CT2023 Gear

Well I didn’t have to pack
I had it all right on my back
Now I’m five hundred miles away from home

“500 Miles”, Rosanne Cash, The List

I deny being a gearhead, and seem to be falling further behind the major backpacking equipment trends each year. One example: most thru-hikers on the CT have moved to hoodie sunshirts– I really should look into these for next year. Several of my equipment list items are the exact same pieces from my 2012 Gear List.

Here are some changes from my most recent published gear list:

No solar panel. For the first time in several years, I did not deploy a solar panel on top of my pack. Colorado Trail towns were all only a few days apart, and charging was fairly easy.

Inflatable sleeping pad. For the first long trail I carried an inflatable mattress (Thermarest NeoAir, small) instead of a foam pad. It kept me warmer and felt more comfortable, and worked better with my down quilt straps, but a slow leak developed early in the trip, and I had to re-inflate once or twice each night. This was exactly what I feared might happen, even though Colorado does not have all the pointy spiky plants that New Mexico is known for, and I deployed the mattress over a sturdy ground sheet.

The mattress did tend to make a loud crinkling sound with any movement at first, but that seemed to quiet down, or I got used to it.

Finding a leak on the trail was impractical. After the hike, submersion in a bathtub did not find any leaks. Using soapy water in a spray bottle, I found FOUR leaks!

Down vest. My new Western Mountaineering down vest is heavier than the previous model, but well stuffed with insulation, and much warmer. My older vest had really gotten flat over the years. I typically wore the vest at night while sleeping, and stayed toasty warm all night.

Rain kilt. I feared regular monsoon rains in Colorado, like my 2014 trip, but that did not happen. I still used the rain kilt regularly in a novel way– sleeping in it at night. I used to have a cuben fiber rain kilt, but discarded it quickly, because it rustled every time I took a step– way too noisy, not suitable at all for hiking. This ZPacks Vertice rain kilt worked much better.

Insulated hood. On the advice of another hiker, I obtained an Enlightened Equipment insulated hood. Luxury, warm head.

I still have not gotten around to replacing my backpack. This is long past due.

CategoryItemNotesWeight in gramsWeight in oz
shirtSmartwool Merino 150 Base Layer Long-Sleeve1736.1
pantsRailRiders Eco-Mesh Pant31010.9
trailrunner shoesAltra Lone Peak 6 (size 11.5) with Superfeet Green insoles68024.0
hiking gaitersDirty Girl341.2
hiking socksDarn Tough CoolMax micro crew602.1
bandanacotton/poly bandana301.1
trekking polesBlack Diamond Ultra Distance Z-pole with carbide tips minus straps, 120cm2639.3
sun glassescheap generic polarized200.7
hatSunday Afternoons Adventure hat822.9
Total worn/carried165258.3
packpackZpacks Arc Haul backpack (nylon gridstop, 2016)71125.1
pack linertrash compactor bag602.1
cell phone holderZpacks shoulder pouch nylon190.7
phoneAndroid phone: Pixel 5 (camera, GPS, etc) with Spigen case and Supershieldsz screen protector1936.8
headphone2x X11 single Bluetooth earbud and charger90.3
Cook/waterwater bottles2 x 1 liter soda bottles722.5
cook stovenone (no-cook this trip)00.0
butane lighterScripto Tiny Lite120.4
cook potnone (no-cook this trip)00.0
water purifierPlatypus QuickDraw812.9
water purification backup10 MSR Aquatabs10.0
food bagZpacks Roll Top Blast401.4
bear ropeZpacks 1.5 mm Z-Line Cord210.7
Sheltertarp/tentZPacks Plexamid tent40414.3
tent stakesZpacks 6 6” Ultralight titanium stakes371.3
Sleepingsleeping quiltEnlightened Equipment Enigma 10F, Zpacks stuff-sack70524.9
pillowZpacks inflatable391.4
sleeping padThermarest NeoAir 2022 small2549.0
Clotheshead net“Sea to Summit” mosquito net, doubles as clothes bag230.8
camp shirtIcebreaker merino short sleeve1394.9
rain kiltZpacks Vertice rain kilt1324.7
warm topWestern Mountaineering down vest M 20222047.2
warm hatLLBean Trail Model fleece hat361.3
neck gaiterNMVFO volunteer reward311.1
rain jacketZpacks Vertice rain jacket1675.9
wind jacketZpacks Ventum M451.6
warm glovesPort Authority fleece351.2
hoodEnlightened Equipment insulated hood662.3
spare socksSmartWool mid-calf merino913.2
Accessory bagaccessory bagno-see-um mesh bag 7″x9″80.3
first aid kitBand-aids, molefoam, aspirin, loperamide, sudafed, super glue, …612.2
sewing kithome assembled200.7
magnifying glasscredit card size fresnel lens20.1
wallet with idall-Ett sport sailcloth wallet (5g) plus cards361.3
backup fire starterBic mini lighter140.5
penballpoint refill cartridge + spare10.0
flashlightPetzl e+Lite271.0
backup compassSuunto Clipper compass40.1
usb cable6inch microUSB to USB-C cable130.5
usb charger wall wartAnker 511 USB C Charger 20W301.1
repair kitGorilla tape, foil tape, cuben fabric tape, spare trekking pole tip, etc250.9
knifeVictoronix Swiss Army Classic200.7
Toiletry bagtoiletry bagno-see-um mesh bag 5″x6″40.1
tooth caredehydrated dots of toothpaste, toothbrush with trimmed handle, gum brush, floss170.6
soapDr Bonner liquid in 0.5oz dropper bottle240.8
insect repellent100% DEET repackaged in 0.5oz dropper bottle230.8
sun screenliquid, repacked in 0.5oz dropper bottle240.8
Outer pocket or inside packtoilet paperbackup120.4
toilet cleanhomemade hiker bidet + spare60.2
toilet shovelThe Deuce #3271.0
satellite commGarmin mini (spousal ease-of-mind)1063.7
power bankINIU 20W Fast Charge 10500mAh2057.2
usb cable 21 meter right-angle USB-A to USB-C cable421.5
Total base weight4387154.7
9.7 pounds

Author: Jim, Sagebrush

Jim (trail-name Sagebrush) codes audio software for Windows, Linux, Android, and embedded systems. When not working at sagebrush.com, he enjoys backpacking, which this blog is about.

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