Julie “Stopwatch” Urbanski’s CDT Gear List

Heading down to water on the portion north of Monarch Pass in CO

Heading down to water on the portion north of Monarch Pass in CO

This a slightly modified gear list from my 2013 CDT hike, which was designed for backpacking from Mexico to Canada, through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, on a trip that lasted 4 months from mid-May to mid-September. I shared much of my pack weight with my husband, my hiking parter, so I've put an asterisk next to the items that we shared and indicated only half the weight in my pack. I'm using this gear list for a week long trip along the CDT in northern Colorado in early September. Temperatures and terrain varied widely on the CDT, with temperatures ranging from the 30s to the 100s, and terrain ranging from smooth trails to cross-country travel. I carried several layers of clothing to account for the volatility in weather and wore trail-running shoes rugged enough for off-trail travel.
CategoryGear SelectionWeight (oz)Details
PackingGossamer Gear G4 Ultralight Backpack (Medium pack, Small waist belt)16.50Used for entire CDT with half of a Cascade Designs Therm-a-Rest Ridgerest folded for the backpad. I'm 5'6", 125 pounds pre-thru-hike and both the frame and belt fit well.
20 Gallon Trash Compactor Bag2.20Packliner which has withstood all downpours thus far.
1 Sea to Summit Stuff Sack2.60The only stuff sack I'll allow myself, mainly to keep my food in one location while the rest of my items are loose in my pack.
2 gallon sized freezer bags1.00One used for daily rations of food and another for general loose items in pack; it kills me not to use tons of stuff sacks for organization so this is my comprimise.
5x4 in waterproof plastic bag0.60Weight of wallet including ziploc, ID, credit card and debit card.
Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket0.85Super useful because otherwise I never have my camera accessible for pictures.
Loksack OpSack, 12.5x201.50Smellproof and leakproof bear bag liner.
SleepingREI Sub Kilo +15 sleeping bag31.00Actually carried a 19 ounce, ~35 degree quilt on the CDT but was uncomfortably cold in CO and MT; carrying this heavier, warmer bag for first week in September in CO.
Cascade Designs Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest cut in half (36 inches long)7.00Cut a Regular sized RidgeRest in half and use it as the backpad in my G4 pack.
ShelterSix Moon Designs 1P Solo Trekker* (Total Weight = 24)12.00One person tarp tent shared with husband and hiking partner. Weight includes 5 stakes and tent bag; tent uses 2 trekking poles.
Packed ClothingStoic Thrive Luminous Wind Jacket4.00Bought online as a sale item; have been coveting the Patagonia Houdini but this windjacket has done the trick for many miles and still has life left in it.
Marmot Precip Rain Jacket10.60New Rain Jacket in 2014. I feel as if I'll never find the perfect rain jacket but this one is a tough contender.
Dri-Fit Running shirt3.90Sleeping shirt/extra hiking shirt. One of the many running shirts I have that dries fast and doesn't feel "slimy" when I'm all sweaty.
Running shorts3.00Sleeping shorts/extra hiking shorts. One of the many pairs of short running shorts I have with a liner in it, so no need for underwear.
Bandini sports bra1.20Extra sports bra/town clothing. Only the ladies will really appreciate this. A simple, thin, seamless sports bra from Target that dries fast and doesn't feel like a cold, wet sponge on my skin after sweating all day.
Patagonia Houdini pants3.10Favorite piece of gear in my entire pack. They're great in wind or cooler temps, easy to put on over my shoes, and I'll sleep in them on really cold nights.
Marmot Dena Puffy12.50My newest puffy in the quest for the perfect puffy that's also not ridiculously expensive, but will keep me warm in addition to my sleeping bag. I'm always cold.
Glove liners-fleecy running gloves2.00Nike running gloves for those chilly mornings when my hands are so cold that I can barely unwrap a Luna bar.
MLD eVent Rain Mitts1.20Not my favorite purchase because I don't think I sealed them entirely correctly, but they keep my hands semi-dry in a cold downpour, especially in Colorado at high elevation.
Buff1.30I've changed from a fleece hat to a Buff for the versatility to wear it on my ears, my head, and around my neck. When I'm hot and don't want to take off my pack to put it away, I wrap it around my wrist until I take off my pack.
Bandana1.00Basic cotton bandana I hang on my shoulder strap to wipe sweat off my face.
Dry Max running socks1.00Thin, lightweight running socks that are surprisingly durable, and thankfully so, because they aren't cheap.
20Gallon Trash Compactor Bag2.20Rain Skirt. Lighter than rain pants and just downright more fun. Doesn't keep the ankles or feet dry but keeps me from sweating like crazy, which tends to negate the need for rain pants.
HydrationEmpty Gatorade bottles and 2L Platypus2.90Usually only need to carry 1-2 Liters but want a carrying capacity of 4 liters. Had a carrying capacity of 7 liters in the driest locations in New Mexico.
Bleach2.00Water purification kept in a 2 ounce capacity bottle with an eye dropper.
CookingEmpty peanut butter jar1.30Stoveless cooking. Hydrate refried beans, cous cous, tabouli, and lentil soup in the jar, and eat my morning granola with dehydrated soy milk.
4 oz plastic bottles0.50For holding olive oil, an easy way to get extra calories.
Lighter1.00Sort of a "just in case" item since I don't cook.
REI Campware Soup Spoon0.50Only bad thing about this is that it's gray and impossible to find when I'm digging through my food bag. I'm jealous of my husband's bright orange spork.
Small EssentialsToothbrush, Floss, toothpaste* (Total = 2.7)1.35Yep, I share a toothbrush with my husband, and we carry the travel size toothpaste.
Baby Wipes* (Total = 4)2.00Average weight listed; carry 1-2 wipes per day, per person for general cleaning post-bathroom break and pre-bedtime.
Sunscreen* (Total = 3)1.50I have the ability to burn to a crisp in the middle of winter. Absolute necessity for me.
First aid kit: roll gauze, athletic tape, antibiotic ointment, vitamins, ibuprofren, tylenol, duct tape* (Total = 6.9)3.45Basic first aid items that would get us at least out of the mountains and to help; main item I deal with is blisters, which vaseline and bandaids remedy the best.
Headlamp - Petzl Tikka2.20Good enough for night-hiking but mainly meant for camp time and nighttime bathroom breaks.
Smart Phone* (Total = 4.6)2.30
mp3 player - Sandisk Clip Zip0.80Not the most dependable player because sometimes it just randomly dies or turns off, but for $35 this little workhorse has given me a few hours of music a day for 4-5 days for most trail days and is amazingly light.
GPS - Garmin eTrex 20* (Total = 4)2.00Dependable GPS and easy to use from the start.
Charger cord* (Total = 2)1.00One cord for the phone, the mp3 player and camera.
Extra batteries - AA and AAA3.00For GPS and headlamps.
Bug Net1.00May not need in early September but will take the 1 ounce hit and still carry it.
Maps* (Total = 4)2.00Only carry a section at a time of the Bear Creek Survey maps.
Canon Powershot Camera4.40Only carried one camera last year but for this hike both me and my husband will each carry a camera to get more pics.
Half rolls of toilet paper2.00
Bear bagging rope* (Total = 2.8)1.40In need of updating but I've just never made the effort to do so because it's always worked well when we hang our food.
Total base weight (oz)(not including worn items or consumables)160.85
Total Base weight (lb)(not including worn items or consumables)10.05

This gear list was contributed by Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador Julie ‘Stopwatch’ Urbanski, a Triple Crowner who has traveled through much of the U.SA. Author of three books, The Trail Life: How I Loved it, Hated it, and Learned from itBetween a Rock and a White Blaze: Searching for Significance on the Appalachian Trail, and her latest A Long Way From Nowhere: A Couple’s Journey on the Continental Divide Trail. You can follow more of her adventures at http://urbyville.com/.

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7 Responses to Julie “Stopwatch” Urbanski’s CDT Gear List

  1. ed August 29, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Trash compactor bags are generally 2 mil, not 2mm. Easy typo to make. ;)

  2. C August 29, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Personally id trade the bleach for a sawyer mini point & take the 1oz hit not to have to drink chemicals.

  3. John August 29, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    What type of knife do you carry? I carry an 8 inch tanto inverted on left backpack strap for quick deployment.

  4. allen raymond August 29, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    “Compromise,” not “comprimise.” Sorry, couldn’t resist. :-)

  5. Kevin Flynn August 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. Quite helpful! – Do not concern yourself with the typos, we all make them. What type of shoes?

  6. peabody3000 September 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    i havent used toothpaste in years, at home or on the trail. after researching, i dont think it really has any actual health benefits apart from making your mouth “feel” fresh, and it did take a little getting used to going without the menthol cool but now i dont at all crave the flavor or tastebud distortion

  7. John Hansford September 5, 2014 at 2:19 am #

    Great read, thank you Julie. What type of Drymax sock are you using, seems to be a lot to choose from.

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