Colorado Trail Thru-Hiking Gear List (13 lb Base Weight)

Here is an example of a complete thru-hiking gear list for the Colorado Trail. If you are planning to hike the entire 484 mile trail from Denver to Durango, this list includes everything I think you’ll need for hiking in the Rockies during the typical hiking season (late Spring – early Fall.)

One thing that makes the Colorado Trail unique is the daily thundershowers. They are short-lived, but can be fierce, so this list includes full rain gear and waterproof shoes. Feel free to use this as a template to design your own gear list.

The Big Four

Weight: 6.9 lbs, Cost: $1,040


Backpack

ULA Equipment Ohm 2.0
Weight: 2.0 lbs
Cost: $210
Shelter

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1
Weight: 2.1 lbs
Cost: $380
Sleeping Bag

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 (30°F)
Weight: 2.0 lbs
Cost: $320
Sleeping Pad

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Xlite (Regular)
Weight: 12 oz
Cost: $130

Clothing Worn

Weight: 4.0 lbs, Cost: $329


Shirt

Columbia Tech Trek T-Shirt
Weight: 6 oz
Cost: $22
Pants

Columbia Silver Ridge Pants
Weight: 12 oz
Cost: $60
Underwear

Under Armour Boxer Jock
Weight: 3 oz
Cost: $20
Socks

Smartwool PHD Outdoor Light
Weight: 2 oz
Cost: $17
Shoes

Merrell Moab 2 WP
Weight: 2lbs
Cost: $120
Insoles

Superfeet Green Premium
Weight: 5 oz
Cost: $50
Hat

Outdoor Research Helios
Weight: 3 oz
Cost: $36
Sunglasses

3M TEKK Safety Glasses
Weight: 1 oz
Cost: $4

Clothing Packed

Weight: 3.1 lbs, Cost: $563


Base Top

Icebreaker LW Wool Shirt
Weight: 7 oz
Cost: $60
Base Bottom

Icebreaker LW Wool Pant
Weight: 6 oz
Cost: $60
Insulated Jacket

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
Weight: 12 oz
Cost: $199
Rain Jacket

Marmot Precip Jacket
Weight: 11 oz
Cost: $99
Rain Pants

Marmot Precip Pant
Weight: 9 oz
Cost: $80
Warm Cap

Mtn Hardware
Micro Dome

Weight: 1 oz
Cost: $18
Gloves

Mtn Hardware Powerstretch
Weight: 1.4 oz
Cost: $30
Spare Socks

Smartwool PHD Outdoor Light
Weight: 2 oz
Cost: $17

Cooking & Hydration

Weight: 1.2 lb, Cost: $187


Cook Stove

MSR Pocket Rocket 2
Weight: 2.6 oz
Cost: $45
Cook Pot

MSR Titan Kettle
Weight: 4.0 oz
Cost: $60
Pot Cozy

Home-made
Pot Cozy

Weight: 2 oz
Cost: $10
Cup

GSI Outdoors Cascadian Cup
Weight: 1.7 oz
Cost: $6
Spoon

Light My Fire Spork
Weight: 0.3 oz
Cost: $3
Water Bladder

Platypus Big Zip
3 Liter

Weight: 6 oz
Cost: $37
Water Bottle

1 Liter Aquafina Bottle
Weight: 1.5 oz
Cost: $1
Water Filter

Sawyer Mini Filter (Inline)
Weight: 1.8 oz
Cost: $25

Survival & Miscellaneous

Weight: 2.9 lbs, Cost: $675


Map

Colorado Trail Pocket Atlas
Weight: 3 oz
Cost: $30
GPS Receiver

Garmin eTrex Touch 35t
Weight: 5.6 oz
Cost: $350
Compass

Brunton TruArc 3 Compass
Weight: 1.0 oz
Cost: $13
Light

Petzl Zipka Headlight
Weight: 2.3 oz
Cost: $30
Knife

Swiss Army Classic
Weight: 0.8 oz
Cost: $14
Fire Starter #1

Mini Bic Lighter
Weight: 0.4 oz
Cost: $1
Fire Starter #2

SOL Fire Lite Kit
Weight: 0.6 oz
Cost: $8
Whistle

SOL Slim Howler
Weight: 0.2 oz
Cost: $2
Signal Mirror

SOL Signal Mirror
Weight: 0.6 oz
Cost: $9
Tape

Duct Tape 50″
Weight: 0.8 oz
Cost: $2
First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical 0.3 1st Aid Kit
Weight: 3 oz
Cost: $9
Toothbrush

Folding Travel Toothbrush
Weight: 0.7 oz
Cost: $1
Wash Rag

Packtowl Personal Small
Weight: 0.7 oz
Cost: $7
Phone/Camera/Audio

Smartphone
Weight: 5.5 oz
Cost: n/a
Food Sack

Granite Gear Air Zippsack (16L)
Weight: 1.6 oz
Cost: $25
Sleep Bag Sack

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil (13L)
Weight: 1.3 oz
Cost: $22
Clothing Sack

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil (13L)
Weight: 1.3 oz
Cost: $22
Ditty Sack

Granite Gear Air Zippsack (9L)
Weight: 1.1 oz
Cost: $20
Wallet

Granite Gear
Hiker Wallet

Weight: 0.5 oz
Cost: $10
Trekking Poles

Leki Ultralight Trekking Poles
Weight: 1 lb
Cost: $100

Consumables

Weight: 15.5 lbs


Food

5 Days Food
(2 lbs per day)

Weight: 10.0 lbs
Water

2 Liters
Weight: 4.4 lbs
Fuel

Small Canister
(4 oz fuel)

Weight: 7 oz
Medication

Advil, Tylenol PM, Immodium AD, Bennadryl
Weight: 0.5 oz
Toothpaste

Toothpaste
(0.8 fl oz)

Weight: 1 oz
Sunscreen

Sunscreen
(1 fl oz)

Weight: 1.5 oz
Lip Balm

Carmex
(0.35 fl oz)

Weight: 0.5 oz
Insect Repellent

Lemon Eucalyptus (1.0 fl oz)
Weight: 1.5 oz
Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper
(1 roll)

Weight: 1 oz
Wet Wipes

5 Wet Ones Singles
Weight: 1 oz
Hand Sanitizer

Purell
(1 fl oz)

Weight: 1.5 oz
Antiseptic

Rubbing Alcohol (1 fl oz)
Weight: 1.5 oz

Weight & Cost Summary


Packed Gear
The Big Four
Clothing Packed
Cooking and Hydration
Survival and Miscellaneous (minus trekking poles)
Weight
6.9 lbs
3.1 lbs
1.2 lbs
1.9 lbs
Cost
$1,040
$563
$187
$575


Pack Weight
Base Pack Weight
+ Consumables
Full Pack Weight
Weight
13.1 lbs
15.5 lbs
28.6 lbs


+ Worn & Carried Gear
Clothing Worn
Trekking Poles
Weight
4.0 lbs
1.0 lbs
Cost
$329
$100


Skin-Out Weight
Weight
33.6 lbs
Total Cost
$2,794

Please like, share and post your comments/questions below…

14 Responses to “Colorado Trail Thru-Hiking Gear List (13 lb Base Weight)”

  1. Lonnie Reply

    Why do you carry Bennadryl? Why do you carry Advil and Tylenol PM? I am sure the weight is inconsequential.

    • @Lonnie: I carry Advil to relieve pain and swelling (especially swollen feet), Tylenol PM for pain relief and as a sleep aid when needed (knocks me out quicker than anything else), Bennadryl for allergic reactions (like to insect bites and plant allergies) and Immodium AD for stomach problems and diarrhea. These minor ailments are usually no big deal if they happen at home with drug stores and medical attention are nearby, but out on the trail they could become serious if left untreated. For example, an allergic reaction to an insect bite or dehydration as a result of diarrhea could be fatal. So, I always carry these four drugs just in case.

  2. kelly Reply

    Eric, my hubby and I love to sleep close, and we have discovered the nemo synthetic double sleeping bag and pad (synthetic because we ladies of a certain age often have hot flashes), a sleeping toque each, as well as the copper spur 3 tent add little to no extra weight and provide comfort, shelter and warmth that we older, average size people enjoy while out on multi day hikes in Mt Robson, Canada. We just divide up the total pack weight. Just a thought for couples :)

  3. Phil Reply

    Eric, I find your site very insightful (no pun intended) and informative. Love your trail diet! Great suggestions. I am doing the West Coast Trail this June. Tried the Exos 58 but the fixed length hip belt was too short for my pudgy 36 waist. I went with the Osprey Aether 60 ($180) with the flexibility of a larger hip belt. This allowed the hip pads to be properly positioned. I love the Aether and I will sacrifice 2.6 lbs for a very comfortable fit and larger carrying capacity. I have the REI Quarter Dome UL1 tent ($165), Enlightened Equipment 30* Prodigy ($200) synthetic quilt and a large Thermarest Neo Xlite ($140). My weight including quilt compression sack and tent footprint is 11.6 lbs.
    Other than the REI tent, I shop online to save state tax and get free shipping. Lot of good sites, like yours, to help my purchase choices.
    Stay frosty!

  4. Gary Reply

    It’s awesome how you managed to make the ultralight the most affordable as well! I have that tent and love it btw. Big fan of GG as well so may have to look into that pack for the long hauls. Thanks!

  5. Gabe B Reply

    Great to see you have the full Collegiate Loop in the Colorado Trail Pocket Guide 2nd Edition. I am doing the Collegiate this year. Last I used the 1st edition for Molas to Salida and it was great. Very accurate and informative. Well done!

  6. Nancy Sorce Reply

    Love this sight to just wish and dream…even tho 75 yrs. old!
    I think I would need a foldable light trowel tho.
    Thank

  7. Marcel Reply

    Could you elaborate on why you went with waterproof shoes? I thought you were a fan of fast drying non-waterproof. Do you still recommend those for the PCT, whereas the CT is different enough to warrant a different shoe style? Thanks.

    • @Marcel: Yes, the waterproof shoes is because the Colorado Trail has more frequent thundershowers. They are short, but they can dump a lot of rain on you in a short amount of time. I still prefer the Ventilators for the PCT (at least the California part, the waterproof ones would be good for Oregon/Washington.)

  8. Ovi Reply

    Thanks for this Eric. What type of solar panel and/or battery pack do you use to charge your electronics? I don’t see it in the list above.

    • @Ovi: My GPS uses AA batteries so I carry spares of those. And I have one extra battery for my cellphone. As long as I keep the phone in airplane mode and use it only for taking pictures and listening to music/audiobooks in camp in the evening, I can usually get by on two batteries between town stops. I bought a little external battery pack/solar charger like this one a couple of years ago, but never really used it. I’m trying to cut back on the electronic distractions and stop and smell the flowers more.

  9. ida Reply

    Very helpful. May I ask why you wear safety glasses?
    Thanks, ida

    • @Ida: I like the safety glasses because they are lightweight, cheap and disposable. I used to buy regular sunglasses but they were always getting lost or scratched up on the trail. With these I can buy a dozen and replace them as needed.

  10. Sazerac Reply

    Glad to see this update. Your site, along with a select few others, has really helped me consider what I have added to my gear over the past four years as I returned to backpacking.