November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
"ULM seeking LWF for ULBT to GNP. Pls send gear list & photo of pack. Ability to sleep under a tarp a plus." Find hiking partners, post "has anybody been here..." questions and trip reports.
Display Avatars Sort By:
Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
Beartooths and Yellowstone in September on 10/06/2004 09:59:22 MDT Print View

Two weeks ago a group of ultralight and very ultralight (in all regards) hikers convened in Bozeman, MT to do some backpacking in the Beartooth Mountains. People from BackpackingLight (including me) were there. People from Gossamer Gear were present. We had a great time.

I could go on and on, but it's easier if you just visit my website and read the trip photo-journal or simply view the photo gallery yourself. Visit>, go to the What's New section, and check out the Beartooths trip from there.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Coup's No-Resupply Thru of the Colorado Trail on 10/08/2004 16:38:33 MDT Print View

Well, Coup did it: thru'd the CT w/no resupply. A great application of lightweight backpacking techniques, but the gear he took was still way too heavy! :) Here's his gear list.

Here's the press release:
September 27, 2004

Lightweight Gear Guru Sets Thru-Hike Record on Colorado Trail

Boulder, Co – Demetri Coupounas, a 38 year old Boulder resident and co-founder and President of GoLite, a Colorado-based lightweight outdoor apparel and gear manufacturer, will become the first known person to walk the entire length of the 470+ mile Colorado Trail without re-supply or support of any kind when he reaches the trail’s Northern terminus at Waterton Canyon in Denver on Wednesday, September 29th at 3 pm. Press, family and friends will greet Coupounas with champagne and cheers to celebrate this enormous accomplishment.

With over 75,000 feet of elevation gain and an average altitude of 10,000 feet, the Colorado Trail winds its way from Durango to Denver amidst almost 500 miles of rugged peaks and valleys along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. The variable weather, altitude, and enormous vertical gain of this trail pose immense physical challenge for even the most seasoned long distance athlete. When thru-hiked, the trail is normally completed in 30 to 45 days with numerous re-supply points. Coupounas will complete the trail in 20 days with an average hiking day over 24 miles. Coupounas’ accomplishment becomes all the more impressive given the significant early snow that has accumulated in Colorado’s high country in recent weeks.

The completion of the Colorado Trail marks the third of three unresupplied long distance hikes for Coupounas, enabling him to stake a claim to his own sort of “Mini Triple Crown.” Prior to the Colorado Trail, he hiked the length of the 218 mile John Muir Trail in July 2004 as well as the grueling 280 mile Vermont Long Trail in August 2004, both without re-supply, becoming the first known person to do these thru-hikes unsupported. All three regional trails are considered gems among the nation’s long distance hiking trails.

Through these three hikes, Coupounas, an avid backpacker and lightweight gear expert, has been attempting to establish a new style of hiking that he calls “Alpine Style Thru-Hiking” that entails hiking a major trail from one end to the other continuously without re-supply or support of any kind. Other than water, readily available from sources on the routes, everything is carried by the hiker from the start including all clothing, equipment, and food. Coupounas feels that his hikes are highlighting how lightweight gear can enable outdoor enthusiasts to get outdoors more easily and to see and experience far more when they do go outdoors, important in a nation plagued by epidemic levels of inactivity and obesity.

In addition to highlighting the benefits of lightweight travel, Coupounas is also spreading the word about Big City Mountaineers (BCM), a Denver based non-profit that challenges inner-city teens to step out of their comfort zones by taking them on weeklong backcountry trips. For many BCM participants, these trips have been life-changing experiences as they realize their own potential to overcome personal challenges and fears while they discover the wonders of the outdoors. Outdoor industry members and friends have been making contributions to BCM throughout the last three months by contacting GoLite customer service at 888-546-5483. Additional information about BCM can be found online at

For more information, an interview, details on Demetri’s final miles, or how and where to catch Coup at the trail’s terminus, please contact Coral Darby, PR Manager at 828/667.5421, 828/230.0170, or

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Speed hiking the CT on 11/03/2004 22:57:45 MST Print View

In the early 80's I discovered that each additional pound on my back reduced my maximum distance traveled by about one mile per day. Ignoring the fact that I got stronger as I went and that my pack got lighter, I once decided to calculate what the maximum distance I could travel unsupported might be.

Here's how (I was just a college student, so not too sophisticated): without anything I could make a 60 mile day pretty reasonably, if painfully (did it on the Kenai Peninsula trails). However, for each day of travel I carried an additional one pound for food. Assuming all my gear weight was fixed at, say, 15 pounds for a camping trip and I was going for X days then my pack would way 15 + X pounds = gear weight plus X days worth of food (pretty light on food but not bad for shorter trips 1 month).

So my total distance traveled in one day would be
60 miles minus 15 miles for the gear weight minus X miles for the food weight
= 60 -15 - X = 45 - X.

Now the question is how far can I go at a maximum on a multi-day trip where I keep adding weight for more days of travel?

So, I'll go for X days at 45 - X miles per day making the total trip length as number of days times miles per day =
total trip length = X (45-X).

I can go nowhere in no time (X = 0 days) or nowhere with a pack too heavy (X = 45 days worth of food; of course not true, but bear with me), but for some in between X I'll maximize my total distance.

Interestingly, the maximum distance I could go (using the formula) would be 506 miles in x= 22.5 days, which is not too far off Coup's CT record of 420 miles in 20 days.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
How far how fast? on 11/12/2004 21:42:19 MST Print View

I have been playing around with my formula for how heavy, how far, how fast. And I am sticking by it, although judged by the comments nobody cares, but I sure do appreciate this opportunity to dump these ideas out there! Thanks!

So the formula (for me) is this: for x days

x^2 - x*(60 -(packweight + foodweight)) - (total trip distance) = 0
some assumptions:

no pack, one day, 70 miles;
foodweight = 1 pound per day

I have done several wilderness races in Alaska. In race mode, I can go 70 miles in one day (no pack). My pack weight without food as low as 10 pounds for a race; one pound of food per day. Solving for x in formula above and a 150 mile race gives 2.6 days. My PR is 2 days 4 hours (not bad!)

Another race. Old days, slower (60 miles/day empty). Long race 245 miles. Solving for X gives 6.3 days with 15 pounds (no food pack). That race we finished in 6.5 days starting with 35 pound pack.

So how long did Coup take to do the 280 mile VT trail? the solution there giving him a 60 mile empty day, a 15 pound pack, and 1 pound of food: the formula suggests 7.5 days. And for the 218 mile Muir Trail the formula suggests 5.5 days.

Anybody know how long it took him?

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Roman's Formula / Coup's Trip on 11/13/2004 11:13:37 MST Print View

Roman -

See here for Coup's statistics:

The formula would suggest that Coup's max mileage per day is not 70 miles.

In fact, the 70 mile figure, while I think is accurate for racing, may not be the figure regular backpackers should use for calculating their estimates.

I've been playing with the formula, too, and finding that for my long distance backpacking trips, where I'm not necessarily racing against a clock, my max distance no load = 45 miles and heaviest load = 70 lbs, food per day = 1.5 lbs.

The formula has predicted the mileages / times on my long distance hike to within 10% - which to me is pretty remarkable given the variability of factors not accounted for in the formula.

Thanks for sharing it.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: How far how fast? on 11/16/2004 13:55:33 MST Print View

Have you seen golites pict regarding pack weight for distance?

Robert Ebel
(poop) - F

Locale: Earth Orbit
Re: Coup's No-Resupply Thru of the Colorado Trail on 12/09/2005 13:46:14 MST Print View

Ryan says above that this was the first time these trails have been through-hiked without support. According to McHale's website, McHale did the Muir Trail unsupported in 1969 with a 40 lb. pack.

It makes me wonder how many other times these things have been done.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Coup's No-Resupply Thru of the Colorado Trail on 12/09/2005 15:16:58 MST Print View

I think the article Ryan is posting refers to Coup being the first to do all three unsupported. Coup had emotional support over his satellite phone, not food support. Yep, McHale did one of those trails previously.

Robert Ebel
(poop) - F

Locale: Earth Orbit
Re: Re: Coup's No-Resupply Thru of the Colorado Trail on 12/09/2005 17:04:32 MST Print View

I pretty much know that and have seen it in other places. That is not actually what it says so I'm just making it more accurate since this is public record. The Colorado Trail is the one least likely to have been done before Coup did it, but the rest is a stretch. That's many years for people to have been unambitious regarding the other trails. I seriously doubt McHale was the only one to do the Muir Trail unsupported in the over 30 years since he did it and Coup did it. The CT is the only one to pose more serious challenges.

I don't want to make a big deal of this, but it seems like claiming to be the first to do all three in sequence makes it sound like he was the first to do all three period, rather than just claiming to be the first to do the CT unsupported.

Edited by poop on 12/09/2005 17:05:37 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Coup's No-Resupply Thru of the Colorado Trail on 12/09/2005 18:38:47 MST Print View

The paragraph is talking about a "mini triple crown". That one sentence could have been written better but the meaning is clear to me. Not a big deal really.

Edited by jshann on 12/09/2005 18:41:53 MST.

Robert Ebel
(poop) - F

Locale: Earth Orbit
Re: Re: Re: Re: Coup's No-Resupply Thru of the Colorado Trail on 12/09/2005 18:47:29 MST Print View

I understand it is clear to you and I know what it meant - like I said - I want everyone to know - not just those in the know. Since you don't have to be a member to read these posts........blah blah blah blah blah.

I was also making a second point about the 'crown' tending to make it look like 2 of the trails had never been done unsupported before. With subsequent 'crowns' of the 'unsupported kind' this will not be a problem again.

Edited by poop on 12/09/2005 18:48:23 MST.