I have gotten a lot of questions regarding what gear I am bringing on my Colorado Trail thru hike. Specifically if I am bringing a gun. No I am not bringing a gun, but I have a 20 gram Buck knife that I'm sure will scare off any attackers ;)
In the backpacking world there are several vocab words to know. One is "base weight" which means the weight of all your gear minus any consumables or worn items. "Consumables" are things like fuel, food, water, toiletry items, etc. Items included in your base weight don't fluctuate in weight, like your tent or sleeping bag. My base weight is 10.34 pounds but 10.85 pounds with consumables (except food and water). I suspect my pack will be approximately 18 pounds with 5 days of food and 2 liters of water. Another vocab word that is important to know is "Big 3" which includes your shelter, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. I think of the "Big 3" as more of a shelter system, a sleep system, and packed clothing. I know that's not what is typically discussed in the backpacking world but those are the categories that take up the most weight in my pack. My "Big 3" total 6.35 pounds which is 61.41% of my base weight. The other 38.59% is taken up by my cooking gear, electronics, personal items, water filtration system, and my pack itself.
Big Agnes FlyCreek HV UL2
The link included is not the exact model I have but pretty much identical in weight, design, and color. This is the tent I picked up at the Big Agnes store in Steamboat Springs. I used in a couple nights in Colorado last summer and was really impressed. The set up is easy enough and as someone who doesn't use trekking poles, a semi-freestanding tent is convenient. Since the material on the floor of the tent is thin, I have included a piece of Lowe's house wrap cut to size to protect it.
I included a link to my favorite piece of clothing, the Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer UL. I wanted this jacket, but I really couldn't afford it. Mom and dad being so supportive of me, got it for me for my birthday. The small size only weighs 5.65oz and is so warm! My other clothing items consist of a Columbia Fleece quarter zip, joggers, a stocking cap, fuzzy gloves, one extra pair of hiking socks, one pair of sleeping socks, extra underwear, and a sand colored Frogg Toggs rain jacket.
UGQ Bandit custom quilt
Thermarest Women's NeoAir XLite
I was never one to sleep comfortably with a mummy sleeping bag. As a side/stomach sleeper I always ended up getting tangled up. I was also never very warm, maybe it was the synthetic Bass Pro brand bag I was using, but once I discovered quilts they changed the game. A backpacking quilt is commonly used by hammock campers but is becoming increasingly more popular with ground sleepers. I decided a quilt would be best for me because it would allow me to sleep naturally and I wouldn't be wasting weight and warmth on down stuff below me. Because my underside would be exposed I needed a sleeping pad with a high R-Value to keep me warm. R-Value is another important vocab word. To be honest I don't really know what is stands for but I know you want a high value if you want to be warm. The Thermarest Women's NeoAir XLite has an R-Value of 5.4 which is the highest I have seen.
DJI Osmo Pocket
Garmin inReach Mini
Some notable electronics include my DJI Osmo Pocket camera which I plan to use to document my hike. The Garmin inReach Mini is for peace of mind for my parents and SOS should something go wrong. The Black Diamond headlamp will by my source of light for midnight potty breaks. I have been using the Garmin Forerunner 235 for running for over four years and it is still working like new. Other electronics include my iPhone, portable charger, several cords, earphones, and some accessories and SD cards for the Osmo.
Zpacks Arc Blast 55L
My first backpack was the North Face Terra 40L that I purchased way back when I first got interested in backpacking. I didn't know anything about backpacks like what size I would need. I also didn't have any other gear so I didn't know what capacity I would need. As much as I love my first backpack for its sentimental purpose in my life, I decided to get a new one. I decided on the Arc Blast because it was the lightest I could find, it's construction was simple, and it had good resistance to water.
The items included in this category are less than interesting. Toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, bandaids, mini nail clippers, ibuprofen, chapstick, pen, journal, money/ID, and a few other small items make up the majority of my personal gear. All of these items are tiny but fairly crucial to my well being way out in the wilderness.
Toaks Titanium 650mL Pot
LiteAF Large Food Bag
I have always been interested in camp cooking. The little fuel canister with the stove and pot was always so cute to me. I originally had a GSI Outdoors pot that I really liked. I loved the insulator sleeve and how the lid fit snugly on top but could be pulled off with ease. I also liked how well the stove and foldable spork fit inside with the fuel canister. The pot was just a little heavy for what I was looking for so I purchased the Toaks Titanium pot. I had also been using a 3oz stove from Amazon that I really liked. It was super sturdy while small and relatively light weight. It also had an ignitor which made started it up simple. Again, I really liked this piece of gear, I just wanted something lighter. The BRS Stove is even smaller and lighter at less than as ounce and only about an inch or two long when folded up. My LiteAF food bag is a roll top dry bag used to store my food and hang from a tree at night to prevent rodents, bears, or other hikers from stealing my snacks. A mini BIC lighter, 1 inch sponge, foldable spork, and fuel canister make up the remainder or my cooking system.
The main component of my water filtration system is the Sawyer Squeeze. I originally had the Sawer mini which weighs less and has a slower flow rate. Everyone swears the larger Sawyer Squeeze is the way to go so I decided to purchase it. I honestly never had any issues with the mini and the flow rate was good enough for me. I will also be using two 1 liter Smart water bottles and a Propel bottle for extra water storage. I also have an extra O ring that fits into the bottom of the filter. This tiny almost weightless item is crucial to fitting the filter onto the water bottle.