John Muir Trail - gear

In 2015 I was fortunate to win a JMT permit for our group of 6 starting in Happy Isles. A few weeks before we left I became obsessed with weighing and logging everything I planned to carry. I used the resulting spreadsheet to cut out unnecessary weight and made sure I didn’t miss any critical items. I am certainly not a lightweight packer but all of this preparation made me confident that I was only bringing what I needed. The list below contains everything I packed for this trip. Since we had a larger group I was able to share and split several major items. I will also mention up front that my camera gear alone contributed nearly 2lb!

>> Click here for my JMT trip summary page

>> Click here for a list of food I carried on the JMT

Carrying my standard gear on a backpacking trip in Emigrant Wilderness. Photo by Kristen Kamei

Dry Pack List

Item Qty Brand/Model Total Weight (oz)
Backpack 1 Osprey Ariel 65 76
Backpack fly 1 Osprey Ultralight Raincover (L) 5.6
Tent * 1 Sierra Designs Lightning XT 56
Sleeping bag 1 North Face (very old) 26
Sleeping pad 1 Therm-a-rest Women's Prolite Plus 15.3
Pillow 1 Aeros Ultralight 2
Water reservoir 1 Camelbak 7
Water bottle 1 REI Nalgene 1L 6
Water filter * 1 Katadyn Gravity 6L 11.9
Spare filter element 1 Katadyn 2.1
Pot & dishes * 1 Pinnacle Dualist 9.1
Spork & knife 1 Sea to Summit Alpha Light 0.5
Lighter 1 Generic 0.8
Dish Towel 1 Generic 1.2
Bear canister 1 Garcia 44
Head lamp 1 Black Diamond 3.1
Spare batteries 6 Generic 0.4
First aid kit 1 REI Day Hiker & refills 3.7
Trail guide 1 John Muir Trail, Elizabeth Wenk 12.8
Compression sack 2 REI 1.7
Deodrant 1 Dove mini 2.5
Toothbrush 1 Generic travel size 0.5
Razor 1 Gillette, head only 0.1
Medicine 3 Prescriptions/just in case 1.6
Chapstick 1 Burt's Bees 0.3
Sunscreen 1 Neutrogena Ultra Sheer 100+ 6
Hairbrush 1 Goody mini 1.6
Towel 1 PackTowl 1.2
Toilet paper (roll) 1 Generic 3.2
Hand sanitizer 1 Dial mini 2.4
Trowel 1 REI 1.6
Toothpaste 1 Colgate travel size 1
Bug spray 1 Repel 1.7
Contact lenses 24 Dailies 1.7
Cash, ID, credit card 3 Misc 0.3
Camera & lens 1 Nikon D3100 & 18-35mm 20.8
Camera waterproof sack 1 Generic 1
Spare camera batteries 3 Nikon Lithium ion 4.8
Camera battery charger 1 Nikon 3.1
Spare camera memory 2 SanDisk 0.2
Sunglasses 1 Rayban 1.2
Backup glasses and case 1 Misc 2.3
Mesh bag 1 Generic 0.5
Flip flops (pair) 1 Teva 4.8
Tee shirt 1 Generic 4
Pants 1 Columbia 8.7
Long underwear 1 Patagonia 3.8
Mid-weight base top 1 REI 6.8
Rain shell 1 Patagonia Torrentshell 11.5
Warm hat 1 Columbia Beanie 4.1
Bandana 1 Buff 1.2
Boot socks (pair) 1 Thorlo 2.4
Underwear 1 Patagonia 0.7
Bra 1 Generic 2.4
Journal & pen 1 Moleskine 1.9
Phone & charger 1 Apple 6

This is a dry pack list so it does not contain consumables such as water, food, and fuel. Someone else carried a compass and trail map so I did not pack those. Items with an * were shared so I only counted half the weight in my listed total.



I wore/carried the following items starting the hike at the Happy Isles trailhead, in addition to the clothing included in the pack list above.

Item Qty Brand/Model Total Weight (oz)
Trekking poles (pair) 1 Black Diamond 18
Tank top 1 Generic 2.1
Jacket 1 Insulated North Face 15.6
Shorts 1 North Face running 3
Sun hat 1 Columbia 2.7
Boots 1 Asolo 22
Boot socks (pair) 1 Thorlo 2.4
Underwear 1 Patagonia 0.7
Bra 1 Generic 3.8


One member of our group had a planned exit at Red’s Meadow (mile 60) where we also dropped off a re-supply. We had a second and final re-supply sent to Muir Ranch (mile 108). My re-supplies mainly consisted of consumables: food, contact lenses, and fresh toiletries. I also tossed in some luxury items like face wipes and cookies/candy which I could consume and discard before setting off again.

Exit Trailhead

This is one pack list that you should not overlook! Wherever you exit the trail it is heaven to have clean clothes waiting in the car. Just be careful not to leave any food or scented toiletries if you are in an area with bears. For our JMT trip we left a car at the Mt. Whitney portal trailhead long term parking. Unfortunately we had to exit early over Bishop Pass due to the Rough Fire, so we bought some awesome outfits at the K-Mart in Bishop!

>> Click here to read more about our final day on the JMT

Hiking on the John Muir Trail through Tuolumne. Photo by Kristen Kamei