Must-Have Gear for the Pacific Northwest

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From the redwoods to the Olympic Peninsula, the Pacific Northwest Is a vast and lushes landscape full of magic and wonder. Whether you are planning a hiking trip through the Pacific Coast Trail or just taking a road trip from northern California to Washington, there are some essential items you might want to bring on your journey.

Rain Jacket

It’s no secret the Northwest can dump buckets of rain just about any time of the year. Even in the middle of July, you can find yourself soaked to the bone after rainclouds roll in seemingly out of nowhere. A durable rain jacket is the single most important item you can take on your next outdoor adventure in the PSW.


A lot of people don’t expect to need sunscreen in a place like Eugene or Takoma. The elevation is much higher in these places which means you are closer to the sun. Don’t be fooled by those overcast clouds; they can burn you even worse by magnifying the sun’s rays rather than blocking them out. For those of you with a lighter complexion, it’s a good idea to get at least SPF 50—especially if you plan to visit Oregon in the summer.

Waterproof Watch

A great thing to carry, especially if you are going to be doing any hiking or backpacking, is a waterproof watch. You are more than likely going to lose service out in the woods of Oregon or Washington and if you want to know when the sun is coming down or if it’s time to get off the trail, you might want to grab one.

Bug Spray

If you plan on doing any hiking or outdoor exploration you absolutely must have some form of bug spray. The only time you are ever going to have to worry about mosquitos is during the summer and even then they are only in the more rural areas of the region. The main reason you need bug spray is to combat ticks. Lyme disease is quite common in the region and the easiest way to get it is from a tick. Be sure to wear long socks and plenty of bug spray when you hit the trails.


The weather can be a bit unpredictable at times and it can turn on a dime. Definitely invest in light airy layers so your apparel can change with the weather. Warm and fast drying shirts that can go under your jacket are ideal.

Hiking Shoes or Boots

A good pair of hiking boots will keep your feet safe, warm, and dry while you take in the scenery of majestic Mt. Shasta. It’s a good idea to get some thick socks even if it’s the summer, as they can help prevent any blistering that might occur on those long trail hikes.


A nice leather hat with a brim is ideal for its versatility. A baseball cap will due but a hat with a brim is especially useful for keeping the sun off the back of your neck. If it starts to rain you won’t have to have to get off the trail because you can’t see the path ahead. A leather brimmed hat is quite fashionable if you decide to spend a day in town and you want to blend in with the locals.

A Lightweight Backpack

You don’t always need a big monster backpack when you go backpacking. If it’s just going to be a short trip or a day hike, it might be a good idea to just grab a light waterproof backpack that can keep your essentials dry. Side pockets for a water bottle or sunscreen are always a plus.

Head Lamp or Flashlight

Imagine you just finished a long day of hiking with your friends and you just want to get in the car and head back to your hotel or campground. When you get the car you see that you have a flat tire that has to be changed. You don’t want to be stuck with just your phone light. A serious flashlight or headlamp is much more reliable and your friends will be grateful that you came prepared.


There are so many beautiful things to see in the Pacific Northwest so why not take a few of them home with you? Ideally, you should bring a waterproof camera if you can. With a diverse wildlife and exceptional foliage, you should be able to take some incredible photos.   




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