CDT Gear List

Note that this is my planned gear list for the CDT from the Mexico Border. I’ve worked hard refining my gear, and trying different things out. A special shout out to my friends Bearclaw & Dirtmonger for helping me out with a lot of the gear choices, as they’ve been a great resource in planning what I will need. I also plan on mimicking Dirtmongers stoveless diet, as I tried this on my own while on the AT in 2014, and pretty much failed at it from a nutritional standpoint. As such, you will not see a stove in my gear list below. Listed below is what I will take with me when I leave from the Mexico Border.

Food, Hydration, Backpack system
Gossamer Gear Kumo Superlight                      13
2 liter Platypus Water Bladder                          2
(2) – 1 liter Smart Water bottles                      3
Aqua-Mira water Treatment                            3
Titanium Spoon                                             .25
GLAD 28 oz tight grip container                        3
Z-packs Cuben Fiber Stuff Sack                       .25
Sub Total                                                24.75 oz

Sleep System

Gossamer Gear Qtwinn Tarp                             7
Gossamer Gear Titanium Tent Stakes – Long      1.5
Gossamer Gear Polycro Ground Cloth                 .25
Enlightened Equipment Enigma 0                      21
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite – Small                     8
Gossamer Gear Thinlight Foam Pad – 1/8”          2.5
Z-packs Cuben Fiber Stuff Sack for Pillow         .25
Sub Total                                                41.75 oz

Clothing in Backpack
Patagonia R1 fleece hooded pullover                 11
Ray Way Bomber Hat                                     .75
Z-packs Fleece Hat                                        1
Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Bottoms        7
North Face Liner Gloves                                  1.5
North Face Rain/Wind Mittens                          1
Under Armour Hut Tank Top                            2.5
Outdoor Research Helium 2 Rain Jacket             6.5
Sub Total                                               30.75 oz

Other Gear in Backpack
Toothbrush, Toothpaste & Floss                      3
Trash Compactor Bag                                    1
Photon Freedom Micro Light                           .25
Petzl e+Lite headlamp                                   1.25
Victorinox Classic swiss knife                          1
Sub Total                                                 6.5 oz

Kept in Fanny Pack
Super hip chick magnet Fanny Pack                    .8
iPod Nano                                                          1
iPhone 6 with USB cord and Charger                   6
Sony Rx100 Camera with USB & 2 SD cards        8.5
Wallet – Cash, Credit card, permits, stamps         2
Anker Battery, 15000 mwh                                11
Misc. other gear – Lukotape, Sunscreen etc.        2
Sub Total                                                    31.3 oz

Total Base Weight        8.42 lbs
Total weight in Backpack    6.47 lbs
Total Fanny Pack Weight    1.95 lbs

Additional items that I will need only for shorter periods of time:
Golite Down Jacket (13oz) likely needed for most of Colorado, some of Northern Montana. It all just depends on how cold it gets.
Bug Suit (3oz) Likely needed in Wyoming.
Bug net (wraps around my sleeping bag) for under the tarp (4oz) likely needed in Wyoming, possibly more than just that.
A bear bag will be needed for northern Wyoming to Canada while in Grizzly territory.

Gossamer Gear

38 thoughts on “CDT Gear List”

  1. Hi Twinkle, I have a question about your wind mittens. I was considering getting a pair to go with my fleece gloves because my hands get pretty cold when I’m sitting around or when they are wet.

    Did you have the mittens on the PCT/AT? (I didn’t see them on your gear review.) Would you say they are worth buying?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hey there – Great question! I did not use mittens on the PCT, and I used a fleece pair of mittens on the AT. However, like you, my hands get very cold and uncomfortable, especially in cold rains. Therefor, I decided to update my gear a bit for the PCT. I still have the fleece stretch gloves, here: http://www.rei.com/product/872718/the-north-face-runners-1-etip-gloves And I also have a rain ‘over mitt’ that goes over the gloves, so that I can hike through the rain and my hands will stay dry. I’ve used them several times, and the over-mitt not only helps my hands stay dry, but they add a huge warmth value as well. At only an ounce, I believe they are well worth the weight! You can find them here: http://www.rei.com/product/872722/the-north-face-runners-3-over-mittens#tab-description

      This makes for a pretty versatile glove/mitten combo, that will keep your hands warm in most any circumstances. Hope this answers your question and helps you out 🙂 -Twinkle

  2. Hey Twinkle,
    It’s awesome to see that you’re hitting the CDT this year. I’m thinking about hopping on myself. Do you have that picture of us doing the hiker pyramid in White Salmon? I’d really like to see it haha.

    -grapenut

  3. Jeff Hersey said:

    Twinkle………. I used turkey roasting bags on the PCT for waterproof clothes and sleeping bag stuff sacks. They were cheap, tough as nails and really light………check them out……… your friend “Raggs”

  4. Eric Krueger said:

    Twinkle-
    What is the brand of fanny pack you are using?

  5. Hey! What is your reasoning behind bringing the micro light and the headlamp? Thanks!

    • The micro-light is my emergency light. Necessary? probably not. But I’ve had terrible luck with battery life in my headlamp. It often times turns on in my backpack during the day. The micro-light gives me added peace of mind in case I need light and my headlamp is dead. I often use it in camp just for a second here or there, and if I ever needed to night hike, that light could work in a pinch. You can read more about it on my friend PMags site here: http://www.pmags.com/tbt-gear-the-photon-ii-light

  6. I enjoyed your site. Wondering about water carrying capacity. I notice you have 4 L set up. Do you find that is enough in desert thru hiking? And do you hand carry or put it all in pack. Also, do you carry the 1/8 in pad to protect the neo air?

    • Hi John, great questions. I think I’ll have a carrying capacity of 5L through the desert this year. I take the approach that many distance hikers do in terms of drinking at least a liter at every source, before heading out. If I ever have to carry 5L of water, I suspect I’ll want a bit of it in my hands until I get to 3 liters or less. I prefer to not have a hip belt on my pack, and the only time I feel that’s a disadvantage is when I have to carry the weight of many liters of water over a long distance. Regarding the 1/8 pad, I bring that to protect my neo-air, yes. It also adds warmth at night being under there. Just as importantly, it slips into the pad holder in my Gossamer Gear Kumo pack and acts as a pseudo frame, and keeps anything from bulging into my back. It’s a great piece of gear that serves multiple purposes for me! I’m glad you enjoy my blog, Thanks 🙂

  7. Thanks for the quick reply! I just purchased a gorilla pack and am really impressed. would the 1/8 pad fit in place of the sit light? Have a great adventure on the CDT!

  8. Ford Childs said:

    Looks like a solid list! I’m a huge fan of a fleece layer as well and it has replaced my down jacket for most 3 season hiking. I was curious what you do to keep your legs warm in very cold prolonged rain, especially in windy conditions above treeline? Both times I have hiked on the CDT in the San Juans I encountered these conditions and nearly got hypothermia without rainpants. Also I remember seeing a windshirt in your PCT and AT pics and was curious why it didn’t make the cut?

    Have an awesome time on the divide. I’m crazy jealous.

    – Ferd

    • Great to hear from you, Ferd! I love the fleece layer as well. I’ve actually got to update this list, as I’ve made some changes & edits to my gear since I posted this back in January. I’m still undecided on what to keep on my legs for the rain. But I’m thinking of getting the Montbell Versalite, at under 4oz for rain pants. I also upgraded and purchased their Down hoody at 6.5 ounces, and their wind shirt (with a hood) at 1.7 ounces. I initially didn’t have it, as the one I took on the PCT ripped pretty bad, but the Montbell wind shirt is so light I couldn’t resist. So, I’ll need to update that above, I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ll likely only take the rain pants through the San Juans, and then the Winds north. Same with the down Jacket. I also upgraded my sleeping bag to an enlightened equipment 0 degree quilt. It’s about 4 ounces heavier than my 20 degree bag, and adds a ton of warmth. I took the 20 out a few weeks ago when it dipped to 30 degrees, and even with a bag liner and my down coat, I was uncomfortably cold. So, I figured I needed to upgrade, since I’m a real cold sleeper. I’ll get this updated fully here next week.

      Thanks for the well wishes on the divide, I’m so excited! Do you have any fun summer plans?

      • Ford Childs said:

        Those pants look pretty sweet! Not sure if no zips on the bottom would bother me or not; pretty hard to argue with 4 oz though. Besides, no zips could be an asset given that the more inconvenient your rain gear is to put on, the more likely it seems that the rain will stop in a few minutes 🙂 My friend and i have been talking about windshirts recently for his upcoming CT hike. While redundant, I think windshirts prolong the life of more expensive but fragile jackets like the helium (or cheap ones like driducks). My pack rubbed through the membrane in my marmot mica jacket in 1 month during my CO trail hike! Looking at your list, I was also curious what you sit on during breaks? If anything.

        No big plans this summer sadly. Trying to find a real job somewhere… No loss though, I’m still trying to fix some knee, hip, and Achilles pain that I had before and during the PCT last summer. I’ll be happy just to bike, hike, and run consistently and painlessly for a change.

  9. Hello again! I am interested in your choice of quilt from enlightened equipment. I debating between Nunatak and enlightened. for a down quilt. I currently use a ray way quilt which is awesome but bulky. How is the enlightened quilt for coverage and keeping out drafts?

    • Hello again 🙂 To be honest, I haven’t received the quilt from EE yet. My good friend just got one, and she has used it a few times and loved it. I used the ray way quilt for roughly 2k miles on the PCT last summer, and the bulkiness and weight were my two main gripes against it. The fact that it doesn’t compress at all meant that it took up a ton of space in my pack. Another fault that I could have fixed with a sewing machine, was that the top of the quilt down to the footbox never stayed together, allowing drafts, and forcing me to try and tuck it under my body. The EE quilt has straps/connections that keep it tight around you, and you can adjust the straps to get a more snug, or loose fit. So, those are all very big upgrades IMO. I’m not familiar with Nunatak quilts, so I can’t comment on those. I did talk with Swami this weekend who runs ‘the hiking life’ blog and has more miles than anyone I know, and he said that Katabatic Quilts are his favorite and he believes they are the highest quality. However, they are also by far the most expensive. The quilt I purchased from EE is a 0 degree with water resistance on foot and bottom, small/slim fit, and it was under 300 with shipping, to give you a price point.

      • Thank you for the thorough response. I will be interested to see how it performs for you. The water resistant foot box seems like a good idea. The vertical baffles are intriguing as well. I have never owned a down bag or quilt and wonder how much of a problem shifting down can be.
        Thanks again. 😀

  10. Chuck LeBer said:

    What insulation / r-value was your Ray Way quilt?

  11. Can you fit a bear can in the kumo with room left over for other gear??

    • You can, depending on the type of bear can. The over the top design allows you to put it on the outside as well, though not quite as nice, it is an option. I’ll have mine in the bottom of my pack.

  12. What brand of canister do you use?

  13. Do you plan on using the bear canisters on the entire CDT or only in Grizzly country or only where required by law?

    • Only where required by law. In grizzly country I’ll hang. Until Wyoming, I’ll likely use the ‘over my dead body’ approach

      • How many days worth of food can you fit in the large canister? i have never used one and imagine needing three large cans for a weeks worth of food.

      • I can comfortably fit 5-6 days of food in the large canister. But that’s with dry food. You’ll have to be a bit picky on buying items that have high caloric density to do this.

  14. Chris from Colorado Springs said:

    Twinkle, it seems these days everyone is using multiple devices on their hikes: phones, cameras, external batteries, steripens, and axillary mp3’s, to name a the most common. Charging options vary from solar, external batteries, and not charging in the field at all but just charging once in town. Carrot Quinn and Walking with Wired both carry phones, mp3 players, and high capacity, external batteries. You and Wired carry nicer, non-cellphone cameras. You do not carry the axillary mp3, yet I know from following your PCT hike last year that you do listen to music and audio books frequently–if not daily (the 311 fan that you are :). I see you are using the iphone 6 this year, which has a pretty nice camera on it. Would you mind geeking out for a minute on your electronic decisions for this year’s CDT hike? (I know solar currently isn’t all that great yet, hence all the battery backups)

    • Hey Chris! Sorry for the delay – it’s been such a busy week getting ready for the trail. But this is a great question. I take an iPhone 6, an iPod nano (16 gig, 1 ounce), a Sony RX 100, and an external battery pack! That’s a lot of gadgets. I used a solar charger in the desert last summer on the pct, but had to switch out in Northern California as it became too tree covered for a solar charger if you were on the move all day. The iPod is so nice for me, I love it for cranking out miles when you need a little energy boost. And sometimes, you just want to hear your favorite 311 tune ;). The decision to bring a nice camera as well as the iPhone is a personal one that I would never trade, even though it’s not UL. I think the big decision with this is the quality of your separate camera. If it’s a small, relatively cheap point and shoot, it likely won’t get a quality that is so much higher that it warrants the added weight. However the Sony RX 100 is a very nice camera that has much crisper pictures, and works so much better in low light situations (sunset & sunrise). For me, that makes it worth it. The majority of my nice pictures from last year were on the Sony. And this year I got a wifi card so I can pull the pictures right to my phone from the camera. How neat is that?! Thanks for your great question, Chris! Let me know if I didn’t fully answer it!

  15. Hi again. Just wondering about your impressions of the enlightened equipment quilt. Have a great hike!

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