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In addition to taking repellent for use on skin, during peak season I recommend treating your gear. I spray my tent, pack, hat, layering long-sleeve shirt and pants with Sawyer Permethrin. It’s said to last 6 weeks or 6 washings. For PCT thru-hikers, I recommend you send some to yourself near Mammoth Lakes so you have additional protection through the notorious Yosemite mosquito zone. You’ll also most likely experience black flies and mosquitoes from Lassen to the Oregon border during the months June and July.
I use the poles to help with balance, especially during stream/log crossings and rocky sections of trail, but I also feel they help me climb faster and descend steep sections more efficiently. A side benefit is avoiding “sausage fingers” I inevitably endure otherwise. I prefer cork extended handle collapsible poles such as Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork.
Why and how to use poles?
I personally haven’t used an umbrella, but I know there are LOTS of hikers who would not go without one when hiking in areas with intense sun. They are usually used hands free with several systems available to attach them to your packs. The GoLite Chrome Dome is probably the most popular version.
Why use an umbrella? WanderLearn – 10 reasons
How to rig umbrella on pack for hand-free use