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Samurai Joe's CDT '09 Gear List

In 2009 I did a Southbound Continental Divide Trail thru-hike. The trip lasted 154 days over roughly 2,651 miles through the rocky mountains.

Here is a quick synopsis of the trip detailing the conditions I encountered:
I started hiking on June 17th in Glacier National Park Montana. There was packed snow on the ground frequently for the first week or so through Glacier and into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. I crossed Triple Divide pass in a white out blizzard that dumped a half foot of snow on June 22nd.

The weather was nice through southern Montana and Idaho, but there were constant swarms of mosquitoes all the way south to Yellowstone, Wyoming in August.

The Wind River range in central Wyoming was spectacular, with glaciers and fresh snow. Night time temperatures hit the teens there on August 15th. The mosquitoes finally disappeared.

The Red Desert in southern Wyoming was flat and barren with almost no shade whatsoever. Daytime highs hit the 90s and water was scarce or gross.

My wife Sheryl joined me in Rawlins, WY on August 24th about half way through the trail. I had been hiking solo prior to this.

Colorado started great on September 1st. The mountains were huge, the weather nice, and the aspens golden.

Snow started falling on September 21st midway through Colorado and nighttime temps got cold.

In the San Juan mountains of southern Colorado we were nailed with several blizzards. We broke trail through a foot to waist deep snow for days at a time. Night time temperatures hit the single digits, and some days the temperature never went above freezing. Only five southbound thru-hikers including Sheryl and I made it through the San Juans without bailing out or going around this year. Only a couple north bounders that I know of made it through in the spring.

The CDT is not an easy trail. By comparison, it probably only snowed once or twice each on the AT and PCT, and never went below 20* F.

The weather improved almost overnight at the New Mexico border on October 15th. We had a few lingering snow showers, but mostly sunny skies, and easy cruising all the way to Mexico. Water was scarce again in the desert, sometimes 30-35 miles apart but the cool November temperatures made it easier to travel with little water.

We finished at the Mexican border on November 17th, 2009 with a huge group of 16 hikers, which is a rare crowd for the CDT. Samurai Joe, Hellfire, Brett, Bree, Freefall, George, Luna, Chance, SoFar, Valley Girl, Panda, Brian, Brenda, Mike, Patch, and Tooth Fairy all completed together.  Beacon, and The Gimp also finished ahead of the group south bound this year. That list was pretty much all of the southbound thru-hikers in 2009.

This is the gear list I carried for most of the trip:

This gear list is out-dated. Check out our Te Araroa list for the most up to date gear list!

Item Name Weight
Packing System:  
Blast 30 Backpack including padded belt w/ pouches, top strap, daisy chain 6.2 oz
Shoulder Pouch .3 oz
Pack Liner 1.2
  (7.7 oz)
My longest stretch on the CDT between re-supply was about 175 miles. 100-120 miles was normal. I frequently used my pack's top strap to lash raingear to the outside for more space.
Sleeping Gear:  
20* homemade down quilt 22 oz
20" x 45" x 1/4" closed cell foam sleeping pad. 3.1 oz
  (25.1 oz)
30* two person down quilt (carried by Sheryl) 22 oz
Sheryl and I double layered our two quilts to stay warm. Most people carried zero or ten degree bags through Colorado.

The ground at night was pretty cold sometimes with just a 1/4" pad, but it was usually alright.
ZPacks Hexamid Cuben Fiber Tent w/ sack 8.2 oz
8 x 6" titanium Stakes w/ stake sack 1.9 oz
GG Polycryo ground sheet 1.5
  (11.6 oz)
A fully enclosed tent was key for keeping the mosquito swarms at bay.
Cooking / Food Gear:  
.9L Evernew pot w/ aluminum lid, stuffsack 3.1 oz
Titanium short handle spoon .25 oz
Half light load towel for drying dishes .3 oz
Mini-bic Lighter .4 oz
ZPacks Minimalist alcohol stove .1 oz
Poland springs 8 oz Fuel Bottle .45 oz
ZPacks Cuben Blast Food bag .8 oz
30 ft 170lb Z-line bear line, rock pouch .5 oz
  (5.9 oz)

I switched to an alcohol stove for the first time on this thru-hike. It was convenient not having to gather wood or search for Esbit tablets like on past hikes.
Water Storage:  
1L wide mouth Pepsi Bottle 1.65 oz
1L wide mouth Pepsi Bottle 1.65 oz
3L Platypus bottle 1.4 oz
Water Treatment - None 0 oz
  (4.7 oz)
5 Liters was enough capacity for the whole trip. I never treated or filtered any water. There was lots of nasty cow water, but I only got sick once. This can probably be attributed to building immunity on the other two trails.
Clothing Carried:  
Homemade Duravent Rain Coat 11.5 oz
Homemade Cuben Fiber Chaps 1 oz
Homemade Nylon Wind Shirt 2.4 oz
Homemade Climashield XP poofy jacket 9.1 oz
MicroFleece Hat .8 oz
Medium cuben stuff sack .4 oz
Small-plus cuben stuff sack .2 oz
  (25.4 oz)
Winter Clothing added in Colorado:  
Seal Skinz waterproof/breathable socks 4.5 oz
Seal Skinz waterproof/breathable gloves 3 oz
Fleece Neck Warmer 1 oz
Wool hat with ear flaps 3 oz
Sunglasses (for snow glare) 1 oz
  (12.5 oz)
Worn Clothing (not included in base weight):  
Columbia Silver Ridge II Zip off pants 10.2 oz
C9 / Champion breathable long sleeve shirt w/ collar and cuffs for sun protection 7.3 oz
Wigwam Ultamax Triathlete low cut socks .9 oz
Patagonia boxers 3.5 oz
Homemade Chinese style Pointy Hat 2.4 oz
Teva Grecko Sandals 23 oz
Luxury Lite 60" carbon fiber walking stick 10.7 oz
  (58 oz)
This clothing list was enough to keep me warm in the worst weather I've ever hiked in.

Note that every clothing item can and was worn at the same time. Everything is quick drying synthetic material.

I hiked in sandals the entire trip. My seal skinz socks were critical for hiking through deep snow. My feet did get cold some times (honestly everyone's did) but no frostbite. I probably should have carried the socks the entire trip.

The Pointy Hat folds flat and was also a foam sit-pad and part of my sleeping pad system.

Misc Items:  
Pentax W60 Waterproof Camera 5 oz
Spare camera battery .5 oz
Pak-Lite HeadLamp 1.7 oz
Wenger Pocket Knife .7 oz
Brunton 9045 Compass / Thermometer .6 oz
Toothbrush .6 oz
Tooth paste .8 oz
Half light load towel (for nose blowing) .3 oz
Credit card, license, cash, cuben wallet pouch .3 oz
4x mini-d carabiners .4 oz
6x Large safety pins .1 oz
Mechanical pencil + paper for notes .2 oz
Chap Stick .3 oz
Ear Plugs .01 oz
  (11.65 oz)
Most of these items were stored in the shoulder and belt pouches on my pack, or clipped to my shoulder straps.
Maps/Guidebook Sections:  
Yogi's CDT Handbook ?? oz
Jonathan Ley's CDT Maps ?? oz
Jim Wolf's Guidebooks ?? oz
Definitely get Yogi's book if you plan on doing the PCT or CDT. I navigated entirely with compass, maps, and the Wolf guidebooks. I didn't have a GPS, but one might have been handy a few times.
Total Summer Base Weight:  
Total Winter Base Weight:  
~5 lbs 12 oz
~6 lbs 8.4 oz

Joe on top of the world.
Joe in the Wind River range, Wyoming.
Sheryl in the Red Desert, Wyoming.
SoFar filling his water bottle from a mud puddle.
Camped up on the Divide.
A blizzard in the San Juans, Colorado.
Sun shining after the storm.
Frozen hikers huddling like penguins for warmth.
Joe and Sheryl relaxing in the sun and snow.
Hikers crossing Snowy Mesa.

Triple Crowners: Freefall, Max Relax (Mike), Samurai Joe, and Panda at the Mexican Border

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