John Muir Trail Gear Guide | Part 1: The Gear

Choosing the right gear for through-hiking is imperative to a light pack as well as comfortable and happy campers! I took a lot of time to do the research required to figure out exactly what gear was going to be the best gear to carry with us when we through hiked the John Muir Trail. Though the right gear might look different for you we wanted to share the exact pieces of gear we used on trail, why, and our thoughts on them after hiking the 220+ miles of the JMT. This is the first video in a four-part series covering the gear, clothes, food, and accessories that we used while through hiking.

Blog post detailing all of this gear as well as links to the specific items mentioned in this video:

Ultimate Backpackers Gear Guide:
Andrew Skurka’s Website/blog:

You can follow our adventures here:
For all of our favorite gear for fulltime life on the road check out our gear list:
#johnmuirtrail #throughhiking #gearguide


  1. M Fif on December 6, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    This gear list is difficult to watch as someone who carries a pack below 8 lbs

  2. Oleg Voronkoff on December 6, 2020 at 9:26 pm


  3. Bill K. on December 6, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    Great video! Terrific research! Great information with intelligent and well organized reviews. You should do this professionally. Looking forward to upcoming reviews. One doesn’t’t have to do a 15 day JMT adventure to find this information helpful. Thanks,

  4. cmcer1995 on December 6, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    Wow, this video went by real fast. Long-time hiker/climber and who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. My packs have always been 35-45 lbs, but after listening to your suggestions I am willing to flex. Agree with lots of your choices and have always used just some of them i.e. trekking poles, and Sawyer and so on. My back packs have always been Osprey’s but you got me thinking about your choice as well. So, over-all some new fresh ideas. Looking forward to your clothing choices as well.

  5. Vince on December 6, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    OK. I’m officially jealous. Great stuff on the gear, just what it should be. Simple info on how it performs/functions. One of these companies needs to make you their official spokesperson. Look forward to the rest of the videos…you guys are great

  6. JangAh on December 6, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    I recently purchased the Hyperlite 3400 Southwest, and I noticed it didn’t have the strap at the bottom. I was wondering how you added the bungee strap on the bottom of your pack.

    Once again, lovely video!

  7. Kathleen on December 6, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    I have used Dirty Girl gaiters for years and always always always superglue the velcro to my hiking shoes. The velcro absolutely does not stick with just the sticky stuff they come with on the back.

  8. Razor Edge on December 6, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    All great gear! Beautiful pics from the trail. Thx

  9. Paul on December 6, 2020 at 9:33 pm


  10. Philip Roll on December 6, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    When I was young (I’m in my 70’s now) I hiked from Giant Forest in Sequoia up Mt. Whitney and then down to Whitney Portal. It was immensely enjoyable. It was also life changing. As I was struggling up the tail to Whitney I was passed by a "little old lady" (at least from my perspective of 18 or so). I thought to myself: "Right, I’ll meet up with her in a few minutes – she’ll be sitting down exhausted"). Remember, this was before "Women’s Lib". Well, when I got up to the summit there she was cooking tea! She was very kind to me and never mentioned the smirk I likely had last we met. She shared her tea with me. This made a BIG impression upon me. I swore that I would be like her when I was a "little old man". I succeeded. I never found out who she was.

  11. Perry K on December 6, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Great video, what watch are you using?

  12. Dar Kreimer on December 6, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    What are the specifics on the watch you are wearing please?

  13. william kenyon on December 6, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Trekking poles also increase the blood flow in your arms, ya don’t get that annoying swelling in your hands while using them. Great picks on the gear. I learned a few things as always from you guys. Be safe!

  14. Eric Wilson on December 6, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    I’m a jerk too so disregard any of my

  15. stephanie valdez on December 6, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Definitely going to purchase that book.

  16. Jon S on December 6, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    You guys need to do a photo phanny pack rock style from the 90s that would be funny and cool

  17. Jon S on December 6, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Amazing video great straight forward knowledge and opinions. As always guys stay safe watch your six and adventure on. May you have many more through hikes in your adventures. Also side note to Luna how goes the mouse hunting lol 😂

  18. Colin Wilson on December 6, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Check out the Zimmer Built pouches as a great way to add more pockets to your bag. I’ve used the shoulder strap pocket on all my HMG packs to add better phone storage, as well as their hip belt pocket to add that to my Summit Pack: .

  19. Robert Montgomery on December 6, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    What kind of shoes did u use for water crossings?

  20. Sophia Helene on December 6, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Gearheads: still rep their patagucci when it breaks after one trip😂

  21. Andrew Wisler on December 6, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    I’ve been using the Sawyer Squeeze for a few years now. I’ve found the best system is to use 2 one liter Smart Water or similar bottles. One is “dirty”, and the filter lives on that all the time, and one is clean. Replace the lift top on the filter with a Smart Water “sport top”. At water sources you filter into the clean bottle and just fill the dirty bottle and move on. You can backflush using your clean bottle by transferring the sport lid to it (it mates up with the nipple on the clean side of the filter), so no need to carry the syringe. The O-rings get chewed up if you crank the filter down too hard, so don’t over-tighten. Just carry an extra screw lid and O-ring, since they’re easy to lose. Many through-hikers use this system, and it’s worked for me for many hundreds of miles. Cheers, and congrats on the JMT — looking forward to doing it myself one day.

  22. Juan Martinez on December 6, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    You can opt to keep a hydration bladder inside the pack if you use a quick connect fitting from the sawyer squeeze to the bladder. You can force water into the bladder by squeezing the un-filtered water through the sawyer and into the bladder.

  23. Mike Stromsoe on December 6, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    Sleeping pad: X-therm for the win! Z-lites are great when you’re in your 20’s and 30’s, but for us old folk, the X-Therm is the best for warmth/weight/durability. I agree about being light headed while inflating, that’s why I use the little AAA battery mini inflator that they sell. Well worth the extra 2 oz.
    I just checked the NPS page for permits. They no longer do the 10 per day walk in permits for the Happy Isles trailhead. Bummer! That was the way I did my 2 previous JMT hikes (2011 and 2013). I parked my car at Whitney Portal (no parking time limit) and then hitched to Lone Pine where I then took shuttles to Yosemite Valley. I camped at the backpackers camp and made sure I was in line at the ranger station by 3 AM for the next days permit. Worked every time. It does however look like you can do still this at the Tuolumne Meadows trailhead going Southbound.

  24. Eric Wilson on December 6, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    I read books easier on the eyes than electronic print

  25. Aberdeen Belfry on December 6, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Sorry I only watch because of Mak

  26. Rashoop on December 6, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    I was also a "trekking poles? Yeah, right" guy. After learning how to use them, I somehow feel they’re a form of cheating. Kind of a steroid for hikers. On uphills, they turn you into a four-wheel drive climbing machine; on the downhills, they help to arrest your forward motion, thus saving your legs and rest of your body from taking a pounding. On a recent LONG day, it dawned on me that they just increase your range… nothing scientific here, but my guess is that I can hike 25-40% further using trekking poles. Then there’s the obvious: my ankles, after years of running cross-country and playing soccer, are toast. The poles give me stability like I’ve never had before. For me, they’re the greatest addition to my hiking kit.
    Great video… new subscriber here, and I look forward to watching more.

  27. Edward Johnson on December 6, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    Question: you said you loved your tent, but the first time it rained, your sleeping bag got wet. I get the need to save weight but did you need a sturdier tent?

  28. Jason Ford on December 6, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Congratulations on finishing the trail !!!! Can’t wait to see more because this channel constantly inspires me and thank you for all the work you put in your videos 🙂

    P.S. thank you for pointing out which products brands gave you and the products you bought, love the honesty !

  29. Emily McNicholas on December 6, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    But where did you get those shorts you’re wearing in the video?

  30. builderbob26 on December 6, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Really great review. I am now a Subscriber. I am in NC & just got into Backpacking last year. I too have only been doing weekends hikes & Overland with Rock Creek Overland. My bucket list is the JMT. I like to Trout fish as well. Thank you for the informative review & I look forward to watching your video’s.

  31. John G on December 6, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    *goes on 1 backpacking trip and now feel qualified to write gear guides..*

  32. JimBobele on December 6, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Very nice gear video. One question: Isn’t the quilt the Nitro? The only one I can find on sierra designs page is this one here

  33. max million on December 6, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    So how does the head lamp recharge..? AAA batteries or USB

  34. Dennis Overholts on December 6, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Polarized lenses

  35. Jazz Hilmer on December 6, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    Hi Mak! Not so much a hiking gear question, but I was wondering what drawing tablet do you use? I currently use a Wacom Cintiq 16, but it’s too cumbersome to take with me on the road and always has to be attached to a computer. I noticed yours might be a ipad, but wanted to make sure.

  36. chester davison on December 6, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    John Mayer has his own trail? Wow, he is so prolific!

  37. CarsGuns&Freedom on December 6, 2020 at 10:05 pm


  38. Gangpark31 on December 6, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    What shorts are you wearing? They look great!

  39. Peter Robles on December 6, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    That’s what’s up

  40. Hunter Crosby on December 6, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    Come do the AZT! It’s a great trail through almost every different landscape/ecosystem in Arizona.

  41. Balazs Ujfalussy on December 6, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Super usefull, thank you!

  42. Besalu on December 6, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    How much was your base gear?

  43. Jody Barrass on December 6, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    New subscriber here! 😊 I really appreciate this video! Thank you.

  44. Eric Wilson on December 6, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    Good gonna do my Amelia type car in radiant foil on the floor.also thinking about taking out the bathroom.loli wanna bring my bike n put a back door in for putting it in when I go camping.i don’t use it n I can do a portable shower in the camper

  45. z_german on December 6, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    Nicely done ~

  46. Adventure Time Loui on December 6, 2020 at 10:15 pm


  47. Diesel Monkey on December 6, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Man I took a lot of notes 📝. Very informative. Thanks

  48. JangAh on December 6, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    In one of your vlogs couple weeks ago, you said you had recently finished a hygiene product video, When’s that coming out? Been waiting for that for awhile. Love your video!!

  49. Kimberly Kelly on December 6, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    I need those lace up shorts! What brand are they? Loving your channel! Your living my Dream!

  50. Scott TheOzoneGuy on December 6, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    Sierra Designs Nitro Quilt 20. Would this bag have been too warm for your White Sands overnight?

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