John Muir Trail Food Shopping List

Simplify your John Muir Trail food & meal planning with my complete JMT food shopping list that details what & how much food I brought on my 22 day hike.

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John Muir Trail Food Shopping List

Food shopping for a long-distance hike on the John Muir Trail is one of the most difficult parts of planning. What to buy? How much? How to avoid meals that require a bunch of cleanup? In an earlier post, I shared some of my favorite food items from the trip, but in order to make it even easier for you, in this post I share my complete John Muir Trail food shopping list with quantities.

And as it goes in all of the destinations we share, please practice good trail etiquette and remember to Leave No Trace. This means packing out all of your garbage, being respectful to others on busy trails, and following the established rules. 

This food packing list was for 2 people with average hunger levels. I didn’t calculate calories consumed vs calories burned. That seemed like way too much work.  Instead, I tried to pick foods that were high calories for their weight. Then, I planned out how many meals and snacks I thought we would need each day and made piles for each day of the trip. I also chose pre-made food, as opposed to dehydrating my own.

For more info on my planning strategy, make sure to check out my John Muir Trail Resupply Guide. It’s got some cool tables to help you plan your resupply boxes, as well as info on all the places you can mail yourself food.

** Read More: John Muir Trail Resupply Planning Guide **

Our breakfasts and lunches were pretty straight forward. For dinners, we usually split a 2-person Mountain House meal, along with something else, like a pack or two of ramen, cous cous, or mashed potatoes, depending on how hungry we were. In addition, on top of the items in my John Muir Trail food shopping list, we were gifted some food in Tuolumne Meadows by some folks who overpacked. This included some Snickers bars and a few other snacks.

Overall I’d say we were mostly satisfied, but we were never really too full after our meals. We probably could’ve eaten more, but this was all that we could fit in our Bearikade Weekender bear canisters, even after repackaging all of the Mountain House meals in ziplock bags.

The stores I bought food at were Trader Joe’s, Amazon.com, and the regular grocery store. Here I break it down so you can walk into each store with a succinct list, shop, swap anything out you don’t like, and be done with it. And even better, many of these items can be bought right online (hello Amazon Prime!), saving you multiple trips to multiple stores.

A final note…when shopping for your John Muir Trail food, you need to assess your appetite, realize you are going to be much hungrier out there than you are at home, consider the size of your bear canister, and plan accordingly. This was my JMT food list, which is intended to help you plan, but it may not be the perfect list for you.


— Amazon —

2 packs of Ova Easy Egg Crystals

4 Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy

Probar Meal Bars

20 Luna Bars (Lemon Zest / Smores ) – 20 bars

34 Kind Bars (Almond Coconut / Dark chocolate & Peanut Butter / Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew)

6 Bobo’s Oat Bars

10 Justin’s Almond Butter

32 packs of Honey Stingers (Pomegranate / Limeade / Grapefruit)

4 Clif Shot Blocks (Cran-Razz)

11 Packs of Spicy Pepper Tanka Bites

10 packs of Sesame Snaps

26 foil pouches of Starkist Tuna Creations

22 Mountain House Dinners (2 servings packs) (Favorites: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce / Sweet & Sour Pork / Beef Stroganoff / Chili Mac)

11 Packs of Chicken Ramen

4 boxes of Near East Instant Cous Cous

4 Backpackers Pantry Mocha Mousse Pie

4 Backpackers Pantry Creme Brûlée

Maxim Gold Korean Instant Coffee – THE BEST INSTANT COFFEE

16 Apple Cider Packets

— Trader Joe’s —

15 packs of Multigrain Triple Berry Oatmeal

1 pack of Cherry Pomegranate Pop Tarts

2 packs of Tart Montgomery Cherries

1 pack of dried Just Mangos

3 packs of Dried Apricots

3 packs of Dried Apples

2 packs of Dried Coconut Sticks

1 pack of Dried Cranberries

2 Sticks of Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami

2 Sticks of Pinot Grigio White Wine Artisan Salami

4 packs of Omega Trek Mix

1 pack of Candied Walnuts

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

— Regular Grocery Store —

4 packs of Idahoan Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes

 44 Mission Burrito-Sized Flour Tortillas

Sour Patch Kids

Gummy Bears





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  1. Thanks for the list! I have a couple of questions…

    1.) the Ova Easy eggs..I love them but were you actually cooking them up or adding them something else? (thinking about cleanup here) I remember someone thinking they were freeze dried ‘cooked’ eggs and adding them to polenta before adding the hot water and she thought they were fine…just curious.

  2. Hi Kristen. My husband and I are doing the JMT in early September, thanks for all your great tips. Did you come back from your JMT trip with a lot of extra food you didn’t eat?


  3. I like the idea of the Spot Gen 3. However, I live on the edge of the Trinity Alps Wilderness and hike alone, so I’m looking for something where I can actually send a message if I am in trouble and I am frequently (80% of the time) alone. Our ranch is 120 acres on the edge of the wilderness with no cell phone service. I stay away from established trails and, instead hike old logging roads, etc. (I DON”T make my own trail). Next August I will be turning 70 and I am hoping to thru hike the JMT, where a better GPS/communication device may be more in order. Any suggestions are welcome regarding Spot type gear and just suggestions in general are welcome.

  4. Hi, thanks for putting up your site tons of great info!!!! did you eat a 2 serving meal yourself or did you split with b rad?

  5. Kristen – your blog has been invaluable as my friend and I plan our JMT hike for summer 2017. Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful resource!

  6. Hiho from Germany,

    I stumbled over your blog during one of the boring lunch times at work. In early september my climbimg-buddy an I are going to hike the JMT, at least we’ll try… 🙂
    Your blog is inspiring and helpful…

    …especially these days when one is on edge wheter all things will come together well.

    Keep up blogging and thank you,

    Grüße, Christoph

  7. Thanks so much for all your entries, they’re soo helpful! I was just curious, the food list is all the food that you bought for all your resupplies right? Also what kind of stove do you use? Thanks again, your blog is indispensable.

  8. I am58 years old and starting serious hiking again. I did the JMT backwards from Kennedy meadows when I was 19. 22 days . Food then Beef jerky, gorp, dried fruit nuts oatmeal, payday bars powdered egs BABYFOOD 9Powdered veggies actually a high point of the day. We starved we had the time of our lives, we had crap equipment but left KM mid august..no bugs low water easy hiking after a few days. resupplied ONCE Lake Edison. to do this again I would never want to suffer like that, you list is fantastic modern equipment fantastic.
    Bear canisters I have used in the San Gabriels I LOVE THEM, nothing like watching mama bear teach the cubs how to get to your food!.
    thanks for the list keep it up.

  9. Hi! I love your blog it’s been a great help to my friends and I as we are planning our JMT trip for this summer. Though I do have a question about your summer sausage did you mail some in your resupply boxes? About how did the sausage keep on the trail?

  10. Thanks for all the info! It’s been so great with helping with my JMT planning for this year! I do have one question though.

    I found that the #10 can of mountain house meals were cheaper than the individual packaged items and was planning on just repackaging them anyway. Did you find that there was any degradation of the quality after just hanging out in zip locks for about a month between shipping to resupply and actually using them?


    1. There was no issue with quality. I just got the individuals because I wanted more variety, but that would have definitely been a cheaper way to go. Have fun out there!

  11. I am 77 years old japanese 7/30 to 8/22 thur hike JMT, Anxiously to difficult to find trail Since This winter lots of snow in yosemite valley .

    1. Iwao, that is great to hear you will be thru-hiking the JMT. The trail is very well marked and by that time there should be numerous thru-hikers out there so don’t be too anxious!

  12. I found your blog to be extremely helpful! I hoping to get permits for July or August 2018. I am curious as to how the ziplock bags cooked the MH meals. Did the bags held up just fine or did you have to use a cozy?

    1. Hello Chau, you will still have to carry a stove for boiling water to cook and hydrate the MH meals. The bags hold up fine with hot water especially if you get the freezer Ziploc bags which are thicker.

  13. What a great site! I’m curious about the tortillas and how they kept for the month… I’m imagining you had them separated out into your re-supply boxes…

    Also, did you include the moisture controlling packages that are in the MH foil meal containers in your ziplock bags?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Stacey, you don’t need to include moisture controlling packages. You can include a bit of paper towel to help absorb any moisture; just make sure your packaging is as airtight as possible.