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My final Pacific Crest Trail / PCT Gear List

Since I have been asked for advise and recommendations many times during the last weeks regarding the "right gear" I sat down and compiled my gear list again. This Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) gear list includes everything I have used on my thru-hike in 2017. You will see it also includes a few tips and tricks, recommendations & explanations on why and how I used certain items. At the end of the article you'll find an overview table with all items and weight. Also check out the Gear section on my site for further info.


I started out with more and different gear at the beginning of my Pacific Crest Trail journey. Even though I thought I knew what I would need based on my previous experience I changed and optimized quite a few things along the way again. You never stop learning. The most commonly used reference is the one of your "base weight". It includes everything which is in your backpack including the pack itself without food and water. And you usually do not count what you are wearing as your minimal/standard outfit.

I managed to lower my base weight to only 5.4kg (6.6kg incl. my camera gear)! When I saw the numbers earlier I was surprised myself..

Since most of the gear and thoughts are still valid I have recycled a lot from my original post which I put together before I started. If you want to read some background info and compare to what I have now feel free to check out the Post "My Gear List..."

What to pack?

First of all, everybody has a different comfort zone! So there is no right or wrong.
Every environment is different and requires different equipment!
You should never risk your health or even life by under-packing and not being prepared!

The main questions to consider are usually:
What weather will I have to expect? What will be the lowest temperatures?
How remote will I be and how quickly can I escape or receive help in an emergency situation?

This will determine a lot when it comes to the right equipment. The big three are usually your backpack itself, the tent and the sleeping bag. Tent and sleeping bag will depend on the conditions - how stable does the tent have to be (e.g. very stable in Patagonia with a lot of wind and no shelter, less in New Zealand where you can usually camp in the forest and have shelter) and how warm and big does your sleeping bag (and with this usually also the cloth) have to be. By volume and size of all these things you will be able to choose a backpack.

The entire gear list in a quick overview:

(Some links in the table are affiliate links)
The hiking outfit
Sun protection
Trekking poles
The big three
Pouch for backpack
MSR Ground Hog Mini tent stakes (8)
Sleeping bag
Waterproof stuff sack
Sleeping pad
Cooking pot
Trangia Pot incl. handle
Water filter
Water container
Water Bottle
Food bag
Rain jacket
Rain skirt
Rain pants
Down jacket
Neck gaiter
Stuff sack
Medics & Hygienics 
Half tooth brush
Tooth paste
Contact lenses
Case, solution, extra pair
Eye infection creme
Standard small nail clipper
Toilet paper
Amount depends on days.
Pain killer
4 alcohol pads
6 capsules
Repair kit
Ductape wrapped around trekking pole
6 cable ties
Repair gear
1m Dyneema Composite Fabric
Repair gear
Special tape for air mattress
Repair gear
Tenacious tape
Repair gear
Super glue
Stuff sack
USB with double port & iPhone cable
Battery pack
Phone & navigation
iPhone 6S
Waterproof case
2 spare batteries for headlamp
Stuff sack
Olympus OMD EM1 II (incl. battery & SD)
M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-150mm 1:4.0-5.6 II
2 extra Olympus batteries
Memory card
2x SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB
Camera clip
Camera rain cover
Olympus charger & cable
Additional Gear
Gatorade 1l bottle
Total base weight
Total base weight incl. camera
Weight on the hiker

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


As summarised earlier for the PCT already:


Most important with a backpack is that it fits your back. They all have different harnesses and fit different backs. So make sure to try many. The other features are less important. If you carry heavier loads >15kg you want to have a good hip belt or otherwise you will have bruises on your hips and it's uncomfortable on longer hikes.

My backpack of choice is now the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest. It's specially designed for ultra-light hikers with a 40l volume and only weighs 811g (in comparison my Osprey 50l bag weighs about 1,8kg!) and it is waterproof in itself. It helps you only taking the things you really need since there is not a lot of space 😉. As a reference my bag is maybe half full with all my gear. The rest is "reserved" for food and I usually fit 5 days in it easily. I would not recommend it with a permanent weight over 15kg, but if you exceed it in the first days of a long hike because of food it should be ok since you will get lighter every day.

I also have a Zpacks Backpack Shoulder Pouch on one of my shoulder straps for my phone, ND filter and snacks.


The Zpacks Solplex is my choice. It is made out of Dyneema Composite Fabric (also known as Cuban Fibre) which is highly durable and super lightweight with 439g only! Including 8 stakes with 60g the total weight of the tent comes down to 499g. Comfort, space and durability are amazing. Keep your vestibules open for ventilation since in a single wall tent you do get condensation very quickly. It's not cheap with 555US$ but it's well worth every cent if you sleep in it every day.

Sleeping bag & sleeping pad:

The lightest and smallest version is always down. The higher the number of the filling (e.g. 850) the better the quality of the down and therefore the less you need for the same insulation. As mentioned above I would go with the Western Mountaineering Summerlite sleeping bag which is rated for +6C comfort and a max of 0C. I only had a 3 or 4 cold nights below freezing and used used my rain jacket and my backpack as a sack wrapped around my feet for extra insulation in cold nights - just make use of whatever you have if you need it.

Due to packing size I opted for an inflatable sleeping mattress. I am not a fan of the bulky foam pads which you always have to attach to the outside dangling around. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite is the lightest one. I used to have a large one but now I go with the extra small one (119cm) since I put my legs on my backpack and other things. Saves 200g compared to the large/regular one.


Some people go without a stove and only eat cold or dry stuff. Apparently it works but I wouldn't want to go without one proper meal per day. So I carry a very small and light weight (83g) gas stove from Optimus Crux and a small gas canister. For cooking I have a 1.5l Trangia hardanodized ultralight aluminium cooking pot, the aluminum handle and  Sea to Summit plastic spoon.

My main water container is a cheap 1l Powerade plastic bottle - it does the job perfectly, is way lighter than the "proper" ones, the outflow of the Powerade bottle has the perfect size so that you can drink while walking (better than the Powerade one), you can replace it once in a while if it gets to nasty and it costs almost nothing! As a water filtration system you can go with the lighter Sawyer Mini instead of the Sawyer Squeeze. I only filtered my water 4 or 5 times on the entire trail. Since there is water everywhere in New Zealand and you rarely have two hours without a water source you can either carry a 2l Platypus or get an additional thin water bottle for the few occasions where you will need it.

I also have two stuff sacks (10l and 15l) for my food. It helps to easier squish the food into the backpack and I always separate breakfast & dinner from snacks. By doing that I can bury the breakfast & dinner bag in my pack and only have to take to bag with the snacks out during the day

(What I don't carry anymore different to before the trail and on the picture: camel bag, water bottle)


I try to carry as little as I can. Therefore I don't take anything which can't be used on top of each other for the worst case scenario. Don't over pack - yes, you will be smelly and a bit sticky. But everybody is out there. You'll get used to it. Not showering for ten days sounds really bad at the beginning but it's actually not. And once in a while there is also a river to jump in if you are desperate 😉

I usually hike in a Icebreaker merino wool t-shirt, my beloved red/pink Speedo swim shorts, short Icebreaker merino socks and my favorite Salomon Speedcross4 trail runners. To protect my socks and shoes from the insight I use very small Outdoor Research Sparkplug gaiters. As sun protection I have my new and cool Prana hipster cap 😎.

Rain gear: Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket & Vaude Drop Pants II rain pants - for heavy conditions and when temperatures drop below 0C with rain and wind. And the above mentioned rain skirt Zpacks Rain Kilt. I would personally make it shorter and keep it over your knees for better movability.
My Patagonia Nano Puff jacket with Prima Loft Gold is the piece which keeps me warm in camp or breaks - very small and very warm. I find Prima Loft better on long distance hikes since it even warmth you if it's wet, it dries quickly and you can easily wash it - different to down.
One Icebreaker Descender Long Sleeve merino wool jumper - early in the morning or later in the day on cold and windy days I like to wear this one. Primaloft or down is to warm to walk in.
For the really cold days I carry a thin Icebreaker merino beanie, a Buff (neck gaiter) and a pair of Icebreaker Sierra gloves.
Since my swim shorts have a mesh inside I don't wear underwear. It also helps for better ventilation, less sweating and rubbing. So I only carry one pair of merino underwear to sleep in.
The only extras I carried were one Icebreaker merino t-shirt which is not really necessary - but it is nice sometimes e.g. in towns after a shower when waiting for the laundry to be done. But you don't need it. If its wet I either try to keep in on and dry it with body heat or I take it off and wear my jumper. It sucks in the morning to put it on again but after 20 minutes of exercising it's usually dry. In Oregon I changed one Icebreaker t-shirt for a long sleeve shirt because of the mosquitos and kept it to the end. I also have one pair of extra socks in case a sock breaks down. This usually happens quickly. I went through a pair in 3-4 weeks. Your feet are the most important part on this journey - you do want to do anything possible to prevent blisters and/or injuries! Other than that you only need one pair. Why? How many can you wear? Exactly. If they smell you wash them in a break. If they are wet? Then you walk in wet socks. If it rains on consecutive days even dry socks are wet after 20 minutes so there is no sense in putting dry ones on to into your wet shoes...

(What I don't carry anymore different to before the trail and on the picture: hat, rain skirt, thermal pants, towel)

Medics and Hygienics

How to go light: Try to buy the smaller sizes. No need to carry 200ml of something that will last for 2 month. Resupply more often. I have seen people carrying regular bottles of everything ending up with 3-4kg of liquids 🙈

My daily hygienics consisted out of a small and cut off tooth brush + toothpaste, contact lenses and cleansing fluid (extra pair and a few daily lenses in case of an eye infection), nail clipper, comb for my beard - therefore no razor 😂 and an amount of toilet paper suitable for the days - don't carry an entire roll!

In case shit happens. How much can you do in the wilderness? If it's a minor thing you usually don't really have to do anything and if it's a big thing (broken bones, etc.) you can't heal yourself anyways. So the only thing you have to do is get out and get help. So I am not a big fan of carrying a lot of stuff. For the heavy stuff I rely on painkillers (Ibuprofen), the cable ties and ductape.

I also carry Imodium for diaria (how many do you need? Not the entire pack for sure, just enough to get you out in case it hits you), a cream for eye infection which happens quickly with contact lenses, a couple disinfection/alcohol tissues (also work great if you have to clean camera lenses or surfaces before you repair / glue them). And a few Antihistamine pills after my shocking 25 sting-wasp-experience.

For the smaller issues and especially my feet I have a small roll of plaster tape (Mefix) which is a sticky plaster to seal open wounds and a 2m strip of Leuko Surgical Tape wrapped around a solid plastic tube: it's the only tape which really works. The adhesive is incredible and even stays on feet for days when they get wet. Don't try anything else!

Last but not least a 30ml sunscreen tube and a Ziploc bag to store everything.

(What I don't carry anymore different to before the trail and on the picture: Voltaren, Aspirin, hand sanitizer, bio degradable washing lotion, ear plugs)

Repair kit

Minimal as well. Tape and cable ties will fix most problems temporarily or even long term. For the electronics I only carry my iPhone for backup navigation (bad weather, emergency situations) and to write the blog.

Sufficient amount of ductape wrapped around my trekking poles so I don't have to carry it in the backpack fixes everything: equipment and also small injuries.
An Opinel Knife No. 6, a stripe of special waterproof repair tape for tents, rain jackets and repair kit for my air mattress, 6 cable ties, super glue, a spare lighter, a 10m MSR Ultralight Utility Cord (cloth line, rope to hang food and possible repair kit) and 2 small carabiners to hang food. On top I carried 4 one gallon Ziploc bags as emergency and rain gloves and socks and a small stuff sack to store everything.


USB charger with double port, my iPhone in a waterproof Lifeproof Case - also my fall back navigation and emergency (if I have reception) device, a Goal Zero Flip 20 Powerbank for two charges. A Black Diamond Ion headlamp for hikes during night time and everything else when it's dark. And I have a small Zpacks Wallet Zip Pouch for credit cards &, ID and all of it goes into a 3l Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack.

(What I don't carry anymore different to before the trail and on the picture: compass & maps which you won't need for the PCT)

The only luxury equipment - my camera

Photography is one of my passions. So I can't go without a proper camera. I tried to find a compromise between a full DSLR camera which is to bulky and heavy and a smaller one which will still give me a very high quality. For the last 2 years I have used my Olympus OMD EM10II with a micro four thirds sensor and the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14–150mm 1:4.0–5.6 II lense. It only weighs 1018g including the lense, battery and memory card which is significantly less than a comparable SLR.

On top I have 2 spare battery, 2 SD memory cards, cleaning wipes, a grey filter and the camera battery charger.

And I also finally found a way to attach my camera to my backpack so that I can always use it without taking my backpack off or it dangling around and being annoying. The Peak Design clip straps the camera to your shoulder belt. It's fixed, secured and you still have easy access to it. And after two years of heavy usage I can only highly recommend this thing including the shell to protect your camera from dust and rain. If you take the extra weight of a good camera with you this clip is a must item - if you have your camera in your pack you'll never use it and just carry dead weight around! Peak Design Capture Clip v3 for the backpack & Peak Design Shell for protection. Use the link to get a free gift 😉

PS: Unfortunately my camera went swimming 3 weeks before the end. So I had to replace it on the go. I have to admit that I used this excuse to directly upgrade to the OMD EM1 II with a 12-100 Pro Lense. It is significantly heavier (+460g) but I will also use it for non hiking purposes now. On long hikes I might try to use the old lense if I can repair it. For the packing list I include my old camera since it was the one I used.

Additional gear

Leki Khumbu hiking poles which I always use. It's said that they save you up to 30% of energy in your legs since you use your upper body which normally is not used when hiking.

Suunto Core Watch. Simple watch, altimeter and compass. I am not a fan of GPS watches since they use a lot of battery which you don't have out there.

Additional 32oz Gatorade (big opening) pee-bottle for the night. I hate getting out of the tent at night. Probably one of my most favorite items 😊


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


Pacific Crest Trail Gear

Final PCT / Pacific Crest Trail gear list

PCT Gear List

Te Araroa Gear List

Te Araroa ultra-light gear list. Based on my thruhikes.

Te Araroa Gear

TMB Gear

A ultra light TMB / Tour de Mont Blanc Gear list

TMB Blanc Gear

Unusual hiking tips

The "other tips" people don't write about on thru-hikes.

11 unusual tips

Latest blog posts about gear, recommendations and food.

Nothing found.

PCT #134, 2581mi: The race to Canada continues. 69 miles left 😳

The night was cold again and when we woke up the tent was soaked from condensation. Everything else as well. So we packed up and made our way down the last five miles to the Ranger Station and dirt road where the shuttle runs to Stehekin.

The ranger greated us warmly and also had the latest weather report on hand. 40-70% chance of rain for the next three days, 1 inch of snow above 5000ft per day and so on. 😝 Just wet and mostly miserable for the next days.

So the temptation to stay in town and get dry, dry our stuff and relax before the last stretch was big. But luckily our fate was decided for us by a crashed reservation system. So the only the place to stay didn't know if they had rooms available until 5pm. So we decided to just get our food and right back on trail again.

We got lucky and had a few sunny moments between the clouds and rain and with that we managed to get everything dry.


The sleeping bags went into the dryer for 20 minutes and are almost like new now.

And then just a normal stay in town. Standing in line in the post office...

...and consuming calories.

That was all mine 😊

After only four hours we were back on the shuttle to the trail. 11 more miles today for our camp spot. We got some great views of the salmon migration:


And that was the last resupply stop. The last town. The last beer on trail. The last... Jep, it's again this time. The last of everything now. The trail is coming to an end. Fast. Two and a half more days. What a journey. At this point of time I still kind of feel ready to get to Canada now. The weather forecast also doesn't help to slow down. Let's see how it feels like tomorrow. Or on the last day. But it feels like it will be different this time for me than after the Te Araroa in New Zealand. Not quite sure how, but different...

Yosemite National Park - a PCT side trip.

American National Parks are not made for hikers and/or people without cars... It took us all day to get from Tuolumne Meadows to The Valley, pitch our tent on the campground and get one meal. The internal bus system was a catastrophe - overloaded and completely unreliable. We waited for over 1.5h for busses to come. No car, no fun.
Anyways once we were finally on the bus which was to get us to El Capitan the bus driver made an announcement that this was the last bus. What???? We finally made it and now we couldn't even get off to see it because we wouldn't make it back...? Luckily the bus driver had mercy with us and told us she would pick us up on the way back so we could have a 20 minute stroll. Thank you!!!

Real tourist

Another hiker asked us on the camp ground if we were PCT hikers. I asked why she would think that. And she said we look "seasoned" 😂

Found another of my favourite and well suiting beverages:

Next morning Kaylee still felt the need to rest so I hiked up to Glacier Point by myself. One of the famous view points over the valley and Half Dome. After another endless bus odyssey I finally made it to the trail head. 4.7 miles and 3,000ft climb. Time to race a bit. It felt good to go to the limit again. Haven't done that in a long time. I did not run though to go easy on my legs but fast walking seemed ok. A couple of photo stops on the way up.

After 1:17h I was up on the top 🤘🏼 Since there are quite a few forest fires in the area Half Dome and the rest of the valley were covered in smoke. Very mystical...

I decided to hitchhike down to take it easy on the legs. Just for the records: took me over 7h in total to get to the trail, up and back. For a bit more than 1h of hiking 🙈
We had a quick gear maintenance session - clearing the "eating opening" again so I wouldn't get half of my beard beard in respectively half the food in it. Kaylee the new barber 😂

After being sick the last days I in return found her three Snickers bars 🙊

PCT #37, 573mi: A bed, town food, square dance and the decision to continue hiking...

Day one after the 50 mile hike was mellow. Food, rest and chores. Interestingly enough my legs felt very good this morning. No pain, not even sore. I was honestly surprised and had expected at least a bit of pain here and there... But even better!

Only thing I had to take care of were my two blisters. Needle, lighter to desinfect it and pop... 😉

The dinner at the steak house developed into an unexpected surprise. After we had finished our meal we were dragged into the local Wednesday night square dance event. After watching for a few minutes we were encouraged to join. We even got some one on one lesson from the local experts. It was a great fun even though I was afraid the entire time to injure myself or someone else with my uncoordinated moves... 😂

Kaylee & me and the end of the session. Thanks Tehachapi!!!

Next morning was time to make a decision - either hiking out or waiting for the rest of the family... But Sophia & Yoni were moving slower then expected and Drew & Kayla were also at least another three days out. I know, pulling a 50 mile day did not really help to catch up 🙈. After a long and uncomfortable morning I decided to hike out. It would have been at least three more full days in town without a lot to do. A tough one but I can't sit in town for three more days. I will take it easy on the next six days to Kennedy Meadows and hope for the other ones to close the gap...

So Oneday and I did some more shopping, sent a foodbox into the Sierras and caught a ride back to the trailhead - when we went out of the motel Dalton was waiting in the parking lot. He picked me up on the way to the bakery yesterday already, then drove us to the supermarket and post office earlier today and now for the third time... He took off entire May and shuttles hikers around every day. We were #57 & #58 today 😳. Thanks Dalton and the rest of the trail angels!!!!

Back on the trail we started again where also Reese Witherspoon started in the movie "Wild" - can you tell?


Since we only got back on the trail at 6pm we justed wanted to go a few miles in. But the wind picked up so massively that we had gust of around 50 miles/h. A tough climb in these conditions. But again a beautiful sunset in the Mojave Desert!


PCT #34, 518mi: Early start, a lot of nap time and a 25 mile cruise into Hiker Town...

After getting in camp late yesterday we still decided tonget up at 4am and leave camp at 5am to hike in the cool time of the day. And we did. Woke up quite dehydrated so we pushed the first five miles quietly to the first water. After finishing in an amazing sunset yesterday we got to walk through an amazing sunrise...


The water source though was a tough one. A one mile detour off the trail and all uphill to get to a cistern covered with a lid so you had to fish your water out with a bottle. Took us 20 minutes tonget there and another 30 to get the water out... We were so exhausted that we rested for two hoirs before we continued - missing the only cool hours of the day 😂😂😂

The next stretch was a nice stroll through a pine forest with cool grassy patches in between - something we haven't seen so far!

And a big thing today - passed the 500 mile / 800km market! 🤘🏼


Another stop during the brutal heat of the day and then we rolled down the hill towards the flats. Unnecessary to say that the "National Scenic Trail" took us on every possible little hill - most of the time twice - and made sure a 1 mile stretch ended up being 4.5 miles. Scenic is fine but I am sooooo close to writing to the PCTA organisation... 😂😂😂


Last mile into hiker town was flat and easy.


And then we arrived in Hiker Town. A little artificial Western village right next to the trail only for us PCTler. Very awkward! A post office (which is actually a real one!), store, town hall, etc in miniature format all equiped with beds.

We decided to stay for the nigt and next day and then hike the next section during the night. It's supposed to get up
to 100F/38C and we are walking trough the desert without a single tree for 24 miles. So food and rest for tonight and tomorrow and then the first proper night hike of the trail! 😎

Stuck in Peru. Flooding, no water, no transportation and a few important decisions to make - I know what I will do during the summer!

The signs were getting more and more obvious - even in Arequipa. On our way back from the Colca Canyon the roads were flooded, massive traffic jams and back in the hostel these signs were greeting us:


My plan to continue to Lima with a bus and a few stops along the way was risky. Most buses had been cancelled for the last and the next day and so I opted for the airplane. So I went to the airport in the evening and checked in - "Flight Demorado" (delayed). Well and then after four hours one flight after the other was cancelled in Arequipa, including mine. So I went back to town for another night and tried again the next day. After 5 hours delay the plane finally left for Lima. Arrived late at night with a nice German couple which I spent the day at the airport with in a loud and sticky hostel right on the bar street in Lima during St. Patricks Day. Bad choice to get some sleep... 😂

Well, and the situation in Lima and Peru was getting worse. Lima was without water supply since three days already. During the day the road between Huaraz and Lima had been washed away by a flash flood and there was no improvement in sight. At that point of time there had been already 70 tragical death counts and the country was in a severe state of problems.


I used the day to take care of the most important thing now - getting a new pair of shoes. Lima fortunately has a Salomon Flag Ship Store which had my size. So we strolled through the city on our way to the store. Lima is extremely clean and organised - maybe also because we went through the very nice parts though...


And then I finally got them - shoes for the next 1,000-1,500km! I opted against the new model Speedcross4 since the heel part is lower and did not fit perfectly. So it's now pair #4 of the Speedcross3 since I left on this journey. I will go and ask for a sponsorship now! 😎


Bye bye pair #3. Thanks for carrying me through Canada, South America and even the Antarktis! RIP.

After some good food and coffee I had to make a call. Another night in the hostel was not really an option. Day four without water and the hygienic situation was getting unacceptable. Just imagine one single toilet per floor for about 40 people which can't be flushed... Huaraz and hiking was also not really an option anymore. The road was gone and no indication when it would be back in operation. And more over and more important people in the region definitely had more important problems than foreign hikers searching for adventure. So I decided to:


...and fly to Bogotà, Colombia with a night flight at 2am which saved me from changing the hostel again. I think it was a good  call, also looking at Peru in the news now. One person less that does not necessarily has to be there right now.

What to do this summer?
And another important item was still open. What to do during the upcoming summer. I had a long phone call with my friend Jeremy from Seattle who is keen to join me on the Iceland trip. We met on the trail in New Zealand on the day after I fell in the mountains, being alone, dislocated my shoulder and was stuck in wasp nest. Since he and Anna where the first people I met on the next day they will always stay very special trail angels to me... So one more reason to go to Iceland this year - doing a solo and unsupported 30 day traverse in a remote area where there is basically nothing is done better in a group of two I guess. And you can share carrying the equipment which is not to be neglected when carrying food for 30 days. But on the other hand this would mean more smaller trips, more organisation, more moving around, more spare time in between. I have to admit I am getting a bit tired of the permanent organisation, comparing options, hostels, things to do and with this spending an enormous amount of time on mobile devices. I really want to spend more time outside again - just walking, eating, sleeping, repeating. Now my option in Huaraz with two to three weeks disappeared as well. Well, and in this process I caught myself how I downloaded an app for the "Pacific Crest Trail" on my phone. Is that a sign already? For everyone who has not heard about it or has not followed my thoughts around this topic: The Pacific Crest Trail or also called PCT is one of the most famous long distance trails going from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada through the West Coast of the USA - a 2,659mi or 4,279km long hiking trail.

And then I left for my plane to Bogota. Arriving at the airport and getting in the line I was told by my fellow traveller that they are checking for a return or onward flight and won't let you on the flight if you don't have one. Again? I almost didn't make it from Hawaii to South America because of this a few month ago when you remember. And actually I had the same discussion from Buenos Aires to Peru but could buy myself out of it with having a European Credit Card which apparently was enough to prove enough funds to be allowed in. So again, booking a ticket which I was most probably not using? Good thing I remembered this one little thing someone told me a few weeks ago. There is a website ( ) which provides you with a service of giving you a flight confirmation which looks very convincing and real. You just fill out the dates and routing and then you get you booking confirmation. What a great idea for all the hassled and free-spirited travellers that don't have fixed plans. Well, not saying I actually used this service 😇 but what a great idea. And yes, I made it on the plane... 😎

Sitting in the plane also showed me I actually miss flying myself. I would love to sit in the little GOMC again and fly a few turns... Let's see how I can get some flight time in in the next weeks or month.

After a good nap in the hostel and a hot shower I started organising myself. What to do in Colombia now? Replying to messages and what you have to do. And then I found myself on the US Immigration website researching for requirements to get a visa and just started it. Now a little insight in the sometimes annoying traveler life: Besides the fact that they want to know quite a lot of details and it actually takes a bit of time to research some of the facts it can be the most frustrating thing to fill out a form which will reload every time after you fill in one piece of information and then crashes because the internet connection is not stable. One of the highlights in this process was answering the question "Which countries have you visited in the last 5 years?". Seriously? In the last five years? I started filling out the form, selecting every single country one by one with a reload of the page between every entry. I think it took me about 1,5 hours to complete this single page. It probably also didn't help that the count of the website told me 47 visited countries after I was done... 😂😂 The entire form took me about 4h to complete but now I have my photo and fingerprint appointment tomorrow and my interview the day after. I guess it's official now. The PCT is my goal for this summer. Five month of - hopefully - undisturbed hiking being back in my tent and what I enjoy most - nature and mountains. I can also say that I feel happy with this decision. The restlessness of the last weeks has finally settled and it feels good to know where to go and what to do - especially knowing it's going to be five month of hiking...😍 Also from a rational perspective (which probably and honestly didn't play such a big role in the decision) all of the smaller things can still be done in a "normal" life - if I ever go back to it. But a five month hike will be difficult. And there is even a secret little plan for Iceland as well. Let's see if it works out 🤙

PCT, I am coming!


An eternal reminder will from now on accompany me on my journey.

Over the last weeks I had reflected a lot about what had happened in the last 1.5 years, the journey through New Zealand, what it had done to me and how much I enjoyed this current state of mind. Even though the process obviously had started long before i did my first step on Te Araroa, still New Zealand has been the visible and tangible start of this journey of mine.

Even though I take an uncountable amount of pictures, memories and impressions that I will never forget anymore I still wanted to take something with me from New Zealand. Something which would remind me on all I had learned, realised and what it took me to get there to the point I am now but also on the incredible feeling of happiness and the spirit to continue exploring, learning and growing. Something which would always remind me later on to get out of my comfort zone again since it so worth it. But none of the material things I could think of seemed appropriate to carry, to last or to cover the scope.

But there was one thing that kept on coming up in the last weeks. Something that I have always been completely against and I would have never ever thought I would do something like this. Especially since I have always been convinced that there is nothing that could be of such an eternal meaning that it would be appropriate to do it.

Well, what can I say - the last day the topic just came up more often. And then I talked to my Kiwi Mom Sarah and my sister Steph about it. And Steph said if I was going to do it then I would definitely have to do it with somebody special who had also done it for parts of their family. So Steph promised to find out the name and address.

The more I thought about it I was sure it had to incorporate New Zealand, Te Araro and of course the silver fern since it is the symbol of New Zealand and somehow merges the entire story in something that stand for New Zealand like nothing else.

Wednesday evening Steph came back to me with a name. But he had recently moved and was quite far away from the city now. So the case rested. But then something unexpected happened. When Sarah and I were just about to leave home - the last time for me - to go down to the city, Sarah’s landline rang. Sarah never picks up her landline since nobody has the number. This morning she did - for whatever reason. And it was her brother in law, Stephs uncle. He told Sarah that he had just called Inia and he surprisingly had a day off today without any appointments and if I would call him in the next twenty minutes we could probably work something out today. Somehow it was supposed to happen. I called Inia and he said it would work out time wise if I could make it to his place before twelve o’clock. Sarah immediately offered me to drive me.

And an hour later I was at Inia’s place. He is quite a famous Maori artist and well known for his craft. And then we started talking about the story and how to convert it into the design. We did a few and when Inia had drawn the final one on my foot I became doubtful and almost chickened out. It probably took me fifteen to twenty minutes before I finally said let’s do it.

And Inia converted the story and the idea in this beautiful artwork which will accompany me from now on reminding me on the journey.

He started with a very special prayer which gives the idea that this symbol represents the current status and it is meant to leave everything behind which you don’t want to take and you only continue in the future with what you want to continue with:


It shows one koru in the middle framed by waves and mountains. The koru is a traditional Maori symbol which represents an unfurling silver fern (the national plant of New Zealand) and stands for new life, growth, change, strength and peace. The unfurling fern also always strives for the light which determines the direction it grows to. Also does the round shape transports the idea of constant and perpetual movement while the coil stands for the origin.
The koru perfectly unites all aspects of my story - a process of massive and constant growth and change which started in New Zealand. And the development will always continue. The waves symbolise the magnitude of the impact which has been greater than just the koru and effected many other things around it.
The waves, mountains and the fern (and even a little triangle - even though it is black not orange) itself represent the journey on Te Araroa through New Zealand.

And the left foot was chosen since it was the one which had the hardest time, slowed me down - in a positive way. The wasp nest, the sprained ankle and the broken toe are all on the left hand side...

I am very glad I did it - it is my eternal reminder that will from now on accompany me.

Te Araroa - a life-changing journey.

More than a month has already passed by since I finished the first stage of this journey - Te Araroa. Many events and encounters on the trail had quite a significant direct impact on me. Others had a slower but not less significant impact. Some are of broader reach, others are very simple take-aways.
By writing the blog and trying to capture everything which had happened every day in words I went through an intensive reflection process every day. I am glad I did. Writing things down make them stick a lot better. But also the constant exchange with the other hikers on the trail was definitely enriching. Some with very similar stories and reasons to be on the trail, others with very different ones, the need to reflect, the pure physical challenge to make it, only for fun and many more. Everyone was on a journey of their own but with this always an enrichment and inspiration of its own. But also the frequent exchange with all the Kiwis along the way was more than helpful. How often do you have the chance to constantly meet new people with completely different backgrounds and thoughts.

Exposing yourself to a different environment always has an impact on you.
When I left home and many friends said “I am curious to see how much this trip will change and do to you.”. I really thought it would not do much. I would have said that most of my core values are set and very strong, I am aware of the things I do like and the ones that I don’t. I would also say that most of this is still valid. But I have to admit that Te Araroa has done more to and with me that I would have ever expected. Some changes directly triggered by the one or other encounter, some through constant exposure to certain things and many as a very slow process and for me barely recognisable. I am sure most of them are also still working on me.


Only if you don’t have anything to lose which you are afraid of losing you are really free to discover new things.
But maybe to start at the very beginning and most probably one of the strongest influences on me. When I decided to (originally) change my job and knew that I was going to quit my current job, I suddenly felt an amazing feeling of freedom and liberalisation. My focus had been extremely strong on a vertical career path which was quite easy. I only had to perform, not make mistakes, mingle with the right crowd, do a fair bit of self-marketing and do what else was expected in the corporate environment. And every action was very much focussed and targeted to climb up the ladder. With the decision that the next step would not be in the same environment only up another step suddenly broadened my horizon. I was now free and could do whatever I wanted! My view changed from a very focused tunnel to the entire horizon - everything was possible now. From going back to university, becoming an artist, gardening, sports or just another industry. I was high for three weeks feeling unleashed.
Having opportunities also make you a lot better in what you are doing in that moment. Why? Because you are not afraid of losing your current status anymore since you know you can just move on and do something else. It’s always good to have opportunities.
After a while I became scared. What was I supposed to do with all of the freedom now? Out of all these options? I was overwhelmed. But after a while I realised that I would most probably not become a musician or a professional sports player anymore and with this the options actually narrowed down to areas where I do have my strength. With this intention I started looking for possible fields of employment with the thought of maybe having a longer holiday in-between the two jobs.
But it was only after almost a year after the initial decision that I decided to instead cut all of the safety ropes and to continue without a plan or schedule. There were thoughts about a sabbatical and other options. But I figured if I really wanted to make most out of this time I would need to let go of all these safety nets which would give me the feeling of having a fall back scenario. I realised that only if I would let go of all of this I would be really free to enjoy this break. I knew that I would always weigh and compare what I would would have to give up (a safe job, a good income, etc.) if an opportunity would come along the way and I needed to decide if I wanted to try it or not. Without having anything that you would have to give up you are a lot more free to go for opportunities. It also sharpens your view for possible things to do since you have to “start swimming” again at one point of time.
Many friends and colleagues where literally shocked when they heard about my decision and asked me why I would give up all of these things that I had worked for so hard and why I would not keep a fall back option. Why would I want to give up so much if I didn’t have to?
The only thing I can say looking back is that it has been the best decision that I could have possibly taken! Getting rid of most of my material possessions and not being afraid of loosing anything (which you can’t if you don’t have anything) anymore its the most liberating feeling ever! The more you have the more you have to worry about. Not having anything is interestingly not scary but very contenting.
Not knowing what would happen the next day or after the trail gave me the freedom to just let things happen the way they did without being afraid of loosing anything, being constraint or having the feeling I had to or not to do certain things since they seemed necessary.

You don’t need a lot of things to survive.
In the very special case of Te Araroa an even more fascinating aspect played a significant role. To be able to fit everything you need to survive in the wilderness in a 55l backpack is an amazing feeling. To walk with everything you own and actually need until the sun sets, emptying your backpack and using almost every piece of equipment and by this knowing you are not carrying anything you don’t need, packing everything together the next morning and just continuing in the same direction without looking back is probably the ultimate feeling of freedom. At least it was for me.


You need to actively break with your comfort zone to let the magic happen.
By going this step and leaving most of my known and comfortable environment behind I did something which I would continue during the entire trail and which is probably one of the most obvious but important learnings:

This picture as always says more than thousand words. If you want to experience anything new and if you want to grow you have to leave your comfort zone! Only if you do you will come into the situation where new things happen. How often do you really experience fascinating and inspiring moments on your everyday life in which you always do the same things and meet the same people? The biggest step out of my comfort zone was definitely to leave everything known behind and to start the journey without knowing where it would lead to. But I also continued on the trail to break with many of my comfort zones which I sometimes was not even aware of. Starting out with little things like hitchhiking. I remember how awkward it felt when I first held up my finger to get a ride and the cars just passed and looked at me. I felt like a second class person being personally rejected every time a car passed and I actually continued walking after the first cars had passed before I tried it again. But with the first great experience of someone picking me up, driving me to the supermarket, waiting for me to do my shopping, dropping me off at a place where I could pitch my tent and on top picking me up the next morning to bring me back I can’t say how glad I was that I had stepped out of my comfort zone! And there have been many more little things like asking for help, admitting that you don’t know, walking around filthy and in the most ridiculous looking and dirty outfit in towns and many more…
On the other hand it is amazing how quickly areas which have been way out of your comfort zone become part of or fully your new comfort zone. I quickly liked sleeping in my tent in the wilderness more than the hostels.

Don’t plan everything ahead - let things happen.
In the same context of comfort zones maybe one of the most difficult ones for me to break with was not to plan everything a head and having an Excel list for it. I was used to have things under control. Being prepared. Having booked and organised things in advance and with this having little to non room for things to happen. Even when I started the trail I had already booked my hostel for the first day on the trail three weeks in advance. It took me a while to gain the confidence to just let it happen. But once I started it always worked out somehow and I experienced some of the most amazing things. Be it standing on the highway after dark trying to catch a ride and the people who had taken me to here turning back to host me for the night since they thought it would be difficult for me to find a ride in the dark or the owner of an restaurant in Whangarei offering me to sleep next to the table I just had dinner since all hotels were full. All things which would have not happened to me in my old life and comfort zone. My takeaway - things always work out somehow and it is very unlikely that you starve or die. Therefore - don’t plan ahead.

Travel on your own for a while if you can.
Traveling by yourself is very different to travelling with a friend or partner. I am glad I went by myself. Unfortunately you miss out to create joint memories and stories for life that you will always be able to share and look back to with a friend. On the other hand it allows you to experience a lot of things you usually miss out on if you are not on your own. Since we are all social beings we want and need to interact. If you are on your own you can’t “hide” behind your friend or partner but you actively have to go up to strangers if you want to talk. By this you meet great people you would have otherwise missed out on.
Sometimes you can’t do things on your own and therefore have to ask strangers for help. You will meet interesting people. You will sit by yourself in cafes and restaurants and by doing this people will join you. More encounters. And you are always free to stop, continue, divert and to do whatever you want to.
And on the other side you have to also spend a lot of time with yourself. A very interesting and sometimes painful experience since you actively have to deal with yourself, reflect and you can’t escape from it.


Hospitality is such an amazing thing. I want to give back what I have experienced.
Many of you who have followed my journey during the last month know how overwhelmed I have been by the Kiwi hospitality! I can’t even fully recall and count all the rides I have received, the people who have stopped on the road to check if I was alright or needed anything, the ones who came up to me and asked me if they could help me when I looked like I was looking for something, the ones who have opened their homed to me and hosted me for a meal, a night or even a few. How many have put trust in me when they invited me to their personal homes sometimes only knowing me for a few minutes. It has been an amazing experience to receive so much hospitality along the way from people who did not expect anything in return and who thought it was the most normal thing to be a host and share. It was an overwhelming feeling to receive this unrestricted trust from so many. And this especially since I have looked like a hobo most of the time on top. It is difficult to put in words how special you feel. What an amazing way of taking care of each other it is. How more enjoyable it makes life when you care about each other. How grateful you feel when somebody just helps you out or does something good for you for no particular or selfish reason. And sometimes you maybe even make friends for life.
Kiwis in general don’t seem to distrust 9,999 because their might be 1 out of 10,000 who might abuse this trust. This is very different to most of the western countries where I would say it is probably the other way around. We tend to see the worst and by this not picking up a hitchhiker, stopping to ask if we can help or let alone inviting strangers to our homes even though chances are probably not higher than in New Zealand that there are 9,999 great people out of 10,000.
It seems to be part of their DNA. Because you do not experience it in big gestures but also in daily life even in the city. People in general are caring, friendly and very open. Just as a random example: if you get off a bus in Auckland you thank the bus driver loudly
All of what I have experienced during the last month it has deeply touched and made me think about the general way we interact with each other. I would claim that it has changed me fundamentally in the way how I do approach people, the way I do trust and already do interact with people on the street.

I love mountains.
Not a really new observation but something I realised again during the journey. Even though I also enjoyed all parts of the trail and especially the diversity was key for making it so special I realised how much I enjoy to spend time in the mountains. I love running up mountains, I love to get the views from above and below, I love climbing and I love the alpine terrain. I will spend more time in the mountains. I love mountains!

Patience and accepting certain things the way they are make a lot of things easier.
I only realised how much more relaxed I had become over time when I first injured myself and I had to go off the trail for almost 10 days. Half a year ago I would have steamed and would have been annoyed by the fact that I could not continue as planned, that my journey now was delayed and that I did not know when I could continue. It would have felt like a waste of time almost. But once the first shock was over I started enjoying the fact that I now had time to do all the things I couldn’t do on the trail: reading a book, drinking coffee every day, unlimited access to food and so on. So from then on I just sat in my favourite cafes enjoyed the change of settings.
Accepting situations which you can’t change and making the most out of them is a lot easier than fighting them especially knowing you can’t win this particular fight.

There is never a right or wrong.
One of the things I have also seen and realised on all my travels so far has proven to be even more true:

There is never a right or wrong - there are only different ways of seeing and doing things.

We generally do have a subjective and personal opinion on most things. This is good. But it is never a smart thing to judge and to claim ones position is the right one. It is not. And on top you very often miss out on an opportunity to learn something new.
And in the same aspect everything is relative. It always depends on the observer and the perspective. Sometimes 25km is a lot, sometimes not. Sometimes a situation seems to be very bad but compared to someone else’s it might not be at all. So it very much depends on your own position and your perspective. Another very important factor to be considered when looking at people and circumstances. Especially before taking a decision or judging.

A great feeling of deep happiness is addictive.
All of the above has resulted in a deep happiness. Many people who met me along the trail - especially towards the end - and who I showed a picture from before the trail couldn’t believe that this was the same person. Yes, the hair all over my head makes a huge difference but I think it is more. The word I have heard the most as a reaction to the “selfie of the day video” I have made was “happiness” and how you could see the happiness increasing with every day and every picture.
Interesting enough is that I did not feel unhappy at all when I left. Not at all. I was excited and I also liked my “old life”.
But somehow this hole journey must have done something to me that cannot be broken down to single effects but just results in a general well being and happiness. I cannot pin-point this to anything particular but I guess the feedback, pictures and my current presence which makes people just rock up at my table and join me for coffee or a meal somehow shows that. And maybe even more “visible” is the fact that I am enjoying my current status so much that I can’t reply imagine going back anytime soon. It just feels to good. Happy ?.

The transformation:

These are of course very personal and individual observations and experiences and they are not right or wrong but just my way of seeing and perceiving the last month. There are also a few more thoughts and things that have happened or I have realised along the way but they would definitely go beyond the scope of this. I just wanted to capture the most important thoughts I have had on and after the trail to not forget. And since many of you have followed the journey so closely I decided to share them with you - as well as all of the daily ups and downs so far.

This is not meant as a councelors text. But if you want to take one thing out of this for yourself: Leave your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid. The rest will happen automatically.

To quote my good friend Matt for a closing - at the end it comes down to: "You got to do what you think is best for you!"