Gear Kits

My Favorite Gear for a Supported JMT Hike

The best gear for one of the best trails in the world.

Curated by Sonja Saxe

The JMT is a bucket list item for many hikers and backpackers, and with good reason, it traverses some of the most beautiful stretches of trail in the Sierra and arguably the US. Bringing the right gear is a choice that can make or break a trek and the JMT is definitely not a place to be at a loss for gear. The trip I took with Mountain Travel Sobek was mule-supported, so my packing was understandably a little different than that of a typical thru-hiker. You can read about my adventure on the JMT in this Story.

This is the easiest water filtering solution I have found yet! It was so convenient to not have to constantly pump with a filtering water system and store the bulky filter in my pack. I simply filled up this water bottle, screwed on the cap, and drank! As you drink the water is filtered. This solution is so simple I wish I had switched to it sooner!

These hiking boots are as close to perfect as I’ve ever found! They are lightweight so they don’t drag you down, sturdy so you feel secure on rocky terrain, and they drain and dry quickly if you happen to step in water.

These poles are so lightweight they seem to float up the mountain but don’t let their lightness be mistaken for a weakness. They’re carbon fiber and have a suspension system that reduces shock and vibration on the trail. They also have an ergonomically designed grip that is wildly comfortable to hold.

One of my favorite parts of backpacking is getting to camp and immediately changing out of my hiking clothes into comfortable camp clothes. I brought a few pairs of these super comfortable Wigwam socks along on my trip and I always looked forward to slipping them on each evening.

A lightweight, packable, down sleeping bag. I run extremely cold and since most of the camp spots on this route were at higher elevations it was nice to have some extra degrees to keep me warm.

This tent has been to hell and back with me in terms of weather and it is still functioning as it did when I first bought it. It's lightweight, easy to set up, and has withstood 24 hours of torrential downpour on more than one occasion. I cannot reiterate enough how much I love this tent!

These sleeping pads are the best! Pros: They're cheap, light, and virtually indestructible. Cons: They take up a little space, but I think they’re more than worth the trade off. They also make great seats for cooking and relaxing around camp.

Since this trek is mule supported you won’t need a full size backpacking pack. A day pack should suffice My go to pack brand is Deuter, their packs are wildly comfortable and despite being one size fits all they are easily customizable. They also utilize open cell foam technology which keeps your back cool and ventilated even when you’re trudging up the steepest mountain passes.

Wearing this jacket feels like wearing a small blanket. Admittedly it's not the best for hiking but it’s great for cold starts and to wear around camp once the sun has set.

A waterproof layer is a must when heading out into the backcountry. Afternoon storms occurred almost daily on this trip and I had to break out this rain jacket often!

This was a must-have for navigating around camp after sunset.

Gaiters are a must for a trail as dusty and rocky as the JMT. These gaiters are easy to use, come in a multitude of fun prints and colors, and keep even the tiniest pebbles out of your shoes.

It is important to always protect your eyes when outdoors, especially at higher elevations. These Sunski glasses are polarized, comfortable, and they come in a wide variety of cool colors.

Goal Zero Lighthouse 400

Get it Now

This dual purpose lantern makes its way into my pack on all my backcountry trips. Not only is it a great, adjustable light source for my tent but it also acts as a portable charger. Talk about a win-win!

This Garmin watch may not have all the bells and whistles as its more expensive counterparts but I’ve still found it to be immensely helpful. It keeps track of mileage, elevation gain/loss, my heart rate, average pace, and more.