best hiking gear on the PCT 2019

Mac posted his 7th annual survey — this year 846 Pacific Crest Trail hikers were interviewed.

The Altra Lone Peak was the most popular shoe on the PCT this year – used by nearly a third of PCT hikers. It’s a zero-drop shoe and, on average, hikers who completed the trail used 4.65 pairs – nearly $600 in shoes (at full retail price).

On the other hand, there were plenty of complaints about Lone Peaks.

Personally, I prefer sturdier Merrell Moabs.



Read more:

The Pacific Crest Trail Gear Guide: Class of 2019 Survey

Khopra Ridge trek, Nepal – day 5

Naya Pul to Ghandruk trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles. 

day 1  | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6/7

Nov 4, 2019 – Khopra Ridge tenting 3640m  to Tadapani 

It was a cold night in the tent. I had to mummify myself in my ultralight sleeping bag and wear all my layers.

I only slept a couple of hours, the rest of the time listening to an excellent audio book.

At first light I packed up the frozen Hubba quickly (no coffee!) and got moving to warm-up.

n about 90 minutes I made it to Bayeli Guest House for breakfast. The sun was out and it looked a beautiful morning. I was happy to get there.

The Annapurna massif includes one peak over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft), thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft), and sixteen more over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). It’s 55 kilometres (34 mi) long. A monster.

I was a tiny ant climbing up and down ridges at around 3000m.

It clouded up early today. Unusual. November normally brings day-after-day of clear skies. Nepalis told me this was atypical weather. Yet this turned out to be one of my favourite days. Different. The autumn colours brightest.

Walking alone through these high grasslands was wonderful.

I’ll be recommending the Khopra Ridge trek to those who want to get away from roads and development. Most is wilderness, well above farms.

Loads are still brought up by horse or porter.

I heard they sometimes carry up to 90kg !

As clouds descended and I descended some vistas reminded me of the Pacific N.W.

There is still much accessible wilderness within the Annapurna Conservation Area.

Without a guide, I accidentally took a different trail than most. My lower track was empty. Quiet. Tranquil.

At this unusual shelter I left a Summit Stone.

Stopping for milk coffee at Isharu, I really enjoyed chatting with the lodge owner. He’d seen Himalayan Black Bear up here.

Everyone expects the Khopra Ridge trek to continue to grow in popularity. It’s part of a trend launched by one man — Mahabir Pun — who was educated at University of Nebraska. 

Mahabir is helping mountain communities to promote new trails close to Annapurna & Dhaulagiri. To build eco-friendly lodges. Some distance from traditional villages. The idea is that Income from lodges goes to support schools and local health clinics.

Trails like Khopra Ridge will replace some existing hikes that have been degraded by road building.

Another nice touch in this section are trash bags at regular intervals on the trail. (Those are for locals, not tourists. Hikers don’t litter here.)

I also liked this day in that it was mostly downhill. 😋

I checked into a good room in Tadapani (2710m). My batteries needed recharged. And I needed a bed. It was only 2pm.

When I awoke from siesta the power had gone out. It was pouring rain.

It’s not supposed to rain here in November. Monsoon arrived late this year. Perhaps everything was pushed later.

As Warren often points out, weather should not be a problem for a hiker properly equipped.

Many were not prepared.

I wandered Tadapani in the rain. Yes, I was carrying good wet weather clothing.

Paint cans with different plants.

Tadapani is not a particularly nice village. Yet it’s a super popular stop — a crossroads for many different hikes. In fact, it’s the official end point for the Khopra Ridge trek. From here I have options.

BEST would be starting up to the Annapurna Sanctuary, an amphitheatre of huge Himalayan peaks.

I’ve done that trip before so will head down — instead — to Ghandruk.

day 1  | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6/7

Matador Freefly16 packable daypack

Kraig and Dave on The Adventure Podcast frequently recommend Matador products.

As I travel much of each year, I use packable daypacks nearly every day on those trips. Often it carries my laptop and other essentials for short trips.

Often I use it to carry my daily groceries.

The Matador Freefly16 has replaced my my Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil® Dry Day Pack. The Matador is slightly heavier and bulkier, but much more robust and full-featured.

This 16 liter backpack is built from waterproof Cordura® with sealed internal seams and sealing zippers.  Incredibly light and seriously equipped, Freefly16 is ready for whatever’s ahead.


  • Unpacked 17in x 11in x 8in
  • Packed 4.75in x 2.75in diameter
  • 4.8 oz


Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.

top 10 hikes – Zion Narrows, Utah

One of our top 10 day hikes in the world

Zion Narrows Top-Down

Photo Steven Shattuck 2017


  • in Utah’s Zion National Park
  • 16 miles (25 km) from Chamberlain’s Ranch to Temple of Sinawava
  • June through October best months
  • in places chasm up to 1,968 ft deep and 20 ft wide
  • walk in water about half the time
  • 9 – 13 hours. Confirm the time of the last shuttle out of the park!
  • a long, tiring day or you can camp overnight. Be aware that there are only 12 campsites available and they book quickly. Start as early as possible if you are doing it in a day.
  • Permit is required
  • water walking shoes, long hiking stick and dry gear recommended
  • National Park Service closes the hike when flow rate is over 150 cubic feet per second (cfs). And might close it at any time in case of Flash Flood Warning.

Read more on our Zion Narrows Information page.


Ursack AllMitey bear bag

I use an Ursack on every overnight trip — except where a Bear Vault is required.

In fact I have two Ursacks and have carried both on longer trips for greater capacity.

Next time I need to replace one of those I’ll go with the best of their product line, the Ursack AllMitey.

  • 10.6 liters
  • Spectra (ballistic polyethylene), Kevlar
  • 13 ounces

Ursack recommends using an odour-barrier bag as a liner (sold separately).


Click PLAY or watch it in action on YouTube.

NEW Hyperlite 3400 Windrider pack – first look

I purchased the pack online from Hyperlite for US$365. Shipping to Canada was an additional $40.

With the pack I also ordered a small Pod which fits inside without wasting any space. I put it on the bottom with light items including clothing.

NOT inexpensive. 😕

That said, after my first overnight hiking trip, I’m very happy with the Windrider.

  • light (32oz) but not as light as my usual Virga 2 (18.5oz)
  • incredibly durable
  • waterproof finally!
  • expandable to 55L plus 3 big mesh pockets

Many on the PCT this year were carrying the white version. I much prefer black.

I’d say it’s the best looking lightweight pack available right now.

maximum capacity

Click PLAY or see it on Vimeo.