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GIFT GUIDE: 10 Must-Haves for PCT Hikers

By on November 23, 2016

The holidays are coming, and you’re probably thinking about a couple gear upgrades as you plan for next summer’s hiking adventures. After all, there’s nothing quite as nice as being gifted new gear for the holidays. Lucky for you, we’re going to help you put together your gear wish list. Here are 10 new and classic gear items that have been trail-tested and have met our high standards of gear quality, durability and usefulness. Add a few of these to your holiday wish list and you’re guaranteed to improve your time on trail. And when you click on the links below and purchase these items through PCT: Oregon, you help support this site—that’s a win-win!


PCT: Oregon has a present for you! We’re giving away a holiday package with some of the gear featured in our Must-Haves gift list. Click on over to our HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY page and enter for your chance to score a few extra goodies this holiday season! Good luck! 

hiking-pacific-crest-trail-oregon-pct-guidebook-eli-boschetto1. Hiking the PCT: Oregon

Plan your next Oregon Pacific Crest Trail adventure with this comprehensive new guidebook covering the entire 455.2-mile stretch of the PCT between Donomore Pass to the Bridge of the Gods. The state is divided into six trail sections, with some sections that can be divided even further for shorter outings. A comprehensive introduction provides a brief history of the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as details and advice on planning a PCT hike. Detailed area info highlights the natural features of every region, from unique geology to prominent flora and fauna. Additional features include camp-to-camp descriptions, locations of reliable water sources and campsites, trail maps and elevation profiles, alternate routes and connecting trails, wilderness permit info and so much more! Get your copy and start planning for next summer. You can also pick up Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Washington for even more backcountry adventure! $25

gear-gift-guide-msr-trail-shot-water-filter-hiking-camping2. MSR Trail Shot Water Filter

As idyllic as it is to drink straight out of a cold mountain stream, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Waterborne viruses are nasty and can bring any long-distance trek to a miserable end. Instead of packing along a big, clunky water filter or foul-tasting chemicals, add the MSR Trail Shot to your Ten Essentials kit. This easy-to-use hand-pump filter weighs just a few ounces and can filter a full liter of water in just 1 minute. And unlike bottle filters that need good flow or depth to fill, the Trail Shot‘s small intake valve can draw water from even the tiniest springs—especially handy where water is scarce or later in the hiking season. The Trail Shot was one of my favorite new items from this year’s Outdoor Retailer show and will be available in January 2017—so it’s worth holding onto one of your gift cards for this one! $50

gear-gift-guide-petal-e+lite3. Petzl e+LITE

A reliable light source is one of hiking’s Ten Essentials. It can help you pack up before sunrise for early starts, set up your tent and make dinner in the dark after long days, read in bed and signal for help in the event of emergency. There are more backpacking lighting options than can be listed, but when it comes to light weight and compact size, nothing beats Petzl’s e+LITE—this is for serious weight and space counters. The e+LITE weighs in at a scant 1 ounce (that’s with batteries!) and fits snugly in a tiny protective case. Just enough to perform regular camp tasks, this micro headlamp emits a 26-lumen high beam, with two lower beam options. It also features a night-vision red beam and two strobe settings for emergency use. Adding to its versatility, the e+LITE’s retractable strap/cord lets it be worn on the head or wrist, or attached to a pack or trekking pole. $30

gear-gift-guide-gsi-glacier-stainless-insulated-microlite-5004. GSI Glacier MicroLite 500

A couple years ago, I was sent an insulated bottle to try out on trail. It was a little heavier than my usual 1-liter bottle, but when I got to enjoy my hot morning coffee staying hot, and my cold stream water staying refreshingly cold, I was happy to accept those few extra ounces in my pack. There are several options available, but one of my favorites is GSI’s new Glacier Stainless MicroLite 500. This lightweight (7.9 ounces), easy-to-handle 0.5-liter insulated bottle keeps cold beverages nice and chilly and hot beverages (and soups) nice and steamy for up to eight hours. The flip-top cap contains a pressure button to keep your drinks from leaking out, and has a locking lever to keep it from accidentally popping open. Plus, the streamlined size and design lets it fit easily into any pack’s side pockets. $26

gear-gift-guide-msr-pocket-rocket-stove-hiking-camping-pct5. Pocket Rocket Stove Kit

The very first camp stove I bought was the MSR Pocket Rocket. After several years of reliable use, I switched over to an integrated cooking system, but the Pocket Rocket remains one of my favorite pieces of trail gear for its tiny size, light weight and ease of use. This year, MSR combined the Pocket Rocket with their popular Trail Lite Duo cookset for a complete Pocket Rocket Stove Kit. Now all in one package, you get the tried-and-true Pocket Rocket stove, a 2-liter pot with lid, two bowls, two insulated cups with lids and two folding sporks. It’s everything a couple hikers—new and seasoned alike—needs to cook and enjoy hot and tasty meals in camp on the PCT. Going solo? No problem. Just leave a set of dishes behind and nest your fuel can inside for a compact and complete cookset. $75

gear-gift-guide-helinox-chair-zero-hiking-camping6. Helinox Chair Zero

In a recent interview about my hiking habits, I was asked what piece of gear I never hike without. My answer: my camp chair. For a few years now, I’ve been carrying a lightweight camp chair on all my hikes, from PCT and long-distance treks to simple dayhikes. The difference between having a camp chair and having to search for a rock or stump to sit on is like night and day—and is worth the minimal extra weight in my pack. This year, my pack got even lighter when I switched to the Helinox Chair Zero. Weighing in at an even 1 pound, this compact camp chair sets up quickly and lets you plop down anywhere for a nice, comfortable seat—from lunch breaks on trail to cooking dinner in camp. Bundled up, it’s only slightly larger than a 1-liter water bottle, meaning you can keep it in a side pocket for quick and easy access. $119

gear-gift-guide-big-ages-copper-spur-tent-hiking-camping7. Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

I’ve tried lots of tents—and there are lots of good ones out there—but the tents I keep going back to are Big Agnes’ Copper Spur series. I use the UL1 on my solo treks and the UL2 on hikes with my wife. They’re not the lightest tents on the market, but for the good headroom, extra living space and durability in the elements, they go above and beyond many others. The Copper Spur UL1 weighs in just over 2 pounds, and can be compressed into a bundle slightly larger than a 1-liter water bottle; the Copper Spur UL2 weighs in just under 3 pounds and is available in HV (high volume) and mtnGLO (integrated lighting) designs. My favorite features are the oversized doors for easy in and out, and the large outer vestibules for keeping my pack, boots and other gear out of the elements. $370 & $450

gear-gift-guide-point-6-pct-pacific-crest-trail-crew-socks-hiking-backpacking8. Point 6 PCT Light Crew

What you put on your feet can make or break your hike—that means more than the boots you choose. That also means the socks you use. There are lots of socks available to hikers. I use a variety of weights and brands, depending on what kind of hike I’m doing, from short dayhikes to multi-week treks. One of my favorite brands of long-distance hiking socks is Point 6 for their comfort, durability and breathability. Their wool blend Pacific Crest Trail Light Crew keeps feet cool and comfy, day after day, mile after mile. They keep my feet happy, which in turn keeps me happy. What makes me even happier about my Point 6 socks is knowing the company’s commitment to supporting America’s iconic long-distance trails. Every pair of PCT socks sold benefits the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the work they do to maintain and advocate for the PCT! $22

pct-oregon-gear-gift-guide-sierra-designs-elite-cagoule9. Sierra Designs Elite Cagoule

If you’re going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon—or any trail, anywhere—then rain gear is a no-brainer. It’s one of the Ten Essentials, and should be a staple in your pack at all times. You never know when the weather will turn in the mountains—and it can do so quickly—and suddenly drop a ton of rain and/or snow. So, rain gear. I recently started hiking with Sierra Designs’ Elite Cagoule and have been very impressed with its performance. The extra-long front flap allows you to buckle your pack’s hipbelt under the jacket/poncho, thereby eliminating uncomfortable bunching, and the pass-through chest pocket doubles as a vent to help keep you from getting clammy and overheating. Oh, and its ultralight too—just 9 ounces! Pair it with the 5-ounce Elite Rain Chaps and you’re good to go! $80 & $175

gear-gift-guide-royal-robins-sequoia-crew-hiking-camping10. Royal Robbins Sequoia Crew

Not everything on your holiday wish list needs to go in your pack and wait for summer. While you’re waiting for the winter season to pass, throw on a Royal Robbins Sequoia Crew, grab your copy of Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon, and head to your favorite pub for a pint and start planning your next adventure. Designed in the classic style of the European wool sweaters worn by the famous climber, Royal Robbins, this modern version employs a soft and comfy wool/nylon/cotton blend that will keep you nice and toasty through the cold months—and make you look like you’re ready to hit the trail at a moment’s notice. $75


PCT: Oregon has a present for you! We’re giving away a holiday package with some of the gear featured in our Must-Haves gift list. Click on over to our HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY page and enter for your chance to score a few extra goodies this holiday season! Good luck!

If you aren’t in need of any new hiking gear, consider requesting a gift membership or contribution in your name to an organization that support trails, wilderness or the environment. Click over to the Support Trails page for an extensive list of organizations that maintain and advocate for trails in the PCT states. There are also links to national organizations working to preserve public lands and protect the environment.

Happy holidays from PCT: Oregon!

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