Food and recipes:

[…]would you give some tips on recipes and what kind of food you frequently bought?

What you buy also really depends on what is available. But in general I tried to go as light and dense as possible. The key measurement is calories per gram. You want to buy stuff which contains a lot of calories, weighs as little as possible and is not bulky.

What did I do when I had the choice? My standard breakfast was made of muesli bars. I switched from muesli with milk powder to bars since you can eat them while walking and you don’t have to clean anything in the morning. Especially helpful if you are not close to a water source. I enjoyed Kind bars and especially the Bobo’s. I also ate Fiber Ones and all others which are on the market.

For lunch and snacks I tried to vary as much as possible. But the core elements were usually very similar: cheese, chocolate, candy, tuna, beef jerky, nuts, dried fruit & trail mixes, sometimes crackers and tortilla. Most of the time I also carried Gatorade powder and instant coffee just for the taste. The shorter the stretch the more food I carried and the fancier it sometimes got. On 2-3 day stretches e.g. options were e.g. from carrying out bred, cheese and spreads to full burgers for the first evening and breakfast.

For dinner I switched between couscous, polenta, wok-nudles, mashed potato, pasta sides and whole dehydrated meals. Last ones are quite expensive but a real treat with a decent amount of calories. If you go with the first four I always stirred a pack of dry-soup, cheese, spices, tuna etc. in. Stay away from real pasta or rice since it will take too long to cook and therefore use up a lot of gas.

How to get access to equipment along the trail?

Jeroen wrote: I am startng my hike in May 2018. I hate waiting for opening hours so I thing I will not be sending myself packages. But what about shoes? Walking 2600 Miles on one pair is challenging but not my cup of tea. Is it possible to buy decent shoes on the way? Are there possibilitys to buy gear?

I walked in trail runners the entire time. My shoe of choice is the Salomon Speedcross4. But that’s very foot-specific. There are many trail runners on the market with their own pro’s and con’s. My shoes lasted around 600-900 miles depending on the area. So I went through 4 pairs of shoes on my hike. You can buy gear in many places along the trail. Some bigger towns are well equipped with gear stores or it’s an easy hitch into the next city with a store. But besides these options there is also always to order stuff online and have it delivered to a post office or other drop point. I used both options depending on the accessibility.

Stove or no stove? Ultralight – cold food at night…

Jeroen (part 2): One considering to make is wether to go stoveless or not. I have still 4 months to think about that, if that’s my only concern than life is mild for me.

That’s a very personal decision. You can check out my gear list to see how much weight I carried for stove and pot. I wouldn’t want to go without it since I really enjoyed a hot meal per day. The weight in my opinion was worth being carried – but a very personal decision. You can also start without and buy one if you get sick of cold-soaking and nuts. Or you can also do it the other way around and start with one and ditch it if you find out you are ok with cold food.

Camera gear – to bring a big camera or not?

by Dietmar Denger

Nicole: Should I bring a small waterproof or a big DSLR/Bridge camera on the PCT?

What I always tell people and that might be a bit offensive – but that’s what I have learned during the last years:

1. If you don’t know how to make use of a full camera and you have never left the “Automatic Mode” then don’t bring a big camera. Phones these days take pretty high quality photos and the advantage of a big camera doesn’t convert if you don’t know how to work aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. don’t bother to bring it

Why? Because you will carry a lot of weight that will not give you better pictures. 80% of the pictures is framing & composition itself where the camera can’t help you. If of course you want to get into photography, you have some basic knowledge and you are willing to take time, play around and learn – THIS is your option. There is probably not much more than a long distance hike to improve your skills. You have unlimited opportunities, like landscape, water, weather, animals, trail life, people and more. And you can shoot all day long. So if you want to get into photography, do it here!

2. If you don’t have a clip (e.g. Peak Design) or a different solution to have you camera accessible outside so you can use it without taking your backpack off – don’t take it! You won’t take your backpack off on the trail for every possible photo opportunity. And very often opportunities also fly or walk away until you have your camera out.

I would probably recommend a bridge instead of a DSLR camera since the bridge cameras are lighter and more compact. If you go with Micro 4/3 like my Olympus you also get the advantage of way smaller and lighter lenses. But that’s – as with many other things – a question of what you want to do with the photos and also a bit of a “believe-thing”.

You can find more details about the camera gear on my Gear page and the PCT Gear List.

Blogging. How, what and where?

Nicole: Which blog software did you use? How did your write your blog? How did you edit your photos?

I am using a personally customised WordPress template from undsgn.
I only carried an iPhone and a SD card reader. Every evening I downloaded all pictures of the day on my phone. Then I edited them with Adobe Lightroom. The blog itself was written on an App called Blogo. Blogo still has a few downsides and bugs but it’s unfortunately the only App which allows you to draft articles offline (text and photos) and then upload the entire thing once you have reception. All other Apps force you to upload the pictures when you insert them into your article (e.g WordPress App). If you are offline this doesn’t help and you end up re-editing all blog posts from a week again once you hit down. Since you will not be able to remember where you wanted to place which photo you will read everything again and try to figure out which photo you wanted to place where.

That just as a short summary. Let me know if you interested in more details regarding the photos and blogging and I’ll write and individual article for this topic.

Sweet as, brew! Let me know when there's new stuff online!