PCT Hiker’s Checklist

There’s nothing worse on any backpacking trip than to get into camp after a long day and realize that you forgot your stove fuel. Or experience a surprise thunderstorm and realize that you left your rain jacket at home. The following checklist is designed to help you remember all of your backpacking essentials—and a few extras—to help ensure that you have everything you need to have a safe and successful hike on the PCT and beyond.

NOTE: This is a general checklist of gear and supplies that every hiker should carry on all backcountry adventures. This list is not specific to the PCT and can be modified as needed. Remember, you are responsible for your own safety.

CLICK HERE for a printable version of this checklist.

Ten Essentials

♦  Navigation: map and compass; GPS (optional)
♦  Sun Protection: sunglasses, sunscreen, hat
♦  Insulation: jacket, pants, gloves, hat
♦  Illumination: headlamp/flashlight; extra batteries
♦  First-aid: first-aid kit, medications

♦  Fire: waterproof matches/lighter
♦  Repair: knife/multitool; patch kits/duct tape
♦  Nutrition: extra food, snacks
♦  Hydration: water filter/treatment; bottles
♦  Emergency: shelter/tarp; space blanket

For more information on the Ten Essentials, CLICK HERE.

The Basics*

♦  Backpack w/ rain cover
♦  Tent w/ fly, footprint; or tarp/bivy sack
♦  Sleeping bag
♦  Sleeping pad/pillow
♦  Portable stove/cookset

♦  Stove fuel
♦  Dishes/bowls/cups
♦  Cooking/eating utensils
♦  Trekking poles
♦  Ice axe (optional)

 Clothing & Footwear*

♦  Wicking underwear
♦  Thermal underwear
♦  Wicking baselayer shirt
♦  Lightweight pants/shorts
♦  Insulating midlayer (e.g. fleece)
♦  Insulating jacket (e.g. puffy)
♦  Rain gear (jacket & pants)

♦  Beanie, gloves/mittens
♦  Bandanna/buff
♦  Wicking socks/sock liners
♦  Hiking boots/shoes
♦  Gaiters (optional)
♦  Camp shoes/sandals (optional)

Personal Hygiene*

♦  Hand sanitizer
♦  Biodegradable soap
♦  Toothbrush/toothpaste
♦  Deodorant (optional?)
♦  Pack towel

♦  Portable trowel
♦  Toilet tissue (w/ zip-top bag)
♦  Insect repellent
♦  Bear repellent (optional)

Food & Storage*

♦  Food bag/canister
♦  50’ cord (for hanging food)
♦  Breakfast meals
♦  Lunch meals
♦  Dinner meals

♦  Energy snacks
♦  Energy drink mix/tablets
♦  Treats
♦  Flask (optional)
♦  Extra zip-top bags

Luxury Items (optional)

♦  Daypack/summit pack
♦  Binoculars
♦  Camp chair

♦  Journal w/ pen
♦  Reading book
♦  Game, e.g. cards, soduko

Electronics (optional)

♦  Smartphone
♦  Camera (w/ extra memory cards)
♦  SPOT Messenger/PLB

♦  Tent lamp/lantern
♦  Extra batteries
♦  Battery pack/solar charger

Personal Items

♦  Identification
♦  Cash/credit card
♦  Medications

♦  Emergency contact info (ICE card)
♦  Itinerary w/ friend/family member


♦  Northwest Forest Pass
♦  Wilderness/camping permit

♦  PCT thru-hiker permit

Many trailheads in Oregon and Washington require parked vehicles to display a Northwest Forest Pass. Some sensitive wilderness areas in Oregon and all national parks require backcountry campers to obtain special camping permits. The PCT thru-hiker permit is only required for hikers traveling distances of more than 500 miles. For more information on permits, CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE for a printable version of this checklist.

*Some items in this category can be found on the Ten Essentials list.

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