1. geekgirl
    geekgirl November 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I have been hearing more and more about early starts. It sounds particularly helpful when it comes to the big passes. Getting an early start would allow you to do the biggest work in the coolest part of the day. Appreciated your article on this.

    That one ounce multi-light looks like just what I need, but when I tried to order I received a “page not found” error. 🙁

  2. Larry Beck
    Larry Beck November 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I should try this because it makes perfect sense. My only obstacle would be that I enjoy sleeping between 4 am and 6 am so much. This “hike early” regiment would also blend well with the “no fires” rule in the Sierra which has been in effect the last couple of years. No reason to stay up past 8 pm without a fire so you might as well go to bed early and get up early too!

  3. Ravi
    Ravi November 12, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I only hiked at night on the last day in order to ascend Whitney before sunrise. I made it to the summit about an hour before sunrise. I have to say that the experience was surreal especially the parts of the trail where I knew there was a large dropoff but I couldn’t see anything below! And it was quite an experience to then descend and see what I had missed on the way up! I’ll have to give early starts a try on a few more days next time.

  4. Robert Perkins
    Robert Perkins November 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Early starts rock! I also like hiking later as well. Nothing beats putting in multiple miles before most people wake up for a nature call, and then several more while they’re setting up camp at 3-5 PM. It also allows more time to lounge by a nice lake or creek mid-day after a cold swim!

    Nice site Ray, and I like how you changed it up a bit from gear.

  5. Rich
    Rich November 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    It looks like Doug Ritter may be designing lamps/lights for the eGear brand now. I’ve found some evidence that eGear seems to be associated with another of his designs (a tiny flashlight called the Pico).

    Aeromedix shows that Doug has discontinued the eQ Multi Light, but it’s “been replaced by the EQ2
    Ultralight Headlamp. The same great performance at lower price!”

    The new light is for sale here:


    It’s still not explicit if Doug is involved, but the “EQ” part of the name seems to suggest it. Either way, the EQ2 Ultralight at $8.50, less than an ounce and a lifetime warranty seems like a good lamp to check out.

    1. Sharon Young
      Sharon Young October 27, 2015 at 5:51 am
  6. Deb
    Deb November 15, 2013 at 4:26 am

    I’m a newbie to backpacking, but with plans to do the JMT in a few years. Your blog and book are very helpful! So thanks for writing.

    Does anyone here know much about these “cuban hybrid” packs and gear? The ultra light stuff? Sounds great but comfort and durability aren’t things I want to skimp on.


  7. Tami
    Tami November 17, 2013 at 6:36 am

    The earliest we made it on the trail was 7:30 and that was the day we spent the night at Lake 12500 prior to Forester Pass. The wind was so bad we didn’t get much sleep and just broke down camp as soon as we could and broke for breakfast on the other side of the Pass. We were known on the trail for getting VERY late starts–9-9:30-10am…we had oatmeal in camp and a couple of cups of coffee each day. We hike fast though and were still able to take a lunch break and get in camp by 5-6pm.

    One couple that we met would get up, hike for an hour or so and then break for breakfast. They loved it! I just could never get my butt out of camp like that!

  8. Adam
    Adam November 17, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Great post, Ray.

    I’m in the “hike five miles before stopping for breakfast” camp, although I eat a quick snack before climbing out of my bag.

    I also like getting a start before dawn–but I prefer to clear passes and peaks by noon.

    I’m intrigued by the Doug Ritter light. I’ve used the Photon Freedom Micro lights for a couple of years now, and they work great. I take one red and one white, and use the red for camp chores. If the white failed, in an emergency, I could hike by the light of the red one, so I get some redundancy by having two. The weight is only 0.25 oz each, and I don’t use a headband–just clip to my visor. Doug Ritter has a special edition version of those, too, although I haven’t tried it.

  9. Deb
    Deb November 24, 2013 at 5:25 am

    I could totally see myself doing this. I’m a sunrise hiker in general, an early morning person. I’ll take these comments to heart.

  10. Chris Hauser
    Chris Hauser November 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I hiked the JMT this summer, and hiking in the light of a full moon was one of the highlights (I planned the hike to coincide with a full moon). I hiked until midnight 3 nights in a row without a headlamp, and I found that the scenery is incredible… I could see all the surrounding mountains, lakes, rocks, etc. Only the color of the flowers and grass is muted. If I were more of a morning person, I’d still hike at night, but do it in the AM hours instead of the PM hours.


  11. Nick Knight
    Nick Knight November 26, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Hey Ray, this sounds like a conversation I came in on at the MTR this summer with Dave and Mark with his dog Pam. That wasn’t you was it?

  12. […] Yes, I know you have your miles to walk each day, but hurrying past everything is no way to get the most out of your hike. (One way get your miles-per-day, by the way, and still have time for leisurely breaks, is to start early.) […]

  13. Hike Routines
    Hike Routines April 14, 2015 at 3:30 am

    […] written about my preference for early starts before. I like getting up before the coldest part of the day (which, all things being equal, […]

  14. Byron Nevins
    Byron Nevins October 7, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Ray –

    The link for the flashlight goes to a site with lots of things but NOT the flashlight! Any ideas of where to buy it?

  15. Ten JMT Hike Morale Boosters
    Ten JMT Hike Morale Boosters October 26, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    […] Seeing the dawn in the Sierra Nevada. I like to start walking early, so I’m usually on the trail as the light gradually reveals the stretch of JMT I happen to be […]

  16. […] I’ve written about my preference for early starts before. I like getting up before the coldest part of the day (which, all things being equal, […]

Leave a Reply