On-person items don’t count towards base weight per se, but it was useful to me when I first started researching to see what other people were holding.
Trekking Poles – Leki Makalu
I fixed these! Even put new tips on before I left. Not that they’re not trashed again – the cork handles are worn through, the tips are living on a prayer again, and the screws like to loosen or tighten on a whim – but they made it all the way through, and between Spesh and I, these things have seen about 7,000 miles.
Shirt & Skort – Mountain Hardwear Butterlicious Long Sleeve Half-Zip + Dynama Skort
This half-zip shirt was great just generally – I thought it was the perfect weight; it was breathable and kept the sun off my skin during the day, and I zipped it up for extra warmth at night. (I like the zip particularly because I keep my phone [read: camera] in my bra for easy access.) As for the bottoms, the skort has pockets, and I don’t need to say more than that. Nah, just kidding – the pockets are great, but I’m really happy that the skort is so light – only 5oz! – which is much lighter than other skirt/undershort options I’ve tried. I’d have just gone with a skirt, but I’m not exactly what you’d call a proper lady, and I didn’t really need to be flashing nobody. I caught myself on several occasions being thankful for the short aspect.
Underwear – Under Armour Women’s Seamless Essential Bra + Patagonia Active Hipster Briefs
The bra is comfy enough to wear for several days at a time, and the briefs are COMFY and bathing suit-like without being unflattering. I ended up sending the briefs home after some experimentation (thanks, skort!).
Socks – Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew Toesocks
I have paddletoe (my toes like to overlap) and these helped with the blisters – I only ended up with one the entire time, right at the beginning, and it never got too bad. I switched mine out every day in the desert, and cleaned the pair I was carrying, hanging them to dry on the back of my pack; further north, I got away with up to two days between rinses. I used the mini-crew rather than a longer sock – which would’ve kept my legs cleaner – because I have monster calves, and rare is the sock that will fit over them. Only trouble with these I had is that they developed holes like every 200-300 miles, and I ended up replacing them more often than I wanted to. I’ve also heard that these tend to really help with blisters or really stack them on; your mileage may vary.
Shoes + Gaiters – Altra Men’s Lone Peak 2.5/3.0 with Dirty Girl Gaiters
DESE ALTRAS THO. Seriously, they take some getting used to – zero drop shoes are not for doing 20 miles in the first time you ever put them on, and I would highly recommend breaking them in before the trail if they’re your first zero drop shoes – but they’re so, so nice. I had plantar fascistis on the Colorado Trail, and never really had a problem with it on the PCT, a fact I attribute to switching from a regular shoe to the wider, zero drop Altras. I didn’t need insoles or anything.
I did learn along the way that I wear out my insoles more rapidly than I wear out the shoes, particularly my left insole – I must walk weird, no question. The nice part about that for me was that they were a super popular shoe and I had a super popular Men’s size; since a lot of people hikerboxed their Altra insoles to use Superfeet, there were a number of replacement insoles along the way.
I ended up getting the Men’s 2.5 in a 9.5 to start, which was a half-size bigger than I thought I’d need. (Feet swell. That’s a thing.) Altra gifted me with a prototype of the 3.0 in a size 10.5, which I wore through the Sierra; I’d probably have done it the opposite way (3.0s for the desert, 2.5s for the Sierra) had I had my druthers, though destruction-wise, the 3.0 is definitely a better shoe for thruhikers – it has plastic stops that limit the ripping of the fabric where it traditionally wants to rip. I switched back and forth between the 3.0s and 2.5s along the rest of the trail, based on availability. I learned when I got to Ashland that the 3.0s are the same width for Men and Women’s now, though I liked the reddish-orange color available in Men’s best. I ended up going through 4.5 pair – the last ones, I’m still wearing as day-to-day sneakers, though they’re starting to get holes in them now.
The Dirty Girl Gaiters are super light, super stretchy, and super groovy – I used two pair on the PCT, and I’ll use ’em on all my treks.
Miscellaneous: Buff, used as a head covering (dark hair + sun = HOT); jassu sunglasses (blindness = bad).