Whether you’re a newer hiker or an old hat, at one time or another you’ve probably forgotten something on a hiking trip. Perhaps it was something inconsequential like your bandanna or trail mix. Perhaps it was something important like your stove fuel or insect repellent. If you were lucky, it was something you were able to continue without, or improvise a solution. If you were not so lucky, it may have cost you your trip. This is where a good pre-hike checklist comes in handy.
Of course, your Ten Essentials should be a no-brainer, as well as basic stuff like your tent, sleeping bag and extra socks. Typically, it’s the little things that get forgotten, like your toothbrush, your lighter or extra headlamp batteries. By keeping a thorough checklist handy that you can run through prior to your hike, you make sure that you have everything that you will need, whether for a dayhike or a long backpack.
You can start with this PCT Hiker’s Checklist. This list includes just about everything you could possibly need for a hike on the PCT, or any other trail. It includes the Ten Essentials, basic gear items, clothing and footwear, personal items and a few extras you may want to consider. It also includes reminders for personal medications, necessary permits and leaving your itinerary with someone. There is also space for adding some of your own personal essentials that may not be listed. You can modify your checklist for different kinds of adventures, such as light and fast or slow and comfy. Just make sure you’re not leaving out any essentials. You should always carry your rain gear—no matter what the forecast says!
Keep your checklist in a convenient place so that you can easily review it prior to your trip. If you keep your gear in plastic bins, slip a copy in with your gear so you will always have it when you go for your stuff. If you store your gear loose, or in a closet, keep your checklist in a place where you will always find it, like the lid of your backpack or in your toiletries bag. This way, you can rest assured that you will have everything you need in the backcountry—especially when it matters the most. Happy hiking!
Download the PCT Hiker’s Checklist HERE.