Basic JMT gear checklist 2020-02-08T03:27:47-05:00

Gear: The Basics & JMT Checklist

There is some variation in the gear that hikers bring on the trail, but I tried to include all of the items that are typically brought on the JMT in the list below. When purchasing new backpacking gear, please be mindful of the weight of each item because it can really add up in the end. The baseweight of your pack can greatly affect how comfortable you are while backpacking. It may be a good idea to look at various bloggers’ lightweight or UL gear lists to get a general idea of what each item should weigh. A lot of lightweight or UL gear is expensive, but if you shop around or buy used gear, it can be affordable. I’ve gradually lightened my pack (still need to work on that, though!), and it has made my hiking and backpacking trips much more comfortable.


  • Backpack – Needs to be large enough to fit a bear canister (may need to be at least 50L)
  • Backpack liner or cover – Can use an unscented trash compactor bag to line your backpack
  • Tent
  • Tent groundsheet (optional, depending on your tent)
  • Sleeping bag – Should be rated around 20°F (down is preferable because it is lighter)
  • Sleeping pad – Inflatable or Foam
  • Stove
  • Cooking pot & spoon
  • Water filter & BackupAquamira tablets are a great backup for water treatment
  • Water bottles – Enough to carry several liters (Platypus bottles are a popular option)
  • Waterproof stuff sack for valuables (optional)
  • Small towel or bandana (optional)
  • Headlamp
  • Camera & charger (optional)
  • Phone & charger (optional)
  • Portable battery and/or solar charger
  • Trowel 
  • First aid kit 
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Matches/lighter (optional)
  • Repair tape (optional) – Tenacious tape works well.
  • Map & compass
  • Guidebook (optional)
  • Memo pad (optional)
  • Bear canister – Get a Bearvault or rent a Bearikade (JMT hikers get a 45% discount on rental)
  • Trekking poles (optional) – Especially recommended for stream crossings


  • Rain jacket or durable poncho
  • Rain pants or rain skirt (optional)
  • Insulating jacket – Down or synthetic
  • Wind jacket (optional)
  • One or two outfits (top, bottom, underwear, socks) 
  • Sleep top & bottom
  • Warm hat – For Mt. Whitney
  • Gloves – For Mt. Whitney
  • Mosquito headnet (optional)
  • Camp/water shoes (optional)
  • Sun hat & sunglasses (optional)
  • Gaiters (optional) – Will keep rocks and dirt out of your shoes. Dirty girl gaiters are recommended.
  • Insole (optional)




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