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John Muir Trail FKT Gear List

I did not take a lot on the John Muir Trail. In fact, I neglected most of the ten essentials. But, I knew that this would be the bare minimum to get me from Yosemite Valley to Whitney Portal.

Overall, I did not take a tent, sleeping bag, or many of the traditional items that thru-hikers and backpackers will take on the JMT. My style was all functionality, efficiency, and the gear that would be useful.

In addition to the items below, I took 15,210 calories and did not finish all the food I packed. I traveled southbound and unsupported on the successful FKT! Here is the gear I took. Scroll down for more analysis of why I took each item.

John Muir Trail Unsupported FKT Gear List

This was a prototype but very similar to the Kumo from Gossamer Gear. It had front pockets that worked well for carrying my water while running or snacks through the night.

I tracked the whole JMT on this watch, ending with 51% battery. This is just an amazing tool, and how dependable the battery life is makes it even more mind-blowing and essential.

These are the lightest trekking poles out there. They do break a bit more frequently than aluminum poles, but I haven’t had a problem even on technical trails in years. I stowed them about half the time and used them the other half. I specifically love the handles and the light straps on these poles.

I have been wearing these on adventures 100+ miles. They work well, and I like the cambered style and the little extra cushion compared to other Salomon models.

Since I would only have one piece of insulating gear, I opted for a bit thicker than the others I was considering. The pockets also proved very useful throughout the cold nights. This down sweater was just good enough in the cold temperatures at altitude, and I only wore this Patagonia and shorts for the top of Mt. Whitney.

It did not rain on the John Muir Trail. But sometimes it was windy but not cold enough for a full-down jacket. This 5.4 oz layer worked perfectly in very specific situations. There are no pockets, but I wanted something stupid light for this layer. The Visp fits that bill.

I wanted one layer that covered my full legs. It mainly was planning for Forester Pass and Mt. Whitney at night. I wanted it to be more comfortable than a wind layer and light. The 9.9-ounce mercury track pants worked perfectly. I did not use them much, but they provided the piece of mind while being light. I wear these a lot and find them a great wicking mid-layer.

These efforts are for fun, so an outfit should be fun. These tiger sweatshirts make me laugh, so I have gone overboard and owned several relevant animal face ones by now. I have modified mine by cutting the sleeves off it. But the hood works well to keep the sun off my neck, and the fabric is semi-wicking. Are you sold yet? Just buy one it will make you smile.

Nitecore NU25 (2 of them)

These are rechargeable, and I took two of them to rotate throughout the night. They are very light, recharge quickly, and are dependable. This system worked out great for me, and I think this should be the go-to backpacking headlamp.

I needed something for warmth but also very light. Alpaca works really well for insulating even when sweaty or wet, and it is also comfortable. This went in the pocket of my down jacket and could be put on or taken off depending on the temperature.

I got no blisters. I took two pairs of these socks and changed them once or twice a day. They worked great, and my feet were beat up and swollen at the end but blister-free overall.

I didn’t even intentionally pack these sunglasses, they were just the ones I grabbed. Did they match the theme perfectly? Yes!

Yes, my cold weather gloves were sun gloves. It was the lightest possible but also functional with the fingerless style. They worked great and were exactly what I wanted.

I took two of these for charging up everything. They are a little heavier than I might go in the future. But between my phone, GPS, and two headlamps, I was a little worried about the lack of battery power ending an FKT attempt. These are very durable and lose very little power in the cold and inclement weather, so they had my complete confidence.

You have got to fight off that chaffe. I had a bit everywhere from the butt to crotch to armpits. The key is having this accessible and getting it on the problem spot before it becomes something that will bother you the entire adventure.

This worked ok for tracking. It is not the most reliable, and the battery dies pretty quickly, but it was good enough. It is durable and works well for communicating if that is what you want. It is also more affordable than the inReach options.

Should I switch to more performance wear? Probably… but I’m cheap. These were good enough, and it is what I wore.

With no tent or sleeping bag, I had to take the smallest precaution by packing an emergency blanket.

Do I believe in crystals? I don’t not believe in crystals. You need some moon-charged power out there for the long nights.

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