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JMT-July. GR-20 August.
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Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
JMT-July. GR-20 August. on 04/12/2012 11:56:55 MDT Print View

That's my list. I'll ditch the bear can while doing the GR-20. I'd appreciate any advice I can get on it.

I've tried the bivy/tarp thing and HATED it. I settled on my solong because it's meant for gigantic human beings like myself. Not having my head/feet touch tent mesh is a gift, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, so the tarp/tent stays.

Last year I went with a Peak Elite AC pad which quickly deflated on me from a valve problem (there were a rash of them, returns, bad customer service, etc.) so I didn't want to go that route again. I then proceeded to sleep on a foam mat (Ridgerest) and didn't sleep straight through a single night of the next 10 nights. I'm decidedly going with the inflatable, however I hope this is a good one.

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
Looks good to me on 04/12/2012 12:15:00 MDT Print View

Hey Micheal,

doing the JMT again this year? That's awesome! I'm unable to get away for enough time so I'm doing about a week of it this summer. Your list looks really good but I had a couple of ideas...

1. Rent a bearikade. They have a flat rate for backpackers doing the JMT and it'll save about 5 oz.

2. I'd keep the inflatable pad, good sleep is worth every ounce!

3. I've been tweaking my cook set a little and it's this: Fosters two cup can from Zelph, Esbit graham cracker and caldera cone, mini bic, sea to summit spork, 4 cup ziploc container with cozy from anti gravity gear. It all fits inside the ziploc container and weighs 5.24 oz.

4. You could take your ipod nano and mail your charger to you in one of your resupply boxes. I like having some music to listen to or a book to read when I'm done for the day.

Anyway, nothing revolutionary. When are you doing the JMT this year?


Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
JMT-July. GR-20 August on 04/12/2012 12:23:55 MDT Print View

Hey Eric! Good to hear from you again. I'm doing it this July, probably starting July 2nd (instead of August last year). Sweet you get to get away to do part of it. I had a freak girlfriend accident =). She got a job in San Diego and we're moving down there together. Since we're going on her graduation trip together (5 weeks or so Eurotramping) it just didn't make sense for me to apply for jobs before we got there. That got me thinking that I could add a trip, so I added the GR-20. Then I thought while I'm at it... I'd love to do the JMT at a more leisurely pace, and since I'm quitting anyways... why not. So this time it's a meal in Toulumne, Reds, VVR for a zero, half dome, bench lake, and just kind of the trip I wanted to do initially but couldn't because my work wouldn't let me take unpaid leave.

mailing the charger is a great idea. How long does it take your stove to boil out of curiosity? My cat stove is 8-10 for reference, which feels like an eternity.

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
Lucky on 04/12/2012 13:02:17 MDT Print View

You're a lucky man haha. Those are two excellent trips, back to back and then getting to spend some time in Europe. I'm gonna be doing Whitney from Cottonwood Lakes and I should be hitting the Whitney area around July 18/19th...what's your timetable?

I can get two cups of water to boil (depending on the altitude) in about 6-8 minutes. Plus, if I don't use all my Esbit tab I can just blow it out and reuse whats left over at a later time.

I know you go up to San Gorgonio pretty frequently and I'll be doing some training hikes once it starts to thaw out some. We should try and meet up sometime.

ed hyatt
(edhyatt) - MLife

Locale: The North
JMT-July. GR-20 August. on 04/12/2012 13:15:12 MDT Print View

I've done both and your JMT list is way better than a Eurpean 1st timers idea of Sierra backpacking!


Take a Ti nail (pilot holes, the ground - if you can find a space - is like iron)

Most refuges have cooking facilities (some outside) but you might have to queue. If taking fuel Alcool à brûler is easy enough to get.

If you try to enter European airspace with a mini-Bic they will repatriate you ;-)

Plenty of potable fonts on the GR20 - I only treated water very occasionally.

Justice Baker

Locale: Central Oregon
Bearikade on 04/13/2012 08:58:46 MDT Print View

If you have the extra money buy the Bearikade then sell it afterwards, you will lose less money versus renting. Their used price is near full retail. I have a BV500 also but will probably buy one of the Bearikade canisters and sell afterwards if I need the money and probably only lose $20 to $30, just a thought.

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
Bearikade on 04/13/2012 10:41:47 MDT Print View

To rent a Bearikade for the JMT, it's a flat rate of $55. Buying one is $225 plus tax and shipping.

Justice Baker

Locale: Central Oregon
Re: Bearikade on 04/13/2012 16:04:43 MDT Print View

Including shipping a weekender would cost me $235. I am sure I could sell it for $180 plus shipping, if so I would out even against renting one, probably could sell it for closer to $200 plus shipping.

Travis Davis
(rockytop) - F
JMT gear list on 04/14/2012 20:53:00 MDT Print View


I've got a few questions and not so many suggestions, ha. I'm trying to pair down my Julyish JMT gear list as well.

Is the wind shirt and rain jacket not redundant? Do you spend a lot of time hiking in your wind shirt, and the rain jacket is just too hot? I live in the east and wind shirts aren't very useful, so I don't have experience with them.

Are you packing your BV500 inside your Swift? Does that fit well with all your other gear as well? I have an Osprey Hornet 46 which is about the same size as a Swift, and I'm worried about not being able to fit a BV inside of it with my other gear. Is that what you used last year?

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Re: JMT gear list on 04/15/2012 10:19:00 MDT Print View

Sure James,

I don't list a rain jacket. No redundancy. I'm going to use an umbrella. My windshirt is what I hike with when it's either really windy or really early in the morning. It's one of my favorite pieces of gear that I had no idea about until joining BPL. I sleep with it on occasionally if cold too. With the umbrella, it'll help keep my upper half dry.

Inside my Swift, yup. It fits fine and I have room. It only fits up and down, not horizontally. I did use it last year too. I put my sleeping bag in first, then my bear can, then everything else goes in around it. I also have tiny stuff for the most part. If your base weight is much above mine you may see a problem (like if you have a 16-18lb, something like that). I'd give it a try. What you could do is find the height and diameter of the BV model you want, maybe use some cord to conform a pillow to those dimensions, then stuff it into your pack. Some other mock up maybe? Mock ups always help me with stuff like that.

Wim Depondt
(wim_depondt) - F - MLife

Locale: The low countries
GR20 tips and tricks on 04/18/2012 10:50:43 MDT Print View

Done the GR20 twice. Personally, I think it is a bit overrated, partially because of its popularity (mind you, it still is a great - and very tough - walk). Europe offers better walks.

In August, expect:
- Hot (check this site - note that Calvi is pretty close to the trailhead (coastal): ). Keep in mind that Calvi is at sea level, whilst the GR20 crosses a mountainous region.
- Sometimes violent thunderstorms in the afternoon
- A lot of hikers! Do not except solitude on the GR20, especially in August (on the other side: nice to meet other people from around the EU, including English speakers).

I always take an umbrella but this will be rendered useless during a thunderstorm, so I take a lightweight poncho as backup.

No need to take a stove & fuel on the GR20. ALL camping’s have an – outside – cooking system at no extra charge (in 2011, camping was € 7 pp. Wild camping is prohibited). Infrastructure is pretty good: virtually all camping’s have a refuge and a small shop. It is also possible to get breakfast/lunch/diner (don’t expect a classy restaurant meal though).

Water is often not a problem but take a good map/guidebook with you as some water sources are hidden a way. Due to the heat, I would set off with 1,5l and fill up at each occasion. I only had one day whereby I should have taken 3 liters or so: when I doubled the leg from Coruzza – Tighjettu, using the old – poorly indicated - route (instead of descending to Asco).

Leave the mosquito net and repellent home. Gloves, balaclava, wind pants and other warm clothing are also not necessary, except a microfleece during the evening.
I would take extra batteries for you headlight as the heat might tempt you to leave early, at sunrise (thus implying to pack up while it is still dark).

Apart from your kit:

I would advice to walk north -> south as this allows to climb most –morning - stretches in the shade.
When travelling light, one can easily double lots of stretches. Last time, I did the GR20 in 8,5 days. Keep in mind that some stretches involve some degree of rock scrambling.

Last but not least: the route between ref. d'Usciolu and ref. d'Asinao has been deviated Matalza for commercial reasons. The typical red-white way marks have been painted over with grey on the ancient route. The old route is way better (a.o. it crosses the top of Monte Incudine) and will save you a day. The trick is to recognize the spot where the old route branches away from the old. Afterwards, just follow the grey way marks. Remember: after Usciolu, the old route branches away when reaching a T-crossing (old route to the left, new route – with sign mark to Zicavo – goes to the right). It will be the ‘talk of the refuge’ at Usciolu & Asinao, so you could ask around before setting off).

Good website:

Sebastian Boenner

Locale: beautiful Rhineland (Germany)
You're not alone! on 06/30/2012 08:31:19 MDT Print View

My wife and me are going to hike the GR20 in august, too!
We're probaply starting on july 23 at Calenzana and heading south. We're planning to have a short break (2 days) at Vizzavona (in the middle) to take the train and visit Corte. If everything works out as planned we're finishing at Conca on august 06.

Would be fun to meet another ultralighter on the trail. Most hikers doing the GR20 are probaply too heavy packed from what I've read in the internet. (Normally around 15 -20 kg or even more!)

By the way here's a trip report of a friend of mine who's done the GR 20 two years ago.