Pack Like A Pro: Pacific Crest Trail

Pack Like A Pro: Pacific Crest Trail
Introducing Ridge Merino's 2023 PCT Ambassador, Laila Cohen.  

Laila is currently hiking the 2,650 miles from San Diego along the Mexican border all the way up to British Columbia, Canada. 

Starting the PCT at the Southern terminus in San Diego

Mile 0 with a smile! The starting point of the PCT.

Coming from Atlanta with a love for that outdoors that goes beyond words, Laila knows it's not all sunshine and rainbows along the trail, especially with the lingering effects of this year's winter and its many challenges. Even with proper planning and packing, the harsh reality of things not going according to plan comes with the territory.
Laila looks at every challenge as an opportunity. "All you can do is plan for the best and prepare for the worst, but always with a smile because you're in the great outdoors," she said. 

Packing all the gear for the PCT

Laila, with everything she'll be carrying for the next 2,650 miles.

We caught up with Laila after her first week on the trail to get the scoop on the ins and outs of packing like a pro for a more enjoyable time on trail. Here's what she had to say:
  • Biggest piece of advice on figuring out your gear is to take everything you read or watch online with a grain of salt. What ultimately matters in the end is YOU and what works for YOU. Not the ultra light experienced thru hiker but YOU. Don’t beat yourself up over everything. Keep that in mind. 
  • Throw some glacier gels in your first aid kit for blisters. 
  • Don't skimp on your guilty pleasure food. Sour Patch is my go-to, and some sugar never hurts when hiking that far every day. 
  • As cute as they may be, critters are a nuisance and are notorious food thieves! Use an odor proof bag inside your food bag to keep critters out.
  • Spend time getting to know your backpack top to bottom, because once you've reached camp for the night you want to maximize your rest time and enjoy those views.

Epic camp site views along the PCT

Setting up camp just in time for sunset.

  • Realize that the majority of the people starting this thru hike have never done something like this before, we're all in this together!
  • Hiker hygiene - wet wipes are a must have!
  • Get a cork massage ball and start rolling your feet. Your feet will greatly appreciate it after a full day of hiking.
  • MY SOLSTICE SUN HOODIE ❤️ Before I was Ridge Merino's PCT Ambassador I was OBSESSED with their sun shirt. Why is it my favorite? The thumbholes are pure perfection and the oversized hood is life changing. It's the best. When you have the hood up over your hat it hangs down perfectly adding extra coverage. Highly recommend the Solstice

    Hiking with friends along the PCT
      Sun exposure is a real concern on the trail. The Solstice Hoodie provides much-needed, lightweight UV protection. 

      • Be ready for everything to fall apart, not go according to plan, and then somehow end up working out. The trail really is a magical place and has a way of making it all work out. 
      • Most importantly, HAVE FUN :)


      We'll be checking in with Laila throughout the summer for tips, tricks and hacks along the trail. So keep on trekking, and be sure to give her and Ridge a follow to see the latest updates. @lailarachel_  // @ridge_merino 

      If you're thru hiking the PCT don't forget to swing by Ridge Merino's HQ at mile 906. You can also find us on the FarOut app.


      • Ron Russell on

        Hi Laia, Best of luck to you on your journey. looking forward to your travel updates!

      • Ed Wagenaar on

        Laila once you finish the PCT it’s just a short jaunt across the country to walk the AT back to Georgia. Be safe and have fun

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