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JMT Hike Clothing suggestions
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Adam Cassis
(acassis) - F

Locale: SoCal
JMT Hike Clothing suggestions on 12/30/2012 17:34:26 MST Print View

i am planning on thru hiking the JMT the last 2 weeks in July, so i was hoping to get some input regarding a clothing list. i am going to be using a 40 deg down bag along the way, i usually stay pretty warm at night, but am hoping to make dual use of my clothing to help keep things lighter.
my plan is to hike is a synthetic t shirt and running shorts, with lightweight merino wool socks (2 pair, to rotate thru the day, possibly an additional pair to sleep in). a pair of polypro long johns to sleep in (upper and lower) and a fleece cap for nighttime as well. for warmth i was thinking of getting a merino wool jacket to use on cold mornings and nights, and i would also be bringing a light rain jacket for rain/wind protection as well as an additional layer of insulation. other than a ball cap or sun cap and a couple pair of synthetic boxer-briefs, that would be all i would be carrying along.
would this be warm enough for late july in the sierras? i see many people carrying along down jackets which is added weight and an added expense i would avoid if possible. also is it worth while bringing along a heavier layer for my legs other than polypro in addition to the shorts?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: JMT Hike Clothing suggestions on 12/30/2012 18:03:09 MST Print View

You know, some of the JMT is pretty high, especially around the south end. July is normally a nice month, but it can still freeze hard anywhere near the high passes. I've been snowed upon during every calendar month of the year somewhere in California.

For me, I need some warm clothing during the hour around breakfast and the hour after sunset. I get that done with about 10 ounces of down and another 10 ounces of synthetic fleece, all under silnylon rain gear. YMMV


Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
warmer sleeping bag on 12/30/2012 18:40:36 MST Print View

You are bringing a set of hiking clothes (shorts and t-shirt,) a set of sleeping clothes (top and bottom long johns,) a rain jacket plus some small stuff (hats, socks, undies.)

All of this can be combined of course so on a cold, wet day you can hike wearing all of the above.

So what other clothing do you really need? Strictly speaking nothing. If you get chilly around camp you can always wrap your sleeping bag around your shoulders.

However, most people would be cold at least some of the nights with only a 40 degree bag. A 30 degree bag will be a few ounces heavier and well worth it for a good nights sleep.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: warmer sleeping bag on 12/30/2012 19:46:28 MST Print View

I would get a Montbell EX before getting a merino wool jacket. EX will have better warmth, lighter and less bulk when packaging.

Hard to say about the 40 degree back. If you can sleep in the bag with temps around 30, then go for it. Personally I would take a 30 degree quilt like the Katabatic Palisade and use my EX if it got below 30. People are all over the board how they sleep (temp wise).

Adam Cassis
(acassis) - F

Locale: SoCal
40 vs 30 deg bag on 12/30/2012 20:00:48 MST Print View

thanks for the input. well i planned on using the 40 degree bag becuase its what i already have. i was going to supplement with a bag liner if i felt it was necessary to get me closer to 30 deg.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: JMT Hike Clothing suggestions on 12/30/2012 20:01:20 MST Print View

will you be taking any kind of shelter ?
this would factor in to the warmth issue around camp.

for July-August in the High Sierra, when sleeping in some kind of tent, I take a 40* bag plus a Nano Puff and Patagonia Cap 3 bottoms (in addition to what I wear during the day).

If you are using a tarp, your preferences may vary.

Edited by asandh on 12/30/2012 20:09:32 MST.

Andrew Wolff

Locale: Chattanooga
JMT Clothing on 12/30/2012 21:15:59 MST Print View

I'd second Brads comment about the jacket, a lightweight down or synthetic jacket will be warmer, more packable and need not cost any more than merino. Personally I used a Montbell Thermawrap on the JMT. Also if you are at all suseptible to sundamage I would want some more protection in that department, at least some longsleeves. The backs of my hands were getting burnt this last summer in the Sierra's and my hand are fairly well tanned from working outside, I ended up moving my bandana from hand to hand - should have had some sunblock of sun mitts.

Adam Cassis
(acassis) - F

Locale: SoCal
shelter on 12/30/2012 21:41:50 MST Print View

i plan on using a tarp for shelter with a bug bivy. as far as sun protection, i would primarily be using sunblock, but have considered taking a synthetic long sleeve shirt as well, which obv would be another layer for upper body insulation. i also have naturally darker skin, but understanding that doesnt prevent sunburn. whats the thought on convertible pants? i generally get hot easily and sweat a lot, and am trying to avoid swampass if at all possible.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: shelter on 12/31/2012 01:34:24 MST Print View


Since you're using a tarp and bivy, and carrying long-john baselayer tops and bottoms, your 40 degree bag may be fine. I went in Aug 2012 when we had a lot of rain. hail and bad weather and I had tarp/bivy set up and a 30 degree down quilt,(katabatic Gear Palisade) and I was plenty warm. I did not take base layer bottoms, the only long pants I had were my wind/rain pants and I honestly don't remember if I ever slept with them, which I would have if I were cold. For me, in the summer, even at altitude i've found that i don't need long baselayer bottoms if I have my wind pants.

My bottom clothing was just hike shorts for hiking, run shorts for sleeping, lounging, swimming & whatever and my Montbell stretch wind pants for rain. Top clothing was a Columbia L/S hike shirt for hiking, which is sun and wind resistent, a synthetic shortsleeve shirt, a Capilene 2 L/S and my Montane Minimus Rain Jacket. I also had three pairs of socks, two for hiking and one for sleeping, I probably could have gotten by with only 2 total, a sun hat for hiking and a lightweight sleep beenie.

I found this combination to be versatile to mix and match for any conditions from very hot to very cold and raining/snowing/hailing. I really did not need the short sleeve synthetic top, but i bought it in town when the airline lost my pack for a few days, so that's why i had that.

Unless you are very sensitive to cold, it may not be necessary to go hog wild with bringing too many layers, or thick garments. I'm from Hawaii and honestly, I was always fine. if it were raining or snowing during the day, I was plenty warm with my rain gear on and in the evening at camp or at night even below freezing, I just put on all my clothes as needed and i was fine.

The only thing I forgot and wished i had would be a lightweight pair of gloves. I would suggest looking at the Gear Lists forum to see what other JMT hikers had the past few years.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: JMT Hike Clothing suggestions on 12/31/2012 01:44:39 MST Print View


To follow up and on your question about a down jacket. If anything, i would think a lightweight down or synthetic vest would be ample. I have a Montbell Thermawrap synthetic vest that is very lightweight and packs down very small, but is plenty warm. I took it with me on the Colorado Trail in 2011, but honestly, I only ever wore it in town for resupply stops, which is why I didn't bring it with me on the JMT this year, and I didn't miss it.

So again, I would look at my clothing and shelter as a system and review the layers you have before going to the expense of buying anything new.

Another option would be to have a synthetic hike shirt, a Capilene 3 L/S to act as an insulation layer and your rain jacket.

Good luck!

Adam Cassis
(acassis) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: JMT Hike Clothing suggestions on 12/31/2012 11:46:35 MST Print View

thanks for all the suggestions. i like the idea of the monbell ex light down, but i dont like the idea of dropping $200 on it. i have an old synthetic pearl izumi vest with windstopper that should suffice if combined with a baselayer and wind jacket.

one lingering questions is how does a shelter system (tent vs tarp) affect your sleep system and clothing choices?

David K
(aviddk) - F

Locale: SW Oregon
Patagonia Nano Puff on 01/01/2013 20:35:54 MST Print View

My wife and I both used Patagonia Nano Puffs during our JMT section hike last summer. Combined with a Merino wool long underwear top and a long sleeve shirt we found it sufficient. It violently thunder stormed for nine days starting at around 2:30 PM. We resorted to getting up pre-dawn and hitting the trail without breakfast to get in some miles before the deluge. We both hiked in shorts and short sleeved shirts starting even at daylight. The JMT warms one up quickly. We have 30 degree bags and even my wife found it warm enough inside a tent. One night after a major hailstorm it went into the mid 30s. We both had rainpants as well as long pants. Next time we will probably skip long pants and use the rain pants as we did this time, in camp for warmth. There were virtually no mosquitos when we were there in early August. Okay, I saw something under a couple dozen. If there were many, long pants may sound more important. I took three pairs of socks and wore each for three days, love those Smart Wools thin hikers.

Gotta have a big sun hat, major sunglasses and sunscreen. Don't forget a camera to record the incredible beauty. It's mind blowing really!

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: JMT Hike Clothing suggestions on 01/02/2013 17:47:18 MST Print View


You could easily find the Montbell Thermawrap synthetic vest for under $50.00, especially given all the holiday sales going on right now. That may be an option unless your set on the down.


Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
Bag Liner? on 01/03/2013 05:28:16 MST Print View

Don't count on a bag liner to drop your bag temp to 30* unless you're taking a fleece pile one in which case it's going to be the size of your bag by itself.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: Re: JMT Hike Clothing suggestions on 01/03/2013 06:50:44 MST Print View

I have only done a little Sierra hiking but I would get a 30 degree bag, down inner jacket and wide brim hat plus long sleeve shirt. I like a bit of safety cushion for temps and burn easy. A good insulated pad can also be of help.