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Pack Breakdown - What I brought for the Colorado Trail Section Hike


Hello everyone, my name is Kimberlee and I recently got the opportunity to hike 43 miles of the Colorado Trail. It was amazing and challenging and it was a huge accomplishment for me as a beginner backpacker. Though I really feel like I stepped into the intermediate category on this trip. 43 miles and 4,000 feet of elevation is no joke. You can read all about my experience on the trail in this blog post

I learned a lot on this trip and part of that was how to pack more efficiently and lose weight wherever I could. It would have been best if I knew these things in advance but I did learn the hard way by taking a couple things that I didn't need or use.

I'll share a complete breakdown of my pack along with links to most of the products that I use and my opinion on some of the products.

I hope this can help you out as a beginner or even intermediate backpacker!

Let's break it down.

I like to be really organized with my pack because there is so little space and I want to keep my weight down as much as possible. To do those things I need to know exact weights of everything and where it's all going to be stored in my pack. I use a free website called LighterPack.com to organize everything. 

People categorize things differently, these are just the categories that I use. I should also mention that I went with my husband and we shared a tent and a couple other things. For the purpose of this breakdown I will list everything I needed even things that he carried because if it was just me I would have had to carry them.

PACK AND SHELTER

  • Tent (I only carried half) - Alps Mountaineering Lynx
    • You can find this tent in a two person or one person version. The one linked above is the exact one we use which is a two person. This is not exactly an ultralight tent but it is backpacking tent and it has worked really well for us. Altogether with the bottom saver this setup gives me and my husband about 4lbs to carry.
  • Tent floor saver - Alps Mountaineering
  • Backpack - REI Coop Flash 55 Pack 
    • I love this pack. I just got it for this trip, I used to use a Kelty pack that was a pound heavier. This one is lightweight and really comfortable.
  • Pack Cover - Kelty Pack Cover
    • Unless your pack itself is waterproof (some few are) you're going to want a pack cover. This just goes over the entire pack to keep the rain off. This can be snapped onto the straps of your pack and then it has a drawstring to cinch it to your pack.

SLEEP SYSTEM

  • Sleeping Bag - Kelty Unisex Cosmic 20 Sleeping bag
    • I'm 6'1" so I get the long version of this sleeping bag. It's a great entry level sleeping bag. I've used it on a lot of trips and it's kept me comfortable (along with some handwarmers) in 27 degree weather. It's the only one I have so I use it all year round.
  • Mat - Static V Sleep Mat
    • This mat has worked pretty well for me, for the price it's a good mat. However when I upgrade I'm going longer because my feet stick off the end of this one.
  • Pillow - Thermarest Air

COOK KIT

  • Cup - 
  • Titanium spork -  the one I have is from REI and it is too short, I recommend getting a long handle one like this because the length of mine is too short for eating out of the bagged dehydrated backpacking meals.
  • Water boiling cup
  • Stove - BRS Ultralight stove
  • Mini bic lighter
    • these are so light it doesn't hurt to have two in case one craps out. I had one leak out on this trip and had to use a friend's.
  • Fuel - We get our fuel at the REI store near us, it's a lot more expensive to order it online because of shipping fees with it being a gas.

Water filtration

HEALTH AND SAFETY

  • A tiny first aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Emergency blanket - Primacare HB-10 Mylar Blanket
  • Emergency poncho - Hagon PRO Disposable Rain Ponchos
  • Hand warmers - HeatMax Hot Hands
    • I ended up taking these out of my pack at the last minute but I'm leaving them in the list because I just as easily could have needed them if not for the warm front that was coming through when we were there. I think the lowest temps we had were in the forties.
  • Mini bug spray
    • I brought a DEET bug spray but I regretted that because I did not use it at all. A friend of mine brought a better repellent called Picaridin which works really well.

MISC

  • Mini travel tooth brush (save on weight wherever possible)
  • Mini travel toothpaste
  • Wet wipes
  • Purel
  • Sitting pad - Foam sitting pad
    • These things are so lightweight - they are about 1 ounce! And they are awesome to throw on a log or a rock so you don't get your pants wet or dirty.
  • Chapstick - Burts Bees Vanilla
    • I always take my trusty Burts Bees. But it was really important to have chapstick on this trip because of the dryer environment and the elevation. It really sucks the moisture out of you.
  • Small towel - Fast-drying Backpacking Towel
    • I've used this to dry the inside of my tent when we have to get in, in the rain, I've used it to dry off the outside of my tent from dew in the morning, and I've used it to wash my hair. It's so tiny and so good to have. You can cut it down to the size you want, because it's microfiber it won't get thready.

UTILITY

ELECTRONICS

  • My phone for taking pictures and emergencies only - I keep it on airplane mode 99% of the time to keep the battery lasting longer.
  • A battery bank - Anker PowerCore 10000

CLOTHING

(I'm not going to link all the clothing items but at least this will give an idea of what I packed for this 5 day trip)

  • 1 Sports bra
  • Two underwear
  • Two pair hiking socks (realistically you only need one, I always overpack on socks, you're going to be gross and sweaty all over anyway)
  • One pair warmer sleep socks
  • Long sleeve sun shirt
  • Hiking t-shirt
  • Sleep t-shirt
  • Long sleeve sleep shirt (this is one I regret bringing, I didn't wear it at all)
  • Convertable hiking pants 
  • Ballcap (keeps the sun out of your eyes and the rain)
  • Sun gloves
  • Rain shell
  • Down jacket
  • Warm gloves (another item that wasn't really necessary because of how warm it ended up being)
  • Beanie (I only wore this once in the morning)
  • Fleece pull over
  • Warm leggings for sleep

I hope that this breakdown of how I packed helps you out on your next trip! Thank for reading, have a great day and keep exploring!


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