10 Great Gear Items to Addto Your Pack this Summer
PCT season in Oregon is here, so we’re gearing up with some great, new items in our pack. From blister-prevention items to cool performance apparel to awesome hiking essentials, here’s our list of 10 must-have PCT gear items that are sure to keep you humming down the trail and happy in camp.
At last! Now there is one complete map set covering all 455 miles of the PCT thru Oregon. These brand-new National Geographic map booklets contain the most complete and up-to-date PCT map data gathered by the Halfmile mapping team, and were proofed and verified by PCT: Oregon for their accuracy. They are available in two compact booklets: South: Willamette Pass to Siskiyou Summit, and North: Cascade Locks to Willamette Pass. They can easily be carried in packs and pockets, and provide trailheads, point-to-point mileages, elevation profiles, camp locations, connecting trails and roads, resupply locations, and more. Printed on tear-proof, water-repellent paper. $15 each.
It’s easy to be impressed by the small size and light weight of the PocketRocket Deluxe, but what really hooked us was how well it works—from just boiling water to actually cooking food in various-sized pots. Put to a boil-off with another popular stove brand, we found it to be just as effective. But where it really excelled was in providing a wide, stable flame that’s easy to finely adjust. Stove igniters can often be fickle, but the integrated igniter on the PocketRocket Deluxe works like a dream, starting up on the first click every time! We found this stove to be sturdy and versatile enough to make it a go-to for every type of backcountry cooking, from simple just-add-water meals to camp gourmet dishes. $70
Primus CampFire Chopsticks
We love our trail noodles: ramen, pad thai, spaghetti, etc. But trying to eat these dishes with a regular spoon can be, well, challenging. Even a spork doesn’t quite do the trick. That’s why we’ve added CampFire Chopsticks to our meal kit. These full-size, hardwood chopsticks are great for scooping up and slurping big mouthfuls of tasty noodles—great for when we’re ready to chow down after a long day on trail. When not in use, they conveniently detach into two pieces for easy storage in their own tiny pouch. Forget those throwaway, take-out chopsticks that get gross and slimy after a few uses. These are constructed of durable bulletwood with brass fittings to last from one hike to the next—and they weigh just 1.6 ounces! $19
We love hiking with our insulated bottle. Yes, it weighs more than plastic bottles, but it’s awesome for keeping our morning coffee and tea hot, and keeping our icy spring water nice and cold. Plus, we’re big fans of the durability of metal bottles and reducing plastic waste. This year, we’re adding some “aloha!” to our gear kit with one of Hydro Flask’s new Shave Ice Insulated Bottles. These limited-edition bottles come in three fun color patterns—Blue Hawaii, Hawaiian Rainbow, and Mai Tai (our fave!)—that are sure to conjure images of tropical drinks on sandy beaches. Shave Ice bottles are BPA-free and available in 24-ounce and 32-ounce sizes, and each comes with a colorful flip-lid for easy grab-and-go. $40–$45
We are continually impressed with the improvement in hiking sock options—and Balega has become one of our favorites. Their Drynamix fabric combines sweat-wicking breathability with wool to protect against friction blisters. Cushioning in the heels and toes is balanced by extra breathable material on top of the foot, plus our favorite: a heel tab for preventing blisters and keeping debris out of the back of the shoe. We love their thin, lightweight options for full days of hiking, while their silver no-show socks are great for extra cushioning and warmth on cooler days or nights. Best of all, the socks don’t smell, even after wicking away foot sweat all day, so we don’t have to separate sweaty socks from everything else in our backpack! $15
Well, is it a shirt or a jacket? It’s kind of both. The Ferrosi Shirt Jacket combines the breathability and moisture-wicking features of a performance shirt with the durability and wind- and water-resistance of a jacket. In recent years, we’ve been deferring to more long-sleeve shirts for their versatility and sun and bug protection, so we immediately took to this stylish, lightweight shirt. Its trim fit is augmented by its exceptional stretchability, which provides excellent range of motion. We really appreciated this under heavy pack straps or added layers. And constructed of ripstop nylon-spandex fabric, it offers UPF 50+ sun protection, which is great for Oregon’s wide-open lava fields. Available in men’s and women’s styles. $99
Last year, we got positively murdered by mosquitoes on the PCT. It was pretty awful. If you’re planning to do any early-season PCT hiking (i.e. June and July), you should be prepared with plenty of bug-repellent armor. We like Sea to Summit’s Insect Shield Headnet because it does double-duty at keeping the buggers out of our eyes, ears and nose with its lightweight mesh and infused, odorless insect repellent. Plus, it’s thin enough so as not to impair visibility, and it’s large enough to wear over a wide-brim hat. It also has a convenient cinch cord to keep any stray buggers from sneaking in underneath. $13 For more help keeping the bugs away, check out our repellent roundup of trail-tested lotions, sprays and accessories.
Nothing can ruin a great hike faster than painful blisters, which is why we’re big fans of the high-performance simplicity of Wuru. This loose, lightweight wool can be wrapped around toes, or placed behind heels or other spots for blister protection that molds to the foot within minutes of putting on shoes or boots. We were initially skeptical about its ability to stay in place, or feel awkward inside of our shoes and socks, but the natural fiber does an amazing job of staying in place, even in wet conditions. We found Wuru to be far superior to common adhesive blister pads, which often shimmy out of place only to cause more blisters. With a whole package weighing in under 1 oz, this is a new must-pack. $12
Ladies, peeing in the woods will never be the same. Once we got over the (totally unnecessary) anxiety about peeing on ourselves, we were able to relax enough to pee while standing up, and quickly discovered the sheer joy of the Tinkle Belle. We were pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to position, hold and use—totally and completely mess-free! No more hassle of searching for adequate cover, taking off your pack, and splashing on yourself, all while hoping no one walks by and sees your bare butt hanging out there. The Tinkle Belle is easy to use, easy to clean, and completely liberating. And it comes in a cute pouch that can hang on the outside of your pack for quick and easy access. We will never hike without it! $28
Hey vegans, what’s that over there?! Seriously, look away for a moment. For everyone else, check this out. We recently discovered the lightweight deliciousness of Simply Shredz Pulled Pork. Yeah, it kind of looks like a bird’s nest—but it tastes so good! And it’s so versatile! Mix it into egg powder for a tasty pork breakfast scramble; stuff some into a tortilla with crumbled cheese for an awesome pulled pork lunch wrap; add it to mashed potato flakes, ramen, mac & cheese, or rice for a protein-packed dinner. Each 2.2-ounce package contains about two servings. Each serving provides 130 calories, with 10g of protein, 4.5g of fat, and 12g of carbs. Available in zesty Black Pepper and spicy Sriracha flavors. Nomnomnom! $12
Looking for more great gear selections? Check out our top picks from this year’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. Many of these items won’t be coming until spring 2020, but a few are available now, including an awesome new Hyperlite backpack, sore muscle rub, and some more tasty snacks!
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