Most of my gear for the CDT this year is the same as what I carried on the PCT, but below are a few things I’ll be adding or changing due to colder weather, different terrain, and just for the sake of trying something new! You can see my complete gear list here.
I’ll be using a Zelph modified Starlyte stove instead of a 12-10 alcohol stove this time around. The stove is a bit smaller and will fit in the pot with our Caldera Cone. Jeff and I will still be using the Ti-Tri 900ml sidewinder, but this time we’ll mostly be boiling water and pouring it into boil-in-bag freezer bags to cook our meals (rather than cooking in the pot).
I’ll be switching to the Exped Synmat UL 7 as soon as we hit snow in New Mexico. I am hoping the pad will keep warmer when camping on snow. I tried using a Ridgerest Solite on snow in Washington and it was not warm enough. One problem with foam mats is that they lose warmth ratings over time. I am a little disappointed to make the switch because foam mats are so light and rolling out a mat each night is far easier than blowing it up.
Jeff and I will be sharing the Luna 2 Cuben Tarp from Bear Paw Wilderness Designs. I used a Zpacks Hexamid Solo tent last year and loved it, but I am excited about the extra space in the Luna 2. The Luna 2 only has perimeter netting compared to the enclosed Hexamid, which will save weight while still keeping bugs out.
I am bringing the much warmer (and heavier) Brooks Range Mountaineering Alpini Anorak compared to a Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody last year. The CDT is allegedly much colder at night, so this jacket will help keep me warm! For those of you looking for technical specs– it is a 14 ounce jacket with 7 oz of 850 down fill compared to the 9 oz patagonia jacket with around 2 oz 800 fill.
I am switching to the Petzel Tikka 2 XP rechargeable headlamp. Last year I used a very basic black diamond headlamp. This new one is far superior since it has a red light option (which won’t hurt your eyes in the middle of the night) and is also rechargeable so there’s no need to buy batteries.
I’ll be bringing a Patagonia M10 jacket this year. Last year I used a Frog Toggs Driducks rain jacket. It worked well but was completely wrecked by the end of trail. I am hoping the 3-layer fabric on the M10 will be more durable (and create less trash).
I will use a Zpacks pillow stuff sack this year, compared to using extra clothing as a pillow last year. The “pillow” is just a stuff sack with a little fleece on one side. It is definitely a luxury item, but well worth the weight. There were a few nights on the PCT when I was wearing all my clothing and had to use my rain jacket as a pillow. Yuck.
I am bringing along a Golite umbrella for sun and rain protection. It will help keep me cool in the desert, and allow me to take pictures and stay even drier when it’s raining.
I am bringing along a Bad Elf GPS Pro this year to aid in navigation. It will also keep a track of exactly where we walk!