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As we prep for our CDT start in just 2 months, we’ve been seriously overhauling our gear. It feels like we’ve replaced more items than we’ve kept. We’ve got a lot of great gear, much of which has made it through 2 thru-hikes, but many of our items were getting worn out and some of it just wasn’t right for the CDT. I’ll have a full gear list up once everything is finalized and weighed out, but for now, here are some of the gear selections we’ve made this year.
Our Ray-Way quilt worked great on the PCT and kept us warm even on some pretty cold nights. The biggest drawback, due to the synthetic insulation, was the bulk. Plus, after being crammed in a bag day after day on a thru-hike, the inevitable loss of loft translates into loss of warmth. The CDT is a bit colder, so we really wanted a quilt that was a little warmer and a little less bulky. In other words, we wanted a down quilt. I decided I was bold enough to try and make it myself. I mulled over the pattern, the materials, and the method for weeks. I finally decided and calculated everything, ran the cost of the materials to discover it would cost $450. Down is crazy expensive! A custom-made 2-person down quilt from Enlightened Equipment cost $460. Considering how difficult a project like this would be, it seemed well worth it to pay an extra $10 for a professionally made quilt. We got the 10 degree EE Accomplice. It seems super warm, and comes in lighter than the Ray-Way, and way less bulky!
Paul’s Osprey Exos has gotten pretty worn out after over 3,000 miles, and pretty smelly. He’s also ready to get something a little more minimal. He ordered the Gossamer Gear Kumo, and so far he’s loving it. I decided to make a new Ray-Way pack, slightly smaller this time since our loads are getting less bulky.
Our old poles were dead, after long and fulfilling lives. We decided to try the Cascade Mountain Tech titanium poles from Costo for $30 each. Hard to beat that price.
New Rain Jackets
Our old rain jackets were totally worn out – water leaked into them almost instantly. We still wanted something relatively lightweight, but nothing super expensive. We opted for the jackets from My Trail Co. At $80, this was a good balance between weight and cost.
New Puffy Jackets
We both love our Montbell jackets, but we knew we would need something a little warmer for the CDT. Still, down jackets are very expensive, often over $300. We opted for the MontBell Superior Down Parka. At $209, this is a steal for a quality down jacket.
New Power Pack
Our Anker power pack worked great on the PCT. We’d use it again, but considering we might be using navigation a bit more, combined with the more remote territory, we decided a little extra power would be nice so we don’t have to stress on a long stretch requiring heavy phone use. Plus, we wanted a pack that could rapid charge, for those times we just stay in town a few hours and not overnight (the old pack took 8 hours to fully charge). We opted for the 20,000 mAh power pack.
Our e+lite headlamps we used on the PCT were not bright enough for night-hiking, and we would like having the option on the CDT. Our Black Diamond headlamps from the AT are really heavy and one of them is starting to act up a bit. We found these lightweight, bright lamps to use on the CDT from NiteCore, with UL band. If they hold up well we might finally have headlamps we’re happy with.
We decided to get some high-tech sun shirts for the desert. They cost a little bit, but they are easier and lighter than carrying an umbrella.