west coast trail

Today I’m sharing more about my time on the West Coast Trail (WCT), specifically talking about what I packed. I previously wrote a day-by-day account of my time on the trail and am really appreciative for the positive response that was given to that (thank you!), so I figured that delving more into the WCT on this little blog couldn’t hurt.

So, have you ever tried planning a big trip and had no clue where to start? Let alone a trip that was a hike? Que: me raising my hand. When planning for the WCT the most daunting thing that loomed over my head was all the stuff I had to buy, not knowing which stuff to buy, and not knowing which stuff to bring out of what I already owned. I wanted quality items so my time on the trail wouldn’t be a living hell (and because I want to use them again someday), but I was also wanted to be as cost-conscious as possible. This combination was not easy to abide by.

Countless hours on Pinterest ensued, and eventually I garnered a much better idea of what to bring. However, I’m probably one of the worst packers in the world. If I have the room, I will fill it with things, and if there’s a chance a certain situation could happen, I will pack appropriately for it. So, much deliberation played out regarding what it meant to want something, and what it meant to need something. (Example: I need food. I do not, however, need the majority of items listed below under toiletries.) Hence, because I bought a 65L backpack, I filled it up snug.

In addition to me being an anxious packer I had the mindset that we would be in a torrential downpour on all seven days of the WCT. Based on countless things I’d read, this seemed to be the safest mindset to put myself in. However, we had zero rain on our hike and only incredibly hot, 100%-humidity days. Oh well — if we wouldn’t have brought rain gear, it would have down-poured… I bet.

Once I had a better idea of what stuff was making it into my pack, I came to the realization I could probably never call myself an ultralight hiker. So if you’re looking for ultralight packing tips, google something else! I dream of one day dishing out advice on how good I am at roughin’ it in the backcountry with my 17%-of-my-body-weight pack, but today is not that day. My pack ended up weighing between 1/4 and 1/3 of my bodyweight, which is okay, but in hindsight I probably could have left a lot out.

Once it came to buy things the main places I perused were MEC and Atmosphere. A helpful hint is to ask for gift cards to these places, or even for specific items, at Christmas or your birthday — gear adds up quick. Trying to hit the best sales we could was another really useful thing. Tim and I especially saved a ton on our tent, its footprint and gaiters. Once everything was bought and paid for, practice packing had to happen to ensure everything actually fit inside our packs. Ta da! After much maneuvering, it all fit.

And there’s how I got to the point where I set foot on the WCT. Below you’ll find three lists: “I packed, I used” — these are things I brought with me and actually made use of on the trail; “others packed, I used” —these are things other people that I hiked with packed and I made use of; and “I packed, I didn’t use” — these are things I packed but did not use even once. I also tried to link to the exact items listed, but if something was discontinued, or I couldn’t find it online, or it’s obvious (like Advil), I didn’t include a link.

If anything, I hope this list can provide you with a starting point if you’re trying to plan your next (or first!) multi-day hike. I am quite proud at where I got this final list to, based on all my deliberating way back in the early planning stages. I understand it could have been edited down even more but am very pleased with how well everything served me. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments or by email!


– Backpack | Osprey Aura AG 65
– Hiking boots | Ahnu Montara Boot
– Waterproof jacket | MEC Synergy Jacket
– Quick-dry t-shirt| Lululemon Swiftly Tech Short Sleeve Crew
– Quick-dry long-sleeved shirt| Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew
– One pair of shorts| MEC Amanita shorts
– Under Armour Cold Gear leggings
– Tank top | Nike Women’s Run City Core Tank
– Socks | Icebreaker Women’s Hike + Heavy Crew x3 (2 for hiking, 1 for camp)
– Merino Wool long-sleeved shirt (for camp) | MEC Ts Zip-T
– Merino Wool leggings (for camp) | MEC Merino T2 Long Johns
– Gripped gloves | Icebreaker Unisex RealFLEECE Sierra Gloves
– Sandals (for camp) | Teva Original Universal
– Gaiters | Outdoor Research Women’s Crocodile Gaiters
– Underwear | Patagonia Active Briefs – Women’s x2
– Sports bra | Lululemon Free To Be Bra
– Headband | Icebreaker Apex Chute
– Buff | Chaos Multi Tubular Headwear
– Sunglasses
– Hat

– Sleeping bag | MEC Cassiopeia -9 Sleeping Bag – Women’s
– Sleeping pad | Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad – Women’s
– Compression sack (for sleeping bag) | Outdoor Research AirPurge Compression Sack – 15L
– Camera
– Hiking poles | Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Poles – Unisex
– Headlamp
– Carabiners | Black Diamond Neutrino Wire Gate Biner x2
– Dry sack (for clothes) | Outdoor Research Graphic Dry Sack – 10L
– Heavy duty dry sack (for food) | Outdoor Research Durable Dry Sack – 20L
– Hydration resevoir | Source WXP LP Reservoir – 2L
– Nalgene bottle | Nalgene Everyday Wide-Mount Loop-Top Water Bottle
– Iodine tabs | Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets 1L
– Inflatable pillow | MEC Backpacking Pillow
– Bear spray | Bear Repellent Spray
– Backpack rain cover (kept condensation off) | McKinley Pack Rain Cover – Medium

– Six breakfasts | Green tea, oatmeal
– Seven lunches/daytime snacks | Protein bar, trail mix bar, electrolyte packets
– Six dinners | Various dehydrated meals
– Six nighttime snacks | Various teas, marshmallows, chocolate
– Bowl | Ultimate Survival Technologies Flex Ware Bowl 2.0
– Spork | Light My Fire Spork
– Mug | GSI Cascadian Mug

– Lip balm | Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm Tube
– Face sunscreen
– Disposable contacts
– Reactin
– Eye drops (prescription and moisture)
– Kleenex
– Ear plugs | uHear Soft Foam Ear Plugs
– Face and body lotion
– Hair elastics
– Hair brush
– Advil
– Travel container for liquids | uMedPlan Weekly Pill Pod Tray

– Large Ziploc bag for garbage
– Plenty of extra Ziploc bags
– Cash, credit card and ID
– Trail map and permits (handed out at orientation)


– Tent | Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 Person Tent
– Tent footprint | Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 Tent Footprint
– First-aid kit | Adventure Medical UltraLight .7 First Aid Kit
– KT tape | KT Tape Original Precut Cotton
– Leukotape | Leukotape P (this saved all our lives — it’s a must)
– Foldable scissors
– Stove | MSR DragonFly Stove
– Pot | MSR Ceramic Solo Pot
– Heat reflector | MSR Solid Heat Reflector and Windscreen Package
– Fuel
– Fuel container | MSR Fuel Bottle
– Water filtration system | SteriPEN Classic 3 Water Purifier
– Paracord
– Rubber bands
– Duct tape | Survive Outdoors Longer Duct Tape
– Toilet paper | Coghan’s Tissue On The Go – Toilet Paper
– Travel-sized hand sanitizer
– Body sunscreen | Coppertone SPORT SPF 30 Continuous Sunscreen Spray
– Toothbrush | Carry Clean Deluxe Travel Toothbrush
– Travel-sized toothpaste
– Gravol
– Soap | Sierra Dawn CampSuds (4oz)
– Power charger


– Under Armour Cold Gear long-sleeved shirt
– Waterproof pants
– Poncho/tarp | Sea to Summit Nylon Tarp/Poncho 70D Waterproof