Every ultralight backpacker is constantly trying to cut ounces from the weight they have to carry and I am no exception. I knew that the gear that I typically use while backpacking would be too heavy for a long distance hike, so I did a lot of research and spent a good amount of money on ultralight gear.
The following list is what I plan on taking with me when I start hiking the PCT next week. This list will probably be meaningless to most non-thru hikers but I wanted to include it here mostly for myself so I can remember what I started with and compare it to what I finish with. All weights that I include are according to what I measure using my kitchen scale and may be slightly different from what the manufacturer states.
Backpack ZPacks Arc Blast, 60 liters, cuben fiber; with hip belt = 18.5 oz
Sleeping bag ZPacks down bag, 20 degrees; with stuff sack = 18.1 oz
Sleeping pad Thermarest NeoAir X-lite, women’s regular = 12.8 oz
Tent Mountain Laurel Designs Cricket, with stakes, silnylon = 22.3 oz
Sit pad SitLite Sit pad, small = 1.5 oz
Shovel orange plastic = 1.9 oz
Water purifier Sawyer mini with cleaning plunger and 2 L squeeze bag = 4.9 oz
Eating utensils Ziploc container and plastic spoon = 1.8 oz
Headlamp Petzel, with spare batteries = 3.9 oz
Food hanging ZPacks stuff sack and paracord = 3.4 oz
Water bladder 1 L Platypus bladder = 0.8 oz
Umbrella Chrome umbrella = 8.2 oz
First Aid kit Hand made = 17.7
Toiletries Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair ties, diva cup, razor, sunscreen, lotion, pocket knife = 7.0 oz
Clothes Patagonia puffy coat with hood = 13.1 oz
Outdoor research Helium II rain jacket = 5. 8 oz
Patagonia mid-weight long underwear bottoms = 5.0 oz
Patagonia mid-weight long underwear long sleeve top = 5.9 oz
Fleece hat and gloves = 2.5 oz
Injinji toe socks (2 extra pair) = 2.2 oz
Exofficio underwear = 1.0 oz
Camera Canon PowerShot SX210 with case, spare battery and battery charger = 13.1 oz
Kindle the old school kind = 7.8
Phone Moto X with case = 6.4 oz)
Grand total base weight = 11 pounds, 7 ounce
My goal was 10 pounds and I would have been under that if not for the luxuries of a camera and kindle. There’s always the option of sending sending those home if I’m not using them.
I am also bringing trekking poles (20.9 oz) which will be used as tent poles as well.
To wear, I have a long sleeve, button down shirt from Columbia (5.6 oz), a Patagonia sports bra (2.9 oz), Injinji socks (1.1 oz), Exofficio underwear (1.0 oz), Mountain Hardware pants (9.6 oz) and Saucony Virata 2 shoes with blue superfeet insoles (15.6 oz).
Once I get to Kennedy Meadows, which is where the Sierra mountains start, there are a few items that I will pick up, including:
Salomon speedcross 3 shoes (21.2 oz), Bear vault (required in part of the Sierra; 40.7 oz), microspikes (just in case there’s actually snow, 13.7 oz), bug netting, extra clothing layers, and hand warmers.
I’m sure I could have gone lighter on some things, but I also wanted to keep the expenses of new gear if not exactly reasonable, then at least not astronomical. Things can, and probably will, change along the trail. Remember: be flexible!