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JMT Hike by Boy Scout
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Daniel Kopisch
(Eagle) - F

Locale: Menlo Park
I saved 60 oz so far on 06/20/2010 22:28:12 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for your advice. You can find my updated list at under "Hiking the JMT" and "Gear List"

The biggest and easiest saving was giving up 1l of water (-32 oz), getting a smaller and lighter water reservoir (-5 oz), exchanging my Therm-a-Rest Trail for a Therm-a-Rest ProLite Pro (-14 oz), giving up my gaiters (-7 oz), taking a smaller knife (-1 oz), throwing out the clothes line (-1 oz).

My parents are very supportive and have ordered a digital scale (KD-7000), so I can really weigh everything. Once that arrives I will look into food for the last 10 days and see how much weight I can save there. In the meantime please keep the suggestions coming. This has already helped a lot and saves me almost 4 lbs.



Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
more of the same on 06/21/2010 07:26:47 MDT Print View

I found Wenk's book to be a great guide for planning, but there is no need to take all the trail descriptions with you. I copied the profiles of the trail sections, and the appropriate campsite coordinates and mileage charts. I did not carry all of them from the start, but included the ones I needed in the re-supply pick-ups.
I rarely wear gators in the summer, check out "Dirty Girl Gaiters". At $15 they are bargain, lightweight and they stay on low-cuts keeping out a lot of dust from your footwear/socks.
I think keeping your GPS on at all times is a waste of batteries. There are plenty of landmarks and trail junctions to keep track of where you are. If your batteries are fresh, no need to lug spares.
After a few days, I found I did not have to carry any water. I just drank a liter or so at the many stream crossings. Camping close to water sources was easy.
Having only to carry a few days worth of food between food drops is a great way to save weight.
Camp at Guitar Lake on your last day. so you can get an early morning start up Whitney. Morning is your best chance at good weather. I felt bad for people who did not have a clear view from the summit.

When you maybe start to tire and drag a bit near the end of the day, try hiking faster. It works...sometimes!

Try going for a quick swim in some of the lakes. They are not as cold as you might think and dry off time is amazingly fast when the sun is high. Rinse off your shirt and socks. They will be dry before you finish lunch.

If you do take a trowel, do not make it plastic. The soil is often hard and rocky. Check out the Montbell Potty Trowel or "Handy Scoop". I worry that if you just use a rock or you hiking pole to dig you will get discouraged and not make your hole deep enough. Be considerate of those who follow you. Did deep!

What a great project. ( I found no cell phone service after Red Meadows all the way to the Portal)

Edited by rambler on 06/21/2010 07:31:08 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
good progress on 06/21/2010 08:16:45 MDT Print View

Looks like good progress, Daniel!

The really easy items on which to save large amounts of additional weight are the pack itself, water, and food, but we've already talked about those.

I would dump the solar charger. I doubt you'll have any need for it. You've got the 4 spare batteries, which should be plenty for 10 days. You won't need the flash on the camera, and the GPS won't chew through batteries if you don't leave it on 24x7. MTR will let you charge batteries for free (or, for convenience, you could just send yourself batteries in your resupply packages, and mail the used ones home). -5 oz

For carrying water, you've got the bladder, the folding bucket, and the quart bottle. These seem redundant. I think you can easily ditch two out of three of these. -7 oz?

Is the 2 oz of soap only for hand washing, or is it also for dish washing? If it's only for hand washing, you can put 1 oz in a tiny dropper bottle. For hand-washing after pooping, all you really need it about 4 drops in each palm. -1 oz

There are a bunch of other items I've already suggested, but it's up to you whether to do those or not.

It might be interesting to figure out how much of this is actually going to be carried by your dad. Part of what's contributing to your extremely high pack weight is that you're totaling up all the gear and listing it as if you were carrying it all in your own pack. One big item is the 2-person tent. If you break out the shared items and split that weight in half, I think you're getting pretty close to the kind of load that a lightweight backpack could handle, and that would be a huge win. By switching from the 77-oz Kelty to a 16-oz Gossamer Gear, you'd be saving 3.8 lb, which is enormous. The GG is quite cheap. I know you've got a sentimental attachment to the Kelty, but ... have you seen Toy Story 3? We all love Buzz Lightyear, but at some point he needs to go into "attic mode."


Edited by bcrowell on 06/21/2010 08:20:49 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: JMT Hike by Boy Scout on 06/21/2010 09:01:24 MDT Print View

Rather than go through and pick apart each item I went ahead and finally posted my planned gear list for a PCT thru hike next year. If I were doing the JMT again I would change the following from my list.
1) Water - One gatoraid bottle and a single 1L platypus. I also would not filter the water on the JMT.
2) Add in Bear Canister. I also resupplied at MTR. If I were packing 10 days of food I would also take an Ursack for overflow food because they are legal in most areas south of MTR.
3) I usually take a GPS on most hikes but you will know you daily distance by either paying attention to your trail guide, your map or I can email you a single page cheat sheet that has most of the noteworthy points on the trail and the elevations.

Have a great trip.

Edited by gg-man on 06/21/2010 09:02:28 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: JMT Hike by Boy Scout on 06/21/2010 09:16:50 MDT Print View

Greg wrote: "Add in Bear Canister."
He's already got a Bearikade Expedition on his list, which is 900 cubic inches (about 50% more than a Garcia). Daniel, are you and your father each carrying your own Bearikade? If so, then that ought to be plenty of space, even for the 2 lb/day of food you're planning to take (which I think is way too much, unless you're a huge guy).

"One gatoraid bottle and a single 1L platypus."
Yep, totally agree, although he has cut down from his original 9-oz bladder.

"I also would not filter the water on the JMT."
I would agree that water treatment is pretty much unnecessary in the Sierra, if you're careful about choosing your sources, but this is a personal kind of thing. Daniel, if you want to save 3 ounces, swap the steripen for iodine tablets plus a 2-oz filter that goes over the mouth of your water bottle. Or save 5 ounces by using ClO2 tablets, but those will not protect you from Crypto unless you wait a long time. (However, the scientific evidence shows that Crypto is really not a threat in the Sierra.)

Daniel Kopisch
(Eagle) - F

Locale: Menlo Park
Things in Yellow are carried by my dad on 06/21/2010 10:45:23 MDT Print View

My dad and I share equipment and share the load. I put things on the list he will carry, to make sure we won't forget anything that is essential. I marked the things he is carrying in Yellow and didn't add them to my total weight. So throwing out the Wenk or the SteriPen will not bring down my overall weight, since I didn't count it in the total. We are both carrying a bear canister.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Lightweight Backpack? on 06/21/2010 11:21:34 MDT Print View


my son got me now intrigued with his talk about light weight. Since I will be with him on the JMT this year and at Philmont next year, I'm now also looking into lightening my load.
Right now I carry an Osprey Aether 70. It serves me very well and makes it easy for me to carry larger loads. It allows me to put the Bearikade Expedition in it and still have room for the tent, my sleeping bag and other gear.
What kind of UL backpack can fit a Bearikade Expedition? I very much appreciate your input.


Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
What kind of UL backpack can fit a Bearikade Expedition? on 06/21/2010 11:52:04 MDT Print View

"What kind of UL backpack can fit a Bearikade Expedition?"
I suspect that the Expedition would fit, vertically, in almost any full-size ultralight backpack. The more important issues would be: (1) Would you have enough space left inside for the other gear you're taking? (2) Would the total contents of the pack weigh more than the pack can handle structurally? (3) Would your pack weight of 44 lb feel comfortable with the kind of shoulder straps and hip band that you get in an ultralight pack? (4) Would a frameless pack work well for your task?

Here is an example of a gear list for the JMT (mine) that is well adapted to an ultralight pack: But I don't think it's going to work well if you try to pack an ultraheavy gear list in an ultralight pack.

On the other hand, you might find that there are packs that might work well for you that fall somewhere in the middle of that huge gap between mine (16 oz) and the Kelty that Daniel is currently using (77 oz).

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Bear Canister fit on 06/21/2010 12:54:58 MDT Print View

In a test run I fit a bear canister into my Golite Jam vertically (that is about a 3300 cubic inch pack). I think I would have had room for my gear. For mid weight packs I heighly recommend the Gregory Z55 and the newer Z65 might be a good bet if you want more volume. Since Daniel seems to like his external frame Kelty you might check if it could be modified or if there is a similar but lighter external frame out there. My brother found a 2 pound exterrnal frame and says it carries up to 50 pounds just fine. Good luck.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Re: What kind of UL backpack can fit a Bearikade Expedition? on 06/21/2010 13:36:36 MDT Print View

Thank you for your replies. I'm right now just looking at my own gear :)
While Daniel insists in his Kelty, I'm willing to experiment. But he is an invincible 15 year old who is also immortal -- did anyone say "teenager"? -- I'm an old guy who has to watch out for his joints.
My Osprey weighs 74 oz. As the Assistant Scoutmaster for Hiking, Camping, etc. I have done my fair share of 10 and 20 milers with it and I know that it is up for the task. I'm comfortable with what I carry and know I can do 10+ miles every day with it in high altitude. Nevertheless I'm open to the idea of UL and will most likely introduce some of its concepts to our troop for our Philmont trip next year.
Once Daniel gets the scale he ordered, I will put together my list and publish it too. I just became a premium member of this forum and was amazed by the depth of knowledge and all the advice. Based on your advice and what I read in the articles I already switched my heavy inflatable Therm-a-rest for a 3/4 RidgeRest and my REI Halo 25 sleeping bag for a WM Summerlite. Just changing the sleeping system saved me 41 oz. I made the same change to my hydration system as Daniel which saves another 5 oz (+32 oz water). So I will already carry over 4 lbs less. Between now and July 24 I would like to experiment with a UL backpack to see how it handles what I intend to carry. Does anyone know stores in the SF Bay Area that carry them? Do you have preferences for certain models? Why?



Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: What kind of UL backpack can fit a Bearikade Expedition? on 06/21/2010 13:52:47 MDT Print View

For trul UL packs, you need to go with the cottage manufacturers. The exception is GoLite, which I have seen at REI. Can't speak for any of the models. Some Websites you might want to check out:

Gossamer Gear
Mountain Laurel Designs
ULA Equipment
Six Moons Design

Keep in mind that these companies usually do not stock these packs, and there is a waiting time. Gossamer Gear and ULA usually have most models in stock. ULA tends to have more durable and weight carrying products. GG is my favorite brand for packs.

Also here is a great journal that Kevin Yang shared here on BPL and while back.

I think his base weight was under 15lbs. Easy to get it even lower, but you don't want to cut back too much on a first long trip like this.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: What kind of UL backpack can fit a Bearikade Expedition? on 06/21/2010 13:55:19 MDT Print View

There are not many stores around the SF Bay Area that stock UL backpacks. The market is thin, so the mainstream stores like REI don't have much.

Your backpack weighs 4 lb 10 oz. Wow!I haven't used a backpack that heavy in over ten years. Mostly I use ones that are 21 oz, 12 oz, or 7 oz empty.

Those can be comfortable, but it typically prompts you to reduce your overall load, which is a good thing.


Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
medium versus light on 06/21/2010 15:16:27 MDT Print View

For ultralight, I would concur with Nick's suggestion of Gossamer Gear: Their biggest pack is the G4, which is what I have, and I've been happy with it. But the maximum recommended load for that pack is 30 lb, which is still 14 lb lower than we're seeing for Daniel's latest revised pack weight. Daniel's gear list is, IMO, not compatible with any GG pack, or probably any ultralight pack.

Manfred, I totally understand what you mean about wanting to go easy on the joints. I'm 44. When I was 18, I could run, hike, etc., without any concern other than my muscles and my aerobic fitness. In the intervening years, I've had shin splints and plantar fasciitis, both of which took 4-5 years to recover from. Switching to a lightweight style is a huge win for people who are no longer quite so young. If you want to switch to a lightweight style, the first thing I think you need to do is reduce the amount of food you're bringing and switch from the Bearikade Expedition to something smaller. The amount of food you're talking about bringing (20 lb) is almost triple what I expect to eat between MTR and Whitney Portal. (I weigh 140 lb. If you're a big guy, you'll need more.)

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Backpack - G4? Jam? Pinnacle? on 06/21/2010 16:18:30 MDT Print View


Thank you for the link. I looked on this site into the Gossamer G4 and the GoLite Jam and Pinnacle. It's very intriguing to try one of these.
Although I know Daniel can cover more miles in a day and by doing that we would drastically reduce our need for food, I would like to stick with his plan. It gives us plenty of time to fish and enjoy the area. It will be a while before we go back there (our oldest daughter is already asking whether I would hike the JMT with her too in couple of years) and we really want to enjoy the scenery. There is no need to rush.
So I think we will stick with the Bearikade Expedition. We will certainly look into how much food to carry per day and should be able to get it down to 1.5 lbs or even less. That would save at least 5 lbs from the max load. Daniel weighs around 150 lbs and I weigh 190 lbs (at 6'1").
Does anyone have experience with taking a Bearikade Expedition in/on a G4 or Jam or Pinnacle?


Dan Stanko
(Dinsdale) - F

Locale: Loozerville,USA
Pinnacle OK on 06/21/2010 16:28:49 MDT Print View

My buddy carries a Garcia in a Pinnacle horizontal but the Bearicade is longer so verticle would be OK.Overall he's around 35 fully loaded and does OK.

I have a Golite Quest and you would have to go verticle as I can just maybe fit the Garcia horizontal at the bottom if I try.I trimmed my quest about 5 ozs and like the fuller internal frame to carry around 25 lbs for 5 days(I'm 140 lbs).

Edited by Dinsdale on 06/21/2010 16:38:04 MDT.

Jason Lande
(jtlande) - F
UL packs in the bay area on 06/21/2010 16:47:48 MDT Print View

Manfred, you can also check out Sports Basement for the Golite packs (Jam, Pinnacle); the REI on Brannan in SOMA/SF also has the Granite Gear Vapor Lite in stock. Oh, and check out the REI Flash 50 & Flash 65 packs.

Edited by jtlande on 06/21/2010 16:49:03 MDT.

Dan Stanko
(Dinsdale) - F

Locale: Loozerville,USA
Jam size? on 06/21/2010 17:02:49 MDT Print View

Would be interested if anyone here has tried a bear can in a Jam......Seems to me the shape would make it a tight fit and then gear yet on top of that?

Even more so for the true cylinder shape of the Bearikade with it's sharper edges at the lid and bottom.

Your gear list is similar to the ones me and my friend are using(he brings more creature comforts and I a bit less and fewer clothes,hence I'm a bit lighter)....and at 4300 inches(medium) I have room to spare....but a Jam at 3050? That seems real small.I can do one without the can,but not with,theres just not enough volume YMMV

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
JMT Hike by Boy Scout on 06/21/2010 17:05:18 MDT Print View

I'd look at the GG Mariposa Plus over the G4, and cut your volume some. I have to admire any adult who can still sleep on a Ridgerest. I have to go to a POE Ether Thermo 6 years ago.

I'd look at ULA packs too. They weigh more, but they take overloading better than a lot of the others. I'd say more durable too.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
bearikade in Jam or Pinnacle on 06/21/2010 17:07:45 MDT Print View

I have hiked with he large Bearvault in both a Jam or Pinnacle. They are roughly the same size as the bearakide so it is possible. However, I also have a carefully folded Ridgerest that provides a "frame." I think you would definitely want this to carry the weight comfortably. The concern is that the pack will become rounded and not feel right on your back. There is an easy way to tell with a given pack. Take your Bearikade and if you have your foam pad and sleeping bag and try it out in the store. If you don't have the foam pad yet I have both the ridgerest and ridgerest deluxe pad. I can given you the dimensions and you can simulate it using something of the same dimension like newspapers.

Joe Cangelosi
(JoeFish) - F

Locale: All Over California
Re: bearikade in Jam or Pinnacle on 06/21/2010 23:47:16 MDT Print View

I have the Jam2 and am about to do my first canister trip.

Did you put it on top or on the bottom? Or somewhere in between?