The start of the madness. How to get all of this food to fit into my pack! Food packing for the Colorado Trail Speed Record.

The latest version of the much beloved Vapor Trail, the new Crown pack from Granite Gear has all the features a thru-hike needs and nothing they don’t. Lots of stretch panel pockets on the exterior for quick, easy assess of daily necessities and comfort that Granite Gear can come to be known for. With a volume of 60L, I’ll have just enough space at the beginning of the hike, yet the micro Lineloc compression straps will cinch things down nicely as food is consumed. I’ll also be testing out a prototype framesheet that brings the overall weight down to a respectable 28oz. Not bad for 45lbs total weight at the start!

Serving as both my shelter and rain gear, at just over 4oz, MLD’s cuben poncho tarp is about a light as you can get for full rain protection that serves multi-purposes. In poncho configuration there is a surprising amount of coverage that provides enough ventilation to not sweat out with perspiration. As a tarp, coverage it small, but set up in an A-frame configuration pitched to the ground, there is plenty of protection to crawl under for a few hours of shut eye without the fear of hypothermia. I think a trip of this nature, or in climates where there is very little chance of precipitation, is where the poncho tarp really shines in advantages.

I’ve been using quilts now for the last few years and have really been sold on their advantages. Being bottomless by design, you end up saving around 1/2lb over a traditional sleeping bag without any sacrifice in warmth due to the compression and loss of insulation on the bottom of the bag that happens to traditional sleeping bags when you lay on top of them. Katabatic puts out the finest quilts in my mind with their attention and to detail and selection of materials. By coming up with a closure system that incorporates your sleeping pad, they also alleviate the biggest complaint with quilt users; their tendency for drafts. I’m expecting to see overnight temps in the low 30, with potential for temps in the teens. I’m feeling confident that the Palisades model will be plenty warm, especially when used in conjunction with my clothing system.

Which sleeping pad to take is something I debated over for a long time. Getting quality sleep when I can will be critical in maintaining my energy for the entire trail. I sleep much better on inflatables and value their warmth more so than with CCF pads. I could have gone with a minimal 1/8” CCF pad and saved a few more ounces, but at 6.1oz, Klymit’s x-lite pad is that perfect blend of weight and comfort, not to mention it packs up smaller than a Red Bull can. You can’t say that about a sub-2oz foam pad!

I’ve been using Oboz footwear for the last few years and couldn’t be more pleased in a shoe company. I’ve put 1000+ miles on several different models and all of them have never failed in craftsmanship. I’ve been wearing the Lightning model for the last couple of months with training hikes and runs and they are the perfect blend of lightweight, quick-dry, comfort and durability. I won’t have an opportunity to replace shoes along the way, that’s why it’s paramount that the shoes I go with can last the 500 miles along the trail.

    Before and After: Repackaging 76,000 calories into a manageable quantity. As much as practical, I try and eliminate packaging and reduce volume by crushing items like chips and crackers.

Some of the Gluten Free product from some generous companies that I’ll be consuming along the way. Thank you so much for your support and providing delicious Gluten Free options!

The final product. What 14 days of food looks like! Packaged into (3) 16L Granite Gear Air Zippsacks and then loaded into the Crown pack. Note that there is still plenty of room in the pack to accommodate the rest of my gear.