I think I finally have my gear in order for hiking the Colorado Trail. Here is a list of everything I have, what I used to have, what they cost, and what I may replace them with in the future.
Used to have the REI Morningstar (5 pounds, $99 on sale), bought a GoLite Quest (3 pounds, $79 on sale), wish for a Gossamer Gear G4 (around 1 pound, $125 or make your own G4 with $40 kit).
Used to have an old Slumber Jack 15 degree sleeping bag (weight?, $50) that treated me well. Also have a Northface 0 degree bag (probably up around 5 pounds, $99), and I barely use it cause it is too warm. Currently using a Ledge Featherlite 20 degree bag (3 pounds, $40). Wish for some type of 20-40 degree quilt, probably GoLite’s Ultralite 800 fill 1 or 3 season quilt. (1.2 – 1.5 pounds, $125-$150 on sale).
Quick Update: Just found what is perhaps one of the best makers of backpacking quilts out there. They are called Enlightened Equipment and specialize in quilts for backpacking. The quilt I am looking at starts at $165 (Revelation X) and can weigh under a pound! So for the extra money I might buy one of these instead. Especially if I am not ready to buy when GoLite still has a sale going on.
Used to have an REI 2 person half or full dome tent (5-6 pounds, $200-$250). Switched to Etowah Gear 8×10 urethane coated nylon shelter (1.5 pounds, $45). Also bought a $10 “ground cloth” from Walmart, the Outdoor Products 5×7 nylon tarp. It weighs a half pound and can double as a rain jacket, bivy sack, etc. Wish for a cuben fibre (4-8 ounces, $250 plus) or silnylon tarp (13 ounces, $85 plus). If I had to buy a tent again I would probably buy Tarptent’s Double Rainbow which weighs 2.5 pounds and costs $275.
Still have a full length Insulmat (2 pounds, maybe $40?) which is equal to their current Adventurer SI. I just decided to switch to a Thermarest Ridgerest 3/4 length which is 9 ounces and cost $20. So far the reflective surface keeps me really warm.
Have always used a Katadyn Hiker (10 ounces, $70) and never plan on giving it up. The price for tablets don’t convince me to buy them for the weight savings. A filter can be used for up to 500 gallons and even at 2 gallons a day I will only filter about 60 gallons altogether on the Colorado Trail. The equivalent in tablets would cost at least $70 so the filter wins at cost savings hands down. For those only doing a few weekend hikes a year, you might want to think about just sticking with some chlorine dioxide tablets.
Quick Update: I just found out about this new filter called the Sawyer Squeeze. Basically it is a filter system that weighs under 3 ounces and can be put on your pop bottle to drink out of like a straw. Or you can just used the supplied pouches and the filter to squeeze water into your clean container. Costs $50 so if I was in the market right now I might buy the Sawyer Squeeze over the Katadyn Hiker.
Primus Alpine Micro which they don’t make anymore. Equivalent to their Express Stove Kit with Titanium Pot. $75 for the kit, stove weighs 3 ounces, titanium pot weighs just over 3 ounces. Fuel canister weighs 8 ounces for a total of around a pound. Yes, alcohol stoves are lighter, but if you are out for a week or more this stove begins to win out. In cold winter weather you should switch to a white gas stove.
Well that is about it for the major stuff. So with a $79 pack (3 pounds), $40 sleeping bag (3 pounds), $45 shelter (1.5 pounds plus a couple ounces and $10 for rope and stakes.), $10 for a ground cloth (8 ounces), $20 for a pad (9 ounces), $70 water filter (10 ounces), and $75 for a stove kit (about 8 ounces without fuel), that brings the total price to $350 and the weight up to about 10 pounds.
If someone was just getting into backpacking and wanted to go cheaper I would recommend that they buy the Outdoor Products Arrowhead Pack at Walmart for $30. At 2.2 pounds it is probably the lightest and cheapest pack, and most functional pack as far as size goes that you can get at that price. It is big enough to roll your sleeping pad (20 inch width) in and you can stuff your sleeping bag in the inside of your pad. I would use the same $40 sleeping bag, and buy a cheap blue 8×10 poly tarp ($5) and some rope ($5), and stakes ($5). I would also buy the $10 5×7 tarp for a ground cloth and the maybe buy plain blue foam padding for $10. You can buy some chlorine dioxide tablets for around $10, and use esbit tablets with a bought or custom made stove for $7. Or just eat food that doesn’t need a stove at all. So going the cheap way will get you started for about $120 or so.
I have a little over 3 weeks left before I leave for the trip and during the next 3 weeks I will dedicate a whole post to clothing, emergency items, and other miscellaneous items such as knives. Until then…
This is part of the “Thru Hiking the Colorado Trail” Series…