A Gear Gander for the CDT
If you ask me, I think gear is very comparable to dreaming. It is always fun to tell your dreams to someone else but can be incredibly boring to listen to someone else recount their dreams to you. I can talk about my gear spread for days and get incredibly animated in the process but have yet to read through the entirety of someone else’s gear article. That being said, here I am writing a gear article. I know it might not be the most interesting topic to some, but there are a few gearheads out there that might appreciate it, and at the very least I hope it may be helpful to someone else. Or helpful to myself, for that matter- I am always open to feedback!
The Big Three
I purchased my TarpTent Stratospire Li with the first stimulus check of the pandemic. I had been eyeing Dyneema trekking pole tents for some time but was hesitant to pull the trigger on a single wall system. I do most of my hiking in the East, and at the time was planning to hike in New Zealand, so I wanted to be prepared for a humid climate where nothing ever dries out. I have had my fights with condensation in the past so double-wall seemed the way to go.
I have about 500 miles with this tent under my belt and it is a dream. It is slightly more spacious than the more popular Zpacks Duplex, and only slightly heavier. It has been comfortable with both myself, my partner, and my dog all squeezed in. The downfall is that it doesn’t pack down as small due to the spurs for the tent corners, so it has to be stored on the outside of my pack (which, as it turns out, I actually prefer). My partner and I will share this tent for the duration of our hike, but he is carrying a lightweight Slingfin tarp as a backup shelter in the case that we are separated.
My pack is the Gossamer Gear Gorilla. I purchased one halfway through my AT hike and loved it. My original pack is still holding up well, but I don’t think it has another 3,000 miles in it, so I went ahead and purchased a new one. The newer model is just as comfortable. I avoided the Mariposa (despite the fact that it came out in my favorite color) because I am not a fan of the stacked side pockets
I use the Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt on a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir sleeping pad. The quilt is a far more comfortable set up than the mummy bag I used on the AT, allowing me more freedom to toss and turn in my sleep. The Thermarest is not nearly as comfortable as the lofty Big Agnes pad I previously used but well worth the saved weight. I do wish I had purchased the Enigma (fully open quilt) rather than the Revolution (closed footbox), though, as I imagine the Enigma works better as a camp blanket and can be worn while walking around doing camp chores.
Other related gear: I have a Tyvek groundsheet for my tent, and also carry a Sea to Summit pillow and Sea to Summit sleeping bag liner. I have had the liner since the AT and it certainly does the trick, but I am still convinced there should be a cheaper product on the market. I don’t think it adds 10 degrees of warmth as advertised, and the $55 I paid for it seems steep for a piece of fabric.
Explore the rest of Heidi Nisbett's CDT Gear list here.
May 6, 2022
In my side pouches, you can find tent poles (right) and a SmartWater bottle (left). A sawyer squeeze is placed inline from the SmartWater bottle and attached to my Osprey mouthpiece to drink fro, as I walk.
The EWG sees picaridin as a reasonably good alternative to DEET—although it hasn’t been tested as long, it doesn’t have the same neurotoxicity concerns. They recommend a concentration of 20 percent for Lyme protection. Common brands include: OFF!, Cutter, Sawyer, Natrapel, Insect Guard.
Fill them up with tap water and it slowly passes through a filter system. Then the main reservoir below collects the filtered water.