Perhaps I’m just a slow learner, but even after lugging fifty or more pounds of gear, food and water over 220 miles, I’m still not convinced that a ten-pound base weight is the right answer for me.
Furthermore, my target audience on this blog is the beginning and intermediate hiker who wants to walk the John Muir Trail. If you are going to bring nothing but the lightest gear possible, and very little of it, you’re going to need to make up that deficit in gear with a surplus of expertise. Neither I, nor the typical reader of this blog, possesses that expertise in ALL areas.
A good example of that is water purification. Rangers I’ve talked to, as well as hikers who know the Sierra Nevada very well, often tell me that they don’t purify at all, because they KNOW where the water is safe. I know several places where I’ll drink without purifying (mostly springs where the water is emerging right from the aquifer).
But I would never suggest, here, that anyone hike the JMT without a way to purify water.
I’m also a believer in a good night’s sleep, in an effective shelter. I’m willing to tolerate some discomfort, but the point is to enjoy myself on the trail, not set some sort of personal deprivation record.
So, as I go through each item, remember I am intending to reduce weight, but not at the expense of safety or a minimum of comfort, and I am making recommendations that even a beginner can implement. Continue reading