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The "not-another-JMT-list" list
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Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
The "not-another-JMT-list" list on 09/15/2010 12:49:34 MDT Print View

Yep, I join the ranks of those planning a JMT hike and looking for opinions on my gear list. My hike is not until next summer though. I’ll be doing it solo N-S. I want to do it leisurely enough to take side hikes and partial day stops along the way and can dedicate up to 3 weeks or so for the hike. However, I need to start sometime between mid-June and the start of July, so snow levels, water crossings, and temps are issues.

I’ve got a starter gearlist and am seeking advice on both how I can lighten a bit, given limited funds, and what I may have forgotten or can leave at home.

The pack I list will change and I’m very interested in opinions given I’ll have a bearikade weekender. Things not on the list that I may need include a warm hat, my khatoola microspikes or an ice axe. The food weight is a guesstimate of 1.5lbs a day based on what I’ve consumed on trips over 5 days.


Edited by roguenode on 09/15/2010 12:51:44 MDT.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
The "not-another" JMT list on 09/15/2010 13:16:26 MDT Print View

Great list--I would not worry about a Ice axe or spikes...I have Bearikade Scout and just did a 7 day section of the JMT and bear bagged my excess food for the first 3 days--Things worked out great----Good-luck on your hike!!!!! Your camera seams just a little heavy.....

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
"The "not-another-JMT-list" list" on 09/15/2010 17:50:17 MDT Print View

But, it is a JMT list.

I saw you will be changing your pack. There can be substantial savings there. I use Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus. I also had the Bearicade Weekender. We found we could get 7 days in a Weekender if we repackaged everything. That did not allow for our other smellables until we took out a days worth of food.

As far as food, 1.5 lbs. might be a bit light. We took 28 - 30 oz a day and tried to take in about 3,000 - 3,200 calories. 125-140 cals. per ounce should be the goal. We definitely were in a deficit on the trip as we figured on burning 5-6,000 calories a day. Our trip was 14 days, so, you may not need as many calories.

Also, even though you have a shelter with a net, I would always take a mosquito head net that early in the season. I would not depend on a Steripen as my only water treatment. We used it for drinking on the trail but used chlorine dioxide tablets when we had more time. Our Journey did not always function as it is finicky with cold, etc. On my last Sierra trip a few weeks ago I rarely treated my water as I just figured it was going to be fine. So far, 2.5 weeks later, so good. Nonetheless, I do not want to suggest to anyone to do that as it is a personal choice.

You have a nice list. Having it all written down will keep you from having other things creep in.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
snow, pack, food on 09/15/2010 19:38:46 MDT Print View

Jay - Thanks for the reply and suggestions. I hadn't considered the scout, as it's not officially approved, but I searched a bit and found a thread you may recall. In it I learned there is not a single official approval organization any longer and hikers showing the scout to rangers have had no trouble on along the JMT. I'm still in early planning stages for exact timing, route, and food drops, but I may be able to go with a scout and use my orsacks for the first bit of overflow.

As for no ice axe or microspikes. I understand my expected start date range *can* be early enough to encounter snow conditions where one or both are recommended. I presently know the hike well enough to evaluate how easy it might be to reroute the usual worst areas for steep snow. Definitely weight savings to leave them at home.

The camera is heavy and I do have an older elph that's lighter. It's tough to leave when it's got a much better lens range 28-280 vs. 35-105. I'll weigh the elph so have an idea of the weight saved.

Scott - I should have said the "Oh, no, not-another...". The GG mariposa plus stands out as a jmt fave. My only concern is the lack of load lifters, which I am used to and find I do adjust depending on how my hips/shoulders feel. What max weight did you carry with it?

For food, I actually think more than that each day, but as there is supposed to be plenty of available water throughout the route, I'm thinking I can dehydrate more food that I normally would and save weight without sacrificing calories. I see what you mean though. Some days are sure to be very high in burned calories and I'll likely need to sustain fitness/caloric intake for approx. 3 weeks. Care to share any favorite high-cal/weight foods?

I've seen posts where headnets were recommended. Didn't know if I'd be fine with just DEET going a bit early. I've had good luck with my steripen in the rockies at well over 10,000 feet and around freezing as long as I warm the battery before use. I do like the idea of emergency backup and a half dozen chlorine dioxide tabs amount to a low-weight/volume backup plan. Thanks.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
jmt on 09/17/2010 07:56:28 MDT Print View

looks like a pretty darn good list :) I am (was) also a Exos 46 user- great pack, but I've gotten my base weight low enough (as appears you have as well) that I thought it was time to shed a little weight there- I went w/ ULA Ohm (just ordered)- might be a little small for longer trips, I'll find out :) liked the fact the Ohm still had some frame and appeared to be laid out pretty well

one possible area to shave a little weight is your cook kit- the ti-tri is great setup, but for solo use I think you could almost cut the overall weight in half- I find a 600 or even a 450 sufficient for solo use- you can get esbit ti stoves (w/ a diy windscreen that allows for burning wood as well) that's in the 2-3 oz range- combined w/ a slightly smaller pot you'd be close to cutting the weight in half

my wife and I are in the early stages of planning a trip (probably 2012) to the JMT- probably the other end of the season though- we're thinking late September at this point.


Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
600 ml sounds good on 09/17/2010 11:09:21 MDT Print View

Thanks for the feedback Mike. I actually have my exos up for sale, but may keep it if I can’t get a buyer without going too low on price. Although, I like the pack, I usually don’t need the space and luxury it offers and go with smaller frameless packs. For the JMT trip, I want to try something different and from a cottage manufacturer. GG and ULA both fit that bill. My heaviest food days may be a bit much for the Ohm or Mariposa plus. I’m not sure which would handle a max load + bearikade the best. Who knows, there may be new offerings next spring I go with instead.

Nice suggestion on the cook kit. It would probably save both weight and volume. I really need to get a 600 pot anyway. I’ll begin searching the forums on various options.

From what I understand, your trip timing should mean less people on the trail and low numbers of mosquitoes. Have fun planning and testing your setup!

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
JMT LIst on 09/17/2010 12:40:23 MDT Print View


There are a lot of nice packs out there. My Mariposa plus is older and does not have the curved stays, so, it's max comfortable load is about 25 lbs. I think I had 28 lbs. when I had 8 days of food in it. My brother bought a Six Moon Swift 10 recently and liked it a lot. He had the same pack you are selling on our JMT hike and now is using the Swift. My base weight for the JMT was 12.5 lbs. My base weight for our Sierra hike a few weeks ago was 10.5. Less clothes, less liquids, and my son carried the tarp!

On my JMT trip report
I spoke a bit about food. Food is hard. How to get the best calories per ounce? How to not get tired of what you brought, etc. My typical diet during the day would be Carnation Instant Breakfast mixed with dry milk in the morning. Maybe a breakfast bar to go with it. Snacks like M & M's Peanut or plain, Cheeze Its, Pringles, Trail Mix, Nuts, Snicker Bars, Pay Day, etc. High calories for the weight. I also added Perpeteum from Hammer Nutrition on my last long hike a few weeks ago. Not what I eat at all at home. Works well on long trail days.

Headnets are light and can let you do your chores around the camp. Deet works but I try and use it sparingly. It's real strong but great when needed. The headnet just lets you keep them at bay while eating, etc.

Edited by scottbentz on 09/17/2010 12:55:47 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
fall trip on 09/17/2010 13:11:07 MDT Print View

yeah- that's (bugs/people) kind of what has me leaning towards a later trip :)

I'm looking at the ULA Circuit fro my wife (depending on what she thinks of the Ohm when it arrives). It looks like it should be up to the task of longer trips a little easier than the Ohm- of course the weight savings aren't as much, but there are still some (vs the Exos)

my thoughts exactly on the Exos- not a single complaint, great pack and is pretty light for what it does

Osprey does have a new (lighter yet) pack coming out in the spring- so keep an eye out there as well- there is some info here on it, but they were prototypes- not sure what the final pack will look like

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
Thanks guys... on 09/19/2010 10:36:01 MDT Print View

Great trip report Scott! Your surreal encounter with the two Italian ladies reminds me of a similar experience I had last year. A friend and I stopped by the research station at a Nature Conservancy wetlands restoration area in Illinois to see if one of our professor’s was onsite. We found the place empty except for two ‘easy-on-the-eyes’ French exchange students who had been staying there on a short-term project. We have since had to confirm that encounter really happened.

As for the SMD pack, I’m not sure the frameless design, particularly with heavy reliance on sleeping pad will work with my neoair. Their site says changes coming soon for the ’11 model, so I’ll keep an eye out.

Headnet: Check – I’ll scope out some options and go with one. Using it as a quick way to keep bugs away from my face at short stops (like dinner before reaching camp) sounds much better than DEET.

Sometimes I also mix a sports powder (ULTRA) in my water on very tough hiking/trail running days. It will make my “food” list, as will lots of dried beans, pbutter/nuts and nutella, ghee and olive oil. Crushed chips might be a good idea, particularly as they can fill odd open spaces when packing. Found a list that has been useful in finding calorie dense food Food Facts

Mike - thanks for the tip on the upcoming Osprey pack. I am actually a bit excited about having thru the winter and early spring to decide on a pack; it encourages my inner gear-head. The Circuit is tried and true for the JMT/PCT. Since most of my trips are in the 2-5 day range, I’m aiming for something smaller.

If anyone finds trip reports from mid-June, please pass them along. Interested in snow and water crossing impressions during that time period.

Edited by roguenode on 09/19/2010 10:37:03 MDT.

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Evolving JMT Gearlist on 09/19/2010 21:06:52 MDT Print View

Chris: Thnx for posting your gearlist. I am a newer member to BPL and I appreciate checking out JMT gearlists especially. I am planning a JMT trip for late next summer.

You mentioned possible places to save some weight. The only lighter weight options I noticed are: Switching to a Zpacks Hexamid tarp tent would save 11 oz. A Therma-a-rest small would save 5 ozs (I think the size regular on the list is 14 ozs). A MontBell EX light down jacket would save 7 ozs. A TNF Anorak would save 4 ozs. A GG Gorilla or Mariposa Plus would save 12 ozs (even if using the internal frame). I use a NeoAir small folded into the pad pocket of a GG Murmur and Gorilla for longer trips with good results. I realize some of these could get a little expensive, but together they would save about 2.5 pounds (39 ozs, not counting any possible stove alternatives). Not sure if this is helpful. Maybe I'll see you on the trail next summer. Andy.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
lithium batteries for the cold on 09/21/2010 06:09:48 MDT Print View

Try to find lithium batteries for your steri-pen. They work best in the cold. The same two batteries lasted the whole hike and beyond for me (14 days), but they were unavailable when I looked for spares at Red Meadows and VVR. I mailed drop extras just in case.
Note: extra time is needed for Aqua Mira in cold water, too. I know iodine does not kill everything, but I can't stand the taste of "Aqua-Pur" tablets.
Having the larger size pot (900ml) makes it easier when using the steri-pen. It just saves a little time doing a liter at a time rather than only 1/2 liter. I kept the pot where it was easy to get, so I could zap liter at a stream, drink it, and, therefore carry less water. ( I often carried none and still stayed well hydrated).

There is a photo at the zpacks site of a Hexamid in use along the JMT.

For me it too an Expedition size Bearikade to fit 8 days of food for one out of the Muir Ranch. As it emptied out, I stowed other gear in it to help distribute the weight.

Wood alcohol and esbits can be used in the came ti stove from Trail Designs.

Edited by rambler on 09/21/2010 06:18:31 MDT.

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: 600 ml sounds good on 09/21/2010 07:08:31 MDT Print View

This year on the JMT I used the MLD 850 and several nights I had it filled with food up to about 3/4 from the lid. I cooked angel hair pasta with dehydrated sauce and it was so full the boiling water would make the lid pop off.

I just had oatmeal for breakfast and snacked throughout the day, but I had big dinners, and there is no way I could have fit any of my dinners in a 450ml pot, and the majority of them wouldn't have fit in a 600ml.

That being said, I see them on lots of people's gear lists, so they must eat less, eat more dense foods, or make two smaller dinners.

The MLD 850 with ULC Ti/Tri Caldera Cone was perfect for me. I used my mug to collect water from a stream and then I used my SteriPen. I got the batteries from Titanium Innovations CR123 Lithium Double and they worked great. I never got the low battery indicator and I used them for about 9 days. The first 4 or 5 days I was treating water for 3 people.