidebooks already. But nothing beats first-hand experiences, especially if from this group.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 5 January 2016, 16:23
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Originally Posted by usmc_3m View Post
Has anyone here done the PCT, or any significant portions of it? Beginning this spring I will start doing segments of the PCT in 4-7 day chunks throughout the year. I wish I could just bail out for six months and attempt the whole thing, but the realities of life don't allow it at the moment.

Looking for any info on experiences - what to do/not do. Gear suggestions (besides the obvious), etc. I have been to the PCT's web site and have some maps/guidebooks already. But nothing beats first-hand experiences, especially if from this group.

Thanks in advance.
I thought the below book was pretty good. I have been doing through hikes for a while now. I don't get super caught up in exact weights and skin out weights. I know my hiking clothes are lighter than my everyday stuff and a solid 5 day ruck is about 30 pounds if you go decent gear. If your going to spend money, spend it on the big 3 and buy the fancy ruck last.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Ultimate-Hikers-Gear-Guide/dp/1426209207
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Old 5 January 2016, 18:21
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If you don't get more info here, I can put you in touch with 2 of the writers in this book .

I've been through the Domelands, Golden Trout Wilderness, Mt. Whitney area, and Yosemite with some use of the PCT but for other objectives. It's been awhile but I'll give my 2 cents.
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Old 5 January 2016, 23:33
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I thought the below book was pretty good. I have been doing through hikes for a while now. I don't get super caught up in exact weights and skin out weights. I know my hiking clothes are lighter than my everyday stuff and a solid 5 day ruck is about 30 pounds if you go decent gear. If your going to spend money, spend it on the big 3 and buy the fancy ruck last.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Ultimate-Hikers-Gear-Guide/dp/1426209207
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Originally Posted by 34RX View Post
If you don't get more info here, I can put you in touch with 2 of the writers in this book .

I've been through the Domelands, Golden Trout Wilderness, Mt. Whitney area, and Yosemite with some use of the PCT but for other objectives. It's been awhile but I'll give my 2 cents.
Thanks Gents - both of these books seem like good resources. I will get them. 34RX I may take you up on that offer after I have a chance to digest these. Horned Toad - thanks for the gear tips.
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Old 9 January 2016, 14:24
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As a follow up: I got both books suggested above. Really good stuff. I also purchased two books from the PCT web site. Between these four books, I have all I need to plan my hiking segments.

If interested, these are the two books I got from the PCT site:
- The Pacific Crest Trail Data Book (link)
- Day and Section Hikes, Southern California (link)

Thanks again for the assist!
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Old 9 January 2016, 15:05
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I work with two brothers who hiked the PCT start to finish. They ran with roughly 20-25 lb loads the whole way. Said the most painful part was having to resupply. Roughly a 5 month trek, IIRC.
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Old 19 January 2016, 10:55
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Civilian recreational trail hiking is a whole new experience. A good book about it is the late Colin Fletcher's The Complete Hiker IV, which is to say the fourth and latest version of that book. Actually, the gear reviews are what got updated all the time and the latest edition is from 2002, so any edition is probably good. Well worth a look at, Fletcher was a fun guy, which is the point. He did mostly desert hiking, including walking the length of the Grand Canyon before that was illegal.
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Walke...omplete+walker
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Old 19 January 2016, 11:26
Lofty Smalls Lofty Smalls is offline
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Let me throw in Fletcher's bio from Wikipedia. He was no creampuff:

Born in Cardiff, Wales on 14 March 1922, Fletcher was educated in England and served six years in the Royal Marine Commandos during World War II. He married Sonia Mary Ash in 1945 and they lived in St. Ives, Cornwall for a year where he was an instructor at the Mountain Warfare Training Centre. They moved to Kenya in 1947 where they ran the Kitale Hotel. They separated in 1948 and he spent time farming in Kenya, surveying in Zimbabwe, and as a prospector in western Canada, he moved to the United States in 1956. Two years later, he walked the length of the state of California, a journey that was the basis for his first book The Thousand Mile Summer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Fletcher
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Old 19 January 2016, 12:02
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I hope you take a camera and post up some shots bro.
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Old 28 February 2016, 13:35
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I hope you take a camera and post up some shots bro.
First excursion is mid-April. I will most certainly be taking photos and will post them here. Really looking forward to this. I also just signed up for an REI Wilderness First Aid course which is two weeks before my scheduled trip. I thought that would be a good idea
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Old 29 February 2016, 19:55
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Done different chunks of the PCT from the late 60's through last year. Never in one piece.

Some things for your consideration:

Backpacking is... backpacking. Not crossfit, endurance racing, triathlons, weight lifting, long walks on the beach, etc.

Learn to walk quietly. No heel strikes or toe jamming. You should be able to place your foot with the heel slightly ahead of the toes, roll your foot to the outside at touch and lay the toes down.

You can safely carry one third of your body weight almost indefinitely; once you're in shape; which means practice hikes on rolling terrain with gradually heavier loads.

For every 1000 feet you gain or lose, add one mile to your distance planning. E.g. if you have a straight-line distance to your objective of four miles, and a 2,000 foot climb over a pass, then another 1,000 foot drop to the objective; then you add 3 miles to your four-mile distance plan. 2K up = 2 miles, 1K down = 1 miles. 4 + 2 + 1 + 7 miles for planning purposes.

Start with short distances on the first couple of days and gradually add the miles traveled each day. Acclimatization.
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Old 29 February 2016, 20:35
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First excursion is mid-April. I will most certainly be taking photos and will post them here. Really looking forward to this. I also just signed up for an REI Wilderness First Aid course which is two weeks before my scheduled trip. I thought that would be a good idea
A better idea would have been to send your hiking partner.
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Old 29 February 2016, 22:51
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A better idea would have been to send your hiking partner.
HA! If I only had a hiking partner...
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Old 29 February 2016, 22:57
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Originally Posted by Tracy View Post
Done different chunks of the PCT from the late 60's through last year. Never in one piece.

Some things for your consideration:

Backpacking is... backpacking. Not crossfit, endurance racing, triathlons, weight lifting, long walks on the beach, etc.

Learn to walk quietly. No heel strikes or toe jamming. You should be able to place your foot with the heel slightly ahead of the toes, roll your foot to the outside at touch and lay the toes down.

You can safely carry one third of your body weight almost indefinitely; once you're in shape; which means practice hikes on rolling terrain with gradually heavier loads.

For every 1000 feet you gain or lose, add one mile to your distance planning. E.g. if you have a straight-line distance to your objective of four miles, and a 2,000 foot climb over a pass, then another 1,000 foot drop to the objective; then you add 3 miles to your four-mile distance plan. 2K up = 2 miles, 1K down = 1 miles. 4 + 2 + 1 + 7 miles for planning purposes.

Start with short distances on the first couple of days and gradually add the miles traveled each day. Acclimatization.
Great info, Tracy. Especially the altitude and mileage considerations. Many thanks.

It's been 22 years since I humped a ruck. I have been doing local hikes of about 4-5 miles a couple times a week - plus running a couple other days. No backpack yet on the hikes. I will add one soon and gradually increase the weight. I am estimating my pack will be 40lbs when I do the "real thing" in April.
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Old 1 March 2016, 21:52
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Some other things to consider:

Make sure your land navigation skills are rock solid. Without using GPS. Remember, GPS only shows you exactly where you're lost, and only shows straight-line distances to your next lost place.

Spending: Remember the "Three B's": Boots, Bag, and Backpack. These are the items you need to invest wisely; and your highest cost items. I'm not sure what type of camping you're going to do, but for most folks a three-season sleeping bag is good for hiking in the Sierras. If you're going to do winter camping, i.e. snow that's ass-deep to a giraffe, a winter-rated bag is in order.

Air mattress. I luvs me a good air mattress. This is my current air mattress:

http://www.rei.com/product/865695/ne...r-sleeping-pad

It has a built-in foot pump, and pumps to a firm setting with 127 compressions. I do the compression like I'm doing CPR, with my hands.

If you want to scare your fellow backpackers, buy a tarp to use as a tent. We use an REI Camp Tarp 16, and scrounged wood for poles; or used available trees. Next time we're thinking of using hiking sticks for poles. The REI Camp Tarps are diamond shaped, but with a little practice you can make just about any type of tent you want.

Another handy piece of kit is a tent footprint. Basically it's a ground cloth to fit under a regular tent and act as a moisture barrier. REI makes some good "el cheapos". We use the foot prints as regular ground sheets and throw our gear and sleeping stuff on top.

Remember, backpacking is the art of spending thousands of dollars to live like a homeless person.
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Old 1 March 2016, 23:20
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Tracy,
You are the man. More great info.

Land Nav - once upon a time I was very good at this. Hunted the PA woods in my youth, and while in the Marines, I navigated many patrols in PI, NTA and Korea. There's actually a funny story about Land Nav from SERE school that I won't tell here... It's been a while though, so I had better do a refresh.

My first hikes will be in SoCal and lower Sequoias. I will progress to the NorCal sections later. Thank you for the recommendation on the sleeping pad. I have a 20 below rated bag and I have done a few overnighters down here at Palomar Mt to get in the groove. I like your tarp suggestion and will check it out.

"Remember, backpacking is the art of spending thousands of dollars to live like a homeless person."
- That's some funny shit right there.
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Old 1 March 2016, 23:31
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Originally Posted by Tracy View Post
Another handy piece of kit is a tent footprint. Basically it's a ground cloth to fit under a regular tent and act as a moisture barrier. REI makes some good "el cheapos". We use the foot prints as regular ground sheets and throw our gear and sleeping stuff on top.

Remember, backpacking is the art of spending thousands of dollars to live like a homeless person.

ground sheet :)
http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/tyvek.shtml

I bring some big safety pins and if I get some rain with the tarp I safety pin the ground cloth up around the foot of my sleeping bag
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Old 2 March 2016, 10:42
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If you make it up here to the PNW I would recommend a synthetic fill sleeping bag over down. If your bag gets wet the synthetic will stay warmer. Wool socks are great too. Dry faster and don't get stiff when you wear them for several days.

I'm envious of you. I've only had time to do day trips on the PCT here but the views are awesome, especially in the Columbia Gorge.
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Old 2 March 2016, 13:05
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If you make it up here to the PNW I would recommend a synthetic fill sleeping bag over down. If your bag gets wet the synthetic will stay warmer. Wool socks are great too. Dry faster and don't get stiff when you wear them for several days.

I'm envious of you. I've only had time to do day trips on the PCT here but the views are awesome, especially in the Columbia Gorge.
I hope to get that far North one of these days (years). And thanks for the tip on the bag if I do.

Regarding time to do this - for me it has gotten to the point that it is mandatory. So I am using my vacation time to do these hikes instead of traditional vacations. I've just got to GTF away for some periods of time or I think I'll lose it. Maybe it's middle age crisis or whatever - but the only time I feel sane anymore is when I am out in the woods and mountains.
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Last edited by usmc_3m; 2 March 2016 at 13:08. Reason: Spelling
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Old 2 March 2016, 14:34
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^I know the feeling about being away!! I haven't any experience with the new coated down sleeping bags, but apparently some companies have coated the sleeping bags so they stay warm when wet. Might want to research that before u buy a synthetic one.
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