PCT gear review: the Big Three

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17 Responses

  1. Lindsey says:

    Alice! I’ve been enjoying your blog. Thanks for the insight + overview of your evolving system over the course of your hike. I really like how you point out early on that everyone needs to hike their own hike and think seriously about their own needs vs. what works for someone else (something I think is sort of lacking in the online communities these days). I’ve been spending too much time (WAY TOO MUCH TIME) obsessing over a tent (not for the entire PCT, but for life in general + some long section hikes). It’s interesting and shocking to me, because I’ve come to a crazy, amazing realization: While I’m a gram counter and in theory I like to over think all the super cool tarp options, I think I might personally want a mid weight free standing tent option for some trips. SHOCKING! (I get cold so easily, even after backpacking my whole life, and I think maybe that’s just more comfortable to me vs. saving weight with a tarp for every trip).

    This was a long and tangential way of saying: I appreciate you pointing out the importance of thinking about your own needs as a backpacker vs. what is the lightest weight trend etc.

    • Alice says:

      Hi Lindsey, it’s great to hear from you. If you come up to Seattle, hit me up and we’ll go for a hike. I feel you on obsessing over grams and the “right” gear. I am of the mind that it’s alright to try whatever you want to try. If you don’t have a good free-standing tent yet, I can pass along that I saw the Big Agnes Fly Creek on the PCT a fair amount, and those who were hiking with it seemed to love it. The free-standing nature was very handy for dumping dirt out of the tent.

      • Lindsey says:

        I might just have to take you up on that hike! I’m moving to Portland over the summer and am so so excited to explore the PNW. I made a compromise for the husband: We got a Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 (because when I take him, it’s usually more of a chill “pack good food/let’s be super comfy” trip, and it looks super swanky as backpacking tents go) and I’ve ALSO been saving for a Mountain Laurel Designs Patrol Tarp + Bug Bivy option for my more random trips. Best of both worlds :)

  2. Peter Freienhagen says:

    I will check the PCT too next year 2016.

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  3. Barry says:

    Alice,
    I am very interested to know if you were able to pack the Burn backpack so that all, or almost all, weight is carried on the hips.

    I sent an email to Ron at Mountain Laurel Designs, and he said that he can make a custom Burn with the padded hipbelt of the Prophet or Exodus — I wonder if this would be helpful in carrying all the weight one the hips.

    But not having a frame, it seems the pack will slouch. I have never used a frameless pack, it just seems, it must be difficult to pack it so it remains rigid.

    • Alice says:

      Hi Barry, I got a padded hipbelt, which helped make the weight comfortable. You’re right that it can be difficult to pack so that it stays rigid. With practice it becomes habit though. I used my CCF sleeping pad against the back of the pack as a framesheet, which helped a ton. It was only when the pack was at its heaviest, with 5L of water, that it hurt my shoulders. When I kept it within the recommended weight limits and used the hipbelt to distribute the weight, it was fine. Hope that helps!

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  1. January 28, 2015

    […] Here you go: part 2 of my PCT gear review. I’ll cover the gear I used on my 2014 PCT thru-hike beyond the Big Three I reviewed in my last post. […]

  2. January 30, 2015

    […] my gear reviews here: the Big Three (tent, sleeping bag, pack) and the little stuff (food prep, water treatment, snow gear, […]

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