I can honestly say that the short time (8 wks or so) I spent on the PCT taught me alot. Mostly about my gear and some about myself. Several started on April fools day, 2014 and wow what a surprise mother nature had in store for us. For approximately 3 or 4 days we experienced, winds, rain, hail and ice (sometimes inside our tents), it was a brutal experience for me. Thanks to several hikers and trail angels at Lake Moreno I survived it lol, I was pre-hypothermic!! No Joke!! They all took care of me until I reached Mt. Laguna where I was able to get a warmer sleeping bag (feathered friends, Ecrit 20 degree, but we all know FF is generous with their ratings, that bag proved to be good to 10 degrees), further up the trail I switched my sleeping pad, didn’t take me long to realize I DON”T like sleep pads that are 3-4″ thick filled with air! I was freezing from underneath me and i’m a warm sleeper..lol I switched to a REI Siderail (womens) I had used this pad before and knew it was comfy and warm at only 1″ thickness, a bit heavier then most would like but I now had the perfect sleep system for me! I started with a cuban fiber tent (2person, which was more tent then I could handle by myself at the time (I was new to cuban fiber)) which I swapped out for a free standing sil-nylon, yes again, more weight but I was much warmer!!! I found out that New Balance trail runners are perfect for me sensitive feet, absolutely love them! So going forward to Wales for my “winter” hiking I took NB trail runners WT910 (gortex), my sil-nylon tent (big agnes copper spur 2, which proved to be bomb proof in a tropical storm) and my FF sleeping bag and REI sleep pad went with me…the weather went from perfect hiking weather to some really bad storms and the strongest winds I’d ever experienced on a trail…all my gear performed flawlessly! Some of you know I have been contemplating another attempt at a thru hike on the PCT, and already I’m making a list and checking it twice and counting the ounces, but I can assure you I will be prepared for the extreme weather that can occur on the PCT, especially when starting early in the season. Tho I am considering going back to a Cuban fiber tent….(zpacks is my favorite, I have their Arcblast pack which i’m in love with! and want to try their sleeping bag as well) ~sighs~ decisions, decisions lol… well stay tuned, I will make my decisions soon enuff….My advice to new long distance hikers is, know your body and your needs (warmth, cold, comfort) and try to get an idea of the calories, nutrition you will need, I lost alot of weight the first 2 weeks….had to increase my snacks and eat more often during the day…you can and probably will encounter hot n dry conditions on trails, very cold and/or icy conditions, very strong winds…and you need to carry enuff WATER!!! I always have the capability to carry 6 liters or more if necessary…..Whatever hikes you’re planning, make sure you do your research and ask questions from experienced hikers and I sincerely wish you the best of luck and greatest enjoyment possible for your future endeavors…savor the moments, good and bad, celebrate the beauty you will see and take time to absorb it all, document your journey with video, pictures or words….we’ll chat again soon!!