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Small pack on a high altitude trail

I’m about to head out on the 211-mile long John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It involves a long haul without resupply for more than 100 miles through high, exposed alpine peaks going as far in attitude as 13,100 feet. As usual, I’m not letting the isolation fool me into carrying more weight than I need. Going ultralite is about having items in my pack serve multiple uses. Here’s a quick run down of what is on by back:

Pack and packing materials

Mountain Laurel Designs Women’s Prophet Pack

Compactor Garbage bag (pack liner)

Gossamer Gear Torsolite pad (sleeping pad AND frame for my pack)

Mountain Laurel Designs cuben fiber stuff sack (three of them—food, shelter, and clothes)


Food and hydration:

2-L Platypus hoser (hydration is key to being a happy camper)

Sawyer Point One filter plus hose connector

Foster’s can pot with soda can windscreen and tin foil “lid”

Trail Designs Gram Cracker stove

Esbit Tabs (fuel)

Bare Boxer bear canister

Titanium spork

Mini bic lighter



Patagonia down sweater and Houdini windshirt

Fleece Balaklava

Sleeping socks and Gloves (gloves can be potholders)

Long sleeve shirt and tights

Cuben fiber rain gear

3 pairs of Vermont Darn Tough  Run/bike ¼ length mesh



Mountain Laurel Designs Bivy and 30 degree Spirit Quilt (bivy is my ground cloth and provides extra warmth)


Mountain Laurel Designs cuben fiber poncho tarp (also can use as extra rain gear or for warmth)

6 titanium stakes



Other stuff

Maps and homemade databook

Sharpie (mark my stuff with it but also can keep a journal) with Leukotape around it (a medical tape I use instead of moleskin for blisters)

Gossamer Gear hiking poles (can also hold up my shelter)

First aid kit (Pain killers, anti-diarrhea, anti-histamine, vitamins, anti-itch)

Safety pin (pokes holes into blisters)

Bug spray/sunscreen/hand sanitizer


Gear needed for a John Muir Trail thru-hike

  This is all I need for my hike!