Continental Divide Trail Gear Checklist

Continental Divide Trail Gear Checklist

Continental Divide Trail is one of the long, high, and remote trails that stretch for some 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada. This is one of the longest thru-hiking trails that join the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail as a part of the Triple Crown. With all that said, you could realize that there is no room for gear errors. While there are no universal continental divide trail packing list exits, we try making a useful resource. Here we go!

  • Backpack
  • Pack rain cover
  • Small daypack
  • Tent suited to the terrain, with guylines and a repair sleeve
  • Tent footprint –optional gear
  • Sleeping bag for the conditions
  • Sleeping pad
  • Traction devices
  • Maps and compass
  • Essential food and water
  • Winter clothes
  • First aid

Just a hand-pick! You can find the complete Continental Divide Trail gear checklist here with all the essentials and optional gear to do better in the trail. Just scroll down for the complete list.

Continental Divide Trail Gear Checklist Planning Tips

Having a go-to the Continental Divide trail needs careful planning. And the highest consideration goes with the gear including what you are going to bring and about the stop points along your way.

Together with the usual thru-hiking gear, you will need, you have to consider adding some other useful tools. Here we go with some important planning tips for your Continental Divide Trail gear checklist.

Continental Divide Trail Gear Checklist Planning Tips

Guidebooks, maps, and other resources:

It is wise to consult multiple guide books, map providers, and also some other resources when you are planning on Continental Divide Trail and gear. The route of the CDT is changing every year and it is more variable compared with other thru trails.

Have up-to-date maps of the trails and a reliable compass that is waterproof and well-performing. You can find the most updated maps in Continental Divide Trail Coalition for high support in making the trek. And from nonprofit groups, you will find more interactive maps to check well with ahead of the trip.

For further, refer to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition thru-hike planning page.

Food and resupply opinions:

Food and resupplies are the nuts and bolts of the journey. The details will take significant investigation. The resupply options require getting a ride to reach and refer to CDTC Home page for complete mail drop points through Explore the trailing tab.

We find some hikers preplan on food prepackage and premail. But buying food in towns along the way treats desires easily that get up on the trail. In fact, planning on what to eat ahead of months is somewhat difficult and not working.

A smart trick here is to use a reusable container and have some food and supplies packed as you ship to the first mail drop. And by your pick up you can restore food and supplies as needed. However, local food will cost more while bounce-box shipping can be a little lower in fees.

Continental Divide Trail Gear Considerations

There is excitement on gear planning with the account to minimal differences. But remember to keep it simple. If your gear is light and durable, it would work and priority should be given to reliable gear. You have to count everything that you will need in the trails from the shoes on your feet to the backpack and the whole lot in between.

Continental Divide Trail Gear Considerations

Continental Divide Trail Gear weight:

Gear weight is a key consideration when planning to head on the Continental Divide Trail and fewer pounds will definitely add some spring to your feet when moving over thousands of miles.

On CDT, you see both ultra lighters and those who are on sturdy gear. Many hikers believe they should have the sturdier gear to survive in probable severe weather and in the remote, rugged landscape. But still, you can find comfort in ultralight gear in a better budget consideration. Think well before investing in gear.

Gear usage:

Continental Divide Trail is indeed not a maiden voyage for your gear usage. In fact, it is a place to show your expertise skills rather than a place to learn the gear usage like using an ice axe.

Make sure you acquaint yourself with the essential gear and take sessions to make sure your backcountry skills. And this is important especially in the navigation to maps and compass where your polished skills are essential to survive in the game.

The advice is, do not make CDT your maiden voyage. It is obviously long and hard where your experience, gear knowledge, and backcountry skills help a lot. You never going to realize how dangerous is the continental divide trail if you go with zero knowledge. Make sure you familiarize yourself with camping, hiking, and adventuring before you plan on Continental Divide Trail.

Extra notes on some essentials to pack on CDT

Extra notes on some essentials to pack on CDT

Continental Divide trail is remarkably wild and far-off and a large piece of it is still incomplete. So it is a challenging move to thru-hikers, but it is not impossible. You do not need to be equally skilled but you should be well prepared.

Here we bring some details on some essential tools you should bring along.

Winter apparel: Need suitable winter clothing as your scale peaks above 14,000 feet. Pack up a winter jacket, warm gloves, snow pants, and merino wool socks

Snow gear: Microspikes or complete crampons are essential in snowy areas along with the ice axe. Some carry ultralight snowshoes to prevent post-holing

Water filter: Carry extra water containers along with a water filter. Many water sources will be stagnant in storage ponds/tanks and we recommend you check water reports at CDTC

Whistle and signaling mirror: Be well prepared with the possible risks by adding these simple safety tools. These are useful if you get lost, slip, or get stuck in any situation

Bear protection: To prevent your food by bear attacks, make sure to have a bear canister. And know how to stay safe in a bear country as there is a considerable share of bears along the trail

First-Aid: CDT is too remote and considers investing in a first-aid kit or first-aid supplies.

Repair kits: In any major hiking excursion, it is essential to pack repair kits included in CDT. Make sure you include strips of duct tape along with the  other tools as required

LED Headlamp: It is useful to have a headlamp as you find long stretches in Continental Divide Trail. It does not have to be too bright but fairly bright and adjustable. And pack extra batteries

A knife: Smart in gear repair, first-aid, food arrangements, or any other emergency like essential for every camping trip. Better you bring a multi-tool for more complex needs

Continental Divide Trail Gear Checklist


  • Backpack
  • Pack rain cover
  • Tent suited to the terrain, with guylines and repair sleeve
  • Sleeping bag (suitable for the conditions)
  • Ice axe
  • Whistle and signaling mirror
  • Multifunction watch with an optional altimeter
  • Sleeping pad with repair kit
  • Traction devices- microspikes
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Maps and guidebooks or route report
  • Compass
  • LED headlamp with some extra batteries
  • Water filter and backup treatment system
  • Filter replacement cartridge
  • Duct tape strips
  • Matches or camping lighter
  • Water bottles or hydration reservoirs
  • Extra water storage: 2 to 5 liter capacity is must
  • Camping stove, fuel and a repair kit
  • Nylon cord of at least 60 feet
  • Cookware set, dishes, bowls, utensils, cups for measuring and drinking
  • Camping fire starter

Clothing and Footwear

  • Quick-drying sports bra, underwear, T-shirt and a long-sleeve shirt and quick-drying pants and shorts
  • Fleece jacket or vest, or insulated jacket or vest
  • Waterproof/breathable rain jacket fit for the conditions
  • Waterproof/breathable rain pants fit for the conditions
  • Socks (synthetic or wool) and some extra pairs
  • Fleece pants
  • Winter hat
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Sun-shielding hat or ball cap
  • Sandals or water shoes
  • Bandana or Buff
  • Hiking boots or hiking shoes suitable to the terrain
  • Gaiters
  • Swimwear (optional gear)

Personal items

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Lip balm
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush with cover and biodegradable toothpaste
  • Sanitation trowel
  • Quick-drying towel
  • Medications
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Personal wipes
  • Women’s hygiene items
  • Plastic zip-top bags
  • Bear spray (optional gear)
  • Insect repellent spray
  • First-aid kit
  • CDT permits (can also be gotten along the trail)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Cell phone (don’t depend on service)
  • Journal, pen, and e-reader or some reading material (optional)
  • Camera or video cam and extra memory cards (optional)
  • Satellite communicator / personal locator beacon (optional)
  • Field guides; star identifier
  • Fishing gear and permits as you desire (optional)
  • Credit card; a small amount of cash


6,000 calories per day in the following food categories:

  • Breakfast (oatmeal, freeze-dried breakfast, granola, etc.)
  • Lunch (bagels, cheese, summer sausage, smoked salmon, etc.)
  • Dinner (couscous, pasta, freeze-dried dinner, rice, etc.)
  • Snacks (jerky, cookies, GORP, dried fruit, candy bars, etc.)
  • Energy gels and energy bars
  • Electrolyte replacement drink mix
  • Extra day’s supply of food (carried on each leg of the hike)

Get the complete list from Here and make planning easier. Here we have put essentials in priority and you can get the drive link with some optional gear.

Being ultra-light and comfortable is not mismatched; that is super complimentary! Hope you end well on Continental Divide Trail!

Read More:

Scroll to Top