So a while back I did a post called AT vs. PCT where I compared the numbers of both my hikes. I said I would do a gear comparison. In the process of doing so I realized I had never posted a post I wrote on how to cut pack weight. While finishing up that post I also wrote a tech tip about preventing blisters which pack weight effects in many ways. If you just now or previously read the AT vs. PCT post you saw just how different the numbers were. The numbers and the gear I used for both of these trails are no different in how much they differ.
Most of the change from the AT to the PCT in terms of the gear I used comes from experience and my comfort level. I talk about this a lot the How to cut pack weight post. It took hiking the Appalachian Trail to be able to hike the Pacific Crest Trail as I did. In How to cut pack weight, I show how one can cut 10 pounds of pack weight from ones pack, sleep system and shelter. When you look at the numbers below you’ll see I did just that after the AT. The numbers are not exact but they are as close as I could get them. I think the lightest my PCT base weight was, was 11 pounds. At one point I was closer to 14 (I picked up a book and a few other items).
By no means was I ultralite on the PCT but it was so much lighter than my AT set up. I also like my gear better too. Simple things like how I prepared meals (see my post about my cook set up), using arm warmers instead of a long sleeve shirt, foam pad over a self inflating pad, my puffy jacket instead of a fleece, and my very cheap and light rain suit. My ideal thru-hiking weight would be 10 pounds or maybe less but I find it hard to sacrifice my comfort to get to that level. See my post on cutting pack weight.
The table below is broken down into two major sections: Weight Carried and Weight Worn. With the Weight Carried section there are sub categories like: Basics, Kitchen, Electronics, Extra, and Clothes in Pack. You can see the lightest my AT pack was 21.79 pounds (which means it was probably a pound or two more in reality), and the lightest my PCT pack was 11.79 (so let’s say 12) That’s a 12 pound difference, which for most thru-hikers is about 4-6 days worth of food (the average thru-hiker eats 2-3 pounds a food a day). So that means my PCT pack with 4 days of food weighed the same as my base weight of my AT pack without any food!
Enough recapping, let’s look at the numbers.