My Big Three For Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018

As you may know, I will be using this Pacific Crest Trail Blog to document the upcoming trip and before it starts, I would like to let everyone know about the gear I will be using for this journey.

Believe it or not, while this trek will take more than four months to complete, the preparations can take a lot longer. In this sense, I have already spent many months researching the best ultralight outdoor gear for the trip. That being said, I have also spent just as much time researching the logistics of the hike which involves bear canisters, ice equipment, and the best electronic devices for outdoor adventures.

In terms of the cost, I figure the trip will cost approximately $12,000 after flights and insurance. However, one of the most notable costs for the Pacific Crest Trail packing list itself is what we know as “the Big Three”. In case you might be asking yourself, this refers to the tent, sleeping bag, and the backpack. Anyway, here are my big three for the PCT:

My Big Three for Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018

Backpack – Osprey Exos 58

Picture of an Osprey Exos 58My Osprey Exos 58 has featured on many Microadventures Ireland and I intend to take this on one last hike in Vietnam this week. Either way, this is an incredibly reliable and durable backpack which has endless features which make it suitable for multi-day hiking trips. Although I believe a new version is being released shortly, I am already satisfied with my choice of backpack for the PCT.

You can read my full Osprey Exos 58 Review Here

 



Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba NX

Tent for PCTAlthough I had initially planned on buying a Big Agnes Coppur Spur UL2, the Hubba Hubba NX has impressive reviews which suggest the material is more durable. I have not slept in one of these yet but either way, this is a huge upgrade from my Vango Banshee!

 

 

 


Sleeping Bag – North Face Blue Kazoo

North Face Sleeping Bag

I had wanted a Revelation Quilt for the PCT but decided on the North Face Blue Kazoo instead. I have used this in particular cold weather already and was incredibly surprised by how warm it was in this sleeping bag. On colder nights, I will wear thermal gear but overall, I think this will prove to be a wise investment for the PCT.

 


Have you any of the above outdoor gear? 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 the above items and I purchased my own equipment. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for these products, I just know that this equipment 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.

Why I Will Not Be Using My Vango Tent for the Pacific Crest Trail

I genuinely love this tent but allow me to explain why I will not be using my Vango Banshee tent for th Pacific Crest Trail.

You see, I am a sucker when it comes to romanticizing over my outdoor gear. For example, I bought my Vango Banshee 200 several years ago for one reason – it was cheap. As you might expect from the pictures, it was also quite small for carrying around which also appealed but honestly, I bought the tent because it was one of the cheapest I could find.

Storms and Wild Camping in Africa

Serengeti Tours

Since then, I have taken the tent into many wilderness areas but most notably, I have used this backpacking tent in the wilds of Africa. Why is this important? Well, you come face to face with every terrain and logistical matter when you go camping in places like the Serengeti. Terrain is rugged and unspoiled in these areas but the weather is also particularly unpredictable.

On one occasion, I was stood in the middle of a rain storm holding the corner or two tents in each hand while the occupants took shelter under a nearby tree. Seriously, I was pretty much flying two kites as the weather attempted to claim these two tents and send them flying into the wilderness. In case you might be asking yourself, I was leading an adventure tour at that time and fully responsible for the safety of my clients. In hindsight, this was an extremely dangerous as the Serengeti is home to some of the most spectacular lightning storms you are likely to encounter.

Anyway, throughout this episode, my Vango Banshee sat quietly in the corner and let out little more than a whimper as a storm raged around us. In fact, I remember looking back to see how it was doing and laughing at the resilience of my “cheap tent”. After all, the two tents I was holding had a combined value of more than $1500.

Why I Cannot Use My Vango Tent for the Pacific Crest Trail

Best Tents for Microadventures

You see, I am very attached to my outdoor gear and eventually, each piece becomes what seems like an important part of a story. From wildlife corridors and immense volcanoes to deserts, mountains and abandoned buildings; the Vango Banshee was with me for so many outdoor adventures and never let me down.

Alas, I am taking a long distance trek next month from Mexico to Canada and as you will probably see on my Pacific Crest Trail Blog, the weight and size of every item counts. In the case of the tent, my Vango weighs almost 2lb more than the one I have my eye on and this is quite a lot on a long distance hike. In fact, as far as weight goes, this would be considered quite a heavy backpacking tent for the Pacific Crest Trail.

More importantly, the inside of a Vango Banshee is very compact and confined. If you are looking for the best tent for microadventures, this is definitely a good shout in my option, and cheap too. However, while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018, there are likely to be times when I will need to wait out storms or rest up for the day in the tent and simply put, this is when space will matter.

For this reason, I will be leaving my Vango Banshee somewhere safe and purchasing a new home made of fabric. No mortgages here, my friends.

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Do you have a favorite backpacking tent? Let me know in the comments – I love to hear about other peoples experiences with their outdoor gear!

What to Pack for a Microadventure Packing List

Wondering what to pack for a Microadventure? Honestly, this is a super straightforward process but you should still take care not to exclude any important items on a Microadventure packing list.

A Microadventure is short and simple. It is usually a local adventure and requires little money, yet the location of these adventures will often involve some exposure to uncertain elements in the outdoors. For this reason, you still need to prepare and have a reasonable idea in terms of what to expect. Here, you will find that I have laid out the bare essentials and what to pack for a Microadventure but please be aware the detail of this list should change accordingly.

Essentials Items On a Microadventure Packing List

Packing for a Microadventure is only complicated if you allow this to be the case. As always, the main objective should be to have a fun, stay safe, and find reward in an outdoor adventure. In some cases, you may not need everything on this list but at the same time, you should always expect the unexpected and approach a Microadventure packing list with caution.

Here is a basic checklist of what you will need to squeeze into your backpack:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mattress
  • Warm clothing and hat
  • Rain jacket and waterproof trousers
  • Headtorch
  • Food and water
  • Optional – Credit Card

While circumstances will be slightly different in every instance, this is all you really need to enjoy a rewarding Microadventure.


Detailed View of What to Pack for a Microadventure

Sleeping bag

Best sleeping back for a Microadventure packing list - North Face Sleeping BagIf you plan on spending a night outdoors in the middle of Winter, you will need the best sleeping bag for a Microadventure. Depending on the season (warmth) of the sleeping bag, you could always take a number of sweaters and thermal underwear to make up for the difference.Either way, never underestimate the importance of keeping warm.  Read more information about the North Face Blue Kazoo ProDown Sleeping Bag

 


Bivvy bag

Bivvy BagBivvy bags are essentially an alternative to taking a tent. However, they are not always ideal and are often the choice of those with a little more experience in the outdoors. There are several types of bivvy bag and each one is suited to different circumstances. As you can see from the image, they are very small and super lightweight but certainly not ideal for particularly harsh weather. Check out an example of a Bivvy Bag here


Backpack

Picture of an Osprey Exos 58I am embarrassed to have taken so many long-distance trips with a terrible backpack. When I picked up the Osprey Exos 58, I realized the pure joy that comes with investing the best backpack for a Microadventure. Although lightweight, the frame is rigid and the backpack has endless features. There are also several sizes with 48L and 58L (Litre) being the most popular. I recommend 58L for those who might be interested in taking multi-day hikes in future. You can read my review of the Osprey Exos 58L here.


Headtorch

Headlamp by PetzlWith 350 lumens, you can be guaranteed it lights up the night but there is also a rechargeable battery which came in handy on more than a few occasions. Keep in mind, headtorches are extremely useful for keeping your hands free and this is especially important when setting up a tent in the dark – which happens a lot. Check out the Petzl Actik Here

 

 

Sleeping mattress

Ultralight Sleeping MattressYou need this one for warmth just as much as comfort. Many camping enthusiasts will swear by inflatable therma-rests. However, for me, these are just frustrating to setup and pack away. I love the simplicity of Z-Lite but also how it radiates heat upward back into the body. which is especially important on cold nights when the mattress prevents warmth from escaping into the ground beneath. Check Out the Z-Lite Mattress Here

 


Tent

Big Agnes Tent in IrelandAside from the bivvy bag, the tent is obviously one of your main pieces of outdoor gear for a Microadventure.

Also, this will be the heaviest item in your pack, even if you do go for a lightweight tent such as the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2. Either way, the best tent for a Microadventure is quite a personal choice. Check Out Big Agnes Tents Here


Clothing and Footwear Essentials

You do not need to look fancy or beautiful on a Microadventure, but it is crucial that you wear comfortable clothing that can withstand the elements on an adventure. Here are the main items you need to include on a Microadventure packing list.

Warm gear

If you are without proper thermals, your sleeping clothes can consist of shorts, thick pair of socks, leggings and a long sleeve as the base layer. You should also ensure the warmth of your jacket is sufficient and if it happens to be too warm, you will be thankful for going with a smart layer system. As a rule, it is okay to be too warm but not the other way around.

 


Day clothing

Again, you do not need to look fashionable on a Microadventure (trust me, nobody out there cares). However, comfort is crucial and every hiker will eventually realize the importance of having the best hiking shoes for a Microadventure. Having a spare pair of socks is a good idea but make sure you keep these somewhere dry with a spare set of clothing

 


Waterproof Gear

OR Hellium Rain jacketKeeping everything dry is crucial for both enjoyment and safety. You should always have a rain jacket just in case and rainproof trousers are something which you will also find at the top of my Microadventure packing list.

While the rainjacket is important, please do not forget the pants/trousers

 


Optional Items

There are also certain items that you may want to include on a Microadventure packing list, even if they but seem entirely unnecessary. Often, these are luxury items which you could easily do without but at the same time, that could make your journey that little bit more exciting, comfortable or even fun.

Pillow

Picture of a pillowAnother item that I went without for years and for the life of me, I cannot understand why. Pillows are extremely small and considering the importance of a good nights rest, this should be considered on a Microadventure packing list. Many inflatable options are favored by adventurers but for me, I just care about the fabric and how it feels against my skin.

 

 


Camping Stove

Lightweight BRs stoveOne of my favourite things to do at the end of each day involves either a warm cup of tea or a hot meal (sausages). For this reason, when it comes to my ultralight stove, I never have a second thought regarding what to pack for a Microadventure. You can get by without it, sure, but nothing can substitute something warm for a cold night camping.

 

 


Towel

Micro Fibre TowelWell, it may come in handy at the end of a very wet day but more importantly, how about after swimming in a river?

Microfibre towels are always popular given the slight amount of weight they hold. Furthermore, while you may be concerned that these particular towels stink, there are now many microfibre towels which remain odorless after use.

 


Please know that this list is certainly not extensive in any way and merely a guide in terms of what you will need in general. Every destination and circumstance will have different requirements so please tailor your research for each trip rather than picking outdoor gear and hoping for the best.

What have you got on your Microadventure Packing List? Have I missed something? 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 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.