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Continental Divide Trail Gear List and Food

Just over a month to go! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. Here I have compiled a list of the gear I will be taking on this trip. I have my Base weight calculated (all of your gear minus the clothes you always wear on your body and consumables such as food, water and fuel). Some items will be variable such as how many water bottles I’ll carry, depending on where I am on the trail. I’m starting with 6 just in case in the desert but will only carry 2 in Colorado and probably other northern parts of the trail.

Backpack and Water Treatment and Storage:
Pa’lante Packs Simple Pack with hipbelts about 15 oz
Sawyer squeeze 2.7 oz
6 1 liter smart water bottles 12 oz
Subtotal 29.7 oz

Sleep system:
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis tarp tent with insect netting 13 oz
6 Aluminum tent stakes 3 oz
Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 degree down quilt 19.4 oz
Gossamer gear airbeam air mattress 10 oz
Polycryo ground sheet 1.6 oz
Subtotal 47 oz

Clothing in Backpack:
Patagonia Men’s Capilene Midweight Crew undershirt 6.7 oz
Patagonia Men’s Capilene Midweight Bottoms 6.8 oz
Go lite down jacket 7.5 oz
Spare socks 3 oz
Enlightened Equipment Sidekick booties 1.5 oz
Outdoor Research Helium II ultralight rain jacket 6.4 oz
Subtotal 31.9 oz

Miscellaneous Items:
Petzl e+LITE Headlamp 1 oz
Sunglasses .7 oz
Toothbrush and toothpaste 1 oz
Compass .8 oz
Tiny Swiss Army knife .5 oz
Sunscreen 2 oz
Tenacious tape, sewing needle and dental floss .2 oz
Mosquito head net .7 oz
Swing Liteflex Silver Trekking Umbrella 8 oz
Subtotal 14.9 oz

Chargers 2 oz
Anker battery 15000 mwh 11 oz
Olloclip macro lens for IPhone .8 oz
Sony Cyber‑Shot DSC‑RX100 II 20.2 MP 9 oz
SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger 4 oz
Subtotal 26.8 oz

Total Base Weight: 150.3 oz or 9.39 lbs
All my gear outside of the pack
All gear inside the pack!

The size of the gear I carry has shrunk considerably since my southbound 2012 Appalachian Trail hike with Buzz Lightyear. I think I was lugging about 45 lbs in my 85 liter external frame pack when I started that hike. I had a machete, fishing pole, slingshot and tons of other useless shit. We had no idea what we were doing or what we had gotten ourselves into! By the time we got to Dalton, Massachusetts my pack was a 30 liter day hiking backpack that weighed about 25 lbs fully loaded (thanks to Tom Levardi for taking us to an outfitter)!

atA happy fool

I am one of those manics that never cooks on trail, I’m way too lazy to want to lug around extra water for cooking, then have to set up a stove, boil things and then clean out pots covered in gunk. I’ll just get warm food when I get to town in a few days. It just makes it that much better! The plus sides of this is I don’t have to worry about refueling, carrying a stove, fuel, pots/cups, or even utensils. No chores or wait time in the morning or at night and I don’t send up a beacon of scent to all the animals in the forest. “If you don’t cook then what the hell do you eat?” I eat whatever sounds tasty at that moment. I have no meals planned out, just a big bag filled with all my food. When I wake up I might eat some carnation breakfast essentials, granola bars, fruit and nuts. In the afternoon maybe chocolate, nuts, fruit, jerky, granola bars, and then the same for the evening.

I bought food enough for 9 boxes to be sent to locations along the CDT where there is either no resupply at all or very meager choices (a gas station for example). That being said, I have stuck to a lot of my usual favorites again like various granola bars, pistachios, pecans, pine nuts, jerky, candy, dried fruit, as well as lots of freeze dried fruit this time around. I found a company that sells freeze dried fruit in bulk for very cheap by accident a few months back. Its called Emergency Essentials and it is really more geared towards filling up your nuclear bunker than for hiking, but the freeze dried products are useful just the same. I have tons of freeze dried strawberries, peaches, raspberries and cinnamon apples. They weigh almost nothing but do take up a good amount of space. And don’t worry about not using them for awhile because as the bottom of one of the cans read, “best if used before May 2039.”

One of the items that I’m super excited for this time around are a variety of Salazon chocolate bars. They were created by a thru hiker and all have salt in them. The idea was that tasty chocolate could also be salted to help keep a hiker’s electrolyte levels up while at the same time eating one of  a hungry hiker’s favorite foods. They taste so freaking good.

I’ve also got a new camera this time around. Its the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 ii which is the camera Twinkle Toes and Bigfoot use on their adventures. I’ve played around with it a little bit and am stoked to use it on trail.

Less than a month to go! I can’t wait to meet other hikers and get back to doing what feels so right. Walking slowly across the varied surface of a planet and observing the other organisms that we inhabit this rock with.

Day 14. Mount Princeton Hot Springs.


County road 343 to Mt. Princeton Hot Spring Resort.

10.9 miles

We get up and Ed cooks us some eggs with pizza sauce from last night. A sort of pizza omelette. It’s delicious. He’s also got a thermos of hot coffee which I mix with 2 carnation breakfast essentials to make a caffeinated mocha drink. 

We hit the trail at 8 am as we are only going about 11 miles to Princeton Hot Springs Resort where Ed is going to meet back up with us and drive us into Buena Vista for a resupply. 

The morning walk is a 1000 foot climb and then levels out pretty good for much of the day. We mostly hike together, talking and taking pictures of the beautiful wildflowers that are growing on the open hillsides. Skyrocket, bellflowers, scarlet beardtongue and Indian paintbrush are the favorites. I talk to Leah a bunch about her travels and I get the urge to travel abroad. She was in Turkey for 6 months and it sounds amazing. I want to eat a ton of food from different cultures. I may have a chance to go to Thailand this winter and it doesn’t take long for her to convince me to visit Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia while I’m over there if I get to go. 

One of the best things about backpacking in the mountains is drinking ice cold mountain water.



Indian Paintbrush

We hit a road around late morning/ early afternoon and follow it down several miles to a desert valley. The plant life and scenery is pleasantly different and even though the shade is gone, it isn’t uncomfortable. We walk across a parched field and find some more bones for Rapunzle. She’s tying them all to her pack and is going to keep them as a fun, if creepy trail momento.  

Rapunzle’s bone collection. So far a pelvis and some vertebrae.

There’s a little ranch where you can rent horses near on the roadwalk.

Badass hiker family: Rapunzle, Sara and Leah.

The smoke is closer

Entering Princeton Hot Springs Resort 

As we walk into Princeton Hot Springs we can see some pools and a water slide with kids running around and sliding down it. We get to the general store and lay in the shade on a perfectly manicured patch of grass. I get a big bratwurst to eat before Ed shows back up. He takes us into town and the first place we stop is a brewery. We all get some good beer and I get a dozen chicken wings. We laze around there, charging phones, digesting. The next stop is an outfitter. Leah has been wearing minimalist Altras and her feet are hurting pretty bad so she gets a new pair of shoes. On these rocky trails you definitely want a thick soled shoe or you’ll be feeling all the sharp pointy rocks. 

The next stop is the City Market. Just another name for Krogers. We get some more food to last us until Gunnison and then we jump over to an ice cream shop and get some cones. We are so spoiled today. And the fun isn’t even over. Next stop, hot springs! We head back to the trail where it meets the hot springs resort and for $18 we get to soak in natural hot springs that have been diverted into a 105 degree pool and a 95 degree pool. There is also a cold, rocky stream near the pools as well where hot water pours in. You can sit in the stream with icy water on you while being blasted by a stream of hot water coming from a pipe above. We go back and forth between the different waters, very relaxing and hopefully good for our sore muscles and tendons. It certainly feels good on them. We hop out and then sweat ourselves out in a sauna room. It’s hard to breathe in it but it sure feels good. We laugh about how it smells like feet. Then we take a shower and dry off before heading back to the trailhead. 

It’s getting dark as we walk to a campsite. The mosquitos are out in full force. The worst I’ve seen yet. We set up in twilight but the moon is very bright tonight too. You can see large, jagged, crumbly white mountains in the moonlight nearby. We eat and chat until we’re too tired and call it a very relaxing day. Hey, we’re on vacation after all!
Roof kittens at Princeton Hot Springs!