Colorado Trail Thru Hike Gear List

It’s almost time for my next thru hike and I’m getting so antsy and excited I have to post something, so I’ll do a rundown of my gear list for this trail. The Colorado Trail is a 485 mile long trail from Denver to Durango, CO and has an average elevation of over 10,000 feet. This makes the trail unique among the long trails in America in that it is almost always in high mountains where environmental conditions change quickly and thunderstorms roll in like clockwork in the afternoon. The temperatures on this trail will obviously be much colder than a lower elevation hike. Even though it will be July for most of my trip, freezing temps can still occur and chilling wind and rain are always a threat. The high elevations also means there is less oxygen to breathe and I’ll need to adapt in the first few days to this difference. I also only have 21 days to hike it so I need to have a light load and walk at a fast pace to get to Durango in time get back to Denver and fly home!

Much of the gear I’m using is the same as my Arizona Trail thru hike and some of the gear is the same as my Pacific Crest Trail thru, but I also like to try out new gear to see how I like it and if it can become part of my backpacking staples. Some of the new items I’m using include a down quilt, a new air mattress, and a chrome dome umbrella.
Here is my gear list. I’ll go into detail about some items below.

Backpack and Water Treatment and Storage:
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack 28 oz
Sawyer squeeze mini 1.7 oz
2 1 liter smart water bottles 4 oz
Subtotal 33.7 oz

Sleep system
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis tarp tent with insect netting 13 oz
6 Aluminum tent stakes 3 oz
Gossamer gear airbeam air mattress 10 oz
Gossamer Gear 1/8 inch thin lite foam pad 2.5 oz
Polycryo ground sheet 1.6 oz
Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 degree down quilt 19.4 oz

Subtotal 49.5 oz

Clothing in Backpack
Undershirt 7.2 oz
Long johns 6.9 oz
Go lite down jacket 7.5 oz
Spare socks 3 oz

Subtotal 24.6 oz

Miscellaneous Items
Head light with batteries 2.8 oz
Sunglasses .7 oz
Small bic lighter .4 oz
Mosquito head net .7 oz
Toothbrush and toothpaste 1 oz
Emergency Poncho .5 0z
Swing Liteflex Silver Trekking Umbrella 8 oz

Subtotal 14.1 oz 

Electronics
Chargers 2 oz
Anker battery 15000 mwh 11 oz
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Camera, Raynox DCR 250 Macro lens, case, battery and charger 30 oz

Subtotal 43 oz

Total Base Weight
164.9 oz or 10.3 lbs

Pack with all the gear laid out!

It all comfortably fits in the pack with plenty of room to spare for food.

This time around I decided to switch to using a down quilt after I have seen many of my friends use them and be very happy with their performance. It weighs significantly less and is much more compressible than my 15 degree sleeping bag I used on the Arizona Trail.

I’ve also swapped out a rain jacket for an umbrella mostly to see if it will really work. I have back up poncho in case it turns out to be a miserable failure. Why an umbrella? Well it weighs in at just under 8 oz, so it weighs less than my current rain jacket and does the same job. It also has many other benefits such as protection from the sun, being able to use a smartphone or camera in the rain, and being dry while at the same time ventilated, meaning not sweating to death while hiking in the rain as you would in a rain jacket.

I’m also moving back to an inflatable air mattress after using a z lite foam pad on the Arizona Trail. I found it to be much less comfortable and it did eventually get smashed down and lose some insulating power. I also will be around a lot less cacti and other spiny plants which pose a threat to the air mattress. I plan on using a plastic groundsheet when the ground is moist in concert with the 1/8 inch foam pad and gossamer gear air beam to keep warm in any condition.

I’m also once again hiking in Brooks Cascadia trail runners. This time its the model 11. We will see if they can live up to their 8 predecessor after the 10s fell apart in days.

JUST 13 MORE DAYS!!!! 

3 thoughts on “Colorado Trail Thru Hike Gear List”

  1. Very nice gear list, and sounds like an awesome trail.

    Here in Japan umbrellas are quite popular during the very hot and humid rainy season. But, for at that altitude, and with the wind potential I personally don’t take an umbrella.

    Just too much rain and wind going not vertical. Making the holding of the umbrella more of an effort while balancing on talus or the trail too. Also prefer the added warmth and protection of the rain jacket at those altitudes.

    Conditions might differ of course, and though you probably have considered that already, I think it is still something to think about.

    Hope you have a great experience

  2. Wow, I could only hope to get my pack that light! We’re hiking the CT next year for the first time and could definitely use some good info on what to take and what to leave behind. I’ll definitely be looking into some of the gear you mentioned. Good luck to you. And if you have any other invaluable advice, please send some our way!

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