Horns Hooves and Coats: The CDT Gear List
The I-Don’t-Know-How-This-Will-Work Gear List
Here it is, what everybody is actually looking for: the gear list. As per usual, I spent far too much time obsessing over ounces, swapping items, and not taking my own advice. I told myself (and everyone else) that if I were to do another thru-hike, I would take what I have and switch out what didn’t work. Doing this avoids spending money you don’t need to on the wrong pieces of gear. So, without further ado, this is what hours of spreadsheets, and too much money has given me as a gear list. Here is my lighterpack (note, most prices are in CAD) for the condensed version that has the extra bits and bobs.
North Face Inferno 0F mummy bag
Sea To Summit Aeros Premium pillow
Sea to Summit EatherlightXT insulated women’s sleeping pad
Arguably, my sleep setup will be my luxury item for this trip. I learned on the Appalachian Trail that I’m a picky sleeper… no amount of exhaustion will get me to sleep through the night. Having tried so many different setups, I eventually arrived at a hammock setup. I loved hammocking, and I tried so hard to make it work for this trip. Ultimately, there are too many areas where I would likely have to go to ground and have a terrible sleep. I even tried a size small Therm-a-Rest uberlight (weighs 6oz) and found I was sleepless on the ground. So, I ditched my quilt, and mummy pad for something that actually gets me a good and cosy sleep. P.S, in order to actually fit my sleeping bag into my pack, I’m using a stuff sack. I’ve tried just stuffing it into the pack alone, but it packs down much smaller in a sack.
Potential swap: swap out the previous pillow for the more comfortable but incredibly heavy Therm-a-Rest compressible pillow. Also, my Enlightened Equipment quilt when it gets warm enough.
Superior Wilderness Designs Movement Ultralight 40L
Nylofume pack liner
There are a thousand reasons to love the SWD movement, but here are some of the key reasons why I chose this pack for a 3000 mile hike:
- large overflow to accommodate stupid-long food carries
- HUGE side pockets that can fit multiple water bottles with an effective cinching cord to keep things secure
- modularity: removable hip belt, roll-top stiffeners, load lifters, metal frame stay, tons of loops for carabiners and lashing
The fanny pack is something I fell in love with closer to the end of my last thru. I thoroughly enjoyed having things on my person and easily accessible, even when my pack is off. This particular pack is 1L in volume, giving me plenty of space for my phone, snacks, wallet, filter, and GPS/SOS. If I ever take my pack off, and it gets lost/stolen, I have the essentials with me to keep me safe and never have to remember to take them out of some compartment of my pack.
Durston X-Mid Pro 2 and trekking poles
Six Moon Designs small Tyvek ground sheet
MSR Carbon Core Tent stakes
Durston gear has really been making waves in the ultralight backpacking community and I had to try it out. I wanted so badly to love the Zpacks DupleXL, like so many others do, but there were things about this tent that seemed to address the parts of the DupleXL that I wasn’t a huge fan of.
- The tent poles aren’t in the way of the door
- there’s no way the tub floor can be pushed past the tarp fly/ceiling/thing
- the pitch can be setup with almost no ground clearance to prevent water splash back
- the doors can be closed with 1 hand
- Other Benefits:
- needs only 4 stakes (as a minimum, 6 seems to be the sweet spot for me)
- there are vents at the top of the tent to help with condensation
- magnetic clasps to keep the doors open can be fastened with 1 hand
- spacious vestibule design is great for large packs, and keeps them out of the way of the door.
Smartwool Sport Tank Dress– switched to this dress fairly early in my last thru hike.. it’s incredibly durable, comfortable, and easy to wear
Injinji Crew- To socks for the win!!
Outdoor Research ActiveIce Sun Hoody- this piece is new for me. The last sun hoody I had didn’t work out well. However, not having coverage in the desert seems like a bad idea.
Buff x3- I like carrying 3 buffs. One for my face and head, and the other two for miscellaneous uses… including treating the odd case of chub-rub.
Patagonia Micro D snap fleece- I probably won’t carry this through the desert, but a fleece is always a great layer to carry. I almost prefer it over a down jacket. You can hike in synthetic and stay warm when you get sweaty!
Worn in cold places
MEC T2 Base Layer leggings
MECT T2 Base Layer long-sleeve
StormSock waterproof socks
MEC T3 Insulated Mitts
Sleep and Spares
MEC T0 Base Layer Leggings
MEC T0 Base Layer Long-Sleeve
Enlightened Equipment Torrid Booties for sleep socks
Injinji Crew socks
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer puff jacket
The sleeping layers will likely be negotiated throughout the trip. As much as I’m a cold sleeper, I’ve tried my mummy bag in below freezing temperatures and have found it to be toasty even in shorts and a tank! The booties are permanent though. I will never return to the days of wool socks!
Rab SilPoncho– lightweight and can double as a tarp for whatever reason.
Yes, I’m a cold soaker! Hot food for me is a bit out-of-sight-out-of-mind.
Sea to Summit Alphalight Long Spork
Skippy Jar for cold soaking
Loksak Opsak smell resistant bag
Ursack Allmitey bear and critter proof foodbag (only going to carry this through grizz country)
Platypus Quickdraw water filter (plus drops for mexico cow ponds)
Platypus 2L Platy Bottle dirty water bag (2 for the desert)
Smartwater Bottle clean water bottle (x2 for the desert)
Anker Power Core 10,000 mAh plus 3 cords and 2 adapters
Garmin GPSMAP 6i GPS with routable maps, 2 way communication, and personal locator beacon (SOS button)
Petzl Actik Core Hybrid headlamp- I do love some night hiking and this lamp stays lit with 500 lumens for the entire night. I also enjoy that the battery is rechargeable via USB mini
Jlab Go Air Pop wireless earbuds for all them podcasts and audiobooks.
Garmin Vivoactive 4s I’ve had this watch for years and love the battery life, functionality, and durability!
LG Velvet 5G this is my phone… it refuses to die…
Black Diamond Raven Pro ice axe
Trowel deuce of spades
Nixit menstrual cup
bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste
Neutrogena ultra sheer 50 sunscreen stick
Here’s where it gets spicy! I have some opinions about first-aid on the trail. A conversation that I had with a fellow hiker really highlighted how differently people can conceptualize a first-aid situation on trail. While explaining the contents of my first aid kit, the other person retorted “if I can’t fix it with a band-aid or a bandana, I’m getting out… no need for the other stuff.”
If you have ever taken a first-aid course that is more than basic CPR, you might have learned that a severe bleed can have you bereft of blood in about 7 minutes. I feel it is unlikely that I can get myself to a hospital in 7 minutes, even in the best of situations. Similarly, if I find a new severe allergy, I doubt I would be able to find myself some epi in the small amount of time that I have to remedy the situation. For these reasons (and more I could explain later), I carry the following:
The Musts for My Kit
- 2 packs of quikclot, a tourniquet, and a small tensor bandage (my first aid training indicates that in a major bleed rest, expose, QC, QC, tourniquet– apparently you can go up to 18 hrs wearing a tourniquet without loss of limb!)
- small trauma shears (did you know they can cut through a penny?!)
- doxycycline (prophylactic tick bite treatment. take 1 dose within 72 hours of a bite to prevent disease)
- cephalexin (infected cuts)
- macrobid and pyridium (UTI… they can be unbearable to endure and I don’t want to be days from treating this if it happens)
- 12-hour advil and advil+sleep
- various inhalers (I have asthma)
- 3-way antibiotic cream
- cortisone cream
- magnesium in 350 mcg units (helps with cramping, stool regularity, and sleep)
- a few items for blister care, cuts, and scrapes
- small gear repair kit
- crazy glue
I carry these for just-in-case scenarios. Hopefully, I never have to use them but for me, they’re worth their weight in piece of mind alone. I really wish I could be confident enough in myself to only carry some band-aids and a bandana– no snarkiness intended. Yet, when I consider tripping in a really unfortunate way, and somehow getting a severe bleed, I can’t imagine saving myself the ounces of carried weight in 2 packs of quick clot and a tourniquet will really matter to me in that moment.
My soul is ultralight, my mind, is ultralight, but my body is not. I’ve learned something about cutting pack weight for myself: it’s only worth cutting it if cutting it won’t make you miserable. Therefore, people that can do UL, in my mind, are the people that can sleep comfortably on rocks, run hot, and are generally healthy. I’ve tried carrying just a Nemo Switchback and a quilt, and no matter how hard I tried to love it for the weight savings, I was always cold and suffering from bruised hips. I would love to carry one outfit, but I get too cold for just a dress and leggings in the snow. Moreover, I would love to ditch the wrist braces and puffers, but the carpal tunnel and asthma has got the best of me. Furthermore, my loadout is no longer ultralight and has ever so slightly crossed the border into lightweight. My base weight is 12 pounds (on average)… although it kills my soul to see that number, the extra 2 lbs in sleep quality and piece of mind really seem to carry their own weight. Plus, the “frame” of my pack makes carrying any weight feel easy!
– a Mountain Goat named Sprite.
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