Want more? Read our general page on PCT gear and equipment.
You’re likely to encounter trees blocking the trail. Sometimes, you won’t be able to pass around them. Bring a small saw capable of cutting through at least a 15” tree. With wedges (when necessary, you can make them out of wood), and time, you should be able to cut a somewhat larger tree. Using your saw, and careful planning, you can often safely open a blocked trail. Be sure that you know how to properly remove fallen trees. Learn from an expert and consider joining us as a volunteer to hone your skills. PCTA teaches trail maintainers on all of our trips and at our Trail Skills College.
Bringing a small, lightweight shovel may also be a good idea.
For the horse
To save weight, consider using a lightweight western or endurance saddle. Make sure the saddle fits your horse, then consider your own comfort in the saddle.
Use a substantial saddle pad. Bring the type that is long enough to extend behind the saddle far enough to be under the saddle bags and cantle bag. It should also have a slot to extend it forward on both sides of the horse’s withers so large horn or pommel bags won’t rub him. Also use a breast collar and possibly a crupper if your horse lacks good withers. Many riders prefer a hackamore because it does not have a bit that goes into your horse’s mouth and therefore does not interfere with his grazing.
You will need a collapsible bucket (you can’t always get your horse access to the water), a nose bag for feed (they reduce waste), and a 50 foot high-line rope (with a drop line if you don’t have a lead rope). Be sure to shorten the line to your horse to about 18” after he has been fed, so there is no chance of your horse stepping over it at night.
Bring tree-savers and a high-line bell. Neoprene hobbles are preferred since they don’t chafe. Some riders hang a bear bell from the halter and leave it on all the time. It may alert bears of your approach, can help you find your horse if he wanders off while hobbled and grazing, and gets your attention if he is on his high-line at night and there is a problem. You may also wish to bring a lightweight horse blanket to reduce calorie loss on a cold or rainy night and to help keep insects off.
If it’s buggy, consider bringing insect repellent for your horse.