My JMT Gear


In the summer of 2017 my 17 year old son and I backpacked the John Muir Trail over 20 days. The trip was extraordinary…I can’t wait to do it again!

I spent a lot of time researching gear, and buying gear, and ended up pretty happy with my set up. My base weight was about 20 pounds, which was light enough to not be a burden but included everything I wanted.

I’m super happy with my Big Four, where I confess I’ve spent the bucks over the years to get lightweight stuff. I LOVE my Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 which I use for just me. Freestanding, lightweight, and huge.


The rest of it, clothes, kitchen, miscellaneous…is really open to whittling down weight in small random places. Clothes is definitely a good place to cut, as most people take too much.  And everyone has small things they love to take regardless of the ounces. But overall, I encourage anyone to cut weight wherever you can. The JMT is 211 miles and 47,000 feet of elevation gain…so my back and feet and legs were grateful for the 20 lbs of base weight. I plan on cutting a few more pounds next time.


So that is 312.6 ounces, or about 19.5 pounds. I ended up adding an InReach to keep in touch with my husband which added some weight, and some of this stuff was carried by my hiking partner (son) since we shared a lot of the gear. I seem to have left off a few things from the list like socks and my headlamp. But I was at about 20 lbs base weight (without food and water). I used Smart Water bottles to carry water. They are super lightweight and easy to use, and the Sawyer filter screws onto Smart Water bottles. I never carried more than 2 liters of water at a time (2L = 4.4 lbs).

I hiked in trail runners: LA Sportiva Raptors, and I will never go back to boots. They were very comfy, lightweight, and I didn’t get any blisters until day 19. I wore them right thru rivers (removing my socks before crossing) and they dried pretty quick. I had 3 pr Darn Tough socks so I kept rotating them to wash/dry/wear.

I never take a pack cover, instead lining my pack with an unscented compactor bag and putting small stuff in ziploc bags. I also don’t take rain pants. My legs and Nike shorts dry fast and it’s not cold enough to worry about hypothermia.

We each started with 5 days of food (~8 lbs), picked up 5 days of food at Reds (~8 lbs), and picked up 10 days of food at MTR (15 lbs). I packed only super dense high calorie food in that last resupply but man, was it heavy!

So that’s about it. Happy hiking!

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