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Clever Hiker: A Quick Guide to Thru-Hiking the Continental Divide Trail

The Continental Divide Trail (CDT) spans over 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada and is one of the most significant trail systems in the world. It’s the highest, most remote, and, in many ways, most challenging of our National Scenic Trails. Thru-hiking the CDT is an adventure of a lifetime, but it’s not for the faint of heart. That said, the effort it takes to overcome the challenges the Trail presents are rewarded with unending panoramic views, deep solitude, and an opportunity to be immersed in true wildness.

Long-distance hiking requires a lot of research, planning, and dedication. We put together this guide to help you get started. Below, you’ll find tips about choosing a start date, buying gear, what to expect on the trail, and so much more.

Have you completed a CDT thru-hike or are you planning to go for it?

Read the full article from Dave and Annie on Clever Hiker's website here.

LAST UPDATED

May 5, 2022

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Clever Hiker

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CleverHiker.com is a website dedicated to providing knowledge, skills, and gear recommendations for lightweight backpacking adventures. We make tutorial videos, gear reviews, and in-depth trip guides to make backpacking easier for everyone.

We're Dave and Annie, the gear nerds behind Cleverhiker.com. Dave is a thru-hiker, Eagle Scout, and nature nut who's trekked every continent on the planet. Annie is a "retired" teacher who swapped out the classroom for wilderness adventures. We built CleverHiker.com to help share our backpacking knowledge, inspire people to get outdoors, and help conserve our wild spaces.

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My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick

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Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz
Writer

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The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
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