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Gear for Colorado
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Eric Carlsen
(cooleric1234) - F
Gear for Colorado on 12/23/2007 21:51:20 MST Print View

I currently live in Ohio but I'm moving to Denver soon. While I'm very excited about this I'm not sure my gear can handle the extreme temperature swings of the Rockies. This is just a portion of the gear I have currently:

Bag: Montbell Super Stretch #2 bag (25 degrees, old style)
Pad: Insulmat 3/4
Shelter: Contrail when alone, 4 pound double wall tent when with someone else.
Clothing: Montbell down half sleeve shirt, polyester thermals, wind jacket, DriDucks or Golite poncho, wool gloves, balaclava and wool watch cap, wool socks, windpants.
Bear Bag: Odor proof sack and mesh bag to hang.

I know a question like this is very subjective, but I'm trying to figure out something that will get me through summer and a good portion of spring and fall, camping below the tree line. Right now I'm thinking I'll need a full insulated jacket (or another layer of lightweight fleece), and insulated pants (or again a light fleece). On average, would that be enough with the 25 degree Montbell bag, or do I need a warmer bag too? Is the Contrail sufficient for the conditions I'll face below the tree line? What about the "three season" insulmat? Finally, would an Ursack be sufficient for the Rockies? Thanks.

Edited by cooleric1234 on 12/23/2007 21:57:14 MST.

David Thul
(thuldj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
co on 12/24/2007 01:16:51 MST Print View

I think what you have currently is a pretty good setup.

As far as summer, below tree line your clothing should be sufficient. With a 25 degree bag you should have no problem staying warm at night.

I wouldn't bother with a full on down jacket unless you really want to stretch deep into the shoulder seasons. Something like a Patagonia R1 jacket (Or some other light thermal shirt) paired with your Montbell jacket should keep you toasty into the fall and is more versatile than a full down jacket which, more often than not, would be too warm when moving.

As far as an Ursack being sufficient, I would say definitely if you want to go that route. I usually just hang a bear bag in a tree using the PCT method and call it good. I have never been bothered by bears in the rockies, I actually have never even seen a bear while backpacking. I have actually only seen three bears in all of my time outdoors in CO. 1 in dumpster at a research station I work at. One in a tree in RMNP. One in a patch of berries off a hiking trail near the Flatirons in Boulder. All three barely gave me a second look.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Gear for Colorado on 12/24/2007 09:03:47 MST Print View

I agree with David. Your kit is fine for Colorado.

In Colorado we have the ability to choose our weather by adjusting our altitude.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
One more thing on 12/24/2007 13:45:51 MST Print View

You have a good setup for the Rockies but I'd add a light Gore-Tex parka B/C it has more durability than your curent parka. Something like a Bass Pro GTX PacLite or Cabela's Rainy River PacLite parka sells for $79. and has a lot of quality & features. I've used mine two seasons and love it.


Jason Klass
(jasonklass) - F

Locale: Parker, CO
Gear for CO on 12/26/2007 17:31:32 MST Print View

Hi Eric,
I live in Denver and what you have is fine for 3 season use and even mild winter conditions (depending on when and where you go). I use a 25 degree bag for 3 season myself. The main thing about Co is that your gear be flexible and can adapt to quickly changing conditions. Look me up when you make the move and we'll do an overnighter! :)

Brittany W
(quasarr) - F

Locale: Southeast
weather in the rockies on 12/28/2007 21:23:12 MST Print View

I spent June-August camping just under treeline on Mt Massive, and the weather hardly ever got below freezing. You would be plenty warm with your gear. But I can't say how representative those conditions are of the entire state.

If you ever make it up there, check out the junction of the Colorado Trail and the Mt Massive ascent trail. That's the section I worked on! :)