Dec 3, 2010 at 9:35 am #1266191
It looks like I am going to be able to go out west and do some hiking this summer. I am planning on hiking a section of the JMT in mid September and wanted to get some of you who are familiar with that area critique my gear list. I do all of my other hiking in the southeast so I am not used to the sun and the lack of rain that I hear about in the Sierras. My gear list is in my profile and includes my rationale and questions I have about my selections.
BradDec 3, 2010 at 9:36 am #1670458
The trip will be 5 days and 4 nights if it stays as planned. I will be with a group of six hikers, mostly from the east.
Items in yellow have not been purchased yet.Dec 3, 2010 at 11:03 am #1670486
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Nice work, 10 lbs 4 oz with a bear can is very light. A few comments on the gear you had questions about:
Long sleeve base layer – I almost always wear a short sleeve T in the summer in the Sierras, though this means I have to put sunscreen on my arms. L/S would be too hot for me.
Gaiters – I never use these. Probably not needed on a well worn trail like the JMT. If I ever get sand in my shoes it gets dumped out at rest stops when it's nice to air your socks out to prevent blisters.
Sunglasses – For sure.
Balaclava – I would nix this and just bring your warm hat unless you need both for use with your quilt.
R 0.5 shirt – I would bring either this or the wind shirt. You would not want to hike in both unless it was really cold. I know everybody here likes wind shirts but I'd rather have the warmer 1/4 zip which will breathe better while hiking & adds more warmth at night.
R1 pants – I would switch these for something lighter. I usually bring capilene 3 pants which are 6.5 oz, are warm enough at night, and you can hike in them without sweating up a storm if it's really cold.
Socks – I bring 2 pairs. Every night when I get to camp, I wash out the pair I wore that day, and change into my 2nd pair. The wet pair is always dry by the next night. No need for 3 pairs that way.
Bearvault – Haven't used this one, but I have fit 7 days of food into a Garcia @ 650 ci, so for 5 days/4 nights you should be fine. You don't have to fit the first day's food in it.
Headnet – I would bring this if you don't have any other bug shelter. There may still be a few bugs around in September and it's super light.
Water – You will likely not need to ever carry more than 1L of water. Water should be abundant in September along the JMT. I generally bring 2.5L capacity and carry 1L.
AndrewDec 3, 2010 at 11:08 am #1670489
gear looks fine, but here are the take-aways I remember from my Yosemite to Reds section hike.
– wear some kind of supplex type sun clothing and a full coverage hat. Fends off bugs, sun and light breezes.
– wish I had brought my platy hydration bladder. Tough going to a dry and dusty location when you are used to humidity.
– Would go with a tarptent next time. We camped near groups a fair amount and I just find them more comforting at the end of a long day.
– Should have have just used a canister stove. No hassle to find fuel.
– It gets pretty cold at night, be prepared to sleep well below 32 degree's.
– Lastly take it easy your first few days and drink as much as you can. The altitude can sneak up on you and make you feel like crud.Dec 3, 2010 at 11:46 am #1670498
@monstertruckLocale: Almost Yosemite
Great looking list. I own some of the same clothing.
I did a late August 2009 trip on the JMT, finished on Sept. 5th. It was a very low snow year so there were no bugs. Had several nights in the 20's and one very long night of rain at Tuolumne meadows.
Smartwool Microweight LS: May be too warm at times, mine pilled very badly and mosquitos bit right thru it on a warm up trip so I didn't take it. Wore a Railriders Adventure Shirt and would use it again.
R1 Pants: These are heavy and warmer than necessary, I took Cap 2 5.5oz
Sol Patrol Pants: Have these and love them, they should be durable enough. I like some stretch in my hiking pants so I wore some light tan Jackalope pants instead.
R.5 top: I took one of these as well for sleeping and hiked in it in the morning until I warmed up. Good to have a warmer layer for rainy days and for early am Whitney hike.
I took a Houdini and a OR Zealot so similar there. Houdini will keep the bugs off it's a late snowmelt in 2011.
Levigaiters: I used these. Didn't have one blister the entire trip. Lots of fine sand on the JMT. My toes would be black with dirt but my heels were very clean.
Headnet: Didn't take one. Don't see a bivy or inner shelter though in your list though. Biting ants and lots of mice, also one scorpion visited me on my trip.
Easton stakes: Lost the heads off a couple of these while pounding them in or trying to pull them out. I like the MSR groundhogs better. Hard Ground in the Sierra.
Bearvault 450: Wouldn't be big enough for me. I used a Bearikade Weekender. They are a available for rent.
RyanDec 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm #1670505
@jasongLocale: iceberg lake
first off, what section of jmt are you going to be doing?
i agree with andrew. longsleeve wool=too warm. make it a short and save little weight and if its a chilly mourning you can wear your quarter zip shirt to hike in.
that bear can might be just a tad too small for 5 days. you could always just put your excess in your partners cans as they might have bigger ones. or just bring 50' of cord and string up excess.
no sure how a polycro ground cloth keeps bugs away? depending on snowfall this year mosquitos shouldn't be too bad in sept. they were still pretty bad this august but it was a big snow year.. def bring headnet..Dec 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm #1670506
I second Ryan's suggestion on the Sol Patrol pants. I used these along with a Pata El Ray shirt in the intense sun of the Tetons last summer and they worked great. Also forgot to mention using a pack with some kind of frame with the bear canister.Dec 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm #1670554
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
Hello Brad –
I am no expert, but I enjoy the opportunity to share what I have learned. Take it for what it's worth.
First off – I see that you have not purchased a bear canister. Depending on your timing I have a Bear Vault 450 and/or the bigger Bear Boxer available for "rent". I would rent them to you for $10.00 each for your trip. If you fly in to the SF Bay Area, I am two miles off the freeway on your way to Yosemite. If you fly into LA, won't work.
Here's my comments:
I like a long sleeve shirt that allows me roll up the sleeves and vent at the neck.
Yes to the gaiters.
Sun is intense up high – a group of six people ought to bring 2-3 pairs of disposable sunglasses as spares.
I would stick with the R1 pants to extend the range of the quilt in case you get a cold snap, entirely possible.
Is that enough sleeping pad for you to be comfortable?
Seriously consider an umbrella, both for rain and sun.
Not likely to need a headnet.
Bivy might be a good idea.Dec 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm #1670575
I'll second the LS shirt. I use a LS smartwool crew for all my hikes in the Sierra and I've never had problems with overheating. I burn easy so the LS are a lifesaver.
OR Sun runner hat – I'm planning on picking one up soon. I think it will work well in the Sierras.
Head net – You probably won't need it that late in the season, but at .33 ounces, why not? If you do need it you'll be glad you brought it.
Gaiters – Really personal preference I think.
Soap – I prefer soap to Purell, but either works
TP – It seams like this trip would be a perfect time to try going without TP. If you can't handle it, sneak some from a friend.Dec 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm #1670685
Base Layer – I have a Rail Riders Eco Mesh shirt I could take instead. I am fair skinned and don’t like the greasy feel of sunscreen unless it is an absolute must. Do you think the Eco Mesh Shirt would be too hot?
Gaiters – I don’t normally use gaiters either, but I thought with all of the dry dirt and dust that they might help. We just seem to get mud here. We will probably be doing some off trail stuff too to make a loop.
Sunglasses – Thanks, its funny as I would never think to bring sunglasses here.
Balaclava – You are right; I could probably do without the balaclava. I will have to see just how low I can sleep in just my beanie.
R-0.5 Shirt – I probably won’t hike in it unless it is really cold. I normally just get up and get moving in the morning to warm up.
R1 Pants – I thought they might be overkill plus they take up a lot of room in the pack. I have some of the BPL Merino Tights and a pair of Cap 1 pants so I could take one of them instead.
Socks – The way I hear things dry in the sierras, I should be fine with two and just alternate them. I am used to socks taking 2-3 days to dry, and that is if you get some sun.
Bearvault – It will be interesting to see if I can fit my food in it. If I can’t, I will have to decide if I want to spend the $$$ on a bearikade (and resell after use) or pay the weight penalty of the BV500.
Headnet – After some later comments, I am still contemplating taking my Alpinelite Bug Tent 1.25 instead.
Supplex Clothes – I have a Rail Riders Eco Mesh Shirt that I can take instead of the Smartwool. Do you think that would work better?
I am not a fan of hydration bladder, but I do have one. Why do you think that would be better for this area than bottles?
The SpinnShelter has full coverage for privacy if desired. I also have a bug tent made for it if you feel that bug protection is needed.
We will probably end up taking a couple of canister stoves and larger pots divided up between the group instead of individual cook kits, but would it really be a problem to find denatured alcohol? We will have to buy fuel after the plane lands anyways.
I will check the weather just before I go, but should be good to the mid 20’s. If I need to change things out for a little warmer gear at the last minute, I should be able to (I do have warmer stuff)
I know that I will need to force myself to eat and drink even though I don’t want to. I am a little worried about the elevation as I have never been hiking above 6600 feet.
It looks like I need to change the Smartwool shirt out, what do you think about the RR Eco Mesh Shirt?
I can replace the R1 pants with either Cap 1 or BPL Merino. What do you think?
I am glad to hear you had good luck with the Sol’s. My REI convertibles are looking sad anyways.
I normally don’t take a shirt as warm as the R 0.5 and just rely on my down to keep me warm, but something told me it would be worth the extra weight.
I am leaning on taking the windshirt/rainjacket combo too. I end up using my windshirt a lot during cool mornings at high elevations here in the southeast, now I wouldn’t normally carry it in September, but I am not at 10,000 feet either.
Thanks for the info on the gaiters, I am thinking of giving them a shot.
I didn’t think there would be bugs this late in the season, but I can take my Alpinlight Bug Tent 1.25 if needed.
I didn’t think about the ground being harder than it is here. I do have some MSR groundhogs I can bring, which probably isn’t a bad idea since they are bulletproof
I am still trying to decide on the bear canister. I know I can rent a bearikade, but with shipping here, it is just as cheap for me to buy and re sell when I am done. Plus I would like to use it on a trip before I go to see if I can carry it in my pack packed burrito style with a ridgerest comfortably. If not, I will have to use my framed GG Mariposa Plus, but I prefer a frameless pack if I can make it work with the canister and still keep my full length pad.
The route isn’t final yet, but I think it will be in the Kings Canyon area and include some of the SHR to make a loop.
I am still looking at the bear cans. I may have to go to a bearikade weekender if I cant fit everything in the 450.
I do have a bug tent I can use if you still think there will be bugs that time of year.
Thanks for the offer for the bear can, but I will be flying into Las Vegas.
I am re thinking the wool shirt and my try a nylon shirt like the Eco Mesh.
I will defiantly take sun glasses.
I really just need to check the weather before I go to see if the R1 pants are too much or not.
I am comfortable here in the southeast with that pad, I don’t know if our ground is softer or not, a nice grassy spot would make all the difference.
I do have a birdiepal dainty that I could take.
I have a bug bivy, but not a regular bivy as they tend to have condensation issues here. I could pick one up if needed, maybe a hybrid like the SMD Meteor bivy.Dec 3, 2010 at 8:48 pm #1670687
Also, what do you think about the Sol pants? I can get a khaki pair or a brown pair. The light pair might be more comfortable if it is hot, but the dark pair would hide dirt better, and not make me look like khaki man since my Eco Mesh shirt is also khaki.Dec 4, 2010 at 5:26 am #1670742
The EcoMesh would be perfect. I also just suggested the bladder as I know for me it makes staying hydrated easier. It is real hot and dusty out there so I found I was drinking constantly. Also sounds like your spinnshelter will be fine. As for fuel, I saw canisters at all of my stops but not so much for alchohol (which we used). You can find it out there, I just found it was one more trip logistic that would have been nice nice to deal with.Dec 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm #1670834
@wufpackfnLocale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Nice to see you working on the list and you will get some great feedback from these guys.
– I wouldn't give up on the smartwool yet. I have a Eco Mesh and prefer a lightweight wool shirt. Just my preference. I like the feel of the wool better and how it keeps you warm even when it gets wet. Something I'm experimenting with is a short sleeve lightweight wool shirt with DeFeet armskins. Used for my long run today and worked nice. However if you don't like suntan lotion then a long sleeve might work better.
– Sunglasses are real important. Also take a plastic case to store them. Worth the weight to protect them.
– Never used the Sol Patrol pants. Sound good. My favorite are the Arcteryx Palisades and Rampart. However I also like the Marmot Scree which is a lightwieght soft shell. I have been very impressed with them so far. Wouldn't want to weight about 60 degrees however.
– One liter is probably all you will carry most of the time. A usually take two gatorade, but usually on fill one. I personally don't like a hydration system because I find it easier to just deal with the bottles in the side pockets
– A agree that a pack with a frame is nice with a bear canister. My brother in law used a GG Mariposa Plus last year and had extra room. I used a GG Gorilla and was able to carry the BV500 inside the pack with plenty of room.
– I would take your bug tent. If the bugs are bad (probably will not be in Sept) you will get some protection at night if you want to do any reading, journaling, etc. I will take my Cuben solomid with the innner net.
Good thread I'm getting some ideas also
BradDec 6, 2010 at 5:41 pm #1671552
I already have a Smartwool Lightweight Shirt and a Rail Riders Eco Mesh Shirts so I can make that call later.
With several pairs of sunglasses, it will just be a matter of which ones I want to take and how I want to protect them. I have a couple of cheapo pairs and a few pairs of old beat up Oakleys that I wouldn't be devastated if something happened to.
I ordered the Sol Patrol Pants in khaki so I will see how I like them. I will use them before the trip to make sure they are comfortable and functional. I have a couple of four or five year old REI Sierra Convertibles if the Patagonias don't work.
I hope to make the MLD Ark (or my SMD Swift '10) work with a full length Ridgerest work, but I do have a GG Mariposia Plus (older CF stay version) if I need to use it.
Someone earlier made the comment "if the Ridgerest is comfortable enough". If I can get comfortable in the Southeast, do you think I will have problems on the JMT/SHR? I realize it does look rockier, so that could be an issue.
I added the bug tent back to my list, so add about 8 ounces. I had planned to leave it at home, but if the bugs might still be out, like they would be in the SE in September, it will be worth the weight. Also, scorpions don't sound fun.Dec 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm #1673580
A few questions on gear that I have yet to purchase for this trip.
Wool Boxer Briefs. What does everyone recommend, the Icebreaker 150? 200? or the Smartwool Lightweight or Microweight? I imagine the 200/Lighweight would be more durable than the 150/Microweight , but would it be too warm? Any reason to go with one brand over the other? I have Smartwool shirts and Ibex shirts but no experience with Icebreaker.
Gaiters. Has anyone compared the Levagaier to Dirty Girl Gaiters? If so, what are your opinions?
Sun Hat. How does the OR Sun Runner Hat compare to other options like the Headsweats Protech?Dec 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm #1674208
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
I wore the RR Eco Mesh everyday on the JMT and last summer for 10 days in Yosemite early and late August. Excellent. Did not have to use sunscreen on my arms. Did not over heat I used the SpinnShelter. No problem with bugs. Last summer one Yosemite lakeside had mosquitos. DEET worked fine.
I have used both Lava and Dirty girl gaiters. No major difference. More color options with Dirty girl and you have to remember to put them on before your footwear. I put a small cable tie in the front lace to help with clipping on the toe loop with the Lava. The trail is very dusty (horses!) so gaiters help.
You might consider a WP/B shell (MLD) mitten to go over your gloves or to keep hands dry. I had a hail storm one afternoon.
I do not like balacavas , but my long underwear (Merino) has a hood which helped at night.
An empty bear canister (I used the bearikade) make an excellent wash tup for laundry. Clothes dry very fast in the Sierras. Some of the lakes were not too cold for a good swim. Washed my shirt (Eco Mesh) at mid-day, swam, and it was dry by the time I had to hike again.
I first learned of the JMT from a Thru-hiker I met on the AT in NC, not far from TN. The JMT was my first Sierra hike and I had to return. Unbelievable. Have your camera at the ready!
Here is a good gear guide:Dec 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm #1677713
I am toying around with the idea of replacing my SpinnShelter and Marmot Essence with the SMD Gatewood Cape for this trip. I have had the cape since this past summer, but am yet to use it. Obvoiusly, I would test it out before I go to make sure it works for me (I am 6'-0" tall). I might pair it with a SMD Meteor Bivy for some additional splash/bug protection. I find regular bivies to claustrophobic around the face for side/stomach sleeping, but it looks like the Meteor would eliminate those issues. Opinions?Feb 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm #1695908
As you know I will be doing a loop on the JMT/SHR in mid September 2011 and have been trying to work on my gear list. While I do a lot of backpacking in the southeast this will be my fist trip out west and my first trip at more than 6600ft. I have changed a few items and my gear list most notably my pack and sleeping pad. I was hoping to use either my MLD Ark or SMD Swift '10 with a rolled up Ridgerest as a frame like I normally use, but I couldn't make that work out with the BearVault so I am now planning on using an older GG Mariposa Plus that I have had for a few years and use a more compact sleeping pad combo of a Thermarest XS and 3/8 CCF pad. Please give suggestions and input on my gear list, and thanks for your help thus far.
My updated list is in my profile.Feb 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm #1696300
@hottubLocale: Southeast Texas
Looks like a good list.
I hiked it in mid-September last year. Saw very, very few bugs, mostly at lower elevation water sources. Pretty easy to avoid them, as long as you don't camp there.
Your list looks pretty spot-on, so here's just a couple of thoughts:
* Say yes to gaiters if you are wearing anything less than 6" shoes (which I believe you are).
* If you aren't used to the elevation, "hike high and camp low." Saw several people get very sick because they slept at elevation.
* Take an EXTRA extra camera battery – the cold will eat them!!! Avoid using your camera early in the morning, when it's cold, as this will eat them very quickly. Same goes for a headlight battery.
* A bit of good moisturizer. Saw several people with bizarre reactions to the dry air – cracked feet, hands, lips. Deep enough to bleed. I didn't crack, but I enjoyed giving my moisturizer away.
* Denatured alcohol won't be hard to find…but get it in town before you arrive in the mountains. Don't count on someplace like Red's Meadow. They were out when I was there, but "weren't going to get any more because it was late in the season."
Good luck with your hike!Feb 26, 2011 at 7:49 am #1701795
I would second the gaiters. I used the Dirty Girl gaiters and they worked very well. Something else to consider bringing that I never see listed anywhere is saline nose spray or some type of nasal lubricant. I suffered from profuse nose bleeds when I did part of the JMT in '09 and it was due to coming from the humid South to the dry arid Sierra.Feb 26, 2011 at 8:52 am #1701818
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
I have used the Gatewood Cape as a shelter along the AT. It worked fine as a shelter, but not for me as rain gear. But, since I liked it as a shelter, I purchased the Wild Oasis which has mosquito netting. I have used both the Wild Oasis and a SpinnShelter along the JMT and Yosemite. Both work great.
I used sunscreen on nose and hands when I remembered. Be sure to drink lots of water which is easy to do since there are plenty of water sources right on the trail. It is easy to get dehydrated at altitude. If you start to get a slight headache, drink water. It is a common symptom to get at altitude.
Some campsites the soil is very rocky. I found the thin shepherd-hooked stakes were much easier to get in and find purchase than the Easton shaped stakes.
When I pitch the Wild Oasis or Gatewood, I first lay out the sleeping bag and/or pad. Then I place the pole close and opposite the middle point of the bag and set the tent. Be sure to follow the directions about staking out the corners, or you will find one side in too flat of a shape, too close to the ground. You will see what I mean if you do not set them correctly. Set the long side opposite the door side into the wind. You can get that side low to the ground to block wind much better than the door side. I also added some extra tie out points to help ensure a taut pitch along with shock cord or rubber tubing tighteners (what is the term?) to the tie-outs. Not necessary in the SpinnShelter, but helpful with silnylon of the Gatewood or Wild Oasis.
Photos of shelters in the Sierras. (incl. JMT)Feb 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm #1701940
Thanks for the insight. I think I am going to take a separate rain jacket and the SpinnShelter as the the Gatewood Cape is a little tight for me length wise and I have been warned of occasional bad storms in September.Mar 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm #1705190
Please let me know how well you fit under the Gatewood cape. I'm also 6' and am thinking of getting either the Hexamid/Hexanet(an extra 6" long) or the Gatewood/serenity. Unfortunately, I need bug/tick protection in New England. Also, I wonder if the Hexanet would fit under the Gatewood. On Joe's site the Hexanet is shown with a 6' 2" person lying down (no sleeping bag).Mar 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm #1705192
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
I'm 6'1" and use the Gatewood/Serenity combo. Even on top of my pad I'm comfy in it. Very little extra room, mind you, but enough.
The best way I can describe it is an "average" size bivy with enough headroom to sit up completely and change clothes, roll up your sleeping pad, etc.
GREAT, versatile system, IMO. It's nice using one or the other, too, depending on conditions.Jul 15, 2011 at 2:23 am #1759547
@rlmckayLocale: Auckland NZ
Brad – I live in the "Home of Icebreaker" – New Zealand. Without a bias bone in my body, this gear rocks – go for 150 boxers. I also use the 150 T shirt, long and short sleeve. You can wear these things for 10 days and come out smelling like a baby (assuming that baby has had regular nappy changes!)
I'm coming over to do the JMT in August and will be wear this gear – still tossing up the long or short sleeve options – I have read the sun is hash. I will be wear shorts though – hardly anyone wears long hiking trousers in NZ.
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