This is just part of the trail information on hand for the CDT. We used Delorme Atlas for alternate water and routing in Montana. A long distance hiker recommended them. Good stuff, it breaks the entire state into grids, showing every back road, contour line and water source.
Then, there are maps for various National Forests and Parks. It is said one can never have too much info for this mother of all challenges.
A bear canister and viable packing option is essential for Montana and into Yellowstone. There are enough griz in those areas to keep you on your toes.
They make great camp stools, too, but at nearly 1 pound 11 ounces, way heavy for an ultralighter. A person does what they got to.
This external frame pack was stripped to basic shoulder and hip belts, then custom fitted with an over size silnylon pack by yours truly. Its seen a lot of use. Remarkably light at under 2 pounds for this "retro" backpack.
Unless you've carried an external frame pack, you probably aren't aware of their versatility. They're also incredibly strong, sustainable, easily adjusted for growth.
More popular in the west, you'll see external frames on the JMT, Sherpas on Everest, and youth in "high risk" remedial programs.
With the new year underway, gear heads are out in force. Take a look at some retro stuff to keep in budget.