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Paul Osborn’s JMT Backpacking Gear List

JMT backpacking gear list

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack at Forrester Pass

This was my backpacking gear list for the John Muir Trail in the summer. This 211 mile trail in California winds through the Sierra Nevada, crossing over 13 000 and 14 000 foot passes. Although the valleys were warm, nights can be close to freezing, especially at higher elevations. This list includes the awkward but necessary "bear canister" required by the parks that the trail passes through. Water is plentiful even in the summer meaning that you can get by with 2 litres in your pack, especially if you drink an extra litre at your water sources. If you feel cold as a rule, you may want a warmer insulating layer than the merino layer that I took.
CategoryGear SelectionWeight (oz)Details
PackingGossamer Gear Gorilla26
Trash Compactor Bag2.2I only used this for my sleeping pad and sleep bag. My clothes were in a waterproof stuff sack and my food was in my bear canister.
Bear Vault BV50041This beast is an unfortunate necessity. There are more expensive and lighter weight options out there.
Sea to Summit Ultra sil 5l1This 5l stuff sack fit all my packed clothes for the trip.
SleepingTherm-a-rest Antares31This quilt style bag is rated for 20 degrees (the new one is rated for 15).
Therm-a-rest neoair All season19This is not a light pad, but with the long miles it helped my recovery for the next day. Next time I'd probably go with something lighter like a small Neoair xlite.
ShelterBig Agnes Fly Creek UL 136Despite a river running under my tent, I stayed dry in this free standing shelter. The hiker whose trekking pole shelter fell down has since bought a UL 1.
Packed ClothingMontane Minimus8This UL rain jacket performed swimmingly, although I did accidentally rip off the velcro cuff on the trip.
White Sierra Trabagon Rain Pants6I used these twice on the trail, once to keep warm in the AM and once when coming down off of Muir Pass in a squal.
Terramar Merino half zip7This insulation layer was all I needed 90% of the time. Only one morning had me wearing all of my layers (including rain gear) to keep warm.
Terramar TXO Body Sensor Boxers3These offer great breathability, which is an essential when spending a day hiking in the Sierras.
Point 63
Terramar Smartsilk base layer pants6I wore the matching top most days while hiking. These were great for sleep wear. I can't speak highly enough of this now out of production base layer.
Coghlan's Bug Net1I never bother with bug spray. I'd rather opt for gloves, a jacket and mosquito netting.
HydrationPlatypus 1L soft bottle0.8
Platyreserve 0.8 L0.8My other platy developed a leak and this was all they sold at Tuolomne Meadows.
Aqua Mira Drops2I burned through 90% of these drops in my two week trip.
CookingOlicamp XTS6.7This 1l anodized pot is extremely efficient due to its heat exchanger.
Olicamp Vector3
Fold-a-cup0.8
Light my Fire spork0.5
mini bic lighter0.5
Hand Sanitizer1
Small EssentialsLeatherman Squirt PS42.2In addition to the standard file, punch, screwdriver and can opener, this tool has a knife, pliers and scissors.
First Aid / Survival Kit5
Leukotape2In my opinion, Leukotape outperforms duct tape and is much more versatile. The only downside is that it is not impermeable.
Tenkara Fishing Rod & gear16I brought rice for a few meals and added several trout to my menu.
Pelican VP3 visor light1I brought spare batteries for this, but never needed them.
Compass1
Spot Messenger6
Trowel3
TP (brawny sheets)2
Dr. Bronners Soap/Toothpaste1
Toothbrush1
Mapset4
Total base weight (oz)(not including worn items or consumables)250.5
Total base weight (lb)15.7
This is the gear list that Trail Ambassador Paul Osborn used when he hiked the John Muir Trail.

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4 Responses to Paul Osborn’s JMT Backpacking Gear List

  1. Ken Bradford October 18, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Paul, How did the Gorilla carry with that base weight plus food? The long section between Whitney and the Muir trail Ranch usually reqs 9+ days of grub.

    • pauljosephosborn October 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      Ken, We did 7 days from MTR to Whitney. Definitely leave the pack frame in if you’re carrying a bear vault 500. I found it most comfortable to pack the sleeping bag and pad at the bottom, followed by the canister, then stove and clothes. There wasn’t much room after that in the main pocket! Check out the video. You can see the weight with water at MTR a minute or two in:

  2. Ken Bradford October 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Sweet video Paul! Both GG and ULA direct JMTers away from the Gorilla/Ohm to bigger Mariposa/Circuit with prejudice. Maybe get flak from unprepared hikers? Looks like your weight up to low 30s which is in my range is not a problem. Good confirmation of my sense. Thanx and Happy Trails!

    • pauljosephosborn October 21, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

      I think you’re right. It’s hard to fit much else in the pack if you’ve got a bear canister. Hope to see you around!

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