PCT glossary

Thru Hiker: A long distance hiker who is planning to hike the whole trail in one season, ie all the way from Mexico to Canada in one summer.

Section Hiker: Someone who is hiking just a section of a long distance trail.

Trail Name: A name given to somebody on the trail. You are, or you become, a different person on the trail – this name reflects that.

Nobo and Sobo: A hiker who is going northbound from Mexico to Canada, or southbound from Canada to Mexico.

Trail Angel: Somebody who helps a hiker out while they are on the trail.  Some trail angels open their houses to hundreds of hikers every year – they cook meals, do laundry and so much more!  Others, are people who don’t even know they are trail angels, like day-hikers passing by who give you their chocolate bar.

Trail Magic: Unexpected generosity along the trail – from trail angels!  It can be a cooler of beer, water in southern california, or even somebody finding your phone that you left a few towns back.

Water Cache: Water left for hikers by trail angels in the long waterless stretches of the desert.

HYOH: This stands for Hike Your Own Hike.  It is the idea that everybody has different ways of hiking, whether that is their speed, their gear, their budget.  Everybody has a different reason for hiking, a different goal in mind and a different outlook on the hike.  You can’t tell somebody else how they should do their hike, you just have to HYOH.

Zero: A day when you hike no miles at all – a rest day.  ie “at the next town I’m going to take a zero”

Nero: A nearly zero mile day, normally this is hiking into or out of a town and you only hike 10 or fewer miles.

Flip Flop: Skipping a section and coming back to do it later that season.

Cowboy Camping: Sleeping under the stars instead of setting up your tent/shelter.

ADZPCTKO: Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off – this is a weekend at the end of April every year where current and past hikers gather on the trail to reconnect, get advice and hang out.  Gear suppliers sell gear, videos from the past year are shown and a current class picture is taken.

BPW: Base Pack Weight, or the weight of your pack and everything in it excluding gear on your body and consumables (fuel, food, water, etc).  This is how ultralight backpackers compare pack weight – a few have a BPW under 10lbs.  Most PCT hikers have a BPW between 10-25lbs.

Triple Crowner: Somebody who has thru hiked all three super long distance trails in the US – the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Appalachian Trail – a total of almost 8000 miles.

Hiker Box: A container in town that hikers can put unwanted food or gear in.  One hikers extra weight is another hikers treasure.

Trail Register: A notebook in town or on the trail where hikers sign their name and write a note.


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