All gear criteria are not the same, and mine have definitely changed over the years. Reading back through this post on my Colorado Trail gear selections, I was surprised to see that comfort came up more than weight. After some thought, I realized it was probably because this hike would be a little more relaxed than some of the others, and it had NOTHING to do with age.
This hike was going to be a little more laid back. It was also going to be a little wetter and somewhat colder than a typical summer hike. I’m also trying to use gear that I already have in inventory, for the Colorado Trail. I’ve told myself I’m not going crazy buying the latest and lightest. So far, I’ve mostly managed to restrain myself, although it is not easy since I LOVE trying out new equipment. Because of all of the above, I based my gear selection on the criteria below.
- Trail Conditions
- Inventory available
There are some lighter options, but I’m happy with what I’m taking on this hike. There are a few pieces of gear that I would like to try out on next year’s hikes, and fortunately Christmas falls between now and next year. Below, I’ve listed most of the gear associated with Food/Hydration, Toiletries/First Aid, Clothing, Electronics, along with a few miscellaneous items.
Shelter – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2
The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 – Platinum is the tent I will be using for this hike. It is also the one big purchase I did make. My initial impressions of the tent are captured here. I’ve not used a stand alone tent in years, and wanted room to sit up and spread out. This decision definitely falls under the “comfort” criteria.
The Colorado Trail also travels through fairly high altitudes, so there can be cold temperatures. I should get about 5-10 degrees in additional warmth with this tent. I still have flashbacks to being huddled under my tarp tent in Maine, in August, as 34 degree gusts of wind whipped underneath the edges of the tarp.
Finally, rain was also a consideration. The Colorado Trail is known for it’s intense thunderstorms in the late afternoons. I wanted a shelter that would hold up well in down pours. I also did not want to worry about heavy rains splashing into the shelter. Condensation was also something I wanted to avoid.
Sleep System – Feathered Friends Bag
My favorite sleep system is my Neo-air pad, and my Nunatak quilt. Nunatak is one of the cottage gear companies I mentioned in this post. I prefer quilts to sleeping bags. Quilts are lighter, and I like spreading out when I sleep. I do sometimes get cold with quilts. Sure, I can strap the quilt to my pad, but I still seem get cold spots. Therefore, I typically take a sleeping bag when temperatures are near freezing. In this case, I’m taking my 10 degree Feathered Friends bag. The bag has a few war wounds, but is still in good shape. If I get too warm, I can unzip it and use it like a quilt.
I’ll also be taking my Neo-air pad on this hike. The Neo-air is comfortable, and lighter than many foam pads. I’m crossing my fingers, as it already has about 3,000 miles on it. I’ve tested it at length, and it does not seem to be losing any air. Worse case is I suffer a couple of nights on the ground, and then hitch into town and grab a replacement. Every town on the Colorado Trail appears to have an outfitter, so I should be in good shape.
Backpack – ULA Equipment – Ohm 2.0
My Ohm 2.0 is the pack I’ll be using on the Colorado Trail. The pack is made by ULA Adventure. I first used it on a long section of the AT (Appalachian Trail), southbound from Maine to New Jersey in 2013. The pack held up well, so I’ll be taking it with me again on this trip. I like the comfort of the pack, and the pockets on the hip belt. It is also a fairly light pack, at about 35 ounces.
I won’t carry a pack cover with the pack. I use a compactor bag inside the pack, and it keeps everything dry (sleeping bag, clothes, etc). My tent is stored in the netting on the outside of the pack, and I pack it so it is covered by it’s fly, and stays relatively dry if it rains. The pack also dries fairly quickly in non-humid climates.
Alternate Gear Options
My pack and gear will be a little heavier than I like. There were a few other options that could have saved me a pound or two, but I’m only going to be hiking for 4-5 weeks. The gear I’ll be using for the Colorado Trail conditions will be fine.
I could have taken my quilt and saved about 10-12 ounces, but I really like to sleep warm, and dislike sleeping in extra clothes. My Z-Pack tarp tent (which I really like) would also have saved me about 22 ounces. I wanted a little more room since I may be in the shelter more than on a typical hike. I would like to try out a Z-packs Duplex for next year. It is super light with a ton of room, and Santa may find it on is list next year.