View Full Version : Packs for PCT

12-25-2005, 14:37
I know not a whole lot of folks here have hiked the PCT, but I'd be willing to take any info/opinions I can get, even from folks who have used these packs on the AT, or other trails.

Right now, I own a used Ghost. It holds 30+ lbs. I liked it, but didn't love it on the AT. I'm thinking it's gonna be overfilled with weight on certain sections (Sierras) with water and resupply. My base is around 10-12, but add 18 lbs of food and lots of water.. I'm looking to go straight thru from KM to VVR, though that can always change of course.

I'm considering either the Granite Gear Vapor Trail (same capacity as Ghost) or the Ozone. I like these packs, and the store I work at sells them (read, discount), as does another store I've got lots of store credit at.

Also I'm intrigued by Brian's packs at ULA after seeing people on the AT use them. Obviously I'm gonna pay more for them, since I can't get them at stores here. The P2 seems like a good pack for the PCT, though I might be able to fit into the P1 or new equivalent.

Basically I'm just looking for opinions. I like the feel of the GG packs, and I can't try on the ULA packs. Considering quality, money, weight etc. what is my best bet? What did you guys like and dislike? I know the pack at the end of the day isn't gonna make or break the hike, but I need to be comfy. Could I get away with staying with the Ghost?

Thanks for anything you can give.

12-25-2005, 15:45
One of the reason I bought the ULA P-2 for the CDT in 2002 was for the very reason you're talking about, long stretches between resupply and long distances between water sources. I couldn't have been happier with my purchase, it's a great pack, light and comfortable with a full suspension.

Brian has made a few improvements since then with a better padded hipbelt, two stays, easier access to the side pockets and two nifty hipbelt pockets in the Catalyst


I should add, I used a Dana Designs Terraplane on the PCT, which was also comfortable and could handle any load, but was 5 lbs heavier than the P-2!

Wolf - 23000
12-25-2005, 16:02

I've done the PCT now 3 times - 93, 96, and 97. Another option would be use a book bag - reinforcing the shoulder straps. All three times I did the PCT was done with a school book bag the whole way, cost around $10 - $20. In 97, I got a lot of looks when I did the whole trail with a Mickey Mouse element book bag.

My point is don't just limit your options to whats found in good sporting stores. Sometimes the same equipment can be found in your local department store.


12-25-2005, 16:09

That's true just about anything will work. Skid used a cutdown canvas duffle and attached straps.

12-26-2005, 00:36
I used a little ULA Zenith pack and, yes, it was a pig in the Sierra and whenever I put 2 gallons of water in it. But, it isn't that bad. If you're looking to buy a new pack, the ULA big guy (catalyst) is really sweet and weighs somewhere around 2.5 pounds. It would be perfect for the PCT, I think. I wrote a review of it here on whiteblaze.

If I were to hike the PCT again, that is the pack I would take. If I wasn't taking that, I'd go in the opposite direction and take the smallest ULA pack and do a true ultralight thing.

12-26-2005, 12:39
I don't have any specific pack advice (the pack I use isn't even made now. A Lynn Wheldon pack. Looks like a mesh laundry bag! It is very light though and just over a pound).

I will say that that a pack should follow the KISS principle. If it is simple, it is light. And light is generally good!

Any of the frameless ruck sacks that use pads for the frame would be my choice. I would also try to keep my packsize in the 3000-3500 CI range. If you are really disciplined and/or into the more extreme end of ultralight, something smaller would work. For most experienced hikers who are into the sub-15lb basepack range, the 3000ci or so pack seems to work well. No need for the large packs. Was able to carry 10 days of food and an ice axe in the Sierra with mine.

As for specific packs, have heard good things about ULA and Six Moon Designs. And yes, you can often find thrift store stuff that will work, too.

Tha Wookie
12-26-2005, 13:40
I used a Ray Jardine stlye pack on my PCT thru in 03.

It worked great -very light and designed for the PCT, with ice axe loops and extension collar for long hauls.

That being said, I did take the side route into Keasarge Pass and down to Independence for a re-up. But we could have made it from KM to VR with the pack. We averaged about 17 mpd through that stretch, and took the 16-mile Mt. Whitney trip also.

I saw people using the Gust, and many of them had pack-strap tearing by Oregon. It's got a bigger capacity, but is not designed as well as the smaller Ray-way style. The mesh outer pockets really make a difference.

I would use something else than a Gust, but it would still work fine I bet.

12-26-2005, 23:22
I think a Six Moon Designs Starlite could be a good pick. More durable than the Comet, lighter than a ULA. You could keep the stays in for when anticipate a big load for a few days [water loads, Sierras], but still less than 30oz. Most tests I've read indicate reasonable comfort up to 25-35lbs with the stays--good reviews at BGT (http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Packs/Frameless%20Backpacks%20and%20Day%20Packs/Six%20Moon%20Designs%20Starlite/) and BPL (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/six_moon_designs_starlite_backpack_review.html). Ditch the stays when the load is lighter and you drop to a respectable 23oz. I bet you could trim some things if you were that concerned. Lots of meshy pockets, too.

12-27-2005, 09:39
I used my external frame kelty and it worked fine,snugpack had some really cool rucks out and sleep bags www.snugpak.com (http://www.snugpak.com) very cool gear.ky