Here’s what many of you have been asking about- a rundown of what I loved and what I wish I didn’t take. I will be doing more thorough reviews on these items, but here’s an overview.
A few of my favorite things…
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack
I could have fit my items in a Gossamer Gear Gorilla, but I love the exterior details of this pack. It comes with a tent sleeve and pretty large pockets on the hipbelt for easy access. It held my bear canister very well. In fact, I removed the metal stay and just stuffed my sleeping bag inside for padding. With an ultralight gear list, I had to have an ultralight bag to go with it. My pack empty was just under 1 1/2 lbs. Compare that to an average 4-5 lb pack. The only issue I would say I had is the straps could have used more padding, but the newest version fixed that!
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bag
Another big weight saver was my Western Mountaineering Summerlite bag. I loved how light this bag was and it was true to its rating. With some layers I was comfortable down to around 32 degrees. I added a silk liner for warmth. I also used the bag to fill in the gaps in my pack and give me padding against my bear canister.
Sea to Summit Standard Silk Liner
I was having a difficult time deciding whether or not I should bring this liner and it was so worth it! It gave me a little extra warmth at night and it kept my bag cleaner.
Guthook’s JMT App
I had a lot of fun using this app. I relied on it a lot to plan out my rough itinerary before my hike even began. I also was able to check out potential water sources, tent sites, and other vital stats. I loved using it for journaling at night as I could quickly figured out my mileage and quickly see how much elevation change I would have for the following day. I learned a bit of history as well as there is a description of each pass and who it is named after!
Sawyer Mini Filter
I was very surprised at how few Sawyer Minis I saw on the trail. I used this in-line with my Platypus Hoser. I simply filled my bladder and it filtered as I drank. Once I placed it in my pack correctly it was very easy to drink through. At 3 oz it is alarmingly lighter than other filters. The only downside I you need another method of filtering/purifying water for cooking or things like shakes if you make you filter in-line with a bladder.
Smartwool Maybell Skirt
Hiking in a skirt is a game changer. It’s easy to be discreet about changing layers and using the bathroom. My Smartwool skirt was the perfect length and so comfortable. It dried fast (and I had about 2 1/2 days of rain on the JMT). I’m not sure I could go back to shorts!
Dirty Girl Gaiters
I didn’t realize how good these gaiters were until I went two miles without them. Using trail runners, my shoes have a very low profile and in those two miles I got an unbelievable amount of debris in my shoes! When wearing the gaiters I never had to stop to get something out of my shoes. They also make a good camera lens cleaner!
It made me a happy hiker…
My Injinji socks made my feet happy. I really liked each toe being separate to avoid rubbing against each other. I do wish they dried faster. One of the really wet days I had to wear my sleep socks (thicker wool socks) and got blisters. When I wore my Injinji socks, however, I was blister free.
EMS rain jacket (no longer sold)
With 2 1/2 days of steady rain, I stayed dry! This rain jacket is tiny too! It rolls into its own pocket and is super thin. I was skeptical about it, but I even kept my camera in the chest pocket and it didn’t get wet. My own complaint is I wish the sleeves were longer as my hands got wet and cold. If it has a little more material I could tuck my hands in better.
I just started looking at my footage and I like what I see. I brought only a headstrap and a homemade monopod attachment to use with my trekking pole. I wish the battery lasted much longer and that I remembered the anti-fog inserts for those rainy days. The camera is light enough to justify bringing it as a second camera on this hike.
RavPower Battery Pack
Although a bit heavy at 8 oz, it was reliable and did the job. I was able to charge my camera, phone (Samsung Galaxy 3S, and GoPro) without worrying about sunlight. It charged my devices quickly. I did find the battery pack takes quite a while to recharge itself when plugged into an outlet.
Gossamer Gear LT4S Poles
Leave it to me to break the tip off my trekking pole the first time using them. Weighing only 4.1 oz you can expect these poles to be a little more delicate than some. Placing a pole in a pile of volcanic rock and continuing to hike forward is not such a great maneuver. I used my poles as intended from there on out and one as the support for my shelter. One night there were heavy winds, rain, and lightening and the pole held hard, keeping my shelter supported. I even could roll into it in my sleep without knocking it over. I even crossed a couple very hairy streams relying on my poles to get me to the other side. The reason these poles didn’t make “my favorite things” is because they had some issues locking when adjusted after significant weather changes. After a cold and rainy night, the pole could be unlocked and adjusted, but would have some issues tightening back up. I’m going to look into this problem more and see if there’s an easy way to fix this. Gossamer Gear does have replacement parts on their site so I will be ordering a new trekking pole tip to make my pole brand new again.
It did its job…
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis
I have some mixed feelings on my Wild Oasis shelter. It is incredibly light at 13 oz and an awesome price (currently selling at $175). When the weather is nice, it is incredibly easy to setup. However, when the weather turned or when it was much cooler, I had to fiddle around quite a bit to put it in “storm mode.” I only got a small hole in the bug netting after nightly use. After setup you wait 30 minutes and then adjust the stakes as the material relaxes. This was ok most nights, but a little frustrating when it was difficult just to find a good spot for the stakes.
Bear Vault 500
No one is happy to carry a 2 lb 9 oz bulky container with them, but on the JMT, it’s necessary to protect the bears. I was able to get 8 days worth of food in my BV500 canister. I did like the fact that it is see through and waterproof. I hiked with a few people had the Garcia canisters and it was much easier for me to open theirs- using an object like a coin vs unscrewing mine like a pill bottle.
Salomon Speedcross 3
I had some mixed feelings about these shoes and decided that I may need a slightly wider shoe for my feet. I loved how light yet grippy these shoes are. They were very comfortable and didn’t give me blisters. However, I did get two holes (one was very big) where my pinky toes were. I had to sew them up on the trail. I got them last year and put about 350 miles on them and they ripped about halfway through my hike (around 250 miles at that point). For the price, I wish they had been more durable, but they did the job.
Kylmit Inertia X-Lite
This 6.9 oz pad can pack into the size of a soda can. I actually used it to replace the sitpad in my Gossamer Gear Mariposa. I would deflate it almost all the way and would have a slight cushion against my back. It is a comfortable pad for back sleepers (and even stomach sleepers) but not so much for side sleepers. Their exclusive “body mapping technology” gives you support where you need it and allows the insulation from your sleeping bag to fill in the gaps to keep you warmer. I enjoyed it on nights I wanted to sleep on my back or stomach but not when I wanted to sleep on my side. Other hikers who had foam pads had a more multipurpose item that could be used when eating dinner, stretching, doing yoga, etc. I would have liked more versatility. Being the lightest self inflating pad on the market (that I know of) it is not going to be a luxurious item. It kept me off the ground and therefore, a little warmer. If you need a lot of cushion or a high r-value to keep you comfortable at night, this pad just isn’t for you. I tend to sleep without a pillow at home….
Get rid of/replace…
Glacier Glove Sun Gloves
The only item I really wish I didn’t bring was sun gloves. Everyone was insisting that they were great and used them all the time. They stayed hidden at the bottom of my stuff sack until I didn’t put sunscreen on the back of my hands one day (whoops) and decided to try them out. I really didn’t enjoy the extra material on my hands, especially when it’s hot out. Do yourself a favor and just keep up with the sunscreen.
What I should Have Packed…
I don’t have anything I really wish I had, but I have a few small add-ons. The first is gloves. I had some very wet days and a very cold Whitney summit (got to the top at 6:40 am). A pair of thin but warm gloves in your last resupply box would be a nice bonus.
The other is some extra first aid items. I rolled my ankle recently before my hike (night hiking and missed a rock) so I brought my ankle brace. Someone I hiked with used my ankle brace near the end. I overextended my knee during this hike and bought a soft knee brace at MTR that was great. One of the guys, John, also had some Juice+ pills and those were great for getting some more nutrients in.
Last modified: September 2, 2017