Only made a few changes to gear from what I carried on my GDT Section C 2020 hike for my hike on Section E.
- Zpacks Vertice rain pants replaced rain skirt. The rain skirt is great if you know you are going to be warm when it rains. Rain skirts do not come all the way down to the ankles but leave the bottom of the legs exposed. In the Canadian Rockies it would not be unusual to hike through blowing snow in August going over a high alpine pass. I felt that with the extreme conditions that could be faced on the Great Divide Trail it would be more prudent to have a pair of regular rain pants than the rain skirt. I loved the Vertice rain pants. They were light and packed down very small and I was also able to get the pants on and off over my hiking shoes.
- North Face Hyvent jacket replaced Zpacks Poncho and Yellow MEC windbreaker. The Hyvent just works great as a both a rain jacket and windbreaker.
- Patagonia down jacket replaced my Mont Bell down vest. Last year my arms were consistently cold in just the vest so I went with my aging down jacket. I was very happy with the switch.
- Columbia strapped sandals replaced flip flops. I wanted the strapped sandals so I could actually hike in them if necessary to give my feet a break. I also just find the fully strapped sandal more comfortable than the flip flops around camp. I never got used to the toe thong and found it uncomfortable to wear with socks. I did not have to but I switched to the sandals for the final 12 km into Jasper which were on well groomed town trails.
- Instead of bringing a few strips of blister tape I brought the entire roll. Both of Emily and I used quite a bit of tape. I felt it was a poor decision last year to save weight by limiting the amount of tape in the first aid kit.
- Instead of scanning the guidebook and storing in my tablet I tore the pages out and only brought the pages I needed. I asked Emily’s permission before doing this as she is a book lover. After feigning shock and disgust she admitted she did the same thing for her trip on the John Muir Trail.
Unfortunately most of my gear changes added weight but the changes added comfort, security and increased my enjoyment. After packing my backpack with everything I was going to bring the pack tipped the scales at 51 lbs. To reduce weight I did cut down on the whole wheat wraps that I would be using for lunch. I was planning on two wraps per lunch, so 22 wraps, by reducing to one wrap I saved about 700g (or a little less than 1.5 lbs).
To further reduce weight I replaced my full camera tripod with my smaller Gorilla pod. I also reduced the amount of water I would carry at the beginning of the hike. After about 2 hours of hiking I would be walking alongside Owens Creek and could fill up as needed. With these changes I was able to get my weight down to around 47 lbs prior to starting my hike on Section E.