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JMT, Early July, 1st Thru-Hike
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Kyle Miskell
JMT, Early July, 1st Thru-Hike on 05/23/2013 02:27:35 MDT Print View

Me and my girlfriend are going to be doing our first thru-hike, the JMT, starting the 24th of June. Here is my gear list, which is on a Google Spreadsheet. What should I nix or modify? Is anything missing?

Note that some items are shared (denoted by the "Shared Object Carried By" column). Also note that the spreadsheet has multiple sheets, a "Main" sheet, as well as "Gear Worn," "First aid," and "Repair Kit." sheets.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: JMT, Early July, 1st Thru-Hike on 05/23/2013 03:53:42 MDT Print View

Kyle, some minor things I would suggest.

Nix the rain skirt. Your feet/shoes get wet, nylon pants will dry quickly while worn. Just use the longer may need to add the material to it making it a bit longer, or, use an extra large jacket.

Add 1 pair of long, medium wt, wool socks. Rinse these out every day, if possible and alternate. Reserve 1 pair for sleeping, ONLY, or a DRY set of cloths.
Dry cloths consist of long johns, socks, down jacket, and sleeping bag. ALWAYS keep these dry!

Add a fleece sweater.

Drop the matches, bring 2 small lighters.

A little extra fuel won't hurt, make it a full liter. You may run low on AM drops for two people, boiling works to sterilize water, as well as cooking.

Suggest dropping the Kindle/charger.

You need bug dope, bring a bottle of DEET. The essential oils will only last about 4 hours at best. DEET will last for several days if it is not washed off.

Camera-drop the charger, put the camera in off after 5 seconds. It will save power. Mine usually lasts about 2 weeks on one battery. The second is sometimes used, but a couple weeks is not that long. 2 batteries will work.

Do not bother with bread bags for your feet. Your feet WILL get wet. That's OK. Feet are normally in a hot & sweaty environment. They will get a chance to dry out well at night.

Add a couple qt zip lock for picked up trash you find.

You could go lighter by dropping most of the first aid kit. A roll of Duct tape is all I ever bring. Along with the SuperGlue, you won't need anything else. But, you need to know how to use substitutes.

An extra bandana works well for a table cloth. Never use this for other things except drying out your other gear. You can tear this apart for lots of different uses.

Food looks good, but not too many bars...they get a little old for two weeks of lunches. Try not to take more than 2 of any one kind for variety.

This will bring your pack weight to about 25 pounds per person. More than sufficient for two weeks.

You could do a lot of little things but this will only save you about 1-2 pounds. (Based on the gear you already have.) Example: Drop the tooth paste. Drop the repair kit, needle and a few lengths of thread, and duct tape will work. Drop the first aid kit, again, duct tape a piece of bandana soaked in fuel will sterilize most cuts/scrapes. Bad stuff is get off the trail, or, get help. Duct tape over hot spots. Slings, and broken bones can be temperarily mended with what you have. But you will leave the trail for anything beyond minor injuries.

Permethrin your clothing. Nylon, wool does well. The fleece will not. Not your socks or underwear (and not your long johns.)

Hike hard and do not be afraid of taking breaks. I figure about 5 minutes in every hour to stop and just look around a bit.

Campsites will be a bit difficult. Hiking Staff? (At least one for setting up the tarp.) A small fire at night can also let you boil some water. Put it in your reserve. Bannock bread, muffin style with dried fruits, is a tasty treat, too.

Food might be a bit short. Figure some chocolate for nights, just before bed. Lots of calories from fats and sugars. I prefer cocoa at night, but this will require hot water. Long cooking times are also possible, such as soups, stews & pot pies, with a fire without dipping into your fuel.

For two people, I bring a 1.4L pot and two aluminum cups with two ti spoons. The cups double as small pots to make hot water. 12oz cups work with a stove for quick heating of morning coffee, while hot water is cooking for oatmeal, rice/w maple syrup, etc is cooking. I pack a small bottle of parified(dried) butter that can be added to breakfasts as butter. Tasts pretty good and adds fats (~250/oz.)

Also, a pocket knife is handier than a razor for many tasks.

Edited by jamesdmarco on 05/23/2013 03:54:39 MDT.

Kyle Miskell
Re: Re: JMT, Early July, 1st Thru-Hike on 05/23/2013 12:24:32 MDT Print View

From what I've been reading about rain on the JMT and others' suggestions I was thinking of nix'ing the rain skirt. Got rid of that and the foot bags.

Added fleece pull-over/base layer. I will switch it out with the wool base layer or wear it over the wool, depending on temp and if it is raining. Then, wear just fleece to bed, along with puffy jacket, as dry layer.

Got rid of toothpaste. Will use Dr. Bronner's. I have a concentrated fluoride rub I got from my dentist after major tooth work. I'll squeeze some of this into two dime bags and mail em with my food drop-offs, then apply it when we pick up food.

Matches replaced w/ second mini Bic.

Charger dropped. Will mail extra batteries (which I already have as I shoot a lot of photos) to drop-off points, mail dead batteries back.

Will lighten first-aid and repair kits.

Added pair of trekking poles for tarp setup. Suggestions on cheap but lightweight poles?

Will use GF's Leatherman Squirt for knife.

I am nervous about the DEET as it is known neurotoxin for humans and can cause liver damage with heavy use. Over 30% DEET sprays have been banned in Canada. The CDCC also has found that over 50% does not add any added protection. I'm also nervous about the Permethrin, which is a know carcinogenic and potential contributor to the contraction of Parkinson's disease.

At the same time I have done forest survery work in skeeter Hell before and it is truly awful. I was using the essential oil mix at that time and you are right, it only lasts a few hours max. Perhaps a mid-way point would be a well reviewed 30% DEET option? Is the Permathin really necessary for early July, considering there was 50% less snowfall on the JMT this past winter?

Also, on the subject of liquids, how much bug spray, Dr. B, and suntan lotion will I need, considering this will be a 21 day hike with 2 mail drops?

That amount of food listed is just for me, which I am aiming bring in 4000 cal per day at 25/oz per day. I have not actually planned food yet, and that is an estimate (160 cal/oz may be too high a goal), thus that poundage may increase slightly. Bannock bread and chocolate sound good.

Pot is actually already at 1.5L. Updated list to show this. We'll each have a ti spoon, but were planning on only brining one cup to share.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: JMT, Early July, 1st Thru-Hike on 05/23/2013 12:51:37 MDT Print View

On the other hand, I recommend some storm trousers to wear for cold, wind, or rain. I hate like hell to stand around in wet trousers, so mine weigh 2.45 ounces and are about half waterproof and half breathable. That isn't much of a weight penalty for a better storm barrier.


Nils Mann

Locale: Rockies
using a bear proof container on 05/23/2013 13:32:31 MDT Print View

Hi, You might drop the bear line and carabiner; to my understanding you do not want to tie anything to the cache since a bear could carry it away.

Kyle Miskell
Re: using a bear proof container on 05/23/2013 13:47:06 MDT Print View

Do you think we will need two canisters? I was planning on one, but my GF had done more canister research than I did. Considering we will be doing 7 days stints in between drop-offs, will we need two canisters?

Kyle Miskell
Re: using a bear proof container on 05/23/2013 13:58:01 MDT Print View

Ah, I see you're right too on the no rope deal. Thanks.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: using a bear proof container on 05/23/2013 14:49:38 MDT Print View

"Do you think we will need two canisters?"


First, you know that the Garcia is a real pig.

First, you estimate how much volume your daily meals take up. Let's just say that it is 100 cubic inches per day per person. Some people pack tighter than that, and some pack looser. It depends a lot on eliminating packaging. If you don't know how to estimate volume, then build yourself a little cardboard box of roughly 100 cubic inches, and then see how much of your food you can stuff into it.

Seven days of food typically skips the first meal to start with and the last meal to finish with, so seven trail days typically equal 6 to 6.5 days of food.

Then you know the internal volume of the Garcia. Do the math.

The very most that I have ever crammed into a Garcia was eight days worth for one person, but that took a lot of work.


Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
JMT with BV450? on 05/23/2013 20:15:26 MDT Print View

Several have commented in other threads that they used a BV450 to do the JMT. Is this because you only need a canister in certain areas, so 5 or 6 days is the longest bear-can-required stretch you'll have to endure without resupply, or because they fill the BV450 with peanut butter or ground up energy bars? I prefer to ditch mountain house / pack-it gourmet packaging in favor of my own freezer zip-locks, but I'm not seeing how I could get 7 days or 14,000 calories in a BV450. Please do tell.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: JMT with BV450? on 05/23/2013 20:40:56 MDT Print View

"I'm not seeing how I could get 7 days or 14,000 calories in a BV450."

1. I do not necessarily bag the food on a per-meal basis. Instead, I have one bigger bag for staples like instant rice and dehydrated quinoa, and I meter out just what I want for each meal based on my hunger.
2. I don't carry much of anything in the BV450 that is packaged other than in ziploc bags. No aluminum and plastic bubbles of air.
3. Seven days means about 6 to 6.5 days.
4. Lots of high-calorie density stuff, like peanut butter and olive oil and salami, in the skimpiest of containers. Take some Robertson's Shortbread Cookies, crumble them up, and they occupy very little space.

When you are done, and you think that you have packed the maximum food into the BV450, then you pour in instant rice, and the grains fill up the air holes.


Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Re: JMT with BV450? on 05/23/2013 21:20:43 MDT Print View

That is a tight pack in a BV450. My fave is angel hair pasta broken in half - 1Lb in 30 cuin. You could theoretically fit 14 pounds in a BV450, 23,800 calories. Cooks about as fast as you can boil.

Dehydrate all sorts of sauce-leather. Just buy tasty pre-made stuff if you don't want to work too hard. Carmalize then dehydrate onions. Wrap tightly with no air in saran, scotch tape shut. Same package for sauce leathers. Dehydrate hot sauce, bbq sauce, anything else that looks good. Cut the leathers into shoestrings and they'll cook real fast. Baggie of parmesan.

Tortillas fit exceptionally well. Butter packs well in a small rubbermaid.

Make your own bars and package them in saran, or repackage store-bought. I will tell you that one grows tired of bars REAL fast. Bags of nuts. salted roasted shelled pistachios from trader joes are my number one, but you want variety.

The key is to minimize air space. Freeze dried dinners take up waay to much room, even repackaged. Last 10-day I packed out >1 pound of empty ziplocks from repackaged MH. Saran wrap works great if you are careful not to smash things around. Density is king, assuming you've removed a lot of the water.

Guy Trek
(trek_guy) - M
Calories per ounce on 05/24/2013 13:19:22 MDT Print View

One thing you can do is create a spreadsheet with the specific food you are planning to each each day, then record how many calories per ounce each item is. I usually shoot for 3,000 calories and it ends up being 1.3 pounds. Calorie dense foods like sunflower seeds (167 cal/oz), pistachios (145 cal/oz) are good, throw in some Mountain House / freezer bag meals at ~100 cal/oz. I've done 5 days in a BV450 and it was packed. And I didn't bring enough foods I liked to eat (due to low calories/oz) which was a mistake. Any more than 5 days would kick me over to a BV500 or the addition of a bear bag if the area allows it.