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John Muir Trail - Gear List

It's time for everyone's favorite topic: gear!

First I need to say, I am NOT an ultralight backpacker. I do take weight into consideration but more than that I think about comfort. What's the point of getting outside and having the lightest pack when you're still miserable and uncomfortable? Below is a list of everything I carried for 230 miles over 24 days. I used absolutely everything I brought with me, except for my micro spikes, but I was still glad I had them. The only thing I didn't bring that I wish I would have was a pair of athletic shorts. 

BACKPACK & TENT

Jade 53L by Gregory

I have a short torso (15") so I have this pack in the XS/SM size so it is technically 50L, not 53L. This pack fits me really well and I'm glad I forced myself to fit everything into a smaller 50L pack. Previously I used a 65L Deuter pack which I also loved but it was too big. I do think the torso sizing runs a bit small, I'm an XS as I said but I had it adjusted at the far end of SM. I wish Would have tried a SM/MD just to compare. I love the Jade for all of its zippers and compartments, I felt organized and didn't have to dig to find what I needed. The shoulder straps and hip belt are cushy and very comfortable.

Copper Spur HV UL2 by Big Agnes

I. Love. This. Tent. It's not the lightest or the smallest but I love it. I went with the 2 person size to give myself some extra room. I tent to bring my pack into my tent with me to keep it away from critters. It's a tight fit for 2 people but it's a dream for one. There's plenty of room to sit up in it. The double vestibules are great and so is the all mesh tent top, perfect for star gazing when you don't want to use your rain fly. It's also free standing which is great for use in the desert when you can't use tent stakes.

The tent linked above is their newest version. I own the version from a few seasons ago and the new version has some changes, mainly the design of the vestibules. 

I also used the Mini-Groundhog tent stakes by MSR

 

SLEEP SYSTEM

TerraLite 25° F Bag by Western Mountaineering

I like this bag because it's super light, has a semi-spoon shape with plenty of room for a side sleeper (like me) and packs down incredibly small. When I ordered it I requested a 4oz overfill which turned it into a 20° F bag. 

I stuffed my sleeping bag into the small eVent Compression Dry Bag by Sea to Summit. It's not cheap or ultralight but it compressed my big puffy bag to take up hardly any room in my pack plus it kept it dry. 

Women's Comfort Light Insulated Air Sleeping Pad by Sea to Summit

My favorite sleeping pad ever, especially for women who typically sleep on their sides. The egg crate/air sprung cells and 2.5" thickness acts like your mattress at home and gets rid of pressure points. I'm 5'8" so I went with the Large 72"Lx25"W. It gives you a bit more room in the mid section so you won't have to worry about falling off of your skinny 20" wide pad. It's easy to fill with the air pump that doubles as a stuff sack. I tend to under fill it with air so I can sink into it a bit. It's incredibly comfortable! It's also insulated and has a 3.9 R value so it helps keep you warm from the cold ground. I never had any issues with air leaks, it stayed inflated all night, every night.

Down Pillow by Exped

I really like the feeling of sleeping on a pillow that feels like my pillow at home rather than feeling like I'm sleeping on an uncomfortable plastic air bubble. The fabric is a soft jersey knit and it has a down filling along with an air chamber. The shape is great too, cradling my neck as I drift off to sleep. Again I tend to under fill it a bit so it's not as hard. I got the medium size. 

 

COOKING SYSTEM

PocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit by MSR

This is my all in one stove, cooking pot, pot lifter, lid and bowl with measurements. It's lightweight, small, sturdy and has been my go-to backpacking stove for years. Everything fits inside the stove pot which is incredibly convenient. You can even fit a small standard fuel canister in there! The Deluxe version is great because it has a built in igniter. I have the previous version which does not include an igniter so I have to bring a lighter. I also swapped out the lid for a piece of folded aluminum foil which was lighter weight. Works with any screw on isobutane/propane fuel canister.

On shorter backpacking trips I also bring my Infinity Backpacker Mug by GSI Outdoors but for the JMT I just cooked and ate/drank out of my cook pot. If I needed it I also used the plastic "bowl" as a cup.

Spork - Alpha Light Long Spork by Sea to Summit

I was anti spork for the longest time - I wanted a separate spoon and fork. I've learned that that's one utensil too many so this is now what I use. Get the long one so that you can dig to the bottom of your backpacker meals without getting your hands too messy.

 

HYGIENE/TOILETRIES

Kula Cloth

Trowel

Camp Suds Biodegradable Soap

Wet Wipes/Body Wipes

Norwex Body Travel Towel

Assorted items: travel size contact solution, daily contacts, vitamins, etc.

 

HIKING CLOTHING

Shirt: Silver Ridge Lite by Columbia

Pants: Screeline Hybrid Pants by REI

Underwear: Give-N-Go 2.0 Sports Mesh Bikinis by ExOfficio (I had 3 pairs I'd cycle through)

Sports Bra: Nike

Socks: PhD Pro Outdoor Medium Hiking Crew by Smartwool

Hat: Quest Hat by Sunday Afternoons

Glove: ActiveIce Chroma Sun Gloves by Outdoor Research

Neck Gaiter: Lightweight Merino Wool by Buff

Bandana: Ladies of the JMT by HikerBound on Etsy

Boots: Breeze III by Vasque

Waist Pack: Ultralight Black Hole by Patagonia

Belt: Ranger (w/ elastic webbing) by Arcade Belts

 

SLEEPING CLOTHES

Long Sleeve: Merino 250 Base Layer by Smartwool

Short Sleeve: Merino Cool-Lite by Icebreaker

Pants: Merino 250 Base Layer by Smartwool

Sacred Socks: PhD Outdoor Light Hiking Crew by Smartwool

 

LAYERS

Insulation: Down Jacket (discontinued) by Mountain Hardwear

Rain Jacket: Aspire Jacket by Outdoor Research

Rain Pants: Stretch Ozonic Pant by Mountain Hardwear

 

WATER FILTER SYSTEM

Filter: Sawyer Squeeze by Sawyer

Dirty Bottle: Platy 2.0L Bottle by Platypus

Clean Water: 1L Smartwater

PRO-TIP before you leave get a Smartwater bottle with the sport cap. The small opening fits perfectly on the Sawyer Squeeze and you can use it to backlash your water filter so that you don't have to bring the syringe that comes with your filter. 

 

SAFETY

Cosmo 250 Headlamp by Blackdiamond

First Aid Kit (I repacked it in a smaller ziplock bag)

Nail Clippers

Signal Mirror

Sunscreen

Insect Repellent (lotion works much better than a spray)

Mosquito Head Net

Permitherin Insect Repellent (I treated all of my cloths and gear with this before I left for my hike)

 

MISCELLANEOUS

InReach Explorer+ (GPS + Satellite Communicator +SOS) by Garmin

PowerCore 20100 Battery Pack by Anker

BV500 by Bear Vault

Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles by Leki

Microspikes by Kahtoola

 

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