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Colorado Trail June 2014 Section Hike Gear List
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Brandt Zook
(BassDude) - F - M

Locale: Texas
Colorado Trail June 2014 Section Hike Gear List on 07/02/2013 15:41:44 MDT Print View

Hello all, I am looking for input on my gearlist for a trip in the works on the Colorado Trail. I plan on doing fourteen days of backpacking from Segment 18 to 28, a distance of 182.4 miles.

As it is a year away, and I have not bought most of the big items on here yet, I am really open to suggestions. Thanks for your help, and here is the link to my list:

I look forward to your suggestions and guidance!

Edited by BassDude on 07/02/2013 18:59:26 MDT.

Andrew Urlacher
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Colorado Trail June 2014 Section Hike Gear List on 07/04/2013 08:01:23 MDT Print View

Which big items do you already have?

I live in Colorado and I use a Sil SoloMid, its a great shelter. But I think you could easily drop the half-pound InnerNet, bugs are usually never bad enough at elevation to warrant bringing it, but that's just me.

Maybe think about switching from esbit to a canister stove, there are pretty strict fire bans in place right now all over the state. Of course that could change for next spring/summer if we have a wet winter, but don't count on it unfortunately.

The Marmot Aegis is what I normally use as well in the shoulder seasons, but at over 13 ounces I'm looking for a lighter replacement for summertime. Rains will most likely be short lived and you won't hardly ever be hiking during inclement weather, so finding a PU laminated jacket would be worth losing breathe-ability and shaving another 8 or 9 ounces.

Lose the fleece pants, they will not be needed. Instead, bring a pair of lightweight long johns for camp lounging/sleeping. Wool or synthetic, whichever you prefer.

Also, toss the fleece jacket and get you hands on a light down jacket (or synthetic). So much warmer for the weight. And during the day, while moving, you won't really ever want/need to wear insulation, so wet performance is a non-issue.

You can drop the second pair of underwear (assuming you will be using synthetic compression shorts or the like?)

Whats the weight of the sil pack cover? You can just use a compactor trash bag inside the backpack. Easy, light, durable, cheap.

I always wear full length nylon pants above tree line. They will protect against the sun, and keep you remarkably warm for the weight. They also dry very quickly, and would negate the need for bringing the Rain Kilt.

There are much lighter quilts about than the MLD Spirit, you can save a lot of weight switching to down. Check out Enlightened Equipment, they probably have the best selection for the price, and it can be custom sized to you.

Anyway, let us know which big items you already have. Don't go wasting lots of money on only marginally better gear :P

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
CT on 07/04/2013 09:08:17 MDT Print View

I think Andrew gives a lot of good advise. I would also look at the ZPacks website for some of your gear. Specifically, look at the ZPacks kilt, shelters, down Hood(if you need it) People seem to like their bags too but I have been happy with the Enlightened Equipment quilt I have. Good luck.

Brandt Zook
(BassDude) - F - M

Locale: Texas
Re: Re: Colorado Trail June 2014 Section Hike Gear List on 07/04/2013 22:07:52 MDT Print View

Thank you for all your help!

The big items I have are...none of them. Haha. I have been wanting to purchase some new gear, and this is a great reason to do so.

Thanks for the bug net tip. I will give it some thought. It is just nice to have that assurance that no creepie crawlies will be all over me in the night. But then again, I'm from TX. May not be as big an issue in CO.

I don't mind switching to the canister stove. I have an MSR pocket rocket anyways.
Lost the fleece pants and added my UnderArmour long johns.

As far as a jacket goes, I already have the fleece and I would really prefer not to spend the big dollars on a down jacket if I can do okay without. I have a 650 down JCPenny brand jacket that was on sale for $20 (I thought it was a good deal), but I haven't field tested it yet. That may be an option. The weight is nearly identical between it and the fleece though.

Dropped the second pair of underwear and added instead some PossumDown sleep socks. Having only one pair of underwear won't create too much funk in your experience?

Silnylon pack cover is 2.4 oz. I don't know how much a trash compactor bag weighs, but the pack cover may be worth the ounce cost in convenience for me. Plus I can still use the big outside pockets with the pack cover.

Dropped the running shorts and opted for my zip off Columbia pants which are nylon, which allowed me to dump the kilt.

The quilt: I looked at Enlightened Equipment and found that a 20 degree down quilt in my size (6' 6" Wide) would be pretty much the same weight as the Spirit Quilt 28 in XL. This would allow me to get a 20 degree bag for the same weight. But the down worries me. I also plan to use this bag on winter Texas trips and I am worried about the condensation issue and wet-performance. Is this really an issue I need to be concerned about?

Could you point me in the direction of a PU laminated jacket that would shed some weight? I'll poke around some as well.

I like that insulated goose down hood Ben! Thanks, I think I will replace my warm hat and balaclava with it.

Updated list:

Edited by BassDude on 07/04/2013 22:12:07 MDT.

Andrew Urlacher
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Colorado Trail June 2014 Section Hike Gear List on 07/05/2013 06:46:48 MDT Print View

I usually don't find bugs to ever be an issue in the Colorado Rockies, unless its May and you are hiking near lakes and streams. But the bug net may be worth the weight to you just for peace of mind. A good night's sleep is vastly more important than a half-pound added to your back.

If you've already got the fleece jacket and it keeps you warm down to freezing, then it shouldn't be an issue. Just remember that it WILL drop to freezing at night in June.

The only one pair of undies is really a minimalism thing, your style may vary. On trips less than two weeks I don't personally see the need to bring more, and if I do want to wash them then I just wear my long johns while they hang off my pack to dry. Again, 2 ounces for an extra pair of underwear won't kill your trip, but ask yourself if it's truly necessary. There's a certain level of freedom achieved by getting rid of all non-essentials.

The compactor bag weighs less than an ounce, I assume you have one in your house already, and it works by lining the inside of your backpack, not wrapped around the outside. So all external pockets would be accessible. It completely removes the fiddle factor because you would never need to remove it, and its been proven by many tests published on this website and others that a trash bag inner liner is more effective at waterproofing a backpack.

The Spirit Quilt is a great quilt, don't get me wrong. I only suggested a down bag specifically for the Rockies. If a synthetic quilt would suit you better in terms of usability year round in your usual stomping grounds, then by all means go synthetic. EE does do synthetic bags as well, and their prices and wait times are far less than MLD's. I'm not trying to sell you on EE over MLD, I own products from both companies and they are both outstanding.

Will Rietveld just published the last of his Mountain-SUL series and it has excellent recommendations for ultralight rainwear. The Sierra Designs Cloud Airshell (size Large 3.915 ounces, MSRP $125) is my personal favorite and I'm actually going to be buying one soon. It's not super weather-proof, but combined with my Houdini wind shirt I'll be set for most anything that hits the Rockies in summer. (That reminds me, I just wanted to add that I LOVE my Houdini, a wind shirt is my absolute favorite article of clothing.) Other UL rain jackets he recommends are Montane Minimus Smock and Spektr Smock, Marmot Essence Jacket, Mountain Hardwear Quasar and Blazar (EXPENSIVE), and the Westcomb Focus LT Hoody.

Brian Reyman

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Good Advice So Far on 07/05/2013 13:01:52 MDT Print View

Lots of good advice from Andrew so far.

I also live here in Colorado and do a lot of hiking at high elevations and love the CT and CDT trails.

Colorado is a great place for down. Very low humidity and sunnier weather/shorter storms make it ideal in my opinion. While buying a whole new quilt to save 8* may not be the right investment, don't be afraid of bringing down. I'd definitely trade your fleece for the down coat. It can get windy up above treeline and I'd trade them out for the wind protection alone (the weight savings is a great benefit).

I'd consider dropping the rain pants - or at the very least go with a kilt or something more minimal. It definitely rains in the afternoons on many days, but I find that my pants dry out quickly on the vast majority of storms as they pass quickly and give lots of time for drying.

+1 on the good choice switching over to a canister stove. Fire bans can, at times, get pretty rough here, so it's good to have something that you know you're not going to get fined over.

Depending on how cold you sleep, you probably won't need both a hat and an insulated hood. I personally never need both for anything above about 25* and you won't find many nights dropping a whole lot below that. I'd leave one or the other at home.

Bug protection is always a hot topic and one that is very personal. I camp every month with scouts and some have never used bug protection, ever. I, on the other hand, almost always have something.

Bugs are definitely less severe here in Colorado than almost any other place. I've never had them be an issue while moving and they are only bad during hatches near alpine lakes. At those times, they can get extremely thick, but I don't know if that's worth the weight for multiple weeks. Again, it's kind of a personal call. If you're one who will sleep better with it (I'm in that camp), I'd recommend bringing something. If you're okay, then things aren't bad enough here to warrant it.

Enjoy the trail! That section of the CT (and that portion of the state) contains some of the best backpacking in the country.

Edited by breyman on 07/05/2013 13:04:24 MDT.

Brandt Zook
(BassDude) - F - M

Locale: Texas
Quilt Temp Choice for CT on 07/05/2013 20:29:22 MDT Print View

@ Andrew:

Thanks for even more great advice. I think I will go with the trash compactor bag. Saves me money and a little bit of weight. Also, good idea with wearing long johns when waiting for underwear to dry. I will stick with 1 pair.

I will add a down or synthetic jacket (most likely down) to my list and drop the fleece. I know it's expensive, but it is a one-time cost that will serve me well. Plus, the wind protection will be a definite positive.

I think I have been convinced to go with a down sleeping quilt, and the Enlightened Equipment quilt looks great. I just don't know what temp. rating to buy (more on that later, and on the bug protection).

I found the Outdoor Products Helium II rain jacket which weighs in at a scant 6.4 oz (compared to the 13.4 oz Aegis). I think I will be purchasing that instead to save on weight. Compromises on breathability, but this may not really be a huge issue.


Thank you for your insight! I have been convinced to go for both a down quilt and jacket. I have also dropped rain pants and a kilt instead opting for quick drying Columbia nylon pants.

The hat is a normal cap to protect my head from the sun in the day while the insulated hood is for sleeping.

Now for my sleeping system/bug protection questions:

Would I be better off with a 20 degree or 30 degree quilt for use on the CT? (Enlightened Equipment Revolution) I was thinking 30 degree, but sleeping with my baselayers/down jacket and long johns when necessary.

I do have a TiGoat Ptarmigian bivy with a full bug net hood installed. This could possibly add both bug protection for when bugs are really bad and warmth at the same time. Do you think a bivy is needed with a 30 degree quilt for some of the really cold nights?

I don't have the MLD innernet, so that would be an additional cost if I were to buy it. In this case, I already have the bivy and it would be a bit less weight (7 oz w/stuff sack vs. 8.5 for MLD innernet alone - no stuff sack)

Or perhaps just go with a 20 degree and leave the bivy and bug net at home?

Thank you everyone for your outstanding help so far! I have already trimmed alot of weight and unnecessary items!

Edited by BassDude on 07/05/2013 21:28:24 MDT.

Brian Reyman

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Quilt Temp on 07/05/2013 20:39:33 MDT Print View

I have a Helium II jacket and like it. A bit less breathable than other options, but as mentioned with not many all-day rain storms, it should work well.

Quilt temp is tricky as everyone sleeps different. Depending on camp site selection, etc. I would say that you have the possibility of a few sub-30 degree nights in June, especially if you're starting a bit earlier in the month.

If you're an average or warm sleeper, a 30* quilt, supplemented by the bivy, clothes and maybe a hot water bottle should do the trick. I personally have a Katabatic Gear Alsek 22* quilt, but that's only because I sometimes go further into the shoulder seasons.

For me, it would come down to what I'd be most likely to use in the future. If you'd use the 20* again in other trips, I'd go with that and have the extra safe temps. If a 30* would serve you better in the future, go with that and prepare to potentially supplement with clothes depending on specific weather.

If you're good sleeping in it, a bivy is a great choice. It'll keep the bugs off when sleeping, add a bit of heat and help with anything making its way under the shelter.

Brandt Zook
(BassDude) - F - M

Locale: Texas
Re: Quilt Temp on 07/05/2013 21:13:37 MDT Print View

Good point on future use. I see myself using a 30 degree more, since Texas rarely ever gets cold enough to warrant anything below that. I also aspire to do a thru hike of the CT in 2015 depending on my 2014 trip, so it would see the same sort of terrain and temperatures.

I am typically an average to slightly warm sleeper, so I think a 30 degree supplemented with the bivy and down jacket should work well. I wouldn't be starting until late June, so perhaps the nights will be a tad warmer.

So far my pack weight is down to 151.7 oz. or 9.48 lbs! I am still missing a few things like phone and guidebook simply because I haven't weighed them yet (or received them in the case of the guidebook).

EDIT: Now my base weight is down to 9 pounds! I replaced my ZLite with a GG Thinlight and Nightlight Torso for 8 ounces. I added a 22g ultralight knife. I replaced my Capilene 2 long sleeve baselayer (5.5 oz) with a Montbell Tachyon wind shirt (2 oz), and replaced the Montbell UL Down Jacket (9 oz), with a Montbell EX Light (6 oz).

Good thing I have plenty of time to save up for/buy all those big items!

Edited by BassDude on 07/06/2013 23:40:55 MDT.

Brandt Zook
(BassDude) - F - M

Locale: Texas
Cutting more weight on 07/12/2013 22:48:09 MDT Print View

I have played with my gear list a little bit more. Right now I am sitting at 10.23 lbs., but I added my iPhone 4 (strictly for communicating with the outside world to let them know I am okay, and perhaps a picture or two), the CT trail databook, and The Hobbit (my entertainment, and a great book to read while backpacking I think).

Right now I see the greatest area of improvement possible in my essentials/first aid kit. I will continue cutting this down and posting results. Where else do you guys see as areas for me to cut weight?

Thanks in advance!