Colorado Trail Unsupported Gear List
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Shawn Forry
(porkpie73) - F

Locale: High Sierra
Colorado Trail Unsupported Gear List on 03/13/2012 21:38:52 MDT Print View

Looking for some thoughts and feedback for my tentative gear list for my planned attempt at the unsupported speed record for the Colorado Trail this summer.

Some background as to my plan. I am looking at starting the middle of August for a few reasons. That is when my work schedule allows, snow pack will not be an issue, thunderstorms will be less (hopefully) and mosquitoes will be gone. (I HATE mosquitoes!). I know by going then I will lose a bit of daylight and water will be slightly more scarce. Tradeoffs I am willing to make. I am planning on carrying 13 days of food (32.5lb) at roughly 2.5lbs per day with 4800-5000 calories. I will hike for 18-19hr a day with 16 of those moving. That will leave 2-3hours per night hiking in the dark, with another 1-2 hours in the morning before dawn. I'm expecting over night temps to be 25-35 degrees depending on elevation. I'm trying to balance going absolutely as light as I can, while ensuring that I can get adequate sleep at night (re: comfort). I will cook one hot meal per day for morale boosting and see the weight benefits of carrying a cook set for this extended carry.

Things I'm considering.

- I know my electronics are fairly heavy. The SPOT is needed for verification and I will need two sets of batteries. I'm looking at my headlamp choice. I think it is valuable to have sufficient light at night to see (avoid injury), but am debating whether I want to carry two different types of batteries (CR123 & AA). I know I could ditch the Petzl, but for .75oz its probably lighter in the long run in not having to carry an extra battery. Music is a must. Know any great MP3 players with 16g+ and loooong battery life?

- I'm wondering about how the Klymit pad and quilt will fair? I'm worried that the gaps in the pad will leave drafts all night with the bottomless quilt. I may take a small 24"x12" piece of 1/8"EVA foam. Any body have experience with a similar set up. I will be doing some overnight trips the end of the month to try out the combo.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. See my tentative gear list posted under my profile.

Edited by porkpie73 on 03/13/2012 21:40:46 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Gear and Weather Thoughts on 03/13/2012 22:07:55 MDT Print View

Shawn I was out on the trail from mid August to Early September. Here are a few thoughts.

Over all it looks like a very solid list but here are a few thoughts.

Shelter
I'd be a bit nervious using a small tarp with a down quilt. Are you comfortable with this setup? I'd be worried about rain coming in the sides. One solution would be a bivy. Another would be a synthetic quilt. The MLD Spirit is only 19 oz so you only gain 2oz. Also you'd get the extra security of some synthetic insulation if you get wet.

Weather
I didn't think there would be as many thunderstorms but there were some, I think this was a bit unusual but I'd check into it. As you know there are some pretty exposed areas. Also there are a few "hiding spots" I found that didn't really show up on the map. If you'd like I send you a list.

Clothing
If you use a poncho tarp as raingear and shelter you just might get very wet at some point. I might recommend a synthetic jacket as in insurance. I'd feel a tad nervous having ALL my insulation be down, with skimpy rain gear, especially if you want to move fast and not spend time drying out. Althernatively the MLD Spirit quilt is just a tad heavier at 19 oz and its synthetic.

Lighting
I would want a solid light for night hiking, don't go too minimal. Sometimes the trail was a bit hard to find in the dark. Here is what Andrew Skurka recommends in his book. Use a smotlight on your head for longer distance vision. Put a floodlight headlamp on a peice of webbing and wear it around your waist. This gives you better lighting for your feet and more depth perception.

Navigation
I did fine with maps except for one area. There are a lot of side trails coming into Breckenridge that were not on the guidebook, or Eric the Black's Guide. The problem is a lot of trees have been downed and I suspect some trail markers were lost. I'd look at a NatGeo map and see if that helps. Also the bigger guidebook (as opposed to the databook) might have more.

Guidebooks
I'd use the official databook to mark reliable water sources on your maps. "Eric the Black's Colorado Trail Guide" is worth looking at. He lists areas where you get cell coverage (not many). His guide to water sources is a lot more optimistic than in the official guidebook. I'd play it safe there.

Water
I might add another platypus just to be safe. Some of the water sources were pretty dried up last year and it looks like the snowpack is pretty minimal this year.

How did you get such a light GG Crown?

Edited by Cameron on 03/13/2012 22:10:56 MDT.

Shawn Forry
(porkpie73) - F

Locale: High Sierra
Colorado Trail Unsupported Gear List on 03/14/2012 11:29:10 MDT Print View

Luke, Thanks for the insight.

Great tip on Erik's mapset! Much lighter than the official CT mapset and it's all inclusive with profiles, data, mileage, etc. I just ordered Erik's guide so I'll compare it to the CT guide I have.

I will have to play around with the poncho/tarp more when I get it. I feel pretty comfortable using small tarps and only down insulation. In my experience you can get down far wetter then people think and you'll still stay warm. I have a cuben/momentum bivy I can throw in last minute if it seems needed.

Good call with the water bladder. Same deal, I'll see what people are saying with water sources just before I leave, but I can usually go 10mi per liter if I tank up at each source. That would give me a 35mi range with my 3.5L capacity. I think heading through the Cochatoopas might be the only area with that great a distance between sources.

I think I'll stick with the Apex Pro headlamp. It's reasonably light for how much light it gives off and I've used it before with night hiking so I trust it. Not a bad idea about using a waist mounted headlamp. I'll have to try that out and see if the extra weight is warranted.

I made an error with the Crown weight. Weight should read as 28.4oz. Excess straps have been trimmed and a prototype frame is being used.

Edited by porkpie73 on 03/14/2012 12:03:53 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Water on 03/14/2012 14:08:14 MDT Print View

Glad to help a bit Shawn. You seem like you have a solid understanding of your gear. Hope you have a good time.
Cachotopa Hills is probably the longest dry stretch but don't remember the final stretch along the Indian Ridge area can be dry as well.