Tales From a Backpacking and Hammock Gear Addict on the JMT (Part 1)

Gear Addict – or – Gear Enthusiast?

Let’s talk backpacking and hammock gear needed on the JMT.  As mentioned in my intro post here on The Trek, the idea of backpacking started for me about two years ago.  “Let’s go backpacking,” she said.  “It’ll be fun,” she said.  “Sure, let’s do this!” I said.  I mean, how hard could it be?  I hike all the time, so there’s nothing new there.  The only difference I saw was that I’ll need to carry a tent, sleeping bag, and some food, right?  Wrong!  Oh, I was so wrong.  It’s almost laughable now.  What started out looking like a simple hobby has blown out of proportion into a full-blown addiction.

Addict – is that the right word?  It seems kind of harsh, but maybe it’s correct.  I don’t think I would sell my body on the streets or steal my kid’s money to get a new backpack.  I mean, what kind of backpack are we talking about?  I’m sure if I had to choose between food and a new hammock, I would probably choose food… probably.  Is ramen considered food?  Yes!  In the world of backpackers, ramen is food, so yes, I could live on ramen.  Seriously though, let’s just say I’m a gear fanatic or enthusiast with a slight obsession and the goal to become an expert.  Yes, let’s just say that.  It sounds better.  So, as you read on below, remember to think enthusiast… not addict… or crazy… or insane.  I’m sure you catch my drift.

Backpacking Gear – Addiction or Enthusiasm

How Did I Get Here?

So, how did I get here?  I didn’t just go from calm and collected to a crazy (I mean enthusiastic) gear hoarder (I mean collector) overnight, did I?  No, it built up to this.  It starts as an idea, then it becomes a hobby.  After a while, it becomes more than just a hobby.  It becomes your passion.  Passion!  Yes!  That’s a great word!  I’m not an addict, or crazy, or insane… I’m just very passionate!  Let’s go with that.

Yes, I’ve been here before with other passions.  While pregnant with my son, I grew a passion for cloth diapering.  I did so much research for my own use that I became more of an expert and then shared what I learned with others.  You can see what I mean on my blog, Adventures In Fluff.  Knowledge is power, and I love to share knowledge.

Research – Research – Research

Research is the key.  Once I start researching, I just can’t stop if it clicks.  I love doing research.  As I said in my last post for my JMT Itinerary Part 1, I love plans, spreadsheets, and lists.  I create them daily in not only my work life but also my personal life.  Researching backpacking and hammock gear for the JMT was no exception.

I remember my first spreadsheet.  I was researching hammocks.  The spreadsheet compared pricing, weight, features, reviews, and more.  After that, I researched backpacks, then tarps, cooking pots, sleeping pads, tents, and sporks.  You heard me right.  I researched and created a spreadsheet for sporks!  After all, a spork is very important.  You don’t want it too long or too short.  It can’t be too heavy, but you don’t want it so flimsy that it falls apart as you dig into a nice warm meal.  The cost shouldn’t be too high. I mean, it’s a spork, for god’s sake.  So now you see why the research is so important.

For gear nerds like me who want to see my whole process, you can check out my 3 Steps for Researching New Backpacking Gear.  I really dive into my process there.

Trial and Error

After I’ve narrowed down my choices via research and spreadsheet on a particular type of gear, I’ll order my top pick or sometimes my top 3.  There is something about seeing a product in person that a spreadsheet just can’t replicate.  With backpacks, I ordered my top 5 picks.  With hammocks, I ordered only my top pick (my hammock was custom-made and expensive, so you can’t order a lot of those).  I’m pretty sure I ordered my top 3 sporks and my top 3 cooking pots.  Sometimes I keep the runners-up, or sometimes I return them.  Amazon is great for testing products, but even cottage gear companies (small mom-and-pop shops) know that some things you just need to try on… like backpacks (ULA, Zpacks, and Gossamer Gear have great return policies for this reason).

If I plan to return the item, I just test it out in my home.  If I’m going to keep all of the options anyways, then I head out on the trail with them.  Or, in my case… I live in the foothills of the Sierras, so I spent a lot of my first year hiking into our neighborhood hills, camping for a night, and then coming back to refine my gear based on what I learned.  Let’s just say that I’m now known in our neighborhood as “That crazy girl who sleeps in the hills alone.”

Testing Out Backpacks

My Goals with My Gear

  • Weight – I firmly believe that a light pack leads to a happy hiker, so that’s what drives a lot of my decisions on gear.
  • Functionality – Besides weight, an item also needs to function well on the trail.  I read tons of reviews before choosing gear to see how it worked for others and then I compare features with what my main goals are with a certain piece of gear.  Gear that doesn’t function is just dead weight.
  • Aesthetics – Not high on my list, but hey… I am an interior designer.  If possible, I like my gear to look good.  I can’t wait to show you my new custom quilt!!!!
  • Price – I’m not going to lie.  Price is not high on my priority list.  I will pay a pretty penny for low weight and functionality.


Most of the time, my gear research system works out on the first round, yet sometimes I need to do another round if none of the products seem to click.  In those instances, I just start the research process over.  There are times, though, that I just want to try something new, even if there is nothing wrong with my gear.  I’m always trying to get my gear lighter and more efficient.  For this reason, I’ve upgraded my backpack, quilt, battery bank, headlamp, tarp, bear can, and more.  This is where the addiction (or rather passion) takes over.  This is why my gear closet is filled to the brim.  I’m not complaining, but my bank account might be.  Who knew that pretending to be homeless in the woods would cost so much.

Call it what you will; addiction or a passion for gear.  Either way, I hope you can benefit from all of my trials through the years.  Read on below to find out exactly what backpacking and hammock gear I will be bringing for this first section on the JMT.  I’ll let you why I’m bringing each item, if it’s new to me or if it’s been in my pack for a while, and what I love about it if I’ve used it before.  The fun part will be when I get back and let you know what worked and what didn’t on the JMT… unless I picked the wrong shoes and I slide off of Half Dome.  That might be kind of tragic (sorry, Mom).  For the record, I think I picked the right shoes.

My Backpacking and Hammock Gear on the JMT (Part 1)

As a preface to my backpacking and hammock gear list, I just want to give you a bit of background about this section of the hike.  I will be hiking from Happy Isles to Tuolumne Meadows and then back to Happy Isles. Due to to the Tioga Pass Road being closed, I cannot exit at Tuolumne Meadows; thus is the reason I will be hiking back to Happy Isles.  This will require more food and a larger bear can.  I’ll also be hiking half dome.  This will require extra gear to climb the cables.  It’s Snowmageddon 2023, so I’ll need extra gear taking the snowpack and cold temperatures into account.  I’m also blogging my entire journey, so I’ll have extra gear for that.

Head on over to my gear list for more details regarding weights, pricing, and where to buy all of the products listed below.

Backpack Gear for the JMT


  • Backpack: Kakwa 55 – This is a new piece of gear for me, and I’m super excited to break it in!  Previously I had the ULA Circuit (love it!), but I was looking to drop weight, so that’s where the Kakwa 55 came in.  I love that it’s waterproof, light, holds heavy loads, has one zipper pocket for small stuff, and is large enough to carry a bear can (although I’m going to carry mine on top.  I also tested out the Zpacks Arc Haul (which I returned) and the Gossamer Gear Mariposa (which I kept).
  • Backpack Liner: Nylofume Pack Liner – I always waver on taking this item, but it’s so light that it’s dumb not to take it.  My new backpack is waterproof, but I’m not sure I would trust it in a downpour.  That being said, I’m going to take the stupid liner despite it being annoying to shove all of my stuff into it.  I’d rather that than risk having wet clothes or wet bedding at the end of the day.

Shelter and Sleep System for the JMT

Shelter and Sleep System

  • Hammock & Underquilt: Superior Gear Elite 15-Degree Hammock – I researched for months to find the perfect shelter, and boy was it worth it!  I love how easy this hammock is to set up and don’t even get me on how warm and toasty it is.  It’s not the lightest option out there, but this is where function comes in. Less setup time means I get to spend more precious moments swinging in pure fluffy cloudlike bliss dreaming of hot chocolate brownies and sipping champagne! Who needs to fuss around with tents and stakes when you can be floating on a marshmallowy dream? It’s like winning the time-saving lottery and being rewarded with scrumptious treats and bubbly relaxation. So, while others struggle with their camping gear, I’ll be here, living my best life, surrounded by sweet fantasies and the comforting warmth of a cozy bed. Cheers to efficient camping and the blissful delights it brings!
  • Hammock Underquilt Protector: Superior Gear Lite Underquilt Protector – The underquilt protector seems like a no-brainer addition.  I went with the lite version to save weight, but still get most of the benefits.  The protector helps to block wind and increase the temperature range of the hammock system by up to 10 degrees.  It also helps to keep rain splash off your hammock.  The only downside of the Lite version is that it’s not as durable to use as a backup ground sheet when you need to go to ground.
  • Hammock Suspension System: Superior Gear Elite Suspension Sling – This is the ultralight suspension system.  It works like a Chinese finger trap squeezing onto a rope instead of your finger.  Super easy to use and packs up small.  Unfortunately, so small that I accidentally left a set of these on two trees at Rae Lakes last summer.  I plan to go look for them this year.
  • Hammock Tarp Stakes: Superior Gear Ground Stakes – I got these as a gift.  They’re small, light, and brightly colored so I don’t lose them.  They don’t come with pull ties.  I added those on and would recommend you do the same.
  • Hammock Tarp: Hammock Gear Standard Tarp with Doors – This is another new product that I’m super excited to use.  Dyneema tarps are about as light as you can get.  They’re a bit bulkier, but if you have the space it’s worth it!  My last tarp was the Warbonnet Minifly, which I had no problem with.  I just wanted a lighter and larger option.
  • Hammock Storage Gear Loft: OneWind Peak Storage – The one downside of hammocks is the lack of storage and layout space.  It’s a bed, and that’s about it.  I’m not going to complain though.  It’s quite an amazing bed!  The gear storage loft gives a little basket for storing items that you want to access during the night.  I keep my phone, flashlight, water, and whatever else I’ll need that night in my loft that is stored right behind my head.
  • Top Quilt: Trailheadz Ethereal 0 Degree 1000 Fill Top Quilt – Ok, I’m SUPER excited about this one.  I haven’t received it in the mail yet, which is a bit stressful since I’m heading out on the trail in a few days, but I just talked with the owner of the company, and he’s shipping it out today!  This is the crem-de-la-crem of top quilts in my opinion… or rather other people’s opinions.  It’s super warm, super light, and I got a custom fabric print, so it looks super cool.  I’m going to call it my “Superbad” quilt.  Ok, I just got done watching Superbad, so It’s stuck in my mind right now.
  • Pillow: Big Agness Sleeping Giant Pillow – This is a new piece of gear for me that I found in the REI Garage Sale area.  It looks like it’s discontinued, but I’m excited to try it out!  The pillow is basically just a cover with a foam piece inside and a zipper closure.  I figured I could store my extra clothes inside and then stuff the pillow with my puffy jacket or pants if I’m not using them while sleeping.  Genius!

Cooking Gear for the JMT

Cooking Gear

  • Bear Can: Bearikade Weekender – This was a hefty purchase, but I think it’ll be worth it.  Before I was using a BearVault which was quite a bit heavier, so this is one of my big weight-saving items.
  • Stove: BRS3000t – I don’t do much in the way of cooking except boil water.  For that purpose this stove is perfect!  You can’t get much lighter in the way of a regular stove.  I’ve toyed with the idea of going stoveless… but that’s a big commitment.  I’m not sure if I’m ready for that sort of Type B fun yet.  I do like a cup of hot coffee in the morning.
  • Cooking Pot: TOAKS 650ml Pot – I started with a GSI Pinnacle Soloist pot which I loved, but went to this one to save weight and space.  I like it.  It’s nothing to write home about, but it works.
  • Bowl / Cup: GSI Pinnacle Soloist Bowl – I got this with my Pinnacle Soloist set, but this is the only piece I use now.  It fits perfectly around my TOAKS pot and I can use it as a bowl for my oatmeal or a cup for my coffee.  It even comes with a koozie!
  • Spork: GSI Folding Spork – Yep, I created a whole spreadsheet to pick out this spork.  I like that it folds away and fits in my pot.  I have a longer folding spork that is even lighter, but it doesn’t fit in my pot, so I’m going with the smaller one.  Bigger isn’t always better you know.
  • Fuel Canister – I don’t care about the brand, but I like the smaller 110-gram size because it fits in my cooking pot.
  • Water Storage: Smartwater 1L Bottles – I used to use a water bladder, but they are hard to fill on the trail.  Since I’ve started longer backpacking trips I’ve gone to Smartwater bottles and have never looked back.
  • Water Filter: Katadyn BeFree .6L Water Filter – I’ve never used another water filter, but from reviews, this one runs the fastest and is easy to clean.  I will say that it goes slower at times when it gets clogged or drys out, but with a good shake, I’m usually good to go.
  • Trash Bag – I bring just a simple ziplock bag to store my food trash in.
  • Lighter – A miniBic does the trick
  • Cleaning Cloth – I just have a small blue cloth to wipe out my cooking pot and bowl after using them.  I had one trip that I didn’t bring my cloth and just threw all of my items in my pot while it was still a bit wet.  When I got to my next campsite and tried to use my lighter, it wouldn’t work.  Who knew you can’t get a lighter wet?  Just me?  Ok, this was news to me.

Food on the JMT


  • Breakfast – For breakfast I have dehydrated cereal, dehydrated bicuits and gravy, and oatmeal.  I put each meal in its own bag for easy prep.  I also have individual packets of coffee with creamer included.
  • Lunch – For lunch I have tortillas, peanut butter, string cheese, and salami.
  • Dinner – For dinner I have various dehydrated meals that I have divided out into their own bags and marked with how much water they need to cook.  I remove each meal from its original packaging to save space.
  • Snacks – For snacks I have various energy and protein bars.
  • Dessert – For the most important meal of the day I have Snickers bars.  They are my favorite for sure!  I always eat this right before bed to give my body something to work at digesting.  This helps to increase my body temperature and keep me warm.

Toiletries, First Aid, and Survival Gear on the JMT

Toiletries / First Aid / Survival

  • Medical Kit: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight / Watertight Medical Kit .5 (customized) – I started out with a basic kit then added and removed as necessary for my needs.  I have bleed stop, gauze, tape, bandages, moleskin, alcohol pads, antibiotic ointment, an antiseptic towelette, after-bite, skin prep wipe, and various medications for allergy relief, inflammation, pain, acid, and diarrhea.  I don’t usually use anything except anti-inflammatory medication.  I eat those like candy.
  • Toothbrush – I just use a basic travel brush with a cover.  I tried the tiny ones from Garage Grown Gear but didn’t like putting my fingers in my mouth.
  • Toothpaste – I just use travel-size toothpaste.  I tried the toothpaste tablets, but like regular paste better.
  • Comb – Just a basic black comb.  I’ve got to tame this rat’s nest somehow.
  • Hand Sanitizer – I don’t care about the brand.  My goal is small with a clip for the outside of my pack that doesn’t have a fruity smell.
  • Sunscreen (body): Banana Boat Travel Size – For the most part I try and just cover my body with clothing, but I still put some sunscreen on my fingers and sometimes my legs if it’s too hot for tights.
  • Sunscreen (face): Colorscience Face Sheild – I normally use Clinique PepStart Sunscreen, but I’m excited to try this new one since it has a bit of color to even out my skin tone.  Hey, a girl has to look good for pictures right?  Yes, I’m a picture freak.
  • Chapstick: Colorscience Color Balm – I normally just use whatever chapstick I can find, but this time I’ll be using a tinted chapstick with SPF.  Yep, another product to give just a little girlie touch to this nature-loving girl who doesn’t mind going a week without a shower.  Smooch!
  • Deodorant – Ok, don’t laugh at me.  I normally don’t sacrifice weight for smelling good, but my fiancé keeps giving me a hard time about it.  Well, I went shopping to get some hand sanitizer and I saw this micro small deodorant.  Ok, I’m going to try it out.  We’ll see if it’s worth it.
  • Pee Cloth: Animosa Pee Cloth – I would have ordered a Kula Cloth, but I’m cheap and felt this Amazon knockoff would do the trick.  It does.
  • Pooper Scooper: The Deuce 2 – Need I say more?  It’s The Deuce.  It scoops holes for poop.
  • Toilet Paper – I just unroll however much I think I’ll need and shove it in a plastic bag.  Done!
  • Wet Wipes (dried out) – I like wet wipes to wash my face at night and wipe my lady bits.  To save weight I dry them out and then wet them on the trail.
  • Gear Repair Kit – My kit contains thread, a needle, duct tape, and tenacious tape
  • Pocket Knife: Swiss Army Victorinox Nail Clip – The only items I use are the knife, scissors, and nail clippers.  I think it’s really important to keep your toenails short throughout the trip.  That being said, I’ve been thinking about trading in my pocket knife for a neck knife.  My fiance is always saying that I need to take protection.

Electronics Gear for the JMT


  • Cell Phone: iPhone 13 pro – My main requirements for a phone are the camera quality, size, weight, and battery life.  This year the iPhone 13 Pro won out!
  • Satellite Communicator: Garmin inReach Mini 2 – I’m so glad I waited for the Mini 2.  The battery life is much better than the first version and from what I hear, it has fewer connection issues as well.  It definitely has a learning curve, but for what I need it works just fine.  I ping my family when I start the day, I ping them when I take a break, and I ping them when I arrive at camp.  They can watch my tracker move and it makes them feel calmer getting these simple updates.
  • Battery Charger: Nitecore NB10000 Gen 2 – This will be my first trip with this charger.  It doesn’t hold quite the punch as my Anker charger, but it’s a lot lighter.  I think it’ll do the trick!
  • Charging Cords: Anker Powerline II 3-in-One Charger – I hate that all of my devices use different charger connections.  One day I think they will all be on the C charger, but for now, this 3-in-1 charger should help condense everything. The only downside is that I can only charge one item at a time since I’ll only have one cord.
  • Flashlight: Nitecore Thumb 85 Lumens – I used to have the Nitecore Nu25 with a headband, but this will be my first trip with the Thumb 85.  It’s smaller, doesn’t have a headband, and doesn’t pack quite the punch, but I’m not really a flashlight person.  I hike during the day and I head to sleep before the sun goes down.
  • Headphones: Acoustic Sheep Headband – I used to use ear pods, but my ears are sensitive, and hate anything inserted in them.  I also only use headphones while in bed and the pods would always fall out.  I love the headband.  It’s soft, secure, and I can fall asleep with it on.  Plus, it doubles as an ear warmer.  Bonus!
  • External Keyboard: Samsers Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard – Ok, I’m sure you think I’m crazy to bring this, but blogging on the trail is not easy on a phone.  I love the size of this keyboard and although the weight is not the lightest, it’s still pretty good.  I just got this in the mail yesterday, so we’ll see how it works out.
  • Microphone: PowerDeWise Lavalier Microphone – This is another blogger/vlogger accessory.  I don’t make videos often, but when I do, they suck without good audio.

Technical Gear for the JMT

Technical Gear

  • Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Womens Trail Trekking Poles – I never was a trekking pole type.  I never thought I would be.  I’m not even sure why I broke down and bought them.  That being said, I’m not sure I could hike without them again.  They really help with inclines and declines.  Especially with these old creaky knees.  I was born with them.  Totally not cool when you’re doctor tells you that you just weren’t born to run.  Well, I guess I’ll hike instead.  The cork is nice on my hands and the adjustments are easy and swift.
  • Snow Baskets for Trekking Poles – I’ve never used these before, but in the case of Snomaggedon, I think they are necessary so my poles don’t sink in the snow.
  • Climbing harness: Blue Ice Choucas Light Harness – This is strictly because I’m hiking Half Dome.  That’s not to say you need one to hike Half Dome.  Most people don’t use a harness.  A little secret about me though; I’m deathly afraid of heights.  I don’t let that stop me though.  I went skydiving for my 40th birthday after all.  The harness is just in case I start to get dizzy while going down.  “Just don’t look down!”  I picked this one because it was the lightest one I could find.  Duh!
  • Via Ferrata Lanyard for Climbing: Petzl Scorpio Vertigo Lanyard – This is a fail-proof system for clipping yourself in on the cables.  Most people just have one clip, but this system uses two.  With two clips, you are always clipped in.  I’ve used these on adventure ropes courses before.  You only ever have one clip at the most unclipped at a time.  This will add weight for sure, but it’s worth it in my case.
  • Climbing Gloves: Wells Lamont Work Gloves – These aren’t anything special.  They’re just super grippy gloves so I can climb the cables of Half Dome.
  • Micro Spikes: Black Diamond Access Spike Traction Devices – I know there will be snow on the trail this month, but it’s just a question of how much and how firm.  I’m hoping that it’s firm enough that these micro spikes will do the trick.  Time will only tell.  What they do is create traction so you don’t slide around on icy snow and fall right off of a mountain.  See mom!  I’m being safe!

Clothing in Backpack on the JMT

Clothing Carried

  • Rain Jacket: REI Co-Op – I have no idea the name of this jacket, but I’m pretty sure it’s discontinued.  All I know is it’s super light and it seemed to hold up pretty well when I was in a rain storm in Belize many moons ago.  It’s far from stylish, but who cares anyways.
  • Rain Skirt: Lightheart Gear Rain Wrap Ultralight Rain Skirt – I literally just got this in the mail.  Like I just opened it before writing this.  I’m super excited to try it out!  I normally don’t bring rain gear, but the Sierras are so unpredictable and I don’t want anything to ruin my trip.  I love the idea of breathability with a skirt and hey, who doesn’t like to look just a little cute on the trail?
  • Insulated Jacket: Enlightened Equipment – Torrid Apex Jacket – This is another new piece of gear for me.  I usually have my fleece jacket, but I opted to go lighter with the Torrid.  I’ve heard nothing but great reviews, so I think I’ll be happy with it.  The only downside?  Well, my postman threw the box over my fence and my dog ate it.  Gah!  Luckily there is only a single tiny hole to cover and I found some cute gear stickers that will do the trick from Noso Patches.
  • Insulated Pants: Enlightened Equipment – Torrid APEX Pants – To go with my Torrid jacket, I had to get the Torrid pants.  These are to keep me warm after I get to camp and as extra insulation while sleeping if it’s really cold at night.  I’m the type that was meant to live in the desert, so you can never have too many layers.
  • Base Layer Top: Smartwool Women’s Classic Thermal Merino Crew Base Layer Top – I’ve had this top for a while now and it’s never done me wrong.  I use it strictly for sleeping so my sleep gear is always clean.
  • Tank Top: Vuori Women’s Energy Crop Tank Top – I’ve gone back and forth regarding leaving this piece of gear at home, but I end up always bringing it and always using it.  It’s so nice to have a clean piece of gear to hang out at camp in.  Plus, I hike in long sleeves, so sometimes I just want to chill in something lighter.  Vuori is known for its super soft fabrics.  They are like butter on your skin!
  • Underwear (x1): Ridge Merino Bikini – Another new product from Ridge Merino.  I guess you could say that I was worried about stinking.  Maybe I should just buy some Lume deodorant, but instead, I have these underwear.  We’ll see how it works out.  I carry two so that I can wash a pair in the river each night.  I then hang it on my pack during the day like a flag.  Maybe I should have gotten a USA flag print instead of black.
  • Hiking Socks (x1): Injinji Artist Designed Women’s Crew Sock – OMG!  I’m so excited to wear these!  They aren’t the wool blend I usually wear, but I love the artist series prints.  You have to love toe socks.  They may look weird, but I never get blisters with them on.
  • Sleep Socks: I have another pair of socks for sleeping.  They are my no-name blue monster socks.  That’s just what I call them, but they’re basically fluffy loose socks, perfect for sleeping in.  You don’t want any compression while sleeping.
  • Fleece Hat: Outdoor Research Peruvian Fleece Hat – This is another new product that I’m excited about.  Normally I just wear a standard beanie, but they always fall off while I’m sleeping.  This beanie has a cinch tie that makes it so the hat will not fall off.  Genius!
  • Mosquito Head Net: Anvin Mosquito Head Mesh Nets – If you don’t know why I have this, then you haven’t been on the Sierra trails in the summer.  OMG!  The horror of mosquitos flying around your head non-stop is too much to bear.  These headnets are a lifesaver.  I even eat with them on.
  • Sandals: Xero Shoes – Naboso Trail Sport Sandal – I’m kind of fascinated by the Xero shoes idea.  These are my first pair, but I think I’m going to try one of the hiking shoes out as well.  As for the sandals, I plan on using them while at camp and while crossing rivers.  They are also fairly robust, so if I want to hike in them then that would be fine as well.  I personally love to hike in water socks, but those aren’t great for camp shoes.  I hope these will be better.  This will be my first go with the Xero sandals.

Clothing I’m Wearing on the JMT

Clothing Worn

  • Sun Hoodie: Ridge Merino Solstice Lightweight Wool Hoodie – Yet another piece of gear that will be new to me.  Normally I use the Mountain Hardware Crater Lake hoodie, but I wanted something that would keep me stink-free.  The Ridge Merino hoodie is wool, so we’ll see if it lives up to its name and keeps the stink away.  If not, luckily I’m not trying to find a hot date out there.
  • Hiking Skirt: Purple Rain Skirt – Why a skirt?  Well, I like the idea of being able to pee in the woods without exposing myself.  All I do is lift my skirt slightly and I’m good to go.  Boom!  I also love all the pockets on this skirt.  I’ve only completed one trip in it, but so far I like it.
  • Hiking Tights: Ridge Merino Crowley Compression Tights – I just bought these and it looks like they are now discontinued.  Hmmm… I hope that doesn’t mean that they suck.  I got these to wear under my skirt in the mornings when it is cold.  I also like that they are partially wool, so the stinkies will stay at bay.
  • Underwear (x1): Ridge Merino Bikini – Another new product from Ridge Merino.  I guess you could say that I was worried about stinking.  Maybe I should just buy some Lume deodorant, but instead, I have these underwear.  We’ll see how it works out.  I carry two so that I can wash a pair in the river each night.  I then hang it on my pack during the day like a flag.  Maybe I should have gotten a USA flag print instead of black.
  • Hiking Socks (x1): Injinji Artist Designed Women’s Crew Sock – OMG!  I’m so excited to wear these!  They aren’t the wool blend I usually wear, but I love the artist series prints.  You have to love toe socks.  They may look weird, but I never get blisters with them on.
  • Bra: Ridge Merino Seamless Sports Bra – Just when I thought I finished with all the Ridge Merino wool products.  Ok, I guess I don’t want my boobs to stink either.  Can you blame me?  On my very first trip, I didn’t even think of boob stink… or dare I say cheese.  Being a large-breasted woman, I will say that terrible things happen under your boobs if you don’t take care of them.  I now take off my bra every night to air those babies out.
  • Trucker Hat: I always wear my Be Kind trucker hat.  I don’t even remember where I got it, but it’s good to get the word out there.
  • Hiking Shoes: La Sportiva TX4 – Oh man!  This was a last-minute decision.  I hope I won’t regret it.  I’m actually sitting here testing them out right now.  I originally was going to wear my Hokas, but then I started to stress about Half Dome.  I wanted something with more grip.  That’s where the La Sportiva TX4s came in.  They are meant for grip.  This girl will not be falling down Half Dome!
  • Shoe Gaiters: Ultra Gam Gaiters – This will be my first time trying gaiters.  They’re supposed to keep dirt and debris from getting in your shoes.  Let’s hope they’re worth the time putting them on and taking them off.
  • Knee Brace: Cho Pat Knee Brace – Yep, as I said before, my doctor says my knees suck.  I was born this way.  Without the brace, I was limping my way out of the woods.  With the brace, I’m fine pretty much the whole time!
  • Sunglasses (prescription): Nike – This will be my first trip wearing prescription sunglasses.  Wow!  I’ll be able to see!  You don’t know how excited I am about this.  I might just see that bear in the distance after all.

In Conclusion

So there you have it! My backpacking and hammock gear list for the first section of my JMT trek. Looking at this list, I can’t help but marvel at the incredible feat of fitting all this stuff into my backpack. It’s like a real-life game of Tetris, but with outdoor gear instead of colorful blocks. I should probably patent my packing skills and start a new career as a backpacking magician.

But let’s not get carried away with my packing prowess. I’ll make some adjustments to my gear list for the next two sections in September. You see, I have a gear closet that’s more like a black hole of options. It’s a never-ending source of surprises, like a cosmic vending machine that dispenses camping gear instead of snacks. You never know what you’ll find in there—a folding chair, a miniature grill, or maybe even a portable hot tub (hey, a hiker can dream, right?).

And who knows, maybe one day I’ll reach into my gear closet and a mischievous raccoon will jump out instead of a rabbit. Don’t ask me how it got in there; gear closets have their own secret portals to the animal kingdom. Perhaps the raccoon is my wilderness spirit animal, guiding me through the trails with its mischievous charm.

Now, let’s not dwell on the financial toll this hobby has taken on me. My gear expenses might rival the budget of a small independent film, but hey, the outdoors is my blockbuster epic. I’ve invested in my own personal adventure saga, complete with thrilling plot twists and heartwarming moments. So, here’s to embracing the joys of gear collecting and trekking through life one step at a time, even if my bank account is still recovering from the shock.

As I said, you can get my full backpacking and hammock gear list if you click on my “Gear” icon.  There it will show you pricing and give you links to where you can buy any of this gear.  I don’t get anything if you purchase, but I’m always happy to share my research so you don’t have to put in as much time as I did (don’t worry, I don’t think you’re lazy).

Join me next time!  I’ll either be on the trail or just getting back… depending on if I have reception to post.  Wish me luck!

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Comments 8

  • Marcia Powers : Jun 20th

    I just read your JMT hammock hiking post where are you discuss your gear. I think we might be a gearhead match. The JMT was my first thru hike, too. Now, after a triple crown and two first thrus I think you might be interested in hearing how I have tweaked my gear. I, on the other hand, I am very interested in your spreadsheet for certain items: the external battery, and your search on headlamps.
    I also have a post on packing a bear canister.
    Enjoy your hike! I really enjoyed your post… Thank you.

    • Chana Putnam : Jun 26th

      Wow! Congrats on your triple crown! I’ll have to check out your gear list. I’m always wondering what others are using. Even after this first small part of the JMT, I already know I want to tweak it for when I hike the rest of the trail in September. As for the external battery, I didn’t do much research on that one, but I did run into a few problems with the new Nitcore while I was there. I’m so glad that I brought my Anker power bank as well or I would have been in real trouble. I need to test it out at home and find out what the trouble was. As for headlamps, I didn’t create a spreadsheet, but I’m not really a headlamp person. I rarely use one, so I knew I wanted the smallest, lightest light I could find. It was perfect for what I needed, although I probably only used it for a total of 5 min on the entire 6-day trip. I’ll check out your bear canister post for sure! It’s definitely an artform.


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