Chris Townsend Pacific Crest Trail Gear in 1982

The latest post in our from the blogs series features an article

by  Chris Townsend…

Pacific Crest Trail Gear in 1982 … and what I’d take now

Chris looks back on the kit he took for his trip in 1982 and what he would take today.

Chris has published a comprehensive kit list with weights of his kit for the trip. It makes a very interesting read…

The section on clothing Chris talked about his Rohan clothing…


Wool and cotton were still the main materials for outdoor clothing in the early 1980s but new lighter fabrics were starting to appear. The first thin, lightweight, breathable, fast-drying and windproof clothing made from a 50/50 polyester cotton mix had recently been launched by Rohan. The outdoor trade was not impressed, saying the stuff wouldn’t last and was too insubstantial for the outdoors. I thought otherwise and was delighted when Rohan offered me clothing for the trip. I had trousers (Bags – still made of the same fabric in the same design today), breeches, shorts and a windshirt and they all worked well. Why I took both trousers and breeches I now have no idea! Rohan sparked a revolution in clothing and today such garments are standard. I’d take similar garments again, made from 100% synthetic fabrics though.

Rohan also supplied me with synthetic base layers (not that the term was used back then) that were faster drying and much more comfortable than cotton or the wool garments then available (merino, which I’d use today, was a long way in the future) but which I have to admit did stink after a while.

My warm garments were a Helly-Hansen nylon fibre-pile jacket, which looked like a shaggy type of fleece, and a down vest. The combination worked well and I’d use a similar one today.

For rain Rohan made me up a set of experimental lightweight Gore-Tex garments. They don’t seem particularly light now but at the time 800-1000 grams was standard for Gore-Tex. There was only one type of Gore-Tex too and no alternatives. The Rohan garments just lasted to the end. Today I’d take much lighter garments, probably no more than half the weight…

Read more…

Pacific Crest Trail Gear in 1982 … and what I’d take now

It’s a good question Chris why did you take Striders and Bags – Sarah

Read more about Rohan Heritage on Rohantime  Flashback

Rohan Heritage

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