Meet Backpacker's 2016 PCT Thru-Hiker

Our correspondent Amanda Jameson is about to live the dream.

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Amanda Jameson
Photo by Courtesy of Amanda Jameson

[Editor’s Note: Over the next five months, we’ll be publishing dispatches from thru-hiker Amanda Jameson as she tackles the Pacific Crest Trail. Below, get to know her in her own words.]

I’m Amanda – a would-be runner, an Oxford graduate, a lapsed gamer, an ever-improving outdoorswoman. I grew up in the rural Midwest, and spent my youth reading, nerding, acting, and wandering the long road we lived on, usually accompanied by dogs. Moving around a lot—for my parents’ work, to see family in other states, and the like—endowed me with a chronic case of “itchy feet” syndrome. I’ve lived in six different US states and four different countries in the last ten years.

My academic interest in human migration evolved into to a practical interest in thru-hiking with a visit to the 2014 Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kickoff—an event designed to bring together alumni PCT hikers, current-year hikers, and folks dreaming of the soon-to-be-Wild-famous 2,650-mile trail running the length of California, Oregon, and Washington. That experience lit a fire under me, and I’ve spent the last two years devouring books, blogs, and forums about backpacking and thru-hiking, taking my pack on nice long walks through the woods whenever I could manage. The 485-mile Colorado Trail was the most notable of those walks, five weeks of fantastic preparation for the rigors of five months on the PCT. 

All that theoretical and practical groundwork has now come down to this: In a few days, I’m headed North from the Mexican border to try to walk to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail, hoping to cross a country on foot in less than half a year. I’m underprepared in some ways and overprepared in others, but I do feel able to adapt to whatever the trail throws at me. Even so, the overriding emotion of these countdown days has been a kind of shock—that I have the audacity to attempt this ostensibly normal, utterly human thing, to put one foot in front of the other over and over and over again for what will become thousands of miles.

Amanda’s PCT Gear List

Shelter: Mountain Hardwear Ghost UL 2 

Sleeping bag: Mountain Hardwear Phantom Flame 15° 

Pack: ULA Circuit 

Sleep System:

–Pad: Klymit Inertia X-Frame

–Sleep Shirt: Uniqlo HEATTECH long sleeve Crew Neck t-shirt

–Sleep Socks: Walgreens Diabetic Socks

Stoveless Kitchen:

–Pot: Talenti Gelato Quart Jar (946 mL)

–Spoon: Optimus titanium long spoon


–Shirt: Mountain Hardwear Women’s Butterlicious Long Sleeve Half Zip

–Skort: Mountain Hardwear Dynama Skort 

–Hat: Mountain Hardwear Plasmic EVAP Wide-Brimmed Hat 

–Sports bra: Under Armour Seamless Essential

–Underwear: Patagonia Active Hipster Briefs

–Socks: Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew

–Shoes: Altra Lone Peak 2.5


–Jacket: Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer

–Gloves: Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Stimulus Glove

–Leggings: Patagonia Capilene 3

–Wind Shirt: Montbell Tachyon

–Rain Shell: Arc’teryx Beta LT Hybrid

–Warm Hat/Scarf/Balaclava: Buff Headgear

Water Purification:

–Aqua Mira

–Sawyer Mini + Smartwater sports cap (backflush)

— Evernew 2L bladder + lighter Smartwater cap x2

–Smartwater 1L bottle x2

–Gatorade 20oz bottle


–Bidet: GoTube, 3oz

–Hand Sanitizer, Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, Fresh contacts, contact case, some contact solution, toothbrush, travel toothpaste, Wet Wipes x2

Odds and Ends:

–Headlamp: Petzl Zipka

–Camp Shoes: Patagonia Men’s Advocate, no insoles

–Location Tracker: SPOT device

–Trekking Poles: Leki Cressida

–Mini-Multitool: Kowell MCP2000 (knife, nail clippers, scissors, nail file)

–Notebook: Rite in the Rain Memo Book

–Pen: Rite in the Rain Bullet Pen

–Sunblock: Sawyer Stay Put Sunblock Lotion (1oz)

–Insect Repellent: Sawyer Insect Repellent (Picardin, 0.5 oz)

Repair/First Aid Kit:

–Bandaids, Tecnu, Alcohol Swabs x3 each

–Blist-o-ban, Butterfly closures, allergy tablets, lighters x2 each

–Powdered aspirin, Leukotape, Medical Tape, floss and needles for blisters

–Shoe tongue pad, tenacious tape, repair patches + glue for sleeping pad, extra batteries for headlamp + SPOT device, rubber band, length of tent cording, length of shoe cording.

Total: 14 pounds