Everything You Need to Know About the Campo PCT Trailhead

Are you wondering where is the Campo PCT Trailhead ? Let me help you.

I started my own hike at Campo PCT trailhead back in April of this year. It was a little out of the way but luckily, I got a ride there to start hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Anyway, here is some brief information that I though you might like to have for your own hike.

Where is the Campo PCT Trailhead?

In case you might be asking yourself, the Pacific Crest Trail is a long distance hiking trail that travels 2,620 miles from Mexico to Canada. Most north bound hikers begin their trek between March and April.

As for the Southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail, this is located next to a small town called Campo. Situated right next to the border of Mexico, you will find a tall podium which is known as the southern terminus of the PCT.

Lack of Facilities in Campo

To be honest, this is quite a sleepy town and not the place for supplies. In my opinion, you should take everything you need to the border and this includes water. More on that later.

How to Get to the Campo PCT Trailhead

As already mentioned, I got a ride to the Campo PCT Trailhead and this is certainly the easiest way. Apparently, you can take a combination of tram and bus to the Campo PCT terminus for $8 but I’m unsure about this option.

Drive from San Diego to Campo PCT trailhead – 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Tram and Bus from San Diego to PCT trailhead – 4 Hours

Check out this option on Rome2Rio for more info on the bus to Campo.

Coming from Scout and Frodo’s

I never got to stay at Scout and Frodo’s – life got in the way. However, almost everyone else I met on trail stayed here and had nothing but the best things to say about the place.

If you stay here, you also get booked onto a morning “shuttle” to the Campo PCT Trailhead. Most hikers get up around 5.30am for breakfast and then pile into three cars for the ride to the border. The drive is just 75km but after taking photographs and chatting with other hikers, you will usually start walking around 7.30am – EEEK!

Driving to The Campo PCT Trailhead

 

About Water at the Campo PCT Trailhead

My friends, do not depend on there being water at the PCT Trailhead in Campo. More importantly, make sure you take enough water for the start of your hike. Just so you know, most people I ran into on day one and two had either run out or run super low on water. You do not want this to happen.

Also, I recommend that you take more water on this day than almost any other. It can get super hot and there is no water between Campo and Lake Morena – that’s 20 miles without a water source. Don’t worry, it gets better and easier.

For more information about this day, check out my post about the hike from Campo to Lake Morena PCT.

Anyway, that’s it – I hope that you found what you were looking for in my post.

But wait…

Would you mind leaving a comment below? Where are you from and why are you hiking the trail? I LOVE to hear from hikers starting their journey on the Pacific Crest Trail.

My Microadventure Kit List

My microadventure kit list is something that has changed quite a lot over the past year. In some cases, I have needed to change out items due to them being too heavy. However, for the most part, I have simply purchased new and better gear.

As you may know, a microadventure is a relatively short escape and quite different from my recent hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. With this in mind, I need only a small amount of food and supplies on a microadventure but the quality of my gear is just as important as a long distance journey.

Anyway, I digress, here is my new microadventure kit list:

My Microadventure Kit List

As a rule, a microadventure kit list should serve a purpose and yet be reasonably light. Unfortunately, this is where I start to get worried as the danger with packing for an outdoor trip is always that one might go unprepared.  For this reason, please know that this is not a definitive list of any kind. You should always do your own due diligence and make sure that are well prepared and knowledgable for whatever it is that you are about to do!

  • UltralightTent
  • 3 Season Sleeping bag
  • Thermarest
  • Warm Clothes and Wooly Hat
  • Rain Gear incl. Waterproof Pants
  • Reliable Head torch
  • Enough Food and Water
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Smartphone
  • SPOT Device
  • Optional – Credit Card

To be fair, this is most often all you need for a microadventure kit list!


Detailed View of My Microadventure Kit list

Blue Kazoo Sleeping bag

Best sleeping back for a Microadventure kit list - North Face Sleeping BagI took this sleeping bag on the Pacific Crest Trail this year. It got me through but there were some nights below freezing where I needed to wear my thermals to bed. Other than that, I absolutely love this sleeping bag and feel it should be adequate for microadventures in areas above freezing temps.

 Check Out the North Face Blue Kazoo Sleeping Bag

 


Backpack

Picture of an Osprey Exos 58I am a bit of a gear snob nowadays. In the beginning, I didn’t pay much attention to the gear but the more I get out there, the more I appreciate good gear. My Osprey Exos 58 is one of my favourite pieces of outdoor gear. Strong, lightweight, reliable – I just love it!

 Check Out the Osprey Exos 58L


Petzl Actik Core H

Headlamp by PetzlI am such a huge fan of Petzl and this incredible head torch. Although the full beam tends to run out pretty quickly, the torch comes with a rechargeable battery. This also means you can carry spares. However, it’s a fantastic torch and ideal for putting your tent up in the dark when you need to be handsfree.

Check Out the Petzl Actik Core Here

 

 

Thermarest

Ultralight Sleeping MattressAnother incredible item that lasted the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Over time, they start to lose their cushion but when I say “time”, I mean after 110 nights sleep. An excellent lightweight option that I recommend.

Check Out the Z-Lite Mattress Here

 


Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Big Agnes Tent in IrelandObviously this ultralight tent is not a must for a microadventure kitlist. You can probably have just about any tent, so long as it can withstand the elements. That being said, this tent is so light that I would never consider carrying any other.

Check Out Big Agnes Tents Here


Trail Shoes & Clothing

You obviously need to have warm gear for cold weather. However, there is always a trade off between what you want to have on a kit list for microadventures and what you can actually carry.

Warm Wear

Take thermals, warm socks and leggings. I always keep a spare set of clothing in a dry sac just in case of heavy rain. You can never have too much clothing, but you can certainly have too little.

 


Day Wear

Wear whatever feels comfortable when you hike. Personally, I will never ever go hiking without my Columbia Shirt again. The thing just never gives me problems and still looks the same as the day I bought it. Also, for the absolute best footwear, check out my Darn Tough Socks Review.

 


Waterproof Wear

OR Hellium Rain jacketYou have to stay dry. Even if you don’t expect it, make waterproof gear an essential part of your kit list for microadventures.

 

 


Optional Items for a Microadventure Kit list

Some items don’t make my kit list for microadventures but that doesn’t mean I don’t like them.

Pillow

Picture of a pillowPillows, I have decided, are not a luxury. They should be enjoyed and taken on every adventure. This is one item I will be buying online shortly.

 

 


Camping Stove

Lightweight BRs stoveNothing can beat a warm meal after a day of hiking. In fact, on a cold night, this is especially true. Plus, how else can you make coffee in the morning? I am currently waiting to order one of these online.

 

 


Towel

Micro Fibre TowelI used these towels to dry my feet when it rains. Also, wait for it, I use this same towel to clean my feet when they sweat. Footcare should always be a priority in the outdoors.

 


I hope it goes without saying that this list is not extensive and you should always tailor your research for every trip.

Do you have a Microadventure kit list of your own? What are your favourite pieces of gear? Let me know in the comments.


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review any of these products and I purchase this equipment myself. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for any product, I just know that this gear works for me and it is likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

Darn Tough Socks Review on the Pacific Crest Trail

I have been wanting to write a darn tough socks review for several months now. Please know that I was never paid or encouraged to write this review about Darn Tough hiking socks. Instead, I wanted to give an honest account of my personal experience with these socks on my long distance trek.

As you may know, I finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail recently and went through several pairs of hiking socks during this time. However, aside from my darn tough hiking socks, I tested four different brands. I won’t name these brands but just know that each one is an extremely well known company with a solid reputation. In fact, I was gutted to find that my socks fell apart so quickly and this is mostly the reason I wanted to write this darn tough socks review.

My Darn Tough Socks Review

I purchased my first pair of Darn Tough hiking socks in San Diego just a few days before hitting the trail. On first impressions, I thought the socks looked rather uninspiring. Walking around town that day, I could tell that they had more cushion than what I was used to wearing but at the same time, it was impossible to make any kind of assessment. However, I would wear no less than five pairs on the Pacific Crest Trail so needless to say, my darn tough socks review is based on a hell of a lot of experience.


Darn Tough Vermont

About Darn Tough 

Darn Tough is a sock manufaturer in Vermont, USA. According to the company, every item to leave their backyard is hand crafted and made to withstand all kind of weather. While many hikers outside of North America may be unfamiliar with the brand, rest assured they are well known in this part of the world. Darn Tough hiking socks are produced with hikers, bikers and the ski industry in mind.

Specifications of Hiker 1/4 Sock Cushion

  • Weight – 2.3oz
  • 65% Merino Wool, 31% Nylon, 4% Lycra Spandex
  • Price: US$18

Darn Tough Socks Review

Wearing Darn Tough Hiking Socks on the Pacific Crest Trail

Overview – Simply put, my Darn Tough hiking socks were far superior to every other I tested on the trail. It was incredible what they were able to sustain. Although they eventually met their demise, this should be expected after more than one thousand miles. Comfortable and lightweight, they seemed effortless compared to my previous socks. Also, the holes that appeared in the socks were the result of me clipping my ankles when I was hiking.

Comfort – Without doubt, these were the most comfortable socks I had on trail. In fact, the only time I did not wear my Darn Tough was when I went to bed.

Appearance – As I said, my first impressions left a lot to be desired. Hiking is far from a fashion show. However, I feel that their creative team should be able to come up with something that looks a little more appealing.

Price – Honestly, I would pay the price for Darn Tough hiking socks everytime. At the same token, it does seem like a lot and even just $3 or $4 less would make me feel much better about the purchase.

Guarantee – Okay, let me explain in the next section about this incredible guarantee.


Darn Tough Guarantee & Customer Service

Darn Tough Guarantee

Darn Tough offer the most impressive lifetime guarantee I have ever encountered in the outdoor industry. Without strings and without any conditions, if they are not comfortable or if they do not fit properly, they will replace them immediately. In the case of you not being within reach of a store, you can also send the socks by post instead.

Ironically, I needed to contact their customer service team by email during my hike. Within minutes, I received reply requesting that I take a photograph of my damaged socks. Less than an hour later, I received confirmation that they had just placed my new socks in the post.

Special Guarantee for Pacific Crest Trail Hikers

I do know that this is not the first time Darn Tough have taken this approach. I spoke with three other thruhikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and they all had the very same experience. Apparently, the company is deeply appreciative of their popularity on the trail. For this reason, they make an exception for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail.

With this in mind, they have got to be the best socks for the Pacific Crest Trail, right?


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review these socks and I purchased my own socks. I just know that these tents work really well for other outdoor adventurers and so they are likely to work for you too. 

The Best Backpacking Tents for Adventure in 2019

When I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this year, the best backpacking tents was a hot topic. However, it was also clear that every thruhiker has a slightly different taste. Many outdoor suppliers have entered the fray in recent years which means there is even more variety but at the same time, variety can make things complicated, right? And this is precisely why I put together this list of the best backpacking tents for 2019. As you will see, many characteristics are taken into account such as the cost, weight, interior space, weather protection and durability.

Either way, I hope this post can help you decide among the top backpacking tents and choose whatever seems the most approapriate for you next adventure.


Quick Answer – No Time to Read On?

Best Backpacking Tent Overall – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Best One Person Backpacking Tent – Nemo Hornet 1P

Best Two Person Backpacking Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2

Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent – Zpacks Duplex 2 Person Tent

Best Budget Backpacking Tent – Big Agnes Flycreek UL2


Things to Consider When Choosing a Backpacking Tent

SIZE – Most tents exagerrate when it comes to sizing. In other words, if you see a “four person tent”, it will likely fit two or three people at most. There is no set scale in the industry so think of it this way; the capacity of a tent is often the number of sleeping bags you can fit side by side.

WEIGHT – Are you an ultralight backpacker? maybe a mountaineer? The weight of your pack matters and this obviously includes whatever tent you decide upon. However, ultralight comes at a premium in terms of price – so be warned.

DURABILITY – Unfortunately, choosing a lighweight tent is going to mean sacrificing the durability somwehat. For this reason, remember that backpacking tents are not designed for extreme environments.

WEATHER – Most backpacking tents are three season which should keep out the wind and rain. However, they are not suitable for heavy snow conditions or storm force winds high up in the Andes. In warm weather, you might want a tent with extra ventilation. However, if you need something to withstand the winter, you should be looking at a four season tent.

PRICE – The best backpacking tents are most often not the cheapest. However, if you plan to use this shelter more than once or on a long distance adventure, price should not dictate the quality of your new home.


Important Features of the Best Backpacking Tents

SETTING UP – Most backpacking tents are especially east to set up. At the same time, some brands use colour coding to make the set up process even more straight forward. Also, the larger the tent, the longer it usually takes to set up.

DOORS – Sharing a tent can be quite a challenge and this is certainly true if there is only one door. The best two person backpacking tents have at least two doors but this is also optional – so long as there is enough space inside.

VESTIBULES – As with the doors above, vestibules can play an important role for a backpacking tent. Afterall, this is your storage space and something to leave your backpack, shoes or maybe wet rain gear. Most tents will have a vestibule but choosing a backpacking tent without one is a risky decision.

DESIGN – Price is not always a good indicator as to the reliability of a tent but choosing the cheapest option available is likely to end badly. Afterall, if subjected to unexpected weather, price is a small sacrifice to pay for your safety.

SPACE – Interior space is hugely important on a long distance adventure. Of course, preference is different for every individual but as a rule, the more space in a tent, the more comfortable you are likely to feel.


THE BEST BACKPACKING TENTS FOR 2019

 

 

Big Agnes Tent in Ireland

Best Backpacking Tent Overall – Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Trail Weight: 2lb 12oz

Dimensions (L x W x H): 88 x 52/42 x 40in

Size: 2 Person

Okay, this is my tent but please know that I was not paid for this review. I cannot tell you the number of times when other hikers have complimented my Copper Spur UL2. The shelter is extremely lightweight and spacious inside which are just two reasons why this is probably the best backpacking tent for 2019. Although the bright colors are not for everyone, they brighten up the mornings.

What I Really Like: Bright and cheerful colours. Spacious, light and packs down to a small size.

Check Best Price


Big Agnes Flycreek

Best Budget Backpacking Tent – Big Agnes Flycreek HV UL2

Trail Weight: 1lb 11oz

Dimensions (L x W x H): 86 x 38/28

Size: 1 Person

What I Really Like: The Flycreek is super cheap and packs down to such a small size.

Check Best Price

 


Nemo Hornet

Best One Person Backpacking Tent – Nemo Hornet 1P

Trail Weight: 1lb 11oz

Dimensions (L x W): 87 x 40/31

Size: 1 person

Large side door offers more vestibule space and easier access in and out of the tent

Extremely fast and easy setup, thanks to a single hubbed pole with ball-and-socket end tipsTriangulated guyouts increase interior spaceTrue tub floor construction reduces seam construction and seam tape, increasing the longevity of the tentState-of-the-art fabrics and premium hardware create an ultralight, yet highly livable backpacking tentDurable, advanced DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum poles weigh less than nearly any other poles on the market

What I Really Like: The Nemo Hornet 1P is slim and lightweight. However, the material is a slight upgrade from similar tents in the same category.

Check Best Price


 

MSR Hubba Tent

Best Two Person Backpacking Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent

Trail Weight: 3lb 7oz

Dimensions: (Length x Width x Height): 84 x 50 x 39in

Size: 2 Person

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX has a slightly more durable physique next to many alternatives of the same weight. It also has two vestbules and two separate doors which make it an ideal tent for couples. When it comes to compact two person tents, there is often a shortage of room but the Hubba Hubba NX has a lot more height and room to manouver than most. Finally, this offering from MSR is also known to be watertight and reliable in heavy rain or wind.

What I Really Like: Lightweight tent with durable material. Compact and reliable in all sorts of weather.

Check Best Price

Backpacking tent for Microadventures

Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent – Z Packs Duplex 2 Person Tent

Trail Weight: 1lb 3oz

Dimensions: (Length x Width x Height): 100 x 45 x 48in

Size: 1 – 2 Person

Z-Packs was one of the most popular tents on the Pacific Crest Trail this year and with so little weight, it’s easy to understand why. However, this is not a freestanding tent which means you will need two trekking poles to set it up. I must also admit that this is quicker to pitch than my trusty Big Agnes and it features an extremely watertight design.

What I Really Like: Ultralight and extremely quick to set up.

Check Best Price
Have I missed anything? Do you know of any other top backpacking tents? Please let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review these tents and I purchased my own tents. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for the product, I just know that these tents work really well for other outdoor adventurers and so they are likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

Poodle Dog Bush on the Pacific Crest Trail

Poodle Dog Bush is a real concern for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Afterall, it can pose a serious threat and hikers are sure to encounter the plant at least once on their journey. Thankfully, I have never had any negative experiences with the bush but I have come across several thruhikers who were not so lucky.

In case you might be asking yourself, poodle dog bush is a mountain shrub in California. Unforutnately, this colorful plant secretes a skin irritant which makes it a threat when hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. For this reason, you should avoid contact with Poodle Dog Bush and know how to identify this

What Does Poodle Dog Bush Look Like?

Poodle dog Bush in California

Poodle Dog Bush is a tall shrub with purple flowers. However, you need to be paying attention to spot the plant which is often identified by a rather pungent smell.

What Harm Can Poodle Dog Bush?

Poodle Dog Bush is a form of dermatitis which is sometimes compared to poison oak. Most affected hikers claim to have received a rash of some kind from the plant. At the same time, it can have much greater consequences with blisters and even respiratory distress reported on occasion. Symptoms of the above can appear within hours or days of making contact with the plant.

Where is Poodle Dog Bush on the Pacific Crest Trail?

Although Poodle Dog Bush is most common in the San Gabriel Mountains in California, you will also find it elsewhere.

PS. Contrary to what some hikers believe, the Poodle dog plant is not also known as the Poodle Brush Plant.

What to Do When You Come Across the Plant

As you might have guessed, long sleeves and long pants can reduce exposure to the bush. Try to move around the bush whenever possible and wear long pants/sleeves. However, if you touch this clothing after it comes in contact with the plant, you can also contaminate yourself.

How Can You Treat Skin Rash or Blisters?

Blisters should never be popped and you try to resist any scratching of the affected area. Hydrocortisone creams or calamine lotion can give relief for the itchiness you might be experiencing. Unfortunately, the healing process can take some time. You should also rinse any clothing which came into contact with the Poodle Dog Bush.


Have you any experience with irritations or encounters with the plant? I would love to hear about it – please let me know in the comments!

The Ultimate Gear List for the Pacific Crest Trail

As you may know, I have just finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in America. It was a long and punishing trek with endless climbs but there were also endless lessons throughout. Although I had a reasonable idea in terms of the best gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail, there were many insights along the way which sometimes left me wanting alternative gear. In other words, I managed to choose some of the best equipment for my hike but there were also some regrets.

With this in mind, I wanted to give an outline of my gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail and some pointers for equipment that would have been a lot more beneficial during this long distance trek.

My Gear List for the Pacific Crest Trail

My Gear List for the Pacific Crest Trail

Instead of jumping right into the gear, I wanted to make a quick note about certain aspects which need to be considered when choosing the best gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail. If you have hiking experience, please feel free to skip down.

About the Layer System – The weather on the Pacific Crest Trail changes often. You need to be prepared for scorching heat and freezing temperatures too. While you might want to take a heavy waterproof jacket – the better option is to go light and layer up. In other words, take a lightweight waterproof jacket and layers for underneath which will allow you to regulate your temperature.

About Cotton – Avoid it like the plague. When the weather is hot, cotton is know to cause chaffing. Also, when the weather is wet, cotton is difficult to dry which can leave thruhikers at risk of hypothermia. Alternatively, pick a material that dries quick and keeps moisture from the skin such as merino wool, nylon or silk.

About Keeping Everything Dry – If you get into the tent at night with wet gear and rain is still coming down in the morning, resist the temptation to put on dry clothing. Make sure that either your backpack is waterproof or that you use a decent rain-cover and bin liners to keep everything dry inside your backpack.

Here is a quick look at my gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail:

My Big Five

Backpack | Osprey Exos 58
Tent | Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2
Sleeping Bag | North Face Blue Kazoo
Therma-Rest/Mattress | Z-Lite Sleeping Pad
Trekking Poles | Black Diamond Trekking Poles


My Clothing

Headwear | Columbia Baseball Cap and REI Sunhat
Sunglasses | Fake Ray Bans from Thailand
Jacket| Downjacket from Penney’s
Rain jacket | NorthFace Gortex Jacket
Shirt |Columbia Silver Ridge long sleeve shirt
Shorts | Vuori Trail Shorts
Thermal Leggings | Skins Leggings
Waterproof Trousers | Pac-in-a-sac
Gloves | Thinsulate Gloves
Shoes | Altra Lone Peak 4.0
Hiking Socks | Darn Tough Hiking Socks
Underwear | ExOfficio Boxer


My Smaller Stuff

Headlamp | Petzl Actik Core
Water Treatment | Sawyer Squeeze Mini
Water Bottle | Platypus & Smart water bottles
Camping Knife | Gerber Knife
Raincover | Osprey Pack Cover
Dry Bags | Sea to Summit (9L or 15L)


My Kitchen Gear

Utensil | Titanium Spork by Sea to Summit
Knife | Gerber knife
Food Bag | Sea to Summit waterproof bag
Storage | Ziploc Bags


Electronic Equipment

Phone | Samsung Galaxy Duo
Camera | Canon G7X
Media Storage | iPad Mini
Powerbank | Anker 20,000 AMP & Anker 10,000 AMP
Headphones | Generic headphones
Charger/converter/adapter | Generic Headphones
Cords | USB Phone Cable, iPad cable, camera charger


Miscellaneous

Passport
Travel Insurance
Emergency Foil Blanket
First Aid Kit
Credit/Debit Cards
Cash ($US)
Duct Tape
Toilet Paper
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Baby Wipes & Hand Sanitizer
Second Skin / Blister Cushions
Moleskin
Electrolyte Sachets
Titanium Spork by Sea to Summit
Ziploc Bags


More in-Depth View of my Gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail

The Backpack – Osprey Exos 58

Picture of an Osprey Exos 58

While I recommend that you jump over and pick one of these up, there are now many options for the best backpack for the Pacific Crest Trail. Make no mistake, putting the right backpack one your gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail is one of the most important gear decisions and the Osprey Exos 58 is a reliable choice.

Read my full Osprey Exos review here.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Osprey Exos 58


My Shelter – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Microadventure Tent

Needless to say, I came across so many tents on the trail. However, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 never let me down and was far superior to most alternatives. I wrote a full review this week for the tent but in short, this is an incredible lightweight tent that should serve you well as part of your gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail.

Read my full Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 review

Microadventureworld Recommends – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2


Sleeping Bag – North Face Blue Kazoo

North Face Sleeping Bag

Initially, I wanted a Revelation Quilt as my sleeping bag for the Pacific Crest Trail but settled on the North Face Blue Kazoo. It is an excellent tent with a wonderful mummy hood that can wrap the entire way around your face. However, it was not ideal for freezing temperatures and I was required to wear every stitch of clothing on such nights. In hindsight, this was a great tent for winter camping but not for treks with significant elevation or freezing temps.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Revelation Quilt by Enlightened Equipment


Therma-rest Mattress – Z Iite Mattress

Ultralight Sleeping Mattress

Z-Lite is extremely lightweight and the way this mattress radiates heat back up toward the body is fantastic.  Also, I never understood why thruhikers put up with the frustrations that came with inflating/deflating their thermarests, I was just happy to have this simple piece of outdoor gear which performed equally as good.

Read my full review for the Z-Lite Themarest

Microadventureworld Recommends – Z-Lite Thermarest


Jacket – Downjacket from Penney’s

Derek Cullen

Okay, first off, I do not recommend this option on your gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail. However, I found it interesting that such a cheap jacket was able to provide so much warmth and reliability. That being said, I highly recommend that you consider one of the jackets below – each of which is a common downjacket for the PCT.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer


Raincoat – NorthFace Shell

Podcast on Soundcloud called Everything Micro

You obviously need a rain jacket on your gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail and this is certainly true for Washington at the very least. I used a NorthFace shell which worked pretty good but at the same time, your rain jacket stays in the backpack for the most part and this jacket is not the lightest.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Outdoor Research Helium II


Hiking Socks – Darn Tough Hiking Socks

At one time, I was using hiking socks of any kind. However, I went through so many useless pairs of socks on the trail and always came back to Darn Tough. They have an excellent exchange policy for PCT hikers too in which you take a photo of damaged socks and they send out a pair without any questions. Anyway, buy them and forget the alternatives.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Darn Tough Socks

 


Trail Hiking Shoes – Altra Lone Peak 4.0

I had a pair of Columbia Outdry prior to the Pacific Crest Trail and they served me well. However, thruhiking is another story and I found the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 to be an incredible companion on trail. Wide tops reduce the risk of blisters and they dry super quick. I will say that they tend to last 500 miles and no more but this still is pretty impressive.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Altra Lone Peak 4.0


Headlamp – Petzl Actik Core

Headlamp by PetzlWhen you finally purchase an excellent headlamp, you will know the difference they can make. Petzl Actik Core comes with a rechargeable battery which is priceless and an incredibly strong beam.

Read my full review of the Petzl Actik Core

Microadventureworld Recommends – Petzl Actik Core


Water Filtration – Sawyer Squeeze Mini

Small and easy to use, what is there not to like? I got giardia on the Pacific Crest Trail from not using a water filter and never had any issues when I used this filtration system. That being said, please do not buy the mini version – they take forever to filter.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Sawyer Squeeze (Regular Size)

 

 

Sea to Summit Spork

Incredibly useful and useful for every meal. It was also lightweight and was super easy to attach to my backpack. Thruhikers find this especially important as the long handle lets them dig deep into the bottom of their nutella and peanut butter.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Sea to Summit Spork


Anker Powerbank 20,000 AMPH

Tp Link PowerbankProbably the wisest decision of mine was to pick up a 20k powerbank which is enough to charge a smartphone up to five times. Naturally, this can also be used for any electronic equipment.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Anker Powerbank

 


Please know that this gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail is merely a guide and not gospel. You will find many products, brands, and outdoor gear which can serve the same purpose.

However, the outdoor gear above is equipment that I have come to appreciate the most and the next time I consider packing for a long distance trail, these items will most certainly be on there.

Is there any outdoor gear for the Pacific Crest Trail that you recommend? Anything missing from the list above? Please leave a comment below and let me know.


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review any of these products and I purchase this equipment myself. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for any product, I just know that this gear works for me and it is likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Review

I wanted to publish a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 review – my tent for the Pacific Crest Trail.

You may not have heard about Big Agnes, unless you live the United States and camping or hiking is your cup of tea. That is to say, this hugely popular brand of backpacking tent is largely unknown in Europe and I can only suspect that this is due to the fact that established brands do not want you to know about it. Why? Because it’s amazing.

Anyway, while I do like the MSR Hubba Hubba NX, I much prefer the design, color and features of the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. Hence, this was my choice in terms of the best tent for the Pacific Crest Trail and I also believe this is the ultimate tent for Microadventures or multi-day hikes in general.

However, I would like to be more specific so here is an outline as to why I believe this is the best tent for hiking the PCT:

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Review

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Outdoors

Needless to say, when you see the weight of the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2, you can appreciate why this is an incredibly popular tent for the PCT. In fact, this is the lightest two person tent on the market – that I know about.

In case you might be asking yourself, taking a two person tent on a long distance adventure is extremely common. In short, one person tents are often too small and most thruhikers grow tired of such a confined space. Furthermore, two person tents provide enough room to store your backpack and when it comes to sitting out the storms – there is just enough room so as not to feel cramped.

Comfort of the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

As already mentioned, this is a spacious option but certain features also make this a very convenient tent for microadventures. For example, there are two entrances to the tent and large vestibules on both sides. If you wish to leave shoes, bags or items outside, this will help but the overall benefit is extra space.

Further, two mesh pockets are located far enough away from the fly sheet so as to keep items safe from harm. Up above, there are also several places to hang a headlamp while the rectangular size is highly practical for keeping everything organized inside.

Simply put, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is the most comfortable tent in which I have ever spent the night.

Setting Up the Big Agnes

As you may know, the Big Agnes comes with a hubbed design pole system which means that the poles are attached to each other. Unlike other tents, these poles are rather simple to pull apart and slot seamlessly together. A small pole also attaches easily to the top which acts as support for the flysheet. I can put this tent up in just a few minutes and the fly sheet clips into place using a colour coded system. Again, this is the easiest tent I have ever attempted to pitch. My only issue, Big Agnes should provide at least four more stakes to tie down the fly sheet guy ropes.

Performance in Weather

After taking the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 through some fairly extreme weather, it showed no signs of weakness. Also, in particularly cold weather, aside from droplets on the mesh, there were no leaks or issues with moisture inside. What I will say for anyone considering the Big Agnes, this is not intended as an extreme weather option but it still qualifies as an ideal tent for long distance adventures or microadventures. In the wake of some very wet evenings, the tent also dried out incredibly fast with just a few minutes of sun.

Durability of the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Big Agnes Outdoors

I would say that the lightweight nature of the Big Agnes is the most attractive quality for hikers but at the same time, this is also the potential downside. After all, this light material also means that it can tear or damage a lot easier than standard material. I believe this should be expected and purchasing a groundsheet is a good idea to reduce the risk of stones or debris damaging the underside. On the Pacific Crest Trail, I had a sheet of tyvek as a groundsheet and the tent did not incur a single tear or damage of any kind for the duration.

All considered, this is the one area in which the MSR Hubba Hubba NX can possibly claim a slight advantage over the Big Agnes, for the material is slightly more durable.

Weight

With a weight of 2 lbs. & 12 oz., this ultralight two person tent has no rival. Indeed, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX comes close but every ounce counts on a long distance adventure and the Big Agnes is certainly lighter. Also, the tent packs down to a very small size and can be easily compressed into a relatively small backpack.

Value

If you plan on heading out camping for the first time, this may not be the right tent given the price point. However, if you take outdoor adventures often or intend on hiking the Wicklow Way anytime soon, I really like the idea of taking a Big Agnes along for the ride. Sure, this is one of the pricier tents on the market but in truth, ultra light tents come with a cost and this beautiful tent has a proven reputation on the trail. Although you will not find this baby in any outdoor stores in Ireland, you can easily order the tent online and rest easy in the knowledge that you picked a solid backpacking tent.

Conclusion

I have hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and can see why this is often considered the best tent for long distance adventures. It is extremely easy to set up and pack down but more importantly, it provided a safe and spacious shelter in challenging weather conditions. Finally, with such an incredibly small size and lightweight frame, I can safely recommend the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 as an ideal tent for microadventures or long distance treks.

YOU CAN BUY THE BIG AGNES COPPER SPUR UL2 HERE

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Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review this item and I purchased this tent myself. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for the product, I just know that this tent works for me and it is likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

How to Deal with Wildfire on the Pacific Crest Trail

According to scientists, wildfires will be more common in the future. With this in mind, thruhikers should be educated on the basics of how to deal with wildfire on the Pacific Crest Trail.

When I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this year, we were extremely lucky with the absence and location of wildfires. Needless to say, these fires can result in fire closures and having to skip sections of trail. At the same time and most importantly, they are extremely dangerous and a real threat to the safety of thruhikers on the Pacific Crest Trail when they happen.

The Rise of Wildfires in the Pacific Crest Trail

PCT Fireman

As already mentioned, scientists are predicting that more than ten states will experience a 500 percent increase in wildlife. For the most part, this is due to environmental factors and wildfire is now set to become part of daily life in the western states.

Scott McClean has 18 years experience as a wildland firefighter and is now tasked with leading the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. In recent comments, the Deputy Chief said that he was expecting more than 700 wildland fires in California next year and outlined the correct procedure for thruhikers who might be caught in a wildfire situation.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Before you hot the trail, you should be fully aware of the conditions that lie ahead. Scott McLean recommends that thruhikers check InciWeb which maps out wildfires across the United States. As you may know, the PCTA website is also a good source of information for fire closures on the Pacific Crest Trail.

At the same time, hikers should also have a reliable GPS system and maps to navigate alternate trails or even off-trail should the situation arise. Further, having a Garmin InReach or SPOT device is essential.

What to Do If You Encounter a Wildfire

Scott McLean advises that hikers should first establish the wind direction which should be visible based on the direction of the smoke:

Smoke Rising Upward – In an instance where smoke is rising straight up, this indicates that there is no wind which is a good sign as it reduces the ability of a wildfire to spread.

Smoke Scattered on the Horizon – If the smoke is moving in one direction on the horizon, this means that the fire will spread quickly. Also, this should tell you which direction the fire will move.

McClean also makes it clear that hikers should always move downhill. “Fires burn uphill. It’s preheating the vegetation in front of it, so your best bet is down low. Travel upwind and downhill on dirt roads or streambeds with little vegetation. Stay away from canyons and draws, which can work to amplify a fire. Keep your distance, and maneuver around the flames as fast as possible.”

If Caught in a Wildfire on the Pacific Crest Trail

Fire on the PCT

If you get caught in the midst of a wildfire on the Pacific Crest Trail, the safest place to be is within an area that has already burned. You can tell such areas as they are mostly black and although uncomfortably hot or dry, this is often the best place to wait until the fire has subsided or past.

You cannot outrun a fire and McLean advises that “waiting it out” is usually the best option. But what else should you do in a wildfire situation?

Lay down on your stomach with your feet pointed toward the fire. Dig a hole and stick your face in it to avoid breathing in smoke. If you have a handkerchief, put that over your face as well. Hunker down, and the fire might change directions. It also might burn around you. But stay there for a good amount of time so there is no chance of it coming back at you. If the fire passes around you, find a way out behind the path of the blaze, sticking to the black whenever possible. – Scott McLean

Hiking in Burn Areas and Charred Forests

Finally, you are likely to encounter burn areas on the Pacific Crest Trail. Watch out for fragile trees and certainly try not to camp beneath anything that looks unstable. If you can, try to exit these areas before camping and if raining, watch out for mudslides in the area.

As you can see, common sense is needed but thruhikers should also be familiar with the best course of action to take in a wildfire situation. Either way, you should always avoid taking risks and take responsibility for keeping up to date with the conditions ahead on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Long Distance Trail in Chile to Become the Most Spectacular in the World

Whether it turns out to be the most spectacular long distance trail or not, a new long distance trail in Chile is certain to capture the imagination of thruhikers all over the world. Interestingly, this epic trail is also set to become the lasting legacy of one of the most influential figures to grace the outdoor industry.

Doug Tompkins and Conservation in Patagonia

Founder of Northface with his wife

Douglas Tompkins, the founder of North Face clothing company, died tragically in a kayaking accident a few years ago. At the height of his powers, the business man purchased large quantities of land in the south of Chile and Argentina for the purpose of land conservation.

However, last year, his widow Kristine Tompkins agreed to donate this land to the Chilean government on the basis that the land would be then used to create a network of National Parks. As a result of this agreement, no less than 17 National Parks were created and a long distance hiking trail called the Patagonian Route of Parks would be used to connect them together. Needless to say, this is now the most famous long distance trail in Chile and South America.

Patagonia Hiking Route

Ten Million Acres and Connecting the Dots

Tompkins Conservation is the foundation that held this land until recently but the current executive director, Carolina Morgado is convinced that the trail itself will soon be recognized as the most spectacular long distance trail in the world.

We want Chile to be internationally recognized for having the most spectacular scenic route in the world, and thus become a benchmark for economic development based on conservation – Carolina Morgado

On top of the one million acres donated by the Tompkins Conservation, the Chilean government has also decided to add nine million acres of federal land to the effort. With this in mind, the region is approximately the same size as Switzerland and now accounts for more than 85 percent of the protected land in Patagonia.

Patagonia Hiking Trail

The Rich History of the Patagonia Route of Parks

The Patagonia Route of Parks begins in Alerce Andino National Park at the north tip of the Carretera Austral and ends in Cape Horn National Park. Incredibly, Carretera Austral was a roadway constructed in the time of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a means of traversing the immense wilderness regions of Patagonia.

As you might expect, this famous region is littered with pristine lakes, stunning snow spires and a very rich lineup of both fauna and flora. The Patagonia Route of Parks is also a combination of three seperate trails which can be explored individually – the Southern Way, the Patagonian channels and the End of the World Route.

As for the aspiring thruhiker, the length of the Patagonia Route of Parks (1,740 miles) is a daunting prospect and the equivalent of walking from Alice Springs all the way to the Indian Ocean – the entire length of the Australian outback.

Wondering When to Start the Pacific Crest Trail?

Are you wondering when to start the Pacific Crest Trail? As one of the great long-distance hiking trails in the world, trekking the Pacific Crest Trail, also known as the PCT, is a dream escape for most adventurers. At the same time, do you know the best time to start the PCT? Remember that proper timing is important for your safety and to ensure a truly rewarding hiking experience throughout. With this in mind, to help you plan for this adventure, here is everything you need to know when deciding on the best time to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

When to Start the Pacfic Crest Trail Hike

Answer – Mid April to Early May

Female Hiker on the PCT
Bailey Started the PCT on May 10th

Most northbound hikers start hiking the Pacific Crest Trail between the middle of April and early May. On the other hand, southbound hikers generally begin around late June or early July. Most hikers would prefer to start early, but most sections of the trail are still covered with snow during spring and early summer which can mean an early start is not always a good idea.

In Southern California, dangerous stretches of snow blankets the trail on the first 200 miles from the border. If you enter the Sierra early enough, you are also likely to come across a significant amount of snow and anxious crossings on particularly treacherous streams. In Washington, steep and dangerous snow slopes also make trekking the PCT quite risky and first time hikers are encouraged to avoid such scenarios whenever possible.

Making a late start is not always the best time to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. During this period, Southern California is likely to be dangerously hot and dehydration or sunstroke are serious concerns. If you intend to start late and plan to finish the entire trail as a thru-hike, there are also consequences which you need to keep in mind.

Checking the Current Weather Conditions

Tent on the PAcific Crest Trail
Camping in the High Sierra

As you can see, weather is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding the best time to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Therefore, you must make sure to check the weather conditions during the your hike and you should look to follow the Pacific Crest Trail blog to get updated with the conditions of the trail and to know if the snow has already melted.

Study the weather conditions well and work around some windows of opportunity. Above all, ask yourself the important questions – are you fit enough to sustain “Big miles” in order to catch up or get ahead on trail? Will winter be over before you are done with your hike? In case you might be asking yourself, “Big miles” is different for each hiker but in time, most hikers look to cover a minimum of 25 and 30 miles on a daily basis.

Considerations for When to Start the Pacific Crest Trail

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is a truly exciting experience, but things could happen along the way that is beyond your control. Injuries are often the reason for delays but also, many hikers love nothing more than taking a day off every once in a while which will set you back in the long run. Although the PCT trails are easy to follow, putting in the miles is a constant challenge even for experienced hikers and catching up is much easier said than done. With this in mind, make a decision to start early rather than late and this is likely to give you an option to take days off whenever needed. Furthermore, in the event of arriving at the foot of the Sierra too soon, you will have time to wait for the snow to dissipate and peace of mind that you are still ahead of the pack.

If you have any questions about when to start your hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, please leave a comment below!