Jan 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm #1297657
This is my gear list so far for a CT thru-hike this summer. I'll (hopefully) be leaving at the end of August and plan on finishing in 22 days or less due to time constraints. If it turns out that I have more time than that, I'll go a bit slower and enjoy it…and if I have less time than that, I'll take a shuttle to Breckenridge and start there in order to cut around 100 miles off.
Shelter — I'm planning on using a MLD Grace Solo Spinn tarp in tandem with a TiGoat Ptarmigan bivy (with netted hood) on the trip. I bought the tarp just a few weeks ago and have never used one before, but am not averse to the open-ness that drives some people away from tarps. I'm not sure if I need a groundsheet or not…would the bivy be fine without one? I want one primarily so that I can put my pack and gear on it instead of on the ground. If it turns out that I don't like the tarp (testing it in two weeks or so) then I'll just bring my Tarptent Moment which would add just under a pound to my pack weight.
Pack — the GG Murmur should really be all I need for the trip. I have no problem fitting my gear in it, and really like how light it is. If all else fails, I do have a GoLite Jam or ULA CDT to fall back on.
Bag — even though it's technically a 1+ season bag, I've taken it down to the mid-20s with the proper clothing and stayed comfortably warm. It packs down great and I like the center zip feature.
Clothing — I love the montbell UL down parka. The EMS power-dry shirt is a great mid-layer, and the REI baselayer top is long-sleeved to help prevent sunscreen. The EMS tights are also very comfortable and light. I'm slightly undecided about rain gear, though. I don't care if my legs get wet, but I'm not sure if I need a dedicated rain top or not. I currently have a montbell UL wind shirt as a dual-use wind/rain shirt, but considering how much rain there is on the CT I might bring a GoLite Virga (6oz I think)…any suggestions?
Also, I'll probably be wearing different shoes than those listed…just don't know which ones yet.Jan 4, 2013 at 8:06 am #1940764
Looks like a pretty good list here are a few thoughts (I did the trail up to Molas Pass in 2011 and finished Molas to Durango this year)
Rain Gear – I used a Golite Virga and for the amount of rain I encountered I consider it the bare minimum. I also had a pair of rain pants and I used them a lot. It can be very windy up there and having your legs wet and exposed to a wind is not fun. I would carry a rain skirt at minimum but I preferred the pants.
This is especially important since it looks like most of your insulation is down.
Pack – The Murmer looks like a nice pack but you have some pretty long sections between resupplies and some dry sections between water sources where you will be carrying a lot more weight (and remember you will be eating more on the last half of the trip so you'll want more like 2+ pounds of food per day instead of 1.5). You might need a more substantial pack. If you can travel fast enough and get your baseweight to 8 pounds or so maybe.
Tarp – I did a large part of the trail with a MYOG 5×9 ft. tarp. It was adequate if a bit cramped. The Grace Tarp will be better because it has a bit more headroom. I think a tent would be overkill because bugs were never an issue and I did most of my camping at low elevations out of the wind.
Bivy – I used a bivy and liked it on the trail. Bugs were never a problem
Pad – There ought to be something lighter then that.
Water Storage – I carried a lot more then 2 liters of water at times. I'd be ready to carry 3 or 4.
Eric the Black's Guide – My friend shared one of these with me and I liked it a lot. The only problem is Eric is way to optimistic in what he lists as a "reliable" water source. The CT data book is much more realistic (remember August will be the driest time of year). I'd get the data book and make notes from it in Eric's guidebook.Jan 4, 2013 at 9:15 am #1940775
I see a 4oz bottle for alcohol. Not sure how much you will use a day. 1oz minimum. Given the length re-supply points in the San Juans I would think you want more like an 8oz bottle or consider carrying some Esbit as a backup.Jan 4, 2013 at 9:54 am #1940783
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
At the end of August, there won't be any bugs. The nights will also be cold – like lower 20's. Yes, there is a LOT of wind. Fortunately, the monsoon season will be winding down, but it will rain so dedicated rain gear – top and bottom – is a wise investment. Up high, that can be a very cold rain.
I would suggest you:
1- add a pair of dedicated merino wool sleeping socks. Your feet will love the clean dry covering and your sleeping bag will smell nicer too.
2- add a pair of merino wool or synthetic glove liners. Your fingers will love you. A pair of WP overmitts will be a welcome addition for rain and wind.
3- add a wide brimmed hat. The sun is quite intense above treeline and sunglasses alone won't cut it.
4- you only have two platypus bladders of unknown size. You'll need more capacity than that on some sections south of Salida. I carried 3 one liter bladders (one on my Hoser system and two spares) and one wide-mouth one liter juice bottle (for water being treated). Platy bladders are very hard to fill from a stream. The empty one liter bladders cans stay rolled up in your pack until needed.
5- your REI trekking poles are 19 ounces. If you can afford it, consider the Gossamer Gear LT4 carbon fiber poles – 8 ounces the pair. I've used them on the PCT and CT for years.
6- I'd replace the mini-groundhog stakes with the full size versions, at least for the front and rear guylines. It's very windy above treeline and your tarp will need all the anchor it can get. Tent or tarp is purely a personal choice, but if you tarp, make it large enough to give you and your gear good coverage from the adternoon rain storms; they can be intense.
You're starting from Breckenridge to save time, so you'll ultimately have to return to finish the first 6 segments anyway. That said, consider one of the two following scenarios: If you're interested in the map and logistical details, PM me with your email address and I'll forward it to you.
1) Start from Copper Mountain Resort in segment 8 instead. The trail runs right behind the Burning Stone Plaza at the resort.
2) start from Breck (Gold Hill TH) as planned, but slack-pack segment 7 and that God-awful hill between Breck and Copper Mtn. Take the free bus from the Passage Point stop at Copper Mtn back to Breck to retrieve your gear, stay at the hostel overnight, return to CM the next day and hike on.
WBJan 4, 2013 at 10:52 am #1940795
The Murmur isn't the right pack for this trip (I've owned a couple and they are nice UL packs). Your base weight is 9 lbs and you will at times have a total pack weight of well over 20 lbs with food and water. Suggest you use one of your other packs. GG recommends 15 lbs max total weight. I would worry about seams ripping. Plus it gets really uncomfortable for me at 15+ lbs.
Definitely need some real rain gear. Can't speak to your Virga. I would take my Marmot Essence or probably a poncho. It gets windy, so I use a cord to tie around my waist. You may be doing a lot of hiking in rain at times.
I have a Montbell UL Wind Shirt. Don't know if you have used it a lot, but mine is a sauna. When I brought it on trips, I would only use it when it was an absolute necessity or crisis. I now have a Houdini and it is one of my favorite pieces of gear. Recommend both a wind shirt and rain jacket as two items. I second Luke on some sort of rain bottom. You might get biting cold, wind driven rain. Usually a rain skirt works for me, but I have only used one on just a few trips — not a lot of experience.
You don't "need" a ground sheet with a bivy, but you hit it on the nail — nice for organizing things. I keep small items on mine at night. Look at some polycro, nice and light. I have several from GG.
The Grace Solo will be fine, but make sure you match it with a bivy. Do you have the right weight? I think < 6 ounces would be a cuben tarp; you listed spinnaker. I have a GG Spinn Twin tarp and it is close to 11 ounces with guylines.
I don't see glove liners or waterproof mitts. I would definitely take some. The Rockies can and will throw all kinds of weather at you; even in summer.
I would take a merino wool cap or similar.
A Caldera Cone GVP would be lighter than all your pieces (caddy not needed, the cone fits into the Foster's Keg). Plus I find very efficient. Very little fiddle factor for me.
Enjoy your trip.Jan 4, 2013 at 10:10 pm #1940939
I'll add the dedicated rain jacket. I'm going to see if I can find an old pair of montbell Versalite rain pants, or something along those lines. I'll also add a 1-liter gatorade bottle in there for some more water capacity. I could get a lighter pad, but that would cost me too much just to save 4 ounces. If I can find a good deal I'll snag one.
Thanks for catching that. I added an extra 8oz of fuel, but might end up carrying more.
I added the extra pair of socks. I knew that I needed some gloves, but wasn't sure which. Do you have any suggestions? I've heard good things about the MLD eVent gloves. I don't mind heavy trekking poles as they're in my hands and I like how durable the pair I have is. I also have 5 full-size groundhog stakes — I just didn't list them in the list (it'll actually be 3 mini groundhogs and 5 full-size groundhog stakes).
I haven't had a chance to use the montbell windshirt yet, but I'll try it out before I go on the trip. If the lack of breathability isn't manageable, then I'll give in and pick up a Houdini. I'm not entirely sure on the weight of the tarp as I don't have a scale, but I know it's somewhere between what's listed and 8oz. The buff will be plenty warm for me (I love how versatile it is). On a final note, I'm really happy with the cooking setup I haven now — the Fosters pot is great and I use the caldera caddy as a bowl/mug to eat and drink food or mixed drinks out of.
I'm going to to try to lighten my load a little bit and see if the Murmur will work for me. If it doesn't, I'll just move up to the Jam (or maybe the new REI Flash 45 that's coming out — preordered it two weeks ago).Jan 4, 2013 at 10:38 pm #1940946
Pad – Well if you want a full length pad then yeah keep what you have. On the other hand I've been perfectly happy with a short Prolite, which is lighter and cheaper then a longer one. Campmor has them right now for only $40, its 11oz.
Pack – I had not heard of the Flash 45 pack but I'm liking what I see. I think the frame will be worth the weight. If your hike is like mine (dry so I often carried two liters of water or more) you'll top 20 pounds quit often.
The pockets look nice too. You can save a LOT of time by having a well organized pack that you don't have to open up during the day.Jan 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm #1940949
You can get military surplus wool glove liners for under $10. Add a pair of MLD eEvent mitts and you'll be fine.Jan 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm #1941954
Apparently alcohol stoves are currently banned on the CT, or at the very least there is a large amount of confusion among all the park officials. I'll be doing this trip with my brother and we will be sharing a shelter and other items, so I don't mind using a heavier canister stove like the pocket rocket.
Also, updated the gear list a bit:
http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=10903Jan 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm #1941970
Looks good so far.
1. I would still argue for a pair of rain pants, I would have been pretty unhappy on my hike without them. Now I did have a lot of rain. Apparently the monsoon season didn't end on schedule so I had numerous days where I'd be hiking in drizzle most of the day. It will be a bit cooler in late August so getting wet is more annoying then in the summer.
2. If I was really pinching grams I'd bring a smaller shelter but since you aren't I think the Trail Star will be nice. If you've been hiking in the rain all afternoon its really nice to have a roomy shelter to spread out in.
3. I'm not sure two batteries will be enough (mine drained a lot faster when it was cold and its a really pretty trail). Do you have a plan to charge them?
4. Any updates on the REI pack? If it carries weight well that will be the pack I've always wanted REI to make.Jan 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm #1941986
If I was really pinching grams I'd bring a smaller shelter but since you aren't I think the Trail Star will be nice. If you've been hiking in the rain all afternoon its really nice to have a roomy shelter to spread out in.
He will be sharing with his brother, so I would say it is a good choice.Jan 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm #1942001
I'm planning on bringing rainpants — just need snag some first off of gear swap. Also, I think I have my camera charger on my list, but if not I'll add it.
I like my Jam and have had lots of use with it. However, I bought a ULA CDT with some Amazon credit I had for selling old textbooks (mainly so I could then sell it here and turn that credit into cash I could use) and was wondering if you guys have had experience with one. I may end up seeing which I like better and selling the other to my brother at a good discount as they're both supposed to be pretty good packs.Jan 8, 2013 at 6:15 pm #1942009
Lots of people have done thru-hikes with both packs. I prefer internal frames for long trips.
Here is my take on the CDT, I think it is the old Conduit model (or close to it). I had one and didn't care for it, because it wasn't convenient to "live out of it." Now this is just a personal preference. I didn't like the water pockets because Platys would fall out of them. I don't care for mesh pockets because they stretch and rip. It had no other external pockets. It just didn't allow me to be as efficient daily as some other packs. If the Jam works for you and is the right size for all your gear, you may want to use that. I would do some hikes with the CDT ahead of time and keep an eye on how the pack works from an efficiency view point. I know lots of people do the PCT with the CDT, so there are many fans out there.Jan 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm #1942053
Just a slight correction, alcohol stoves (and other non-controlled flamed stoves such as wood burning stoves) were banned in many parts of Colorado for a good chunk of last summer.
Does not necessarily mean they will be banned this coming year.
All depends on how dry this winter is and if we have a wildfire season like last year (I hope not!!!!!)Jan 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm #1942054
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"Does not necessarily mean they will be banned this coming year."
Have you heard of global warming? : )
It will probably be drier most summers in the future
But, after all the forests are burned down it won't matter, so they can go back to allowing alcohol stovesJan 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm #1942058
I finally had a chance to weight everything of mine on a scale and was very surprised — some things were much heavier than advertised (my bag is 25oz as compared to 19oz) or lighter than advertised (not as many items in this category). This ended up bringing my pack weight over 13lbs.
However, if I end up liking the CDT in the next few hikes and decide to use it, I'll ditch the REI inflatable pad and use my folded thermarest ccf pad as the support in the pack. It's always uncomfortable the first few nights but is fine after that. In total, those two switches would drop my base weight to around 11.3 lbs.Jan 9, 2013 at 6:25 am #1942127
Yes, I've heard about global warming..
But I've also read it is called climate change and has unpredictable weather patterns.
If we get a walloping in Colorado with snow in May (as in 2011. I was skiing in June that year), it also means alcohol stoves won't necessarily be banned as it was last year.
Even if the weather IS hotter overall, the weather patterns are all messed up. The Colorado Trail could very well be snowed over again well into July as in 2011.
So, I stand by my original assertion: An alcohol stove ban last year does not mean stoves will be banned this summer.
I guess my question to you is "Do you have any historic memory beyond a snarky line in a post?" :)
mid-late July 2011:
Same loop in early August 2012:
I'm not as smart as others and can't predict what the weather will be like in 5 mos… ;)Jan 9, 2013 at 7:13 am #1942138
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"Do you have any historic memory beyond a snarky line in a post?"
No, sorry, just trying to be humorous, didn't mean to be dis-respectful or anything : )
However, it does seem like weather patterns are changing so alcohol stoves won't be allowed more often – maybe that's a better way to say what I meant
And I don't like to concede the term "global warming" to the deniers. The globe is warming. Maybe that causes some specific locations to change but not necesarily warm.Jan 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm #1946026
George I noticed you plan on doing the CT in 22 days and then going straight back to Annapolis. After I did 23 days on the CT I was wiped out for about a week when I got home. I'd consider how tired out you want to be before jumping back into a military academy.
I am NOT saying don't go. I'm just saying make sure you are ready. My main problem was my limited training before the trip. I could do 20+ mile days but I was sore the next day. I hiked through the soreness but remember I was very beat up when I got home.
If you can hike 20 miles or a bit more comfortably then you should be fine. If 20 miles a day is a big stretch then you'll struggle.Jan 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm #1946034
"George I noticed you plan on doing the CT in 22 days and then going straight back to Annapolis. After I did 23 days on the CT I was wiped out for about a week when I got home. I'd consider how tired out you want to be before jumping back into a military academy."
umm… it's a military academy. Most those dudes are in pretty good shape.Jan 21, 2013 at 10:27 pm #1946036
Jerry and Paul,
You guys made my day. Someone from the People's State of Oregon jousting with someone from the People's Republic of Boulder. Priceless.
:)Jan 22, 2013 at 4:29 am #1946065
I'm in decent shape. I swim every day during lunch and usually do at least one other workout — typically crossfit — in the afternoon or at night.
I'm not too worried about myself, but my brother is also coming with me and this will be his first real backpacking trip. I'm trying to figure out if he should just meet me halfway and do the second half with me, or if he'll be able to keep up with the schedule should he decide to start from the beginning with me.
If that falls through then either I'll be doing the CT alone or we might do the JMT together. I realize the JMT makes a lot more sense logistically with my schedule, but really I'd prefer to do the CT.
edit: also, as my brother is currently in Cambodia and won't be back till March, he's asked me to outfit him appropriately and then I'll be paid back. He'll likely be using my golite jam, and we'll be sharing a MLD Trailstar on the trail. Also, he gets my golite adrenaline bag while I get a shiny new MLD Spirit quilt :).Jan 22, 2013 at 10:27 am #1946112
Billy Goat recently started a thread about taking a "new" backpacker on the JMT or the Sierra High Route. Some good discussion that might be worth reviewing.
Long hikes are not necessarily about long days, but the mental aspect. For a new hiker, a strenuous trip can become daunting. Perhaps the JMT would work better for your brother and both of you will have more fun together. Just a thought.
Also, do the academies still require everyone to participate in intramural sports if they are not involved in an intercollegiate sport?Jan 22, 2013 at 11:28 am #1946139
I saw that thread and thought the discussion was useful and relevant. I've talked to my brother a lot about it and have no doubt that he can handle it as long as it's something that he decides to do. If he decides he doesn't want to do the CT, then we'll end up doing the JMT or I'll do the CT alone. I'm pretty sure he'll have the right attitude no matter what we end up doing, though.
We still have intramurals if you're not a varsity athlete, although a lot of people try to get out of them because they're not taken seriously and make it even harder to follow any actual work out plan (i.e. you don't have enough time in the afternoon to do both intramurals and train for the SEAL/EOD screeners, etc.).
They used to have batallion tackle football with pads and everything (10 years ago or so) but unfortunately don't have it anymore.Jan 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm #1946166
I'm barely allowed in Boulder only because I am an outdoors person. ;)
1. Think Veganism is the Catholicism of eating – i.e. Makes you feel guilty about enjoying something
2. While I love Car Talk, I can't stand "Lake Wobegone Days"
3. Think of a fritatta as something Grandma made and not a $20 breakfast item.
…and worst of all:
4. Upon hearing a Walmart is opening up in town,I made the mistake of saying that Target and Walmart really aren't that different
I think my PROB passport is about to be taken away. I may have to move to Longmont.
All in good fun…. ;D
Being serious, he's young, in good shape and mentally tough. Go for it.
I did the Colorado Trail in 20 days (big whoop. that and $5 gets me an over priced coffee drink on Pearl St. :D) and went back to work the following day. Was out backpacking the weekend after. I was (am!) short, not particularly athletic and sit on my butt for a day job.
Worst case? You get off the trail early but still have some good memories.
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