July 7, 2010

John Muir Trail Gearlist

I thought it might be of interest to post an overview of our gearlist for the JMT. A lot of thought goes into this, because if you are going to be on the trail for almost 2 weeks, you want to make sure you have everything you'll need, but not carry anything that you won't. As I write this, we are still tweaking exactly what we are going to bring, but this is a pretty good synopsis. I'll be posting a description of our "food plan" tomorrow.


Andrea is carrying a GoLite Pursuit 50L backpack; I'm carrying a slightly heavier Osprey Exposure 50L. While my pack isn't specifically suited for long distance hiking, its a compromise because when I bought a new pack earlier this year, I wanted to get something that I could use for skiing and mountaineering as well.


Our tent is a Black Diamond Skylight 3. Its bigger than we absolutely need, but we like to be able to comfortably store all our gear inside the tent without sleeping up against it all. Plus, it still only weighs in at 4 lbs. This tent is amazing!!! It wasn't cheap, but its something that I bought not just for this trip, but for all the other trips we have planned in the upcoming months and years. It will be worth the investment, that's for sure.

We will both be sleeping in REI Subkilo down sleeping bags. Down is expensive but we got super deals on these bags, and for a trip of this length, its worth every penny in weight savings (and warmth!). Andrea's bag is rated to 15 degrees, mine is rated to 20 degrees. We both are carrying 1.5" inflatable sleeping pads, and inflatable pillows (when you are hiking 20 miles a day, you need to sleep well!).

Clothing and footwear

Andrea is taking Mountain Hardwear Mesa Convertible pants; I am wearing Ex-Officio Nio Amphi Convertible pants. Yeah, we'll wear one pair of pants for the full hike. They'll need to be washed when we get home! ;-)

While we are still tweaking the rest of our clothing, it will probably look something like this: 2 t-shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts, convertible pants, running shorts, shell/rain jacket, down jacket, tights, 3-4 pairs of socks, 2-4 pairs of underwear, gloves, warm hat, sun hat, bandana.

Yeah, they are dorky, but Crocs weigh nothing and are perfect for stream crossings and wearing around camp. We're both taking a pair. Andrea just picked up a sweet pair of Mickey Mouse crocs at an outlet for $5. Wait until you see them! We're both wearing Gore-Tex trail runners as our primary hiking shoes. Neither of us like wearing boots and we don't think they are necessary.

We'll be washing clothes along the way, but its still worth spending a few extra bucks on stuff that doesn't smell bad (Dri-Fit type materials are a total NO-NO!). Smartwool is the ideal, but its ridiculously expensive. We both managed to get short and long sleeve shirts at the local Columbia outlet with an antimicrobial coating at a great price. Those will be out primary hiking shirts. I spent a few extra bucks to purchase Ex-Officio boxer briefs; from what I've heard, they are indispensable for long distance hiking. We'll find out!

We're expecting to be dealing with some snow, so we're taking Mountain Hardwear Seta Strapless gaiters and Kahtoola Microspikes.

Food and Water Storage

All of our food will be carried in Bear Vault 450 cannisters. We will carry about 6 days worth of food to start, then pickup our resupply bucket which has another 6 days worth of food.

We're both carrying 2.5L camelback bladders and will be filtering water using a Katadyn Hiker Pro. We're also bringing along a 3L Platypus bag to have extra water in camp for cooking and cleaning.

I'm also taking a small Nalgene Canteen for rehydrating vegetables. This way we can add water and hang it on my pack for the last hour or two of hiking each day, and the veggies will be ready to go once we reach our camping destination and are ready to eat dinner.


I've had great success with my MSR Pocketrocket stove in the past, and it weighs only a few ounces, so no need to reinvent the wheel on this one. I'll take that stove, one of my Snowpeak titanium pots, and 2 fuel cannisters.

We'll both carry a GSI fairshare collpasible mug (makes a great food bowl) and GSI lexan spork (awesome eating utensil for people wearing crocs!).


I'm taking a set of 13 topo maps and compass, but also loaded the entire route into my GPS as a backup. Navigation should not be too difficult, but I'm willing to carry a few extra ounces to have the GPS for insurance.


I plan on taking A LOT of photos! I'm taking my trusty Canon SD780 with a 4GB memory card and 3 extra lithium ion batteries, and the gorilla pod. Andrea is taking her camera as well... its definitely worth having a backup.

First Aid / Repair Kits / Hygiene

Our first aid kit will have all the basics: variety of medications, gauze, bandages, tape, antibiotic ointment, iodine pills, etc. We've found that moleskin works great for preventing and treating blisters, so we'll have a few sheet of that.

I've got seam tape, duct tape, a thread & needle, and a few other items for repairing gear. I've decided to pack my do-it-all SOG multitool; I realize I could get away with something smaller and lighter, but this thing does everything, so it provides another level of insurance.

We're taking the basic personal products: sunscreen, DEET, chapstick, hand sanitizer, toothpaste/toothbrush, etc. To stay clean, we've got biodegradable soap, but I doubt it will be warm enough to do much lake swimming/bathing, so we've also get body and face wipes. I'm bringing some biodegradable soap that we can wash our clothes with, and safety pins to attach them to our packs so they can dry while we are hiking.


Headlamp (so we can see at night!), trekking poles (SO CRUCIAL), Yahtzee (EQUALLY CRUCIAL). I also carry a small waterproof notebook to use as trail journal, and it has a lot of important information in it that I've transcribed from my guidebooks.

That's pretty much it. Put 10 lbs of food in the bear cannister, and that is what we are carrying. We're going to load it all up tonight, so I'll post an update of what the total weight ends up being. I'm hoping to keep Andrea's pack under 30 lbs, and my pack under 35 lbs.

1 comment:

  1. Jake, you forgot a crucial piece of gear: your Opedix knee support tights. I'll say a prayer for your knees.