Continental Divide Path Backpacking Gear Listing



Our Most Difficult Nationwide Scenic Path

Stretching for some three,100 miles from Mexico to Canada, the Continental Divide Path (CDT) follows the backbone of the Rocky Mountains, passing by way of Glacier, Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Nationwide Parks. The third leg of the triple crown for backpackers, the CDT encompasses extra whole mileage and high-elevation climbing than both the Pacific Crest Path (PCT) or the Appalachian Path (A.T.).

Designated as a nationwide scenic path in 1978, the CDT is the youngest of our three main via trails, which elements into its excessive diploma of issue. For starters, solely 85% of the path is definitely full. That signifies that greater than 450 miles of the path require cross-country journey, so your navigational means and route-finding abilities must be high notch. Even alongside accomplished sections, wayfinding can show difficult.

A Uncommon Accomplishment

The CDT is a path for individuals who love wilderness and embrace solitude. Although formally recorded numbers are low as a result of not all hikers report again, these numbers give a superb indication of the path’s solitary nature. The Continental Divide Path Coalition (CDTC) lists solely about 150 hikers a 12 months trying the total path. On the A.T. you may encounter that many individuals in a single day. And solely about one-third as many individuals, just a few greater than 50 hikers, have reported efficiently finishing a CDT via hike.

To perform the feat, you have to be an extremely resourceful and self-reliant hiker. On the events if you encounter somebody climbing the alternative method, you don’t merely cease and chat—you debrief each other. You need intel about path circumstances, areas of dependable water sources and easy methods to keep away from trespassing on personal property. Path angels are each uncommon and spontaneous as a result of individuals who stay close to the CDT are sometimes unaware of its existence.

Suggestions from an fitnessinf Triple Crowner

Frank Woods, a longtime worker at fitnessinf’s Denver retailer and one of many few individuals to finish the backpacker’s triple crown, describes the CDT this manner: “It combines the attention sweet of the PCT with the climate of the A.T. Mountaineering the CDT would be the most you’ll ever snigger and essentially the most you’ll ever cry.” If this epic thru-hike is your form of journey, Woods’ recommendation under about gear and logistics is price a glance.

For those who can common 22–25 miles miles per day, the total path will take about 5 months to finish. For those who plan a slower tempo, you danger working into climate issues at first or finish of the path. Planning and coaching beforehand requires one other 12 to 18 months. We hope this information will assist you in your preparation and assist set you up for fulfillment.

Continental Divide Path Backpacking Gear Listing: Printer-friendly model (PDF)

Continental Divide Path Permits

No single allow is offered for all the path, and the few permits you do want will likely be primarily for path sections that journey by way of nationwide parks. Although you may reserve these forward of time, the parks additionally put aside permits on a first-come, first-served foundation.

The Permits Wanted tab on the CDTC planning web page lists contact info for all the permit-requiring businesses alongside the path. Most hikers merely apply as they go, moderately than forward of time, due to the variability of any CDT itinerary.

The place and When to Begin and Which Path to Take

Whatever the path you select, you have to be versatile and keen to change your schedule.

Route choices: A second group, the Continental Divide Path Socieity (CDTS) has another CDT route. For a proof concerning the distinction between it and the route of the official Nationwide Scenic Path, take a look at the society’s CDT Path Location web page.

Northbound: Most via hikers begin on the Mexico border in March or April. The first southern terminus is at Antelope Wells, N.M., in a distant location that requires a Four-wheel drive car to succeed in. The CDTC FAQ web page provides particulars a couple of shuttle service that’s obtainable. A extra simply accessible southern terminus, at Columbus, N.M., might be reached by way of paved roads.

Southbound: Canadian-border starters purpose for late June, however excessive snow ranges, spring runoff and avalanche hazard can delay the date nicely into July. In case your journey coincides with this kind of lingering snowpack, contemplate another route that begins at Apikuni Trailhead and travels over Redgap Go.

The common northern terminus is comparatively simple to succeed in as a result of it’s alongside a path that connects Canada’s Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park with Glacier Nationwide Park within the U.S.

Flip flopping: Snow might be a difficulty in each the north and south as a result of a few of the highest elevations of the path are in southern Colorado. Thus it’s additionally price contemplating a “flip flop,” which is an itinerary the place you full sections in non-continuous order so to keep away from each early- and late-season snowpack.


Planning Suggestions

Maps, guidebooks and different sources: You could find a variety of planning necessities on the CDTC thru-hike planning web page. It’s a wise thought to seek the advice of a number of map suppliers, guidebooks and different sources, too, as a result of the route of the CDT is evolving every year and it’s a lot extra variable than different via trails.

Meals and resupply factors: These are the nuts and bolts of your journey plan, and the main points will take substantial analysis. You could find an in depth listing of mail drop factors through the use of the Discover the Path tab on the CDTC dwelling web page and scrolling down to every state alongside the path. Notice that almost all of resupply factors require you to hitchhike so as to attain them.

Purchase-as-you-go resupplying: Whereas some hikers preplan, prepackage and premail all of their meals, shopping for meals in cities alongside the way in which helps you to indulge cravings that come up on the path. You additionally keep away from a menu dictated solely by what you imagined you’d wish to eat months forward of time.

One other trick is to make use of a bounce field, a reusable container (usually a plastic bin or bucket with a lid) stuffed with meals and provides that you simply ship to your first mail drop. While you decide it up, you may have the choice of shopping for and including new meals and provides, and to swap out gear. Then you definately merely ship the bounce field forward to a different mail drop.

Although native meals can price extra, bounce-box delivery charges might be barely decrease than premailing all the pieces as a result of meals is usually touring a shorter distance than it could from your private home.

Gear Issues

Gear weight: Carrying fewer kilos over hundreds of miles will add some spring to your step. On the CDT you will note your justifiable share of ultralighters. Many hikers, although, err on the aspect of sturdier gear due to the probability of extreme climate and the knowledge of distant, rugged terrain.

Gear know-how: The CDT will not be the place to discover ways to use crucial gadgets like an ice axe, nor for a maiden gear voyage. Take journeys to familiarize your self together with your gear and take courses to make sure your backcountry abilities, particularly map-and-compass navigation, are honed for the problem.

Continental Divide Path Backpacking Packing Listing

Snow gear: Microspikes (or full crampons), together with an ice axe, are must-haves for snowy sections. Some hikers additionally select to hold ultralight snowshoes to keep away from miles of postholing. For those who resolve to save lots of weight on lengthy, scorching midsummer sections, you may stow a few of your snow gear in your bounce field. You can even ship snow gear dwelling.

Water administration: Although it lacks the lengthy desert sections of the PCT, water is nonetheless a significant concern for CDT hikers. Together with additional water containers, carrying a filter is extremely really useful as a result of many sources will likely be stagnant water in storage ponds or tanks. The CDTC maintains a water report that features the newest crowd-sourced knowledge supplied by CDT hikers.

Notice: Included on this guidelines are the Ten Important Methods you need to have on each backcountry journey: navigation; solar safety; insulation; illumination; first-aid provides; fireplace starter; restore equipment and instruments; diet; hydration; emergency shelter. To be taught extra, see our Ten Necessities article.

The CDT Grasp Guidelines


  • Backpack (although not mandated, contemplate one that may match a bear canister)
  • Pack raincover
  • Small daypack (optionally available)
  • Tent suited to terrain, with guylines and restore sleeve
  • Tent footprint (optionally available)
  • Sleeping bag (appropriate for the circumstances)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Traction gadgets like microspikes (important)
  • Ice axe (important in snowy sections)
  • Ultralight snowshoes (optionally available)
  • Whistle (plus signaling mirror)
  • Multifunction watch with optionally available altimeter
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Compass
  • GPS (optionally available)
  • Map(s) and guidebook(s) or route description
  • Trekking poles (optionally available)
  • LED headlamp with additional batteries
  • Water filter and backup therapy system
  • Filter alternative cartridge
  • Water bottles or hydration reservoirs
  • Further water storage: 2- to 5-liter capability
  • Range, gas and restore equipment
  • Matches or lighter
  • Cookset, dishes, bowls, utensils, cups (measuring/consuming)
  • Bear canister (optionally available)
  • Nylon wire (not less than 60 ft)
  • Animal-resistant sack for meals (optionally available)
  • Restore kits for sleeping pad and different gear; duct tape strips
  • Hearth starter (for emergency survival fireplace)

Clothes and Footwear

  • Wicking, quick-drying underwear
  • Wicking, quick-drying sports activities bra
  • Wicking, quick-drying lengthy underwear
  • Wicking, quick-drying T-shirt and long-sleeve shirt
  • Fast-drying pants
  • Fast-drying shorts (optionally available)
  • Fleece jacket or vest, or insulated jacket or vest
  • Fleece pants
  • Waterproof/breathable rain jacket appropriate for the circumstances
  • Waterproof/breathable rain pants appropriate for the circumstances
  • Bandana or Buff
  • Solar-shielding hat or ball cap
  • Winter hat
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Mountaineering boots or climbing footwear suited to terrain
  • Gaiters
  • Socks (artificial or wool) plus spares
  • Sandals (for fording streams and stress-free in camp) or water footwear
  • Swimwear (optionally available)

Private Objects

  • Sun shades
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush with cowl and biodegradable toothpaste
  • Biodegradable cleaning soap
  • Rest room paper
  • Sanitation trowel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Girls’s hygiene gadgets
  • Private wipes
  • Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Drugs
  • Plastic zip-top luggage
  • Insect repellent
  • Bear spray (optionally available)
  • First-aid equipment (see our First-Help Guidelines)
  • Fast-drying towel
  • Digicam or video cam and additional reminiscence playing cards (optionally available)
  • Binoculars (optionally available)
  • Mobile phone (don’t depend on service)
  • Satellite tv for pc communicator / private locator beacon (optionally available)
  • Area information(s); star identifier (optionally available)
  • Journal, pen and e-reader or studying materials (optionally available)
  • Fishing gear and allow(s) (optionally available)
  • Bank card; small amount of money
  • CDT permits (may also be gotten alongside the path)
  • Journey itinerary left with pal


6,000 energy per day in these classes:

  • Breakfast (oatmeal, granola, freeze-dried breakfast, and so forth.)
  • Lunch (bagels, summer time sausage, cheese, smoked salmon, and so forth.)
  • Dinner (pasta, couscous, rice, freeze-dried dinner, and so forth.)
  • Snacks (cookies, GORP, jerky, sweet bars, dried fruit, and so forth.)
  • Power gels
  • Power bars
  • Electrolyte alternative drink combine
  • Further day’s provide of meals (carried on every leg of the hike)




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