- Nov 19, 2017 at 9:05 pm #3502948
I have learned a lot from all of you on this forum. Many thanks to all. I am planning a thru hike of the Colorado Trail in Aug/Sep of 2018. I think I have my list figured out and have started training. I live at 7600′ in Colorado so that will be helpful – there are also a lot of training trails around here.
Gear list: https://lighterpack.com/r/6noe99
If anyone sees any obvious errors in my list I would certainly appreciate any guidance/comments. I’ve done a bit of backpacking and a lot of day hiking but am by no means an expert. I’m also not ultralight – more lightweight at this point. I am 56, 5’6″ tall and about 155 lbs.
A few of the things on the list I’ve yet to pick up – like the CNOC Water Bag and the Zpacks stuff/dry bags.
Thank you in advance for your comments and wisdom.
Take care all!Nov 19, 2017 at 9:16 pm #3502951
2 ounces of DEET seems like a lot but I’ve never used DEET so I don’t really know.
Do you really need the Kindle with the phone and a big battery?
toothpaste tablets or homemade toothpaste dots are lighter.
I don’t use a trail journal. I mostly take notes or voice memos on my phone and occasionally pull the mini Sharpie from my FAK and write on the back or side of a map.
Towel, buff and banadana?Nov 19, 2017 at 10:17 pm #3502965
Thanks Matthew – Great observations on the towel, buff, and bandana – duh. I will experiment with the kindle app on the phone. The kindle battery is awesome and I love to read but certainly something to consider. And I may be able to get by with 1/2 the deet or other options. Really appreciate the advice – take care!Nov 20, 2017 at 2:25 am #3503019
The one item I see as redundant is the pack cover. The pack liner will be more than sufficient.Nov 20, 2017 at 2:30 am #3503021
Thanks bjc – I was wondering about that one. I read that once the pack gets wet it can add a lot more weight than the pack cover but I see a lot of people carrying them.Nov 20, 2017 at 2:40 am #3503024
I think here in CO even if you get the monsoon or a day or two of rain during a front moving through, you get enough sun and dry weather to dry things out quickly.Nov 20, 2017 at 3:48 am #3503038
MJ HBPL Member
The kindle battery is awesome and I love to read but certainly something to consider.
I think you are right about the Kindle battery, but I haven’t seen the math for how much you’d have to read before the Kindle is saving you weight over whatever extra portable battery capacity you’d need to bring to do all the reading with a phone. I’m pretty sure I would be above that level for any trip of more than a few days.Nov 20, 2017 at 3:51 am #3503039
Fair point – absolutely some more thinking needed on my part. Thanks again!Nov 20, 2017 at 5:08 am #3503047
My $20 10000mah battery carries 4–5 full iPhone charges and weighs ~6.5 ounces. I don’t read on the trail or read on my phone so I don’t know that pencils out for sure but I share it as a point of reference. I suspect you’d be ahead of the game carrying battery unless you spend a lot of time reading.
I do know the reading experience is more pleasant on a Kindle so that is worth something. :)Nov 20, 2017 at 5:53 am #3503052
@ryanLocale: Northern Rocky Mountains
Great list! You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into it.
The thing that stuck out to me was your 700ml pot.
I’m not sure what your schedule is – miles / day, resupply logistics, etc. but on the treks of this scale that I’ve done through the years, I’ve needed a bigger pot.
Here’s the rationale – and keep in mind that my own style doesn’t follow typical thru-hiker style which is to resupply in a town and consume lots of calories to make up for a significant calorie deficit for the past several days.
When / if I resupply, I’ve done so in remote spots (trailhead cache, horse or foot “delivery” from pals, or in Canada / AK – air drops), so pizza and burgers and frappes are out!
Because of that, my caloric needs on the trail steadily increase over the course of a weeks-long hike, and by about the 3rd week, I’m budgeting about 3.5 lb of food (at 110-120 cal/oz average), including a big pot of hot dinner that most definitely wouldn’t fit into a 700 ml pot. I also load up with freeze dried veggies (cravings, bulk, nutrition) in my dinners at night, and these require a lot of volume. I can get away with a 900 ml – 1L pot, but something even a little bigger is nice so I’m not spilling food if the pot is full.
Caveat, however — this is based on my caloric needs for hiking dawn-to-dusk on difficult trails and/or a fast pace and/or in cold conditions and/or etc etc – caloric needs per day are driven in part by caloric expenditures per day. And body fat. I have trained pretty hard for longer treks and have thus started them with low-ish body fat %, so by week 3 there’s not always much fat stores left to make up for calorie deficits.
But I’d say your 700ml is fine if you plan on small volume dinners and/or are able to consume lots of calories at your resupplies to keep your food volume / weight down on the subsequent section.Nov 20, 2017 at 7:46 pm #3503129
I too have been questioning the 700ml but need to think through it a bit more. I’m not a very big guy but once I’m burning 3000+ calories per day – day over day – I know I’ll want more food on some days so may want to go a bit larger – I have an 1100ml that’s only an extra 1.1 oz – so will be considering that option.
I’m planning to take my time and enjoy myself – not pushing large miles each day. Will plan to average 12-18 per day with 4-5 zeros thrown in for good measure. My wife (Kristie) is amazing and has offered to do a lot of resupplying for me – whether via Jeep or on her horse.
For resupply, here’s what I’m thinking;
- Waterton to Kenosha Pass – 71.7 miles – approx 5 days – Kristie will meet me there and will take a bit of a break – 1/2 a zero perhaps.
- Kenosha Pass to Gold Hill – Frisco/Breck – 32.7 miles – 2 to 2.5 days – resupply in town, take a full zero, spend 2 nights in hotel
- Gold Hill to Twin Lakes – 70.9 miles – approx 5 days – pick up box that I drop off on the way to Denver to start the hike
- Twin Lakes to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs – 56.8 miles – approx 3-4 days – Kristie will meet me here and well have a room at the Hot Springs for 1-2 nights – take most of a zero if not all
- Chalk Creek TH to CO-114 – 70.3 miles – approx 4 1/2 days – Kristie (she’s amazing) will resupply me here
- CO-114 to Spring Creek Pass – 55 miles – approx 3 days – shuttle to Lake City – resupply in town, get a room for 2 nights, and take a full zero
- Lake City to Molas Pass – 53.3 miles – approx 2-3 days – Kristie will meet me at the Molas Campground with our camper – will take a few days here – rest and enjoy her company
- Molas Pass to Durango – 73.9 miles – approx 5 days – Kristie will pick me up here – we live in Pagosa Springs so only an hour away
My training plan is to continue walking each day (trying to do this regardless of weather this winter), starting Crossfit on 12/1, snowshoeing this winter, and hiking as much as possible once the trails open in Apr/May. I have day-hiked quite a bit at 8-10 miles per day but going day after day will be different – will need to be in shape for that so the aches and pains don’t try to talk me into bailing – haha.
For weather planning, I’m trying to keep my work a bit flexible (I’m a self-employed consultant) so I can pull ahead a few weeks or push back depending on what it looks like. It’s helpful that I live at 7600′ already and somewhat close to the trail.
I am so thankful for this site and the people on here – it’s exactly the interaction I need to make sure I’m as ready as I can be. Thanks for all you do to keep it going and for your extensive replies.
LarryNov 20, 2017 at 7:48 pm #3503130
Matthew – the reading experience and battery on the kindle are exactly what I’m thinking about so I hear you man. I also have a solar charger but it’s heavy and I’m not certain it’s worth carrying.Nov 20, 2017 at 7:52 pm #3503131
I’ve also considered swapping out the ULA Circuit at 42.4 oz as configured for the Zpacks Arc Haul at 25.5 oz with 2 hip pouches but I really like the comfort of the Circuit and I’m not sure the Arc Haul is worth the price but saving a full pound is certainly tempting.Nov 23, 2017 at 12:01 am #3503582
@ryanLocale: Northern Rocky Mountains
I would happily trade an extra pound of weight in my backpack for additional comfort. I can’t speak to the Arc Haul, I haven’t used it, but the comfort of the Circuit seems awfully good at higher pack weights (> 25#).
I continually migrate towards the idea that some added weight in a well-designed pack suspension has the potential to save more energy than what is lost by a few ounces or a pound of added weight.Nov 23, 2017 at 4:03 am #3503609
I’m with you Ryan – I will keep the group posted on any changes. I start crossfit on 12/1 and will be working hard for 6+ months to get ready. Thanks for everything – at this point I’m planning to stick with the Circuit.Dec 6, 2017 at 8:49 pm #3505927
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
All looks good. I’d add a light fleece balaclava for sleeping & cold mornings/cold wind.
And add an MSR heavy foil windscreen to maximize your fuel efficiency & reduce fuel load. You need to test this at home. (And read the stoves thread now running in the GEAR forum.)Dec 8, 2017 at 2:48 am #3506168
Luke SchmidtBPL Member
Looks good to me. I’d add a light fleece. You can wear it if you have to hike in sustained rain (in which case you’ll get camp underneath the raincoat). The thermals and puffy are for camp.
I’ve heard good things about the zpacks but if you aren’t out to break speed records I’d stick with what you already know will work.Jan 4, 2018 at 6:36 pm #3510843
I thru hiked the Colorado Trail last year (July 2 – August 1, 2017) and loved every mile of it. Here is my take or my 2 cent on your gear list.
Big 3 + Sleeping Pad
If you do decide to buy an Arc Blast or Arc Haul pack I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I’ve been using the Arc Blast pack for a few years now (used it on the CT) and like it. Plus you really don’t need a pack cover for the Arc Blast IMHO, the pack doesn’t get heavier when wet.
For a pack liner you could use a trash compactor bag and save some money. I don’t use a pack liner myself but instead kept my sleeping bag in a Zpacks dry bag and all other gear/clothing in ZPacks stuff sacks. The Arc Blast is very water resistant but I can get a small amount of moisture inside after heavy rainstorm. My gear/clothing have always stayed dry using the cuben fiber dry bag and stuff sacks
I sold my Solplex tent to buy the Duplex tent for my CT thru hike and love the extra space. Just remember to bring an extra micro towel or something for condensation you’ll have now and then.
I used a 20 degree quilt and Neoair Xlite as well and had no problems.
Cooking & Water
Your cooking and water are similar to what I used. I use a 900ml Evernew pot but usually do not cook in it, just boil water in it. I have one hot meal a day (weather permitting) either at lunch or dinner. I use the quart freezer bag method and instead of a cozy I use my fleece bennie. When my meal is ready to eat I put the bag inside my pot and fold the freezer bag top over the edge of the pot. To me it makes it easier to eat from the freezer bag and my pot stays nice and clean. I do make coffee and Top Raman noodles inside the pot but both are easy to clean up afterwards .
I carried two 30 oz Evernew water bladders to use with my Sawyer squeeze. I really like how the cap is attached to the bag and it has its own elastic strap to keep it rolled up after use. The Sawyer threads up fine with the Evernew bags and by carrying two bags I feel it reduces the risk of a bag failure making the filter unusable. I carried two 20 oz Smart Water bottles with one having a sports cap that works to back flush the Sawyer filter
I also used the ZPacks food bag but lined it with a Basecamp odor proof bag. You’ll be sleeping with your food a lot because your either above tree line or good trees for a proper bear hang are far and few between. I did try a Ursack on several hikes before my CT thru hike. Just couldn’t get use to it, I did not like that it is tall and narrow unlike the ZPacks food bag.
Cloths – Carry
Your clothing carried is also similar to what I carried. For gloves I carried ZPacks possum down gloves and rain mitts that I only used a couple of times. At 11,000 to 12,000 feet during a hail/thunderstorm it can get darn cold so it was nice to have the rain mitts. Then a couple crisp morning the gloves were needed but not for long.
The Colorado Trail Foundation data book is great along with the Gutthook Colorado Trail app, it’s ‘s all you’ll to navigate the trail.
I use an Inreach as well and with the Freedom plan I purchased unlimited texting for the month I hiked the CT . With so much open sky it worked very well with little delays when texting. It was so nice at the end of each day to be able to share my experiences through texting with my wife back in Pennsylvania. Also she was able to make reservations at some of the hostel I stayed at when I had no cell service to do so myself.
I also carried a bug head net but never used it. That being said I would still carry one, it weighs so little and takes up hardly any space. I did not find the bugs/mosquito to be bad. Yes by water they may be a problem but I used DEET wipes when needed.
The Kindle and umbrella is something I wouldn’t take. The Anker 10,000 battery is a good choice, I carried two of those on the CT.Jan 4, 2018 at 7:19 pm #3510848
What a thoughtful and comprehensive response. I really appreciate it. A few thoughts;
Pack – I’ve seen quite a few folks with the HMG Southwest 3400 and I hear it’s waterproof – something to consider vs the Zpacks. I’m also wondering if the ULA Ohm 2.0 is worth considering. I love my Circuit but as my load-out gets less so do the requirements for the pack. I will plan on keeping the Circuit for now and decide in a few months if the few ounces (up to a full pound with Zpacks) is worth the cost/change.
Cooking & Water – I really like the idea of the odor proof liner for the food bag – I will look at that vs the weight of the Ursack as I agree with you in that many times good trees (or any trees) may be hard to come by. I am also considering a change to my water storage. I saw a review by Darwinonthetrail on the CNOC Vecto water bag – it looks awesome, it’s not pricey, and the weight is only 2.6 oz I think. The biggest value in my mind is that it looks pretty much leakproof – something to consider.
Clothes – I’m still up/down on base layer but will work that out over the coming few months. It will also depend on how the weather is looking for the summer.
Survival – I’m with you on the InReach – my wife absolutely insists on it as well – haha. I will plan to take the updated databook (supposed to be coming out soon – and waterproof I hear) along with the Guthooks app and topo map pages for some of the segments. I really like the DEET wipes idea. I have heard about some folks sending their gear out for permethrin treatment but I haven’t looked into that as yet.
Generally speaking – I have my BPW down to approx 13 lbs and I’m going to give myself a few lbs (up to 15 lbs) to make sure I’m comfortable and safe but not carrying too much extra stuff. As for the umbrella and e-reader, I think they’re just personal preference type things – some will like them and some won’t.
Again – I really appreciate you taking the time to provide such a thoughtful response. My plan at this point is to start mid-late July 2018 and go through August or the 1st week of September. 5-7 weeks all in – taking my time and enjoying the hike as the mountain presents it vs what I expect it to be.
Take care and thanks again,
LarryJan 4, 2018 at 7:20 pm #3510849
Good call on the fleece Luke – thank you!Jan 4, 2018 at 7:22 pm #3510850
Update: I’m also now convinced that Collegiate West is the way to go vs East so I’ll be making that change to the itinerary!Jan 4, 2018 at 7:23 pm #3510851
I resupplied at some of the places you are planning to stop at as well.
At Kenosha Pass I’d go into Fairplay instead of Jefferson. If you go into Breckenridge check out the Bivvi Hostel for a place to stay. It’s a great place with a wonderful staff. Breckenridge itself is such a cool town, very walkable. In Twin Lakes there is a hostel called The Voyager, Matt and Sarah the owners are such nice people. It a rustic old dance hall with no running water but was one of my favorite layovers. The place just has a great vibe to it and I was still able to washed my cloths and take a shower (what more could a hiker ask for). I see you plan on taking the eastern CT route but you will miss some very stunning views along the western CT route. Cottonwood Pass along the CT western route is the place I want my ashes spread when I die (yes it’s that spectacular). In Lake City I stayed at The Ravens Rest Hostel and also like my visit there. Lake City is a small town that is walkable as well too. Make sure to get some ice cream at the Drug Store when your in Lake City.Jan 4, 2018 at 7:23 pm #3510852
Eric – great thought on the balaclava – I always carry a buff but a more substantial/warmer version may come in handy – particularly in the higher altitude segments. Thank you!Jan 5, 2018 at 12:02 am #3510895
Larry you have a solid gear list at a good base weight for the CT. I see you decided to hike the Collegiate West and IMHO you made the right call. Have you thought about doing any 14ers such as Mt Albert? I did not climb any of the 14ers along the CT. If I’d had some more time on my hike I think I would have climbed Mt Albert at least. Will you be keeping an online journal so we can follow along?Jan 5, 2018 at 5:28 pm #3510958
Thank you! I am going to gauge the 14’ers based on how the hike is going and how I’m feeling with the altitude – my biggest challenges are legs and lungs – hence the tough focus on Crossfit for the next 6 months :). I would like to do an online journal – probably at Trailjournals.com but haven’t really thought it through yet. I may also ask my wife to help update it for me en-route :).
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