Experience Life Outdoors in Dumont, CO: How to Pack Lightly for your Hiking Adventures

By Jess at OutsidePursuits.com

With incredible trails through forests and across mountainous terrain, Dumont in Colorado is an excellent base for hiking adventures in the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests. However, if you’re exploring the slopes approaching St. Mary’s Glacier, you won’t want to be struggling with a heavy and unbalanced backpack. So, here’s a little advice about how you can pack lightly for your hiking adventures.

1. Make a List

When you go hiking, there are some things that you must take along. However, most people take more than they really need. If you ever watched Reese Witherspoon’s film Wild, you may have been amused by her overfilled backpack and the way the forest ranger helped her decide what to keep and what to throw away.

Before you start packing, have a brainstorming session and make a list of everything you think you’ll need. To help me cover all the bases, I divide my list into 5 categories.

2. Equipment

For longer hiking adventures, you’ll need to carry cooking equipment, a sleeping bag, and a tent. If you’re only planning on hiking along the short 1.9-mile trail to St. Mary’s Glacier, you won’t need to carry camping equipment. However, you’ll benefit by taking trekking poles for the icy trail and maybe specialized boot cleats to deal with the terrain.

Hikers who plan to stay at Lawson Adventure Park can rent a yurt with bunk beds for a unique camping experience, or a tiny-home style cabin that comes fully-furnished. If you’re interested in wildlife, a pair of birding binoculars and a camera will come in useful. On some hikes, a portable GPS unit, a good map, and a compass will prove essential. The AllTrails app is useful for researching conditions along the trails you want to hike so you know what equipment to take.

On multiple-day hikes, your life depends upon the correct use of your equipment. If your stove doesn’t work, you’ll go hungry. If your tent and sleeping bag don’t provide adequate shelter and warmth, you’ll freeze. For this reason, it’s a good idea to test your equipment before you decide to rely upon it in the wilderness.

3. Essentials

For some hikers, these items may be a matter of life and death. Hikers with allergies should carry an EpiPen to help them survive an anaphylactic shock. Anyone with dangerous medical conditions should pack their prescribed medicine. Other essential items may include your bank cards and driver’s license for identification and emergency expenses.

4. Clothes

The clothes you decide to pack will depend upon 3 factors: the place you’re hiking to, the length of your journey, and the weather conditions. Even in summer, the area around St. Mary’s Glacier is icy, so you’ll need to wear layers.

On multiple-day treks, you’ll require a change of clothes. And if you’re expecting rain, then waterproof layers will be necessary. Research the change in altitude on your AllTrails app. If you’re ascending several thousand feet during your trek, you must pack extra layers in your backpack.

5. Toiletries 

When you’re miles from the nearest store, you won’t be able to pop into the store for a toothbrush. Ensure you’re taking everything you might need, including feminine hygiene products. Sunscreen is essential both when snow covers the trail and in midsummer’s heat. For hiking with kids, baby wipes and possibly diapers are important.

6. Food & Drinks

It’s important to stay hydrated, especially on longer hikes or on hot summer days. Bottled water is great, but you could also use a backpack with a built-in water bladder. When hiking with kids, healthy snacks can stave off rebellions. And on multiple-day hikes, dried food that you can easily rehydrate and cook is essential.

Often camping food comes with copious amounts of packaging. A neat trick before packing is to repackage dried foods like noodles and rice into small plastic freezer bags that you can label. Before you do this, ensure that you know how you can cook each item and label the bags well. Aim to pack a variety of dried meals to ensure good nutrition.

7. Organize Your Items

After compiling your list, gather the items you’ve decided to take and lay them out on a flat surface. Seeing them together in one place will help you visualize how you’ll pack them. As you’re gathering your items, think again about whether you really need them or not. The lighter your backpack, the more comfortable you’ll be on your hike.

8. Pack

As you pack away each item, strike it off your list. This will help you avoid leaving anything out and also prevent double-packing. Pack your items in this order:

Heavy items

Heavy items go first at the bottom of your pack. Distribute them evenly so your backpack is balanced while you walk. Ensure delicate items are above heavy items to avoid damage.

Emergency items

Any items you might need in a hurry, such as bear spray, should be packed within easy instant reach. Some items can be carried in a holster attached to your belt or in your jacket pocket. If you must put them inside your backpack, place them on top or in a labeled side pocket.

Frequently used items

Similarly, any items you’ll need to access often, such as your GPS unit, should be somewhere easy to reach to avoid digging into your pack every time you need to use them. Some GPS units come with straps so you can attach them to your wrist or straps to hang them from your neck. The same applies to cameras and binoculars.

Least important items

The less important items get packed last and can go anywhere where there’s room. But do consider leaving some of these behind to reduce your backpack’s weight.

9. Time to Explore the Great Outdoors!

Once your backpack is packed, you’re ready to make the most of your AllTrails app and explore all the scenic trails around Dumont. You’ll appreciate carrying a lighter backpack when trekking across rugged mountain trails.