My Complete John Muir Trail Gear List

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JOHN MUIR TRAIL GEAR LIST

**Updated for 2017**

Getting your John Muir Trail gear list dialed is one of the most exciting parts of preparing for your John Muir Trail thru-hike.

In this complete John Muir Trail gear list, I share every piece of gear I packed f0r my John Muir Trail hike, from the big items (tent, sleeping bag, bear canister, water filter, camera, etc) all the way down to the little things (watch, sunscreen, maps, and more). I also include some of the gear items I packed and then ditched at the car before setting off on the trail in an effort to reduce my pack weight.

Overall, I was happy with my choices. I sometimes opt for durability over ultra-light when spending money on gear, so my pack wasn’t as light as it could have been. But all JMT gear held up and much of it I’m still using two years later. Check out my updated John Muir Trail gear choices for 2017 and let me know if you have any questions about what to pack for your JMT hike!

••• JMT Basic Backpacking Gear •••

 BackpackDueter ACT Lite 60 + 10 SL Pack – Handled the heavy load well. I’ve tried a bunch of other packs since the JMT, and I still keep coming back to Deuter, including on my recent 10-day trip in Alaska.

 Tent: The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-man Tent is incredibly durable to sustain any long distance hiking and weighs in at just 3lbs 7oz. It can pack down incredibly small with its included ultra-compact compression sack. The pole configuration gives you maximized headroom allowing you to fully sit up in the tent. There are two doors and two vestibules making organization for two a cinch!

Read Next: How to Choose a Tent & the Best Tents for Backpacking **

How to choose a backpacking tent

 

 Sleeping BagREI Joule 23 degree women’s sleeping bag – Warm, comfortable bag, especially for its size and weight (2 lb, 2oz), but I did need an extra layer towards the end of the trip when the temps dipped into the 30s. The Mens version, the REI Igneo, is here. I’ve since updated to Western Mountaineering’s Versalite Sleeping Bag. It’s rated all the way down to 10 degrees, yet it weighs even less than the Joule. That extra warmth and down fill comes at a price though.

 Sleeping PadTherm-A-Rest Prolite Sleeping Pad – Just enough cushion to keep your back happy.

** Read More: How to Choose the Best Sleeping Pad for Backpacking **

how to choose a sleeping pad for backpacking

Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Women’s FLZ Trekking Poles – So happy I brought trekking poles…made slogging up those passes so much easier. I love how compact these are when they are stowed and that you can adjust the length depending on whether you are going up or downhill. Men’s version is here.

 Pack Cover for rainREI Duck’s Back Rain Cover (80 Liters) – We got caught in a torrential sideways downpour going over Muir Pass. This cover kept my pack dry as can be. **Some of the newer packs come with their own built-in rain covers, including the new Deuter packs

— JMT Camp Kitchen —

 Stove: Jetboil Flash Cooking System + fuel canisters – Compact and super efficient. One small fuel canister lasted over a week. Great for boiling water and cooking simple meals like ramen and cous cous.

 Utensil: Snow Peak Titanium Spork – Lightweight, durable, and versatile. Not sure its better than other sporks, but no complaints.

 Water FilterPlatypus GravityWorks 2.0 Bottle Kit (see my full review here) – Amazing. One of my best gear choices. We could fill up the bag from a lake or stream, hook it up to the filter, and completely forget about it while the water was filtering through. This saved us a ton of time since it allowed for multi-tasking. My only complaint was sometimes the flow was slow due to air bubbles that got caught in the filter. But luckily all you need to do to resolve this is reverse the flow of water through the filter for a few seconds, thereby eliminating the air bubbles.

** Read More: How to Choose a Water Filter**

How to choose a water filter for backpacking

 Water BottlePlatypus 1.0 Liter SoftBottle (Qty: 3) – Loved how these rolled up once they were empty. So light and integrated perfectly with the Playtpus gravity filter.

 Mug:The mug I brought wasn’t well insulated, and it’s also no longer available. I were to hike again I’d consider upgrading to a Snow Peak Titanium mug, you can put their mugs directly on a stove and the handle can wrap around the mug for easy storing. It also weighs only 3 oz and is guaranteed not to rust!

 Campsuds – Who needs soap? Plus, according to Leave No Trace, you shouldn’t use any soap (even biodegrable) in the water. Instead you need to bury your suds at least 200 feet from the water.  We found that the easiest way to clean my Jetboil after eating out of it was to bring some water to a rolling boil. The pot practically cleaned itself.

 Bear Canister: Wild Ideas Bearikade Weekender (1 per person) – The best bear canister out there. Much lighter than its competitors and super durable. Fitting 7 days of food in it was a stretch, but with some professional squishing, everything fit. Rental canisters are available via their website. (If they don’t have any available for the dates of your hike, the BearVault is a popular second choice).

 Water purification tablets – Brought some as a backup in case our filter broke but didn’t end up needing them.

— JMT Backpacking Gadgets/Tools —

 Multi-tool: Leatherman Skeletool CX – Knife seemed to get dull quickly. Overall it was heavy, and I had no need for the other tools other than the screwdriver which I used to tighten my trekking poles. Scissors, which this Leatherman lacked, would have been very useful.

 NavigationSuunto Clipper Compass – Didn’t need it, but it could come in handy on other trails. Barely noticed it on my watchband.

 Solar charger: Solar power technology keeps getting better every year. I brought the Goal Zero Nomad 7 which is fine for charging your cell phone, but that’s about it.

 HeadlampThe Black Diamond Storm is built for surviving long distance thru-hiking. It is waterproof and has red and green night vision modes for late night reading in your tent that won’t kill your eyes. It uses 4 AAA batteries and shows battery life remaining when switching on the headlamp.

 WatchTimex Expedition Fast Wrap Watch – Inexpensive, waterproof, and comfortable. The alarm worked great when we woke up at 2am to climb Whitney.

— JMT Backpacking Electronics —

 GPS Transponder: I’d especially a communication device for those of you who are hiking the JMT solo, and there’s a couple options to choose from. The SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger fits in the palm of your hand and allows you to send simple signals to your family and friends indicating your whereabouts, and in the case of an emergency you can send for help with the press of a button. The other option for checking in with family or emergency responders in the Garmin InReach Explorer, which goes further allowing you to send AND receive custom text messages. The Garmin InReach is a bigger investment, but it comes with a lot of additional features (this is the device I’m currently traveling with).

 Digital Camera: If you are serious about photography, the John Muir Trail offers non-stop epic landscapes to capture. I love the Sony Alpha a6000 which uses mirrorless technology to get professional quality photos with a camera that is only slightly larger than a point and shoot. You can also swap out lens on the Sony alpha cameras. For something even more compact, the Sony RX100 V (which I haven’t tried personally) gets great reviews both for photos and video.

 GoPro: GoPro Hero 5 Black – I always bring a GoPro with me on my travels to capture video, and the new GoPro 5 is the latest fully waterproof camera in their lineup. Check out the post below for my favorite GoPro accessories.

** Read More: Tips & Tricks for Awesome GoPro Travel Photos  **

GoPro tips

 

— JMT Toiletries —

Mostly everything in here is travel size.

 Bug spray: Bens 30% DEET – If you are hiking early in the season, you’ll need bug spray. Bugs usually die off later in the season though, so when we hiked in September, we didn’t end up needing it.

 Sunscreen: Sawyer SPF 30 Stay Put Sunscreen – This sunscreen was awesome. Non-greasy, and I only had to put it on once in the morning, and it lasted all day.

 First AidAdventure Medical Kit 0.7 (Added Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Kit, Excedrin Migraine, and a Quick Clot Clotting Sponge) – the Spenco blister tape was awesome. Stayed put all day even after getting wet. Luckily we didn’t need anything else in this lightweight, compact, and waterproof first aid kit.

 Chapstick: Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 – Nice minty smell, kept lips protected in the dry high altitude air.

 Face wipesNeutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Face Wipes – Ditched.

 Saline Nasal Spray – Ditched.

 Instant Hand Sanitizer 

 Lotion: Burts Bees Travel Size Body Lotion – Ditched. Sunscreen is practically the same thing as lotion.

 Dental Floss – Ditched.

 Toliet paper – Don’t run out!

 Toothbrush & travel-sized toothpaste

 Body wipes – Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes

— Miscelaneous Gear —

 NotepadRite in the Rain All Weather Journal + pen – I brought this journal, but I ended up just taking notes on my phone

 Ducktape

 Book: Walden on Wheels – on the Open Road from Debt to Freedom – Only read two pages and will not bring a book next time. Nice for a rainy day, but you are so tired at night that reading put me right to sleep, and it was not worth the weight (those two pages were good though…will have to read this book now that I’m home).

 Trail Guide: John Muir Trail Guide by Elizabeth Wenk + John Muir Trail Map Pack by Tom Harrison – The Harrison Maps were perfect, and we only kept out the page that we needed for the day. Super durable, waterproof pages, and accurate. The Wenk book was good, and I was glad we had it for the elevation profiles and campsite listings. However, it had so much extraneous information that ultra-light hikers will want to think twice about bringing it.

 Lighters

 Whiskey – Should have sent more in our resupply boxes :). One bottle went way too fast and we were dry by day 5 🙂

–John Muir Trail Clothing —

I hiked the John Muir Trail in September which typically sees comfortable days and cold nights. The key is layering and being prepared for the worst.

** Read More: What to Wear Hiking **

What to wear hiking

 Hiking pants (1 pair)You should only need one normal pair of hiking pants. Typically I prefer to hike in yoga pants, like these Nike Power leggingsFor those who prefer regular pants, these Prana hiking pants are super stretchy in all the right places, durable and water-resistant for all-day hiking. 

 Hiking shorts (1 pair): Again I prefer leggings-style shorts, and Road Runner Sports has a ton of options for different lengths and colors. If you prefer something looser with pockets, the REI Sahara Shorts have 6 pockets, are quick-drying, and have a UPF 50+ rating. They also have elastic as well as button adjustments at the waist so if you lose weight on your trek you can easily tighten them to stay snug!

 Short-sleeve shirts (2): I like the Nike Scoop Neck exercise shirts. They are flattering, not too tight, and wick sweat from your body.

 Long-sleeve shirt (1)This is a great lightweight long-sleeve button-down shirt to throw on for early mornings or for sun protection.

Midweight Base Layer: SmartWool Midweight Longsleeve Zip Top – So comfortable. Wore it every night in my sleeping bag and under my down jacket at night at camp. Breathable but warm for hiking in colder temps. 

 Jacket: Definitely bring a down or synthetic jacket of some sort. Nights and early mornings are very cold. The Patagonia Hooded Nano Puff is super warm, light, and packable. If you tend to run colder than most people, then you might want something heavier, like the Patagonia Hooded Down Sweater. Just keep in mind that the heavier down jacket may be too hot to hike in, and if you are mostly using it at night, you can always throw your sleeping bag around you for extra warmth.

 Fleece PantsNorth Face Winter Warm Tights – these are great to sleep in or to hike in on extra cold days.

 Underwear: Ex Officio Give and Go Mesh Bikini Briefs (3 pairs) – Easy to hand wash and dried quickly, and they can also be used to swim in. My favorite “outdoor” underwear.

 Sports bras: Under Armor Heat Gear Alpha Bra (Qty 2) – Supportive but comfortable. Great for swimming and dried quickly. Didn’t stretch out.

 Rain PantsBring some! Was so happy I had rain pants during the storm over Muir Pass. Kept me warm and dry. OR’s Helium rain pants are pricey but weigh less than 6 ounces and compact into the back pocket for easy storage. The elastic waist with drawcord is great for putting on over other pants as well as the zip ankle bottoms for getting over shoes. Kim wore the men’s version on her PCT thru-hike almost everyday in Washington.

 Rain JacketArcteryx Beta AR Rain Shell – This is not the rain jacket I took on the JMT, but I recently splurged on this jacket before my 10-day Alaska backpacking trip. I stayed super dry without getting too sweaty in crazy down pours, and it’s lightweight enough that you can throw it in your pack without adding too much extra weight. It was an investment, but I think it’s a rain jacket that will last me for a long time.

 Socks: Darn Tough Hiking Socks (2 pairs) + SmartWool Medium Cushion Hiking Socks (1 pair) + REI Silk One Liner Socks (2 pairs). I ditched the liners in Tuolumne because they made my shoes too tight. The Darn Tough Hiking Socks were the best. My feet stayed mostly blister free and the socks held up. Then in the evenings, I would change to the warmer and more cushiony SmartWool socks, and I must say it was nice to have a “cleaner” pair to wear at camp and in my sleeping bag. 

 Hat: Patagonia LoPro Trucker Hat – Loved it. Breathable and stayed on my head even in heavy winds. 

 Wool beanie and glovesWore the hat every single night. The gloves were also necessary, especially for Whitney. Check out the North Face Wicket Beanie and the Outdoor Research Versaliner Gloves

 Hiking Boots: For year I wore Montrail hiking boots. They have a high ankle and are rugged and supportive enough to withstand any boulder hopping you might have to do, but they feel more like a tennis shoe. Montrail is merging with Columbia, so their shoes are bound to change soon. Currently I am wearing Oboz Bridger B-Dry Hiking Boots and love them. They are waterproof, provide lots of support and unlike most boots, are comfy right out of the box. 

 Camp shoes: Teva Hurricane SandalsPerfect. Waterproof and lighter than other river sandals I’ve owned, and I could wear socks with them. Saw other people with Crocs and thought those were a good idea too. Either way, bring something cause you won’t want to wear your boots all night.

 Smith Optics sunglasses: I have been wearing a pair of Smith sunglasses with polarized lens for years. They stay on the top of my head when I’m not wearing them, and they aren’t too delicate.

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Some of the links in this John Muir Trail gear list are affiliate links. Any purchases you make help to support this blog at no added cost to you. I only recommend products that I stand behind, and if you ever have any questions about any of the products featured on my site, please email me. Thanks! Kristen

There are 72 comments on this post.

About the author

Hi! I'm Kristen....blogger, hiker, sunset-watcher, and dance floor shredder. I feel most alive in the outdoors and created this website to help you enjoy the best that the West has to offer.

72 Comments on “My Complete John Muir Trail Gear List

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  1. This is such a great list and I am really looking forward to hearing about what you wished you had and what you wished you had left behind. I’m also curious to know how your Spotify did since I’m sure more often than not you were out of cell signal. Did you download your playlists prior to leaving? What a trip, I’m sure you’ll have fun stories to tell.

      Daidri – I just revised the list with my notes on all of my gear. If you have any questions, let me know. As for music, we actually didn’t end listening to nearly as much music as I thought. However, I pay for the $10 a month spotify plan. It allows you to “download” the playlists to your phone so you can listen to them when you don’t have cell service. I use it on airplanes all of the time and find the $10 a month fee to be more than worth it. Definitely check it out!

    Hi Kristen,

    I love the detailed gear list. Hopefully, I can do this trail in the future. When it comes to the multitool, is there another tool you wish you would have brought with you instead?

    Cheers.

      Hey Angel – Thanks for the comment. You know…if I could go back I think I would have just brought a simple pocket knife. I don’t have a recommendation since I don’t own one, but there are tons on the REI, as well as Amazon with high ratings. My only criteria would be for the knife to be as light as possible. If you have any other questions, just let me know. And I hope you can do the trail too 🙂

        Hey Kristen,
        Thanks, I’ll look into them.

        Angel

          Get the really basic Swiss army knife Classic: one blade, nail file, scissors, toothpick, tweazers, screwdriver. Weighs mere grams. Most people will probably find Kristen’s pack pretty heavy. If you have the tights and the rain pants you sure don’t need the fleece pants. And a book? Wow, super-heavy. You can do this and stay at or just under 30 pounds, with water. You will get REALLY tired of carrying unnecessary things for 21 days that you use only once. JetBoil is great, but there are much lighter options — although probably not any that are as efficient. My stove weighs 2.5 ounces (same fuel) while JetBoil comes in at about 13, if I recall. Sweater, down jacket and rain jacket probably right for late season but overkill for mid-summer. If you get cold you can always use your sleeping bag as a shawl. Can also save ounces by putting a trash bag over your stuff in your pack rather than adding a 9-ounce pack cover you might never use.

            Thanks for these helpful tips. I agree my pack was heavy…and i’ve since upgraded and swapped out some of my kit to cut down on weight. As far as clothes, I was happy I had my fleece pants. I wore them every single night and don’t think my rain pants would have provided enough warmth. But these are great hacks for anyone looking to shave off some weight, so thanks for chiming in! -=Kristen

    Hey Kristen, Your photos look great! Thanks for making all this info so accessible. WIth your camera, did you use the standard lens that it came with?

      Hey Esther – I did use the standard lens that it came with, which is a 16-55mm, so it covers a good range for landscape photography. But any e-mount lens will work with sony NEX or alpha series, and there is a growing list of compatible lenses, so you could always shop around. Thanks! Kristen

    Hey Kristen, thanks for bringing our notebooks along for the ride. Awesome site! I see that you had a pen fail on you; so sorry about that. Was it a mechanical failure or did you run out of ink?

    Email social@riteintherain.com and I can provide a replacement ink cartridge for you.

    Also, if you might be interested in being a ‘Cool Story’ on our site, let me know! (http://www.riteintherain.com/cool-stories)

      Hey Jim! Thanks for stopping by. It wasn’t one of your pens that failed, so no worries there. It was just a plain old ball point pen. Sorry for the confusion! Would be happy to chat more about the cool stories on your website. Feel free to shoot me an email at kristen@bearfoottheory.com. Thanks again!

    Hi Kristen (I’m Kristen, too!)
    I also have the Peak Camera clip and was really disappointed to have issues using it with my larger pack since it won’t fit around the straps. Can you share what tricks the Peak Design people gave you on how to adjust it?

    I’m hiking the JMT next month and would love to use it.

    Thanks!
    Kristen

      This is the tip I got from the folks over at Peak: “The key to getting Capture on a thicker strap is unscrewing the bolts as far as they can go (or removing them completely) and then using both hands to “sandwich” the clip around your pack. In 4 years we have yet to find a backpack strap that Capture cannot fit on. So, please give it another go. It takes a bit of elbow grease but once it’s on there it’ll be totally secure and you’ll rarely have to take it off.”

      Hope that is helpful and if you still have trouble, let me know…or perhaps reach out to the company directly. They seem to be pretty responsive.

      Thanks! Kristen

      Hi Kristen,

      I use Peak Capture Clips daily! I don’t leave the house without one. Love those things. They sell longer clamping bolts that allow for attachment to thicker objects. They work great; I have a pair of extra bolts myself:

      https://peakdesign.com/store/clamping-bolts-long

        Thanks so much for the tip Jim. I haven’t been to their website in a while, so appreciate you chiming in! -Kristen

      Hey Kristen – Just got the following tip from another reader:

      I use Peak Capture Clips daily! I don’t leave the house without one. Love those things. They sell longer clamping bolts that allow for attachment to thicker objects. They work great; I have a pair of extra bolts myself:

      https://peakdesign.com/store/clamping-bolts-long

    Hi Kristen!
    I’ve been reading all about your prep for the JMT. I’m fairly experienced in day hiking but I’ve never gone actually backpacking. I visited Yosemite last summer and fell in love with the area and it’s been a dream to hike the JMT. What would you suggest that I should do to work up to this hike? I feel like I don’t even know what skills I need to survive in the backwoods. Any help is much appreciated.
    Thanks so much,
    Grace

    Really useful list of hiking gear and tools! I love going hiking and camping in the mountain. The problem is that you need to be well equipped if you want to feel good. I have gear when it comes to hiking but my camping gear is scarce. I would like to find a mug that is nice and convenient and that is easy to clean! I am very happy that share about the REI Recycled Camp Mug. It sounds great and it is really easy to clean it, which is really important feature for me! Thanks for the great post! It is so useful for me!

      Hey Evelyn – Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you found the post helpful. If you have any questions, let me know. Thanks -Kristen

    Hi Kristen! You are an inspiration! I have been talking about doing a multi day hike for years now. I retire from the army in December and my son and I have decided we are going to do the JMT this summer. I am heavily using your site for assistance in planning as I have done plenty of road marching and camped some, but we have yet to do anything of this nature. I was wondering about wag bags. Did you use them and did you have a preference. I\\\\\\\’m assuming that during some part of the trip you probably had to carry it out. Any other advice for would be greatly appreciated.

      Hey James –

      Congrats on your decision to do the JMT with your son. What a cool experience to have together. As far as wag bags, there is only one place on the trail that requires the use of wag bags, and that’s Mt. Whitney. The ranger will provide you with one per person when you pick up your permit. The rest of the trail, you are supposed to carry a trowel so you can bury your #2 at least 6-8 inches deep at more than 200 feet from any water source. Then you need to pack out your dirty TP. Browse around the rest of my posts and if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email! Thanks, Kristen

    Hey Kristen, hoping to get a permit this next summer, 2016, for the JMT. Because of the competitive nature of getting a permit, we thought we would follow your itinerary of starting at Sunrise Lake, then circle back at the end to complete the Half Dome part of the hike. We are also looking at late August. My questions are these: You picked up your permits at Touloumne visitors center. Where did you pick up the trail? Is this at the 6.5 mile marker? How long was your hike in? Second Question: down at Onion Valley you hiked out and picked up your food in a bear storage area. On page 266 of the “John Muir Trail, edition 5″, by E.Wenk, she notes that, ” the food storage boxes at Kearsarge Lakes have been locked. They were being abused as food storage by JMT and PCT hikers.” Is this the same as what you used? If this is the case, what else would you recommend?
    Also, we have a friend who lives in California (we are from Vermont) and she is willing to do some food drops for us. Will a road map of California tell her how to get to the necessary roads or is there a better source for that info. I was wondering about the Kearsage drop in particular? Perhaps, Red Meadows as well. Informative blog. Thanks for breaking every thing down so well.

      Hey Cindy – Here are the answers to your questions:

      1) You start at the Sunrise Lakes / Tenaya Trailhead. There is a free shuttle that leaves right from the Tuolumne Meadows rangers station. However, with changes in the permit process, you are no longer at an advantage starting at this trailhead. Check out my post on permits for more information.

      2) I did the JMT in Sept 2014 after the Wenk book was published and we had no problems getting food from Onion Valley. I think the problem is people leaving food in there for weeks at a time. I used the Mt. Williamson Motel in Independence who dropped off our cache a day or two before we arrived in Onion Valley. Check out my post on resupply and then perhaps give them a call. If you hear that they are no longer doing this, please let me know and I can update my post. If your friend chooses to drop food, Onion Valley is still the most convenient. Maybe she could meet you there and you guys could camp at the Onion Valley trailhead campground for the night. There is also a pack station at Onion Valley that will hold your food. I think I mention them in my resupply post.

      Reds Meadows is another place that she could drop food, although mailing food there might actually be more convenient and their holding fee is really pretty cheap. Other than that, there is really no convenient place for a friend to do food drops along the trail to my knowledge.

      Hope that’s helpful and let me know if you have any other questions! Kristen

    Posted this question yesterday but I don’t know where it went. I was reading your gear list and I noticed you don’t have bear spray , a gun or any sort of defense . Do you not worry about bears? I hike in Indiana so I don’t have to worry about them but I would like to hike other states and I have to admit I am scared to death of running into one.

      You aren’t allowed to use bear spray in these California parks. Black bears typically aren’t aggressive, you just have to make sure to put your food in a bear-proof canister away from your tent at night. We saw one bear and it was more scared of us than the other way around. As far as guns, that’s not something I’m comfortable with carrying so I don’t carry one. In grizzly country like Glacier and Yellowstone, you are allowed to have bear spray and they actually recommend it. I’ve also read that putting a bell on your backpack to make a bit of noise keeps them at bay.

      I’m sure there are black bears in Indiana?

    Hey Kristen,

    Awesome list! I have a non-gear related question. I’ve got a permit leaving June 8 from glacier point. Do you think this is too early? Is it do-able at all, based on snowpack? Also, do you have a budget estimation for the trail? You rock!

    Peace,
    Camille

      It’s hard to say..It all depends how much snow the Sierras get the rest of the season and the spring temps. But you should probably be prepared to do some hiking in the snow. Maybe bring a pair of Yak Trax in case you encounter any ice?

      I didn’t really keep track of my spending. It really varies depending on how much new gear you are going to buy…but for food and shipping I think I spent like $500. But that’s a total guess. Sorry that’s not more helpful!

    Hi Kristen!

    I am looking at the logistics for a JMT hike later this summer (perhaps July-August). I noticed that you didn’t list an ice axe or crampons here. Is that simply not needed that late in the season? I have read a couple of other forums on hiking the JMT that mentioned the use of this gear. Maybe it was just due to a high snow-pack that year?

    Thanks!

    -Aimee

      Typically in late July and August, you wouldn’t need an ice axe or crampons. This year is a heavier snow year. I would think by then, most of the trail should be clear, but you should keep an eye on trail conditions in the weeks leading up to your hike and adjust your gear accordingly.

    Great list! I’m surprised it took you 5 days to get through that bottle of whiskey haha

      ha. we were definitely trying to make it last. should’ve brought a bit more!

    When you’re doing the JMT (or any longer/thru-hike backpacking trip) with two or more people, what are the items you can safely bring only one of? Should each person be prepared to be 100% self-sufficient in case of an emergency, or are there things that you can realistically share? Specifically, I’m wondering about water filtration, camp stoves, first aid, and anything else I may not have thought of.

      Hey Betsy –

      Well, we only brought one stove and one water filter between the two of us. As a backup to your water filter, you should always carry some purification tablets in case your filter breaks.

      For a stove, I suppose it wouldn’t be a terrible idea if it’s something as small as a pocket rocket stove. But I think most people probably just bring one that is in good working order prior to your trip.

      First aid, one comprehensive kit should be good as long as you don’t plan on splitting up.

      Hope that helps!

    Hi Kristen–

    When you were doing JMT did you just ditch all jewelry? I have earrings and a necklace that I never take off, and have never bothered me on previous, shorter backpacking trips, but not sure for this summer’s JMT. What do you think?

    Best,
    Cassidy

      I didn’t wear any jewelry…I think it’s probably personal preference. If it were me, I think the stud earings might not be a problem, but the necklace could be bothersome….

    Any thoughts on bringing an ultralight, quickdry travel towel? I’m [attempting to] thru-hiking the JMT in July…

      Definitely not a bad idea! If I could do it again, I’d probably bring a towel.

    I see you did not bring gators, how were the stream crossings? Did you take your shoes off or just change your socks a bunch? Trying to figure out the best footwear setup.

    Thanks!

      I didn’t bring gaitors, but it was a low snow year when I did it. There was only one crossing that I switched shoes. I brought hiking boots and tevas which worked great. tevas could be used for swimming and river crossings (if needed) as well as hanging out at camp.

    HI Kristen
    We are headed out in 3 weeks for the JMT! My gear list looks like your pretty much. I am weighing in (with food) at over 32 pounds…I am 100 pounds. Can you tell me your complete pack weight? I am trying to get my pack lighter!!! Thanks much

      My pack with 7 days of food and water weighed 45 lbs, so I’d say you are doing really good actually.

    Thanks for this post. It is so informative! I realized that I’m missing a lot of stuff in my pack!

    Awesome post! Very detailed! I plan on hiking John Muir soon and will definitely check your list when it’s time to pack my gear!

    Kristen!
    Your site has been so helpful in my JMT prep! Quick question: can you elaborate on your trekking pole GoPro method? I have the same mount you used and am struggling to mount it to my poles!

    Thanks so much!

      Hey Anna – if you have the bike mount, you should be able to mount it to the top of your pole….but it does make it a little harder to grip your pole. If you find it to be a hassle, I’d suggest the 3 way mount instead. http://amzn.to/29PUfBv This is my new favorite mount and it’s pretty easy to store (without too much added weight)

        Thanks so much! Leaving for the trail on August 2nd and have been constantly on your site for the whole planning process!

    Hi Kristen,

    What a great read. Thanks for validating (and rejecting) some of my early notions. Hope to challenge JMT next year.

    Randy

    Hi Kristen, we will be heading out for the JMT in a couple of days and came across your blog just now. Looking at the entire list of equipment you listed we were surprised about the total weight and were wondering how much the weight of the pack of your companion was (and which one he used and its size).Thanks, Stefan

      Brad had a 50 liter pack. They were about the same weight

    Hi Kristen–awesome list here! I hiking the JMT in August-September this year. I have been trying to decide which camera to bring. My DSLR is obviously quite heavy and bulky for a backpacking trip, but my smaller point and shoot simply does not take the same quality photos. Do you have any suggestions for cameras that are not as expensive as the one you took on your trip, or does one typically have to spend that much to get good quality and light weight? Thanks.

    Hey Kristen,

    This is a great resource! Thank you for all of the information. It\’s a bummer that you ran out of whiskey. Do you recommend a particular lightweight flask?

    John

    Hi Kristen! Just stumbled across your site (thank goodness!) and it has been an amazing help. We are planning on doing a 3 day trip on the John Muir (1 day to get in, 1 day to camp and hike, and 1 day to get out. Any suggestions on a good place that we could get to within a days hike from the Muir Trail Ranch? There are 4 of us going and we all live in Shaver Lake so we’re pretty close to the trailhead at Florence.

    Hi Kristen,
    Awesome comprehensive pack list, wondering what the weight of your pack was or a rough estimation?

    Thanks!
    Kaitlyn

      My pack was about 40 pounds with 7 days of food and 3 liters of water.

    Kristen,

    I’ve read several of your blog posts and they are awesome! I am planning a JMT trip with my 17 year old son next summer (2018) and I have found the information from your posts both helpful and inspirational. Thank you and keep it up

    Brilliant Blog Kristen!!

    Will be using your advice and suggestions as it has been years since I hiked anything substantial.
    JMT has been on my bucket list for the last five years and in celebration of my 60th I have started accumulating the necessary items for a trip in 2018 your advice is going to be invaluable !!!

    Thanks

    Nick

    You really provided great information to us. This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    This is looking great. A great list you shared. This will be helpful for people. Thanks for sharing with us.

    I’ve been reading all about your prep for several months. I’m fairly experienced in day hiking but I’ve never gone actually backpacking. Thanks, thanks for the share. Keep posting.

    Thanks for your sharing! Actually I’ve read some of your posts before and I think you are a good writer that I will keep supporting you in the future.

      Kristen,
      Any thought on how you would adjust this list for a late September hike?

        Hey John! Kim, here. I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and most important thing about going in late September would be to ensure you have plenty of layers as the temperatures begin to drop. Just this past year the Sierras had a bit of snowfall in September so ensuring you have solid navigation skills is also important.

    I intend to do the trail next August depending on when I get the permit it will probably be between the 2nd or 3rd week of August and I’m intending to summit mount Whitney. Do I need waterproofing gaiters and microspikes?

      Hey Abigail, you don’t really need waterproof gaiters. Gaiters though are really helpful–you should check out Dirty Girl Gaiters, they are great, I wore them for the PCT. You’ll only need microspikes if it is a heavy snow year, so we’ll have to wait and see what this winter brings.

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