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Mid August 2012 JMT
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Thomas Weaver

Locale: Western New York
Mid August 2012 JMT on 02/29/2012 22:07:48 MST Print View

This is my first post on Backpacking Light. After being denied the first time, I am thrilled to receive a reservation for JMT Happy Isles->Illilouette. My start date will be August 9 with a exit date on Whiteny of August 19.

I still have to plan the logistics of the trail. At this time, my gear list contains items I am carrying, not including food and clothes that I will wear. However, I am in need of a backpack, trekking poles and canister. Right now I am at about 14 lbs without the pack & food.

I have never used trekking poles & unsure if I will like them. But they seem like they will come in handy for setting up my hammock on the ground if need be. I have 2 hammocks the Clark Jungle Hammock & Warbonnet. The Clark is heavier (42.6 oz.), more uncomfortable, more durable but has the weathershield which I love. In comparison, the Warbonett weights in at(33.3 oz.)

The Neo Air xl is overkill or should I say a luxury ,and I will most likely purchase smaller pad even though I am 6'4''.

Please let me know any gear tips you might have plus suggestions for packs.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Welcome to BPL Thomas ! on 02/29/2012 22:25:13 MST Print View

Glad to hear you've nabbed a much coveted spot on the JMT. While not having done it myself, here are a few things I'd consider for your list:

While a base weight under 20lbs is good by traditional standards - I've noticed that many in at this site strive for around 12lbs or less for an all out base weight (gear carried, backpack) if possible. I am not familiar with hammock camping - being a die-hard ground dweller myself, but it seems to me that a large amount of weight could be saved by moving to a tarp / neoair setup (I used a Neoair large + MLD Cuben SoloMid + GG Polycryo groundsheet on the A.T that weighed = 30 oz. including stakes).

For a well illustrated and informative read, consider reading up on a few articles on the site about how to drop some weight from your "Big 3" (sleeping bag, backpack, tent) and get dialed in on your incidentals (med/repair kit, headlamp, cook set, firestarting, camera/phone/maps, bug deterrents, etc. I really enjoyed reading Mike Clellands book on Ultralight Backpacking tips.

Poles: I never hike without my trekking poles. Save my knees, my face, and just pretty much all of me from my own tripping stupidity.

My Dri-Ducks $20 rain set lasted my about 1,600 miles on the A.T. last year with only 7 duct tape patches on the jacket ..and pants eventually got torn to shreds -- but well worth it for my style of hiking -- fast and light.

I'll let the much more experience JMT'ers take it from here. Cheers and happy trails !

Edited by Whistler on 02/29/2012 22:28:27 MST.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Mid Aug. JMT on 02/29/2012 22:35:10 MST Print View

As much as I love my hammock. I would go with a ground setup on the JMT.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Mid August 2012 JMT on 03/01/2012 00:01:34 MST Print View

"As much as I love my hammock. I would go with a ground setup on the JMT."

+1 on this sentiment.

You are above the timberline for much of the trip. You will be limiting yourself as to where you can effectively make camp. This may or may not be a huge problem, but if you are on a tight schedule, you need to plan accordingly.


Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
tarp, not hammock on 03/01/2012 16:15:17 MST Print View

Save some weight, use the tarp that covers your hammock and leave the hammock at home. This will open up some great above tree line opportunities. You are hiking 200+ miles in 10 days, you do not want to be held back looking for trees! (For example, Guitar Lake is a wonderful spot to spend your final night) I think there is less than normal snow pack this winter which means there probably will be no mosquito problem by mid-August, so no netting needed.

Many many hikers of all ages use trekking poles which will be useful in holding up your tarp, too.

NB: When using your tarp over the hammock you probably run the peak along the diagonal, so be sure your tarp can be set up on the ground with the peak down the center of the rectangle, ie. not on the diagonal. You might need a new loop system to hold the poles.

I am a bit paranoid about leaks, so I used a couple of foam pads and was warm. Do not go without a pad, however, You need insulation from the cold ground as nights can dip below freezing. The Neo Air is great. Maybe consider a light, small piece of nylon or tyvek to go under it, too, as a ground cover protection. But, just be careful of sharp rocks when above tree line. The shepherd a hooked shaped tent stakes work great in the rocky soil.

Edited by rambler on 03/01/2012 16:25:33 MST.

Thomas Weaver

Locale: Western New York
Re: Welcome to BPL Thomas ! on 03/02/2012 07:54:05 MST Print View

@Seth - Thank you for your comments. You give me a lot to think about. Moments ago, I ordered the Ultralight Backpacking Tips book along with the JMT maps.

Your set up is interesting and will do more research. I would save about 2 lbs going with your set up. I am comfortable using the hammock (except as a bivy), and I own two of them, so $ wise it would be better to use current gear then $500 purchase.

@Frank - Thank you for your advice on Guitar Lake. I am not comfortable at this time with only a tarp for protection concept. But I do of course like the idea of not carrying the extra weight. Although, as I read more I may take in in consideration.

Jim Fitzgerald
(jimfitz12000) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Guitar Lake and mosquitoes on 03/02/2012 19:00:51 MST Print View

Have been several threads on Sierra snowfall; IMO it is still too early to state when mosquitoes will be gone. Depends on total snow, snowmelt timing, snowmelt rate, etc. FYI, in some Sierra areas last summer, mosquitoes did not go away until late August/early September.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Guitar Lake and mosquitoes on 03/03/2012 14:32:23 MST Print View

I hiked the JMT August 2008 which was an average snow year. I didn't have mosquito protection other than a small bottle of DEET and a headnet. There were only a couple spots with significant mosquitoes- Rush Creek was one. Guitar Lake had no mossies.

Edited by jimqpublic on 03/03/2012 14:34:08 MST.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Re: Guitar Lake and mosquitoes on 03/03/2012 16:02:34 MST Print View

Guitar Lake has way too much wind. Any mosquitos you encounter there are not there voluntarily; they're totally out of control, passing through at super-sonic speed on the winds. If your tent isn't well staked, it may join them.

Tent sites around the lake have rock walls built around them for a reason that has nothing to do with privacy.

Carl Zimmerman
(CarlZ993) - MLife
JMT Hike on 03/03/2012 18:33:02 MST Print View

I'd forgo the hammock. As others have noted, there is a lot of trail at or above timberline. I'd definitely recommend hiking poles. Saves the knees and helps w/ balance on log bridges & stream crossings.

11 days is a fast pace. Use as many food resupplies as you can to lighten your pack weight: Tuolumne Meadows, Reds Meadows, possibly Vermillion Valley Resort (great food, but expensive; many resupply at the next locale), and Muir Trail Ranch. It's a long haul from MTR to the trail end. With your limited time table, you wouldn't be able to go off trail to resupply and get back. You might be able to schedule a pack mule food drop (expensive).

If you use MTR as your resupply, pack some extra goodies that you really like. Eat them there (caloric version of cameling-up) and leave trash there.

Have fun. It's a great hike.

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
Mid August 2012 JMT on 03/03/2012 21:34:06 MST Print View

+ 4 or 5 or whatever number we are up to on ditching the hammock. As far as mozzies go, I did some 'cowboy' camping last year and my hiking partner 'cowboy' camped the whole time in what I would describe as the worst year for mozzies I have seen in August on the JMT, and neither of us had problems with them once the sun dropped and you went to bed. We needed headnets around camp before sundown, but didn't need them for sleeping. I am planning on 'cowboy' camping the whole time this year if there is no inclimate weather. If this August mirrors previous dry year Augusts, than mozzies are not going to be a problem, IMO.

It looks like we may cross paths this summer. We will be heading NOBO in August. Have a great hike!

Edited by rp3957 on 03/03/2012 21:34:47 MST.

Thomas Weaver

Locale: Western New York
Ditched the Hammock & Other Changes on 03/20/2012 09:54:17 MDT Print View

I took many of the recomendations offered and updated my gear list.

1) Removed the hammock & plan to purchase MLD Superlight Bivy & Cuben Patrol Shelter. I'm 6''4' so I must decide between the XL or the L bivy. The XL will fit my large Neo Air sleeping pad. At some time in the near future, I will go to EMS to test out the regular to see if I am happy with it. If so, I will size down to the large bivy. I also need to put the tyvek weight in my spreadsheet but that should be minimal

2)Removed the North Face Venture rain jacket & replaced it with the Dri Ducks Ultralight.

3)Need to purchase a pack but want to get my gear finalized first. I put the ULA CDT in for weight because that is a front runner along with go lite jam. But please make suggestions. Sort of hard to pick a pack without seeing it. I would like a pack that is fairly comfortable when jogging.

4)Still heavy is the North Face Diaz down jacket at 15.3oz. Not sure if I want to drop the $$$ on another down jacket unless I find a good deal & in the future I may look at the JRB wearable quilts.

5)Enjoyed the book Ultralight Backpacking Tips. Easy read.

Puts me @ a 13lb baseweight.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Ditched the Hammock & Other Changes on 03/20/2012 11:32:01 MDT Print View

That sounds like a nice shelter set up. The patrol shelter has been tempting me for a while. I think the 13lb with bear can is pretty good and was about what I had. You could get a little bit lighter, but I think you'll be pretty comfortable with your current setup -- and you'll be lighter than vast the majority of people out there. Like you said, the down jacket is heavy, but requires money to trim that down a bit. If you did want to replace it, some of the Montbell down jackets are 30% off last years model in the web specials section of their website:

I noticed you had the MLD Burn listed as an option for the pack and I think that would be too small, especially with the Bear Can. The Exodus would probably be better or possibly the Prophet. The ULA CDT also might be too small, but I've never seen one so I'm not really sure. And you'll probably want to add a pack liner, such as a trash compactor bag.

I also didn't notice any water bottles, water treatment, stove, pot, knife, fire starter, etc. listed.

P.S. Sorry if any of this was addressed in the comments above. I only briefly skimmed them.

Thomas Weaver

Locale: Western New York
Re: Re: Ditched the Hammock & Other Changes on 03/21/2012 14:36:36 MDT Print View

Currently own a MSR HyperFlow microfilter which weights in @ 7.4 OZ according to manufacture website. I have used it before but seems like lighter options are available. Saw the Sawyer Squeeze™ Filter and looks a lot lighter and more convenient. Not sure if I like the idea of using the tablets but we shall see. I'm not cooking, still have to plan food but I will be using Perpetuem. For a knife, I will just take a razor blade.

Your comments are really helpful and I appreciate them. Thank you

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
Mid August 2012 JMT on 03/24/2012 17:01:40 MDT Print View

Thomas, Bring back-up drops or tablets if you are using the MSR Hyperflow. They 'supposedly' fixed the clogging issues with this, but if you research and find the review on BPL it may save you a lot of grief. My personal experience with it was miserable! I wouldn't use it as a door stop, let alone a filter to rely on. I had mine clog up, ( backflushing as required ), doing part of the Sierra High Route a couple of years ago, and after day 2, it was useless. This was using it in VERY clear Sierra water. I really would hate to have someone rely on that filter for an extended trip without back-up. What is a bummer, is the weight is really nice on this filter and its flow rate was fantastic for the first few times, but it quickly goes downhill.

Perpetuem works great for me as well on the trail. I love the Caffe' Latte flavor for breakfast, plus it gives you a bit of caffiene as well for a morning pick-me-up.

Edited by rp3957 on 03/24/2012 21:10:00 MDT.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Gear on 03/25/2012 21:31:05 MDT Print View

Good choice on the Patrol Shelter. With the protection offered by the PS you could ditch the bivy. You might want to consider leaving the filter behind in favor of drops and a pre filter to take out partiicles with the admonition to avoid lake water. However you have an excellent gear list with your recent modifications. Looks good.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Mid August 2012 JMT on 03/28/2012 20:52:09 MDT Print View

A small bear canister (e.g. the BV450 you have listed) means more resupplies–-realistically I think you'll need two in this time frame––but means you can move faster with a lighter and smaller pack. Just something to keep in mind as you plan. I found a BV500 easier (I had one resupply in Bishop).

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Mid August 2012 JMT on 04/01/2012 01:01:41 MDT Print View

I used aquamira drops on my JMT with no stomach issues. 2 ounces total, $20. I recommend it.

I just got a solong 6. It's a bit heavier for sure but man Im looking forward to sitting up in the thing. Personal preference.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
BV-450 in Burn on 04/01/2012 06:28:26 MDT Print View

The BV-450 won't fit in the Burn. It easily fits into a Jam. The Bareboxer will fit in the Burn but it is extremely small and you will never meet even the intent of the canister restriction.