**NOTICE: Since this post,  I have made even more gear adjustments that allowed me to drop significant weight from my Base Pack Weight. Those updates can be found on my “Lessening the Load” post.

Happy 2013 everyone! January 1st marks the date that I start getting serious about CDT planning. I find the whole planning process to be quite overwhelming and liken it to packing a suitcase…which I can’t stand doing and always procrastinate until the last moment!

My Montrail AT Plus shoes were discontinued. I bought all I’d need for the CDT:)

The general plan is to start hiking in mid-April and to go northbound starting at the Crazy Cook monument in New Mexico. I hope to finish in mid September at Waterton Lakes in Canada. I am mentioning some details here because those who know the CDT know that, unlike many other long trails, there are MANY options and routes to choose from. I have yet to decide the details of which routes I’ll be taking to get from Mexico to Canada. I will do a detailed post on that in Feburary or March when I get the maps in hand. As for who I’ll be hiking with/near, there are a group of PCT 2011 hikers planning to start together (or near the same time) so we have some kind of community. I will talk more about this in another post.

What I do have figured out is the gear I’ll be using and I have updated my Gear List to include this new gear, along with weights and prices. Many things will remain the same, but here are the things I have updated or added to my gear. Each item has an attached link if you want to learn more about it. Just click on the name of the item. If you want to compare it to what I used on the PCT, my Gear Review is the best place to look. With all my changes, I am proud to say that at 15lbs 13.2oz I am 5.3oz lighter than when I hiked the PCT. Wahoo!!! I will have minor changes with water bladders I’ve yet to decide and I am most likely adding a multi-port USB plug-in charger for easier charging of multiple devices in town. I know many of you cringe at that thought, but I am WIRED:)

ULA Circuit Backpack **Since this post I decided to go with the even lighter Gossamer Gear Mariposa**
This pack is 4,200 cu in and 2lbs 7oz. It is 5oz heavier than my old Granite Gear Vapor Ki, but worth it for me. First off, the pack fits me better than the Vapor Ki. The best benefit for me is that I really like having the easily accessible pockets on the hip, sides, and back. I want to thank Heart who gave me this pack as a gift last spring. I used it all this past summer and love it!

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket
This has to be the piece of gear I’m most excited about! One concern I have on the CDT is that it will be much higher elevation with much colder nights. The Ghost Whisperer is the newest and lightest down jacket out right now. I worried about getting down and now know it’s the way to go! It replaces my Patagonia Nano Puff and saves me 6oz in weight! I’ve been testing it out this winter and it’s just a wonderful warm hug. I am in shock that something so small and light can keep me that warm! Thank you to Drop-N-Roll for telling me about this heavenly jacket!

 Outoor Research Helium II Jacket
 I was a fan of the original Helium Jacket until I reached WA and found out it wasn’t waterproof anymore. When I told Outdoor Reseach, they pointed out that it is an infinity product and replaced it free of charge with the newer, lighter, more breathable, more waterproof Helium II. I am even more a fan that it comes in my “Wired” green color:) I will be interested to see if it holds up with how thin and light it is. I tend to use it daily on the trail as a wind shield and insulating jacket, so it’s understandable that it would be less water resistant after 5 months of use. We’ll see…

Women’s Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite
 This is an upgrade in the NeoAir I’ve used in the past. It is 2oz lighter and warmer. It has an inside reflective layer that reflects your own body heat back to itself for extra warmth. You can immediately feel it just by putting your hand on it! Knowing that nights will be colder on the CDT, I definitely want to have this sleeping pad!

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
My water filtration system has to be the most stressful decision out of all my gear. This remarkably light (3oz!) system is the new product everyone started using this summer. It has its flaws though. It is more time consuming than some other systems and the bags tend to break(it was just released that they will soon be selling the filter with a stronger bag)…Many claim the stronger Evernew Water Bladders with it works best and some have told me their Platypus fits the threads too. I tried this filter this summer and adjusted. Who can pass up a 3oz filter! It saves me 8oz from the Katadyn filter I’ve used in the past. I will also bring drops because water on the CDT is definitely more suspect and likely to carry giardia. I’ve been warned to bring medication because chances are, I’m gonna get it:(

iPhone 5 & Lifeproof Case
There are no words to express how amazing this phone is! The newest version is super light, thin, and fast. I just got it recently and am very happy to have upgraded. The increased speed and extended battery life will be a big help for me with blogging…and watching Hulu:) I am also planning to replace my Otter Box case and use the Lifeproof Case, which is lighter, less bulky, and fully waterproof!

Garmin eTrex 20 
Reluctantly, I am entering the world of the GPS. Each year, the trail on the CDT gets more and more defined, but it is still a trail that is about 70% complete. With the quick changes in weather and disappearing trail, I’ve been told that a GPS will be needed. I used my iPhone Topo Maps App on the PCT and would rather do the same for the CDT, but I am going to start with the Garmin and see how it goes. At least it is small and only 5oz. Sounds like one more thing I’ll keep losing on the trail. Yuck:(


Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS19
I have envied my friends with the Lumix wide angle lens long enough. I am quite pumped to say I have converted from my trusty little Canon PowerShot to the Lumix. It just captures so much more and, thus far, I’ve found it to be more sturdy. I am also excited about the quality of panorama shots that it is able to take. It is larger, more expensive, and 3oz heavier, but it’s worth it!

AirStash ***Since this post I’ve found out about an even better product below called Eye-Fi!
This tiny (1.4oz) and pricey ($140) little device is pure magic. It wirelessly transfers information from one device to another. It has many uses, but for hiking purposes, it is perfect for transferring my beautiful photos from my Lumix camera to my iPhone so I can put high quality photos on my blog each night. The iPhone has a great camera, but not as great as the Lumix. In the past I would have the stressful and time consuming task of taking pictures with my camera & iPhone if I thought they were blog worthy. Now I can just put the iPhone away and snap away all day. At the end of the day I put my sd card in the Airstash and choose which photos I’d like to add to my iPhone for my blog. It is a bit time consuming and can only be done one photo at a time, so I only recommend this for a handful of photos each night. Yay!

Eye-Fi SD Card
I am super pumped about this little thing! It’s an SD card that has a wi-fi signal in it. I’ll be able to easily transfer my photos on my camera to my iPhone so that I can post high quality photos on my blog each night. In the past I would have the stressful and time consuming task of taking
pictures with my camera & iPhone if I thought they were blog
worthy. Now I can just put the iPhone away and snap away all day with my Lumix. Then, at the end of the day, I just select the ones I want and transfer them to the iPhone to be blogged.

Polycryo Ground Cloth
Remember the days when a tent’s groundsheet was a thick tarp material that weighed more than the tent? Well, now there is the amazing Polycryo material which is very thin and durable. For my tent, I’m saving 4oz off the Tyvek I was using before. The Polycryo is only 1.6oz. I won’t use it every night because my Tarptent base is made to withstand most grounds, but it will be nice to have it for rougher surfaces…plus I can see whipping it out while waiting out a short thunderstorm, which happens often on the CDT.

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