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What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike (this is how you do it)
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike on 08/01/2013 17:49:46 MDT Print View

"Asked the rangers and they said having sleeping gear implied "camping", where anyone can have food in a day pack and take a nap."

Code of Federal Regulations
Title 36 - Parks, Forests, and Public PropertyVolume: 1
Date: 2007-07-01Original Date: 2007-07-01
Context: Title 36 - Parks, Forests, and Public Property.

"Camping means the erecting of a tent or shelter of natural or synthetic material, preparing a sleeping bag or other bedding material for use, parking of a motor vehicle, motor home or trailer, or mooring of a vessel for the apparent purpose of overnight occupancy."

So -
If you walk thru the night and nap during the day, you are not camping.
If you are not camping, a bear canister is not required.

I assume the same of true for National Forests.

Very Interesting....

Edited by greg23 on 08/01/2013 17:53:35 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Minimalist hiking on 08/01/2013 18:10:30 MDT Print View

I love this debate. I think some of the reaction you are getting is do to the nature of your hiking. Many cant realize how insulation layers really aren't needed when you are constantly moving at a brisk pace. As far as rain gear your ground sheet can provide protection in the event that you need o be wet and warm vs. wet and cold. I have employed this tactic on dozens of Sierra trips. The worst case was huddling in a hailstorm on the High Route covered in my ground clothe. It worked fine.

Finally, as far as canisters. If you look at the map where they are required could you out hike the mandatory areas. Yosemite in a day wouldn't be that tough especially SoBo. The area from Pinchot over Forester looks pretty straight forward as well. I haven't followed up on any additional areas that may need a canister over the last few years but these two could be hiked through with a long but very doable day.

Kat ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Minimalist hiking on 08/01/2013 18:13:12 MDT Print View

The reaction he is getting is not due to the nature of his hiking, but to the tone of his original post, very edited by now.

Edited by Kat_P on 08/01/2013 18:14:05 MDT.

Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
rain gear and shelter on 08/01/2013 18:18:45 MDT Print View

Leaving rain gear and shelter at home and encouraging others to do the same is bad practice in my book. We all get wet, cold and tired at times and then it is crucial to have a shelter. Your gear list, svelte as it is, still includes some extraneous items such as iphone charger and extra batteries. Leave those at home and bring your cuben tarp along instead.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike (this is how you do it)" on 08/01/2013 19:00:23 MDT Print View

"Mostly a rain jacket is just a hindrance; it won't keep you dry anyway...I have a 5.5 oz North face jacket..."

Is that the Triumph anorak? I own that jacket. It doesn't breathe for crap. It will wet out from the inside if you wear it while hiking. But a decent event jacket will do much, much better. I reaffirmed this fact last June when all of the weather reports were wrong and a major system moved in. My Rab Demand didn't wet out at all in many, many hours of sleet/rain. No inner wetness either, although admittedly the temperatures were cold. I would have been in trouble in that Triumph anorak: hypothermia.

Here's a possible scenario: you need to make 35 miles a day. Your food rations and mindset require it. Here comes an actual two day rain storm, or one day. In your plans, you're going to hunker down and wait it out; in reality, you're going to press on. And get very cold on those sleeting passes, which take a lot of time to climb over, especially when you're cold. Know thyself: will you really hunker down? If not, bring a real rain jacket.

Edited by book on 08/01/2013 20:55:44 MDT.

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike (simplicity at it's best) on 08/01/2013 19:10:31 MDT Print View

I don't disagree with those who say you can stay warm while moving fast. Problems arise when you get hurt doing so, especially if the weather is bad when you hurt yourself or turns on you while you are immobile unable to quickly escape to a trailhead or lower elevation. All of a sudden you can no longer maintain that speed with a severely sprained ankle. You get soaked, cold, hypothermic etc... It's easy to think that being fast and in good shape equals safe and indestructible. It's just as easy to slip and f-up.

That's when you want enough gear to shelter yourself and stay warm with. I hope you have enough.

In your shoes I would consider a cuben poncho tarp and an additional warm synthetic layer to wear underneath. It will be hard to keep record setting pace in a poncho but If the weather goes poop you'll probably bail anyways and a poncho tarp would allow you to do so more safely.

Other questions on the gear list:

1. Besides foot tape, no other first aid items? Pain killers?
2. Water treatment?
3. Soap or sanitizer to wash hands, would suck to get diaorrhea from poor trail hygiene
4. Wouldn't an extra pair of socks be nice to change into at some point?

Not sure when you are planning your hike. I'll be on the southern part of the JMT in the second half of September. Hope to see you see on the trail. And I also hope it doesn't rain (but snow would be fantastic).


Edited by drown on 08/01/2013 19:12:51 MDT.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike (simplicity at it's best) on 08/01/2013 21:23:23 MDT Print View

Oh, just found the map at.

I can easily get through those areas as long as I get sleep before going into Vidette and at Reds.
The canister gets to be taken off the list.
Not sure what the weight of the bag and hanging items will be yet.

1. Besides foot tape, no other first aid items? Pain killers?
2. Water treatment?
3. Soap or sanitizer to wash hands, would suck to get diaorrhea from poor trail hygiene
4. Wouldn't an extra pair of socks be nice to change into at some point?

1. No
2. No
3. No
4. No

If I hurt myself which is just packing an insecurity with extra gear that then makes you hurt yourself.

I'll be starting Sept 7th.

It seems everyone see's it that it is a must to bring a rain jacket.
I guess I wil just bring my 9 ounce synthetic jacket. It will stay warmer when wet and is much more water resistant.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike (simplicity at it's best) on 08/01/2013 21:54:23 MDT Print View

You only need a canister in YNP, Pinchot to Forester, and on the east side of Whitney, IF you are "camping" in those areas. If you are just "passing through", no canister is required.

Inyo requires "storage designed to protect food from bears", or some phrase like that...
Inyo was fine with Ursacks last year. Don't know what has changed for this year.

Per "Sierra Hikes -

Happy Isles to Donohue Pass is 37
Pinchot to Forester is 28

..although I thought Pinchot to Foresters was closer to 32.

I've done it both ways.(From Whitney to TM.)
Personally I found a canister to be conducive to "stop and sleep anywhere" with minimal fuss.

Obviously "Your Mileage Will Vary".

Good Luck.
Have Fun. (Type III, I believe)

Edited by greg23 on 08/01/2013 22:14:10 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike (simplicity at it's best) on 08/01/2013 21:58:09 MDT Print View

Aaron will be fine. He is going to have almost 13 hours of sunlight per day. If he is in good shape he can average around 3 mph, most of us can't on that trail. He can hike during poor weather at night to stay warm -- most of us would retire to a shelter. He relishes these kinds of challenges, most others don't.

Hobbes 1
What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike on 08/02/2013 07:18:44 MDT Print View

Aaron, since I know you're capable of getting yourself out of trouble, I'll reply to your points with the intention of perhaps informing others.

"A down vest doesn't keep you warm in rain. This is what the 19 ounce quilt does."

I also have a homemade 19oz down quilt built from the TH kit, including an M90 shell. While Paul makes some strong claims about M90, I wouldn't trust it as a bivy. That's why I take along a silnylon tarp - an extra 10oz. Last year, I was between Langley & Whitney under perfect skies @ around 11.5k, but decided to stay in a clump of (stunted) trees, rather than push on 400 yards to exposed granite. I still put up my tarp, even though I like to sleep out. In the middle of the night, some monsoon flow hit with all the works. Lesson: always have the tarp at least ready.

However, my quilt is typically wrapped up tight in my (homemade) compression sack & shoved into the bottom of my pack, with my BV450 sitting on top, and then the rest of my clothes wrapped in a turkey bag at the top of the pack for quick access. I can't think of a situation where I'd want to be digging through all that to get my quilt to keep my warm if I was holed up for an hour or so waiting out a T-storm. My layering system would then be: vest, windshirt (I have a Houdini), then poncho/garbage bag.

It might be me, but I'm getting colder these days as well, so even though my quilt is good down to 30, the vest helps had another 5 degrees or so. My down vest weighs 10oz, extra weight I don't mind carrying. So, now I'm up to 20oz extra, but I'm pretty confident I can comfortably hold out against wet & cold, night or day.

"If you get in this situation, (south of Forester), you don't stay put anyway.
How is setting up a tent and getting in supposed to help you in lightning? You keep moving."

Maybe I'm just sensitive to lightning. If you can stay warm & keep moving, then go for it. But the chance of getting hit doesn't leave any margin - it's pretty binary, yes/no. So, the idea is to find some cover, pull out your pad, put on your poncho/garbage bag, and wait it out.

As for the comment, "stupid light", it really is apropos in the big scheme of things. Here's a for instance: as everyone knows, we had another low snow winter in the Sierra this year, so a lot of water sources are either dried up or highly suspicious. Typically, I've just drank straight up without filtering, but sometimes used tablets.

A few weeks ago, I was using full tablets between two 20oz gatorade bottles just to make sure each bottle had enough time to do its thing. So, instead of carrying 1 container of 16-20oz of water, I was now carrying another 20oz at all times. There's my tarp+quilt weight. Even worse, I took along an empty 1L platypus that I actually ended up using through some sections where there weren't any (good) water sources. So, know I'm carrying 2-4 lbs of extra water, which is blowing out all my SUL attempts.

Last, but not least, even though I'm extremely careful planning my food, I still had at least 16oz *too much* food. Add all this up, and I'm carrying somewhere between 4-5lbs of extra weight - in this context, trying to save a few ounces on important weather gear seems futile. But the funny thing is, I really didn't notice carrying the extra weight. It's not like it's question between 45lbs+; rather, it's the difference between 15 and 20lbs, 4lbs of which is nothing I can control due to the water issue.

Stupid light: skimping on stuff that has a very high utility to weight relationship.

Edited by Hobbes on 08/02/2013 07:20:17 MDT.

canyon steinzig
Re: What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike on 08/02/2013 11:56:49 MDT Print View

just finished my second JMT this summer.
I feel strongly that a tarp should be taken. You should count on rain/hail/sleet and snow. If you don't get ANY then be stoked you were smart enough to be properly prepared for that.

I'm ok with no rain jacket although the weight savings at this point is negligible. It seems more conceptual than practical.

I'm happy your cooking with esbit because the fire they start in a protracted cold rain might save you some real suffering.

Lose the inflatable in exchange for closed cell for sure. Multi-use and safe.

Down vest? I would never go without at least that level of insulation in that country (brought FF Hyperion) but you could if you had a tarp to keep your bag dry.

A Must have for a fast packer is a thin warm (microfleece/marino to go under a wind-shirt
Again I'd take a 50z rain jacket (mine is sil-nylon) mostly because the vapor barrier warmth factor is so much greater that in a wet wind-shirt.
I've found that I can maintain warmth moving in wet down to 40's (ie 50 and windy) if there is a vapor barrier.
If I warm up I strip to wind-shirt.
My down insulation does me no good hiking in rain because it's in a compactor bag waiting save my butt

BTW, your assessment about sleeping under a tree is probably/often correct.
However the scenario (in my experience) is often as follows:

You are just below a pass and the sky opens. Your forced to wait for hours (I spent 12 below Muir) where I was cozy under my tarp in my bag. You would be unhappy and wet. Then if the storm goes from bad to worse instead of clearing (which it will do in the Sierra)you get to build an illegal fire dry things. Dangerous and not particularly effective.

All this points back to a tarp, any tarp from $10 blue to Cuban. Sil for me.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike on 08/02/2013 13:40:40 MDT Print View


Edited by greg23 on 08/02/2013 13:41:38 MDT.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: What I'm Taking on my JMT Hike on 08/02/2013 13:41:19 MDT Print View

My main reason to ditch the tarp in favor of the drop cloth was in favor of not bringing hiking poles.
I like hiking poles but the pack weight doesn't justify bringing them. They then just get in the way, even when fastened to the outside of the pack. When I'm tiered I also seem to leave them behind about once a day and have to go back to pick them up. The JMT is also technical enough that they get in the way while using them at times. My brain is crap when I'm tired.

I don't see how honkering down with a tarp and staying dry is any different than having my drop cloth over me and staying dry?
Again, I've been up in the sierras many times and even in rain, this is not an issue. If I do have to stop, I would just go to sleep anyway.
If it calls for some rain, I'll just bring the large size 8x6 ground cloth.

I changed my top to a synthetic jacket, so being cold is no longer an issue. This jacket has a dual 5 oz layer in the front and single on the rest, (it is warm).

Funny, everybody is telling me that I need a rain jacket then when a 1st timer posts his JMT list, he gets tis reply:

"Clothing: You really don't need your Cap 4 pants. Not that cold in Aug. The Houdini pants are also unnecessary as is the rain gear. Rain storms are short and warm in the Sierras. The Houdini jacket should provide plenty of rain protection and wet legs probably won't kill you. I'd also leave the Polar Puff at home. The down vest is also overkill but a fleece probably weighs about the same. Either will be plenty when layered with the Houdini."

I would not even tell a first timer that.

Edited by awsorensen on 08/02/2013 14:30:29 MDT.

Kevin Garrison
(kgarrison) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area
Klymit on 08/03/2013 22:43:36 MDT Print View

I took the Klymit Airbeam on my recent JMT thru-hike and it lasted exactly 3days before it punctured. I used it with a Borah Stealth pack. I'm not sure what punctured it but I think it may have been my bearikade weekender. I also found the location of the inflation bulb to be a hassle. It was great while it lasted but I was extremely disappointed by its performance. You may have a few uncomfortable nights sleeping if your ha e a similar experience.

Overall, I love your gear list. You definitely have a good feel for what it will do for you and the safety margin that it provides. Enjoy the time.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Klymit on 08/03/2013 22:49:57 MDT Print View

"I took the Klymit Airbeam on my recent JMT thru-hike and it lasted exactly 3days before it punctured."

How did you recover?


Kevin Garrison
(kgarrison) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area
Klymit Recovery on 08/04/2013 10:42:38 MDT Print View

I used my puffy to create some padding in my pack. A Bearikade on the spine is not a lot of fun. For those wondering, I did not carry a patch kit. Making due without the Klymit made me realize that it wasn't necessary to begin with. Unfortunately, I still had to carry it for the next 10 days with zero value. I was jealous of the PCT hikers with their GG sit pads. Not for the extra padding but for the ability to have an easily access pad to sit on during extended breaks.

I should note that GG offered to exchange the pad as they said that neither they nor Klymit had seen a failure. I'm more than a little suspect as the Airbeam pad uses fairly fragile material for something that is stuffed into a pack. I have not bothered to return it however as I don't see spending more money to ship it back when I now consider it to be an an unnecessary luxury item.

Edited by kgarrison on 08/04/2013 10:44:33 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
rock on Aaron on 08/05/2013 17:15:41 MDT Print View

List looks fine to me.

I just want to know what fastpacking is. Sounds like a lame attempting at making backpacking less fred-like than it always will be.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: rock on Aaron on 08/05/2013 19:20:00 MDT Print View

Just in case you missed it -

Dennis Ahern on the JMT

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: rock on Aaron on 08/05/2013 20:39:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for that link Greg. Loved the Bach, and especially the pole cam. :-)

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
fastpacking on 08/05/2013 21:06:21 MDT Print View

To be a fastpacker do you have to wear a pack a size too small?

In all seriousness, very nice backpacking trip.