How I Flew With My Pack For the Colorado Trail


This section hike of the Colorado Trail was the first backpacking destination that I chose to fly to instead of drive. So my friends and I did a lot of research to make sure we were packing our things correctly for the plane ride. We had a pretty tight schedule from flying to getting to a shuttle to getting onto the trail so we didn't want any holdups along the way.
I'm sharing this with you so that hopefully our research and experience can help you the first time you fly with your pack.
I took only two bags with me since the flight we chose didn't come with a carry on. So I just had my checked bag and my personal item which was a small backpack. In this post I'm just going through what items had to go in certain bags and what items I had to buy once we arrived in Colorado. For a full breakdown of the pack that I took on the CT check out my other blog My Colorado Trail Pack Breakdown.
Here's what I had to put in my checked bag:
  • All food items
  • Trekking poles
  • My pocket knife
  • Tent stakes
  • Titanium Spork
  • First aid kit - I had a needle in it for blisters
  • Trowel - because it’s a pretty sharp object
What I couldn’t put in my checked bag
  • My battery bank. Large batteries aren’t allowed to be checked but I was able to bring it with me on the plane in my personal item
    What I had to buy in Coloardo
    • Fuel canister -  there was an REI store in Denver so we we able to get those there.
    • A lighter
    • 1 liter water bottles - I just transitioned over from carrying a water bladder to carrying only water bottles and I really like this water system. We could have brought empty ones but we just bought some at a gas station on the way to the trail.

      Here are a couple tips for packing your stuff.

      • Tip 1) Don’t just load up your pack like you normally would and then hand it over to the airport. The people that check your bags can be very rough with them and you don’t want things falling out of those open pockets or one of those many straps getting caught on something. Instead you can simply put your entire packed bag into a duffel to keep things a bit safer and more contained or just put your empty pack into your duffel and then add in all of your backpacking items after that. The latter option is probably best because if TSA sees something in your bag they don’t like, they don’t have to dig through your perfectly packed backpack to find what they’re looking for. One of the people in our group did have their bag opened and a note was left but we don't know what they were looking for.
      • Tip 2) If you are bringing trekking poles, throw on those rubber tips that came with them. For one reason just so they don’t look like sharp spears also so they don’t poke a hole in your bag when they’re being thrown onto the plane.
      • Tip 3)If you don’t use all of your fuel on the trip you’ll need to figure out a safe way to dispose of it since it’s not safe to just throw a full one of those in the trash. Either leave it with a friend or a local who will use it, find a safe way to punch a hole in it to release the pressure.

      If you'd like to read all about our adventure on the CT read my full summary of the trip here.

      I hope that my experience was helpful to your on your journey! Have a great day and keep exploring!


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