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We Asked 6 PCT Hikers What Their Favorite Piece of Gear Was

They’re 1,706 miles in and this is what they like most

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Each summer my hometown of Ashland, Oregon sees a large influx of Pacific Crest Trail hikers coming down from the hills to restock, take a zero day, and do laundry. I love walking around my town, introducing myself to PCT hikers, and asking them about their gear. By the time they have reached Ashland, northbound hikers have traveled 1,706 miles by foot. They have their kits dialed and have had plenty of time to form opinions about every single thing on their bodies and in their packs by the time we talk. This morning I ran into six of them waiting outside of our tiny post office waiting for it to open and asked them a basic question: “Do you have a favorite piece of gear in your kit?” These are their answers.

First Name: Megan

Trail Name: Rascal

Name Etymology: “I was on the AT a couple years back and was about 100-miles in and everyone kept calling me little animal because I wanted to do big miles,” Rascal said. “Eventually we were sitting at a free pancake breakfast from one of the many First Baptist Churches in the south and I said, ‘I just want a good trail name goddammit,’ and slammed my hands on the table. They said, ‘Alright little rascal, calm down.’”

Hometown: Burlington, Vermont

Favorite Item: Kula Cloth Pee Cloth ($20)

“It’s a woman-owned, woman-operated company and they made these little microfiber triangles that we all hang off our packs. It’s so nice to not smell like urine all the time.” While Rascal highly recommends this product, she didn’t have any specific buying tips for the machine washable antimicrobial cloths that feature one waterproof side to keep your hands clean. “Whatever your favorite color is.”

Three Dinners PCT hiker
(Photo: Joe Jackson)

First Name: Bjorn

Trail Name: Three Dinners

Name Etymology: “In 2019 I was hiking in the Pyrenees and I thought company was coming that did not. I ate all three of our dinners. An English guy said, ‘Your trail name must be three dinners’ and I have kept it.”

Hometown: Narvik, Norway

Favorite Item: Tentlab The Deuce #2 UltraLight Trowel ($20)

Three Dinners purchased this .6-ounce field trowel in Norway and appreciates how light weight it is. He finds it indispensable. “When you have to poo, you have to dig—I couldn’t make it without this,” Three Dinners said. “You gotta use it everyday and you want to do it the right way—not just poo and run away.”

Roo PCT hiker

First Name: Ethan

Trail Name: Roo

Name Etymology: “It’s short for kangaroo. I had a jacket that had a little pouch and I’d throw all my things in there and call them my little Joeys.”

Hometown: Eugene, Oregon

Favorite Item: Shoe Goo 3.7 ounces ($6)

“I think I can maybe double the life of my shoes by just coating little holes as they pop up with Shoe Goo,” Roo said. “Then they don’t spread. My last pair of shoes, I was a little late on the Shoe Goo-train, and still got a thousand miles. I have a feeling that I could potentially ride these [Roo’s second, and current, pair] out to the end and get 1,600 miles out of them.”

Muppet PCT hiker
(Photo: Joe Jackson)

First Name: Antoine

Trail Name: Muppet

Name Etymology: “My Senchi Designs Hoodie is very yellow so I look like Big Bird or a muppet basically.”

Home Province: Quebec, Canada

Favorite Item: Senchi Designs Wren Hoodie ($75)

The high breathability coupled with the long hair-like fibers of the Wren make it an ideal ultralight midlayer. Muppet sang its comfort praises. “It’s super light, super fluffy, super comfortable. I just love my lovely Senchi fleece.”

Data PCT hiker
(Photo: Joe Jackson)

First Name: Milla

Trail Name: Data

Name Etymology: “I like to track things. I track my sleep hours, my steps, and whatnot. I also like to know every mile marker that I am getting to. If you want to know where water is, ask me.”

Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Favorite Item: Unbranded Eyewear Retainer

“The first 1,500 miles I was notorious because I put my sunglasses on my head and they always fell off. This is my favorite piece of gear because it has saved my glasses,” Data said. “I don’t know the brand, but Muppet gave it to me. It isn’t fancy but it works.”

Wall-E PCT hiker
(Photo: Joe Jackson)

First Name: Thomas

Trail Name: WALL-E

Name Etymology: “It is like the little robot. I pack my trash into really tiny Ziplocziploc bags—the snack size. I can fit three full days of trash into one of those. I squeeze it all super tight and like to pack it nice and clean like that robot does.”

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Favorite Item: Toaks Titanium 750ml Pot ($35)

“Food is so important to me. Every evening for dinner or for breakfast in the morning, I like having the freedom to make whatever I want,” WALL-E said. “I like having a pot that is big enough to fit ramen, mashed potatoes, tuna, bouillon cube, Knorrs, beef bone broth, or mixing things together. You also need a good lid to boil it. It is super light and it makes me very happy on trail. My experience would be super different without it.”

From 2022

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