My Mt. Whitney Gear List

Mt. Whitney Gear Preparation

This coming weekend I’ll be flying out to California to spend a few days climbing Mt. Whitney with some friends. I don’t always bother making gear lists, but for this trip I thought it would be a really good opportunity to put together a detailed gear list that I could share. Gear lists are a great way to keep track of what you are planning to take on a trip and a useful tool in helping you locate, inspect, and make sure that you have packed the items for a trip.

It’s not included in the gear list I’ve embedded below, but I usually have three additional columns on the left that are labelled Find, Check, and Pack to help me go through the process of digging out items of gear, making sure that each piece is in working order or that it doesn’t need to be replaced, and then a checklist for making sure that I have physically packed each item – there’s nothing worse than starting out on a trip with the sudden realization that your water filter (that you cleaned and checked) is sat at home on your kitchen table!

For this trip I’m also bringing along a couple of luxury (optional) items that I don’t usually take, like my Tenkara rod and line. I’ll be climbing Mt. Whitney with Jason Klass who, besides being a gear geek like myself, is an expert in traditional fly fishing and Tenkara, in fact I’ll be using some of the Tenkara flies that Jason tied on this trip.

Mt. Whitney Gear Preparation

So, here is my detailed gear list for the Mt. Whitney trip (.xlsx) or (PDF). I’ve grouped different areas of gear into “systems” so that I can easily see the total weight by each of the key areas. This also helps at the bottom of the gear list where I have the weight summaries. My total weight for this trip (including consumables) is under 20lbs which is pretty darn good in my book considering I am taking some optional items that I don’t really need to. Take a look and see what you think.

Almost all of the gear I am taking with me has been used many times before and has served me well on previous trips, so I’m hoping there won’t be any big surprises. But that’s one of the fun things about backpacking, the unexpected can and does happen, you just have to be able to improvise.

Mt. Whitney Gear Preparation

What do you think of my gear list and the items that I am taking? If you have any questions about any of my gear or the format I’ve used for my spreadsheet, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.

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  • James Martin

    Thats funny that you are using that fly rod.  I just read about that in Field and Stream and thought it was a pretty cool mix between the old fashion cane pole and the fly rod.

    • James, yes Tenkara is a method of fly fishing that uses telescopic rods, a fixed line, and no reel. That’s right, no reel. The line is tied directly to the tip of the rod. You cast a Tenkara rod similar to the way you cast a Western fly rod and just like Western fly fishing, you have a tippet and fly attached to the end of your line. By all accounts, it is “real” fly fishing even though there is no “reel”.

  • James Martin

    Thats funny that you are using that fly rod.  I just read about that in Field and Stream and thought it was a pretty cool mix between the old fashion cane pole and the fly rod.

  • The weight summaries at the bottom look like it would really help to find out where you could make cuts and repackage for less weight. I love the toothpaste dots and can’t wait to try those out rather than carting in a travel tube of toothpaste.

    • Exactly! The system-by-system weight summaries really let you see where the majority of your pack weight is so that you can adjust accordingly. The toothpaste dots work great but take a little getting used to at first. Let me know what you think if you try them.

  • The weight summaries at the bottom look like it would really help to find out where you could make cuts and repackage for less weight. I love the toothpaste dots and can’t wait to try those out rather than carting in a travel tube of toothpaste.

  • James, yes Tenkara is a method of fly fishing that uses telescopic rods, a fixed line, and no reel. That’s right, no reel. The line is tied directly to the tip of the rod. You cast a Tenkara rod similar to the way you cast a Western fly rod and just like Western fly fishing, you have a tippet and fly attached to the end of your line. By all accounts, it is “real” fly fishing even though there is no “reel”.

  • Exactly! The system-by-system weight summaries really let you see where the majority of your pack weight is so that you can adjust accordingly. The toothpaste dots work great but take a little getting used to at first. Let me know what you think if you try them.

  • Aawwff

    Don’t forget about the increasing weight of the wag bag. Well I guess it evens out because your food supply will decrease by the same amount.

    • You HAD to mention the WAG bag didn’t you :-) Ugg, don’t get me started… besides I’m planning on sneaking mine into Jason’s pack when he’s not looking – ssshhh!

  • Aawwff

    Don’t forget about the increasing weight of the wag bag. Well I guess it evens out because your food supply will decrease by the same amount.

  • You HAD to mention the WAG bag didn’t you :-) Ugg, don’t get me started… besides I’m planning on sneaking mine into Jason’s pack when he’s not looking – ssshhh!

  • Joe Newton

    The influence of the Mighty Clelland can be seen throughout your gear list but he might not like seeing so many stuff sacks :)

    My SpinnTwinn goes in the mesh pocket of my Gorilla without a stuff sack and my bivy IS the stuff sack for my quilt and camp clothes (inside a waterproof liner). It’s not really about saving weight (the savings are negligible), more about simplification. Have a fantastic trip!

    • Joe, yes I have to admit I am a practitioner of many of Mike’s tips and tricks, mostly because they make sense. The OCD organizer in me has a hard time letting go of the stuff sacks, but you’re right it would be an easy change to make although not a huge weight save.

      It’s an ongoing process for sure, you have to know your own comfort level. Thanks for the feedback. I’m getting there, slowly.

  • joenewton

    The influence of the Mighty Clelland can be seen throughout your gear list but he might not like seeing so many stuff sacks :)

    My SpinnTwinn goes in the mesh pocket of my Gorilla without a stuff sack and my bivy IS the stuff sack for my quilt and camp clothes (inside a waterproof liner). It’s not really about saving weight (the savings are negligible), more about simplification. Have a fantastic trip!

  • Ultra_Magnus

    Any chance of getting a downloadable version of that spreadsheet?

    • Sure. I have a copy of it here if you want to download it and use for yourself in Excel. I don’t have a blank template available unfortunately.

      • Ultra_Magnus

        that’s fantastic!  thanks… 

        • You’re welcome. I hope it gives everyone some ideas on how to pull together a gear list and the benefits of using one.

      • keinoson

        I think the link is dead.  Could you re-upload the spreadsheet file?

        • I’m not sure I ever posted a link, but I’ll definitely get a blank template uploaded and share the link.

  • Ultra_Magnus

    Any chance of getting a downloadable version of that spreadsheet?

  • Glen

    Have a great trip!  Any time you want to trim some weight, let me know…

    • Thanks Glen. Just looking at my gear list what 5 changes would you recommend that I make? I have time to shake things up a little before I leave on Sunday.

  • Glen

    Have a great trip!  Any time you want to trim some weight, let me know…

  • I am intrigued by spackle, is the recipe available somewhere?

  • I am intrigued by spackle, is the recipe available somewhere?

  • Sure. I have a copy of it here if you want to download it and use for yourself in Excel. I don’t have a blank template available unfortunately.

  • Joe, yes I have to admit I am a practitioner of many of Mike’s tips and tricks, mostly because they make sense. The OCD organizer in me has a hard time letting go of the stuff sacks, but you’re right it would be an easy change to make although not a huge weight save.

    It’s an ongoing process for sure, you have to know your own comfort level. Thanks for the feedback. I’m getting there, slowly.

  • Thanks Glen. Just looking at my gear list what 5 changes would you recommend that I make? I have time to shake things up a little before I leave on Sunday.

  • It’s in Mike Clelland’s Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips book – I’m not sure how kosher it is for me to share it here or even on my blog, which sucks now I think about it because I was planning a post about it.

  • Aaroneous

    Great article. I’m fairly new to the lighter side of pack weight. Last trip I did in southern Utah for 2 nights and 3 days I was at 35 pounds including consumables. Heavy, yes. But my friends’ packs were both at 50 pounds. I’m sure shaving weight off is half the fun of going on adventures. Thanks for this!

    By the way, I remember reading several articles/posts from you a few years ago on the G-Shock forum over on Watchuseek. Glad I stumbled on to your blog here and found more good stuff to read.

    • Shaving weight bit by bit is a lot of fun but it’s a journey and will take time, or at least it did for me. I used to be way more active on the watch forums than I am now, I just don’t have enough time (no pun intended), but you can see my G-Shock and Ocean Diver posts here on my Ocean Diver Watch Blog :-) Still LOVE my G-Shocks though!

  • Aaroneous

    Great article. I’m fairly new to the lighter side of pack weight. Last trip I did in southern Utah for 2 nights and 3 days I was at 35 pounds including consumables. Heavy, yes. But my friends’ packs were both at 50 pounds. I’m sure shaving weight off is half the fun of going on adventures. Thanks for this!

    By the way, I remember reading several articles/posts from you a few years ago on the G-Shock forum over on Watchuseek. Glad I stumbled on to your blog here and found more good stuff to read.

  • Shaving weight bit by bit is a lot of fun but it’s a journey and will take time, or at least it did for me. I used to be way more active on the watch forums than I am now, I just don’t have enough time (no pun intended), but you can see my G-Shock and Ocean Diver posts here on my Ocean Diver Watch Blog :-) Still LOVE my G-Shocks though!

  • Ultra_Magnus

    that’s fantastic!  thanks… 

  • Nice gear list.  You are going to have to tell me how you do the dots in the pictures with captions.  You are soooo web!  Have fun!!!

    • Ah yes the photo dots – it’s actually a new technology that I have custom built for use on my blog. I could tell you how I did it, but I’d have to kill you! Or you could check out ThingLink :-)

  • Nice gear list.  You are going to have to tell me how you do the dots in the pictures with captions.  You are soooo web!  Have fun!!!

  • Wow that is a lightweight set-up. Did you have everything you needed?

    • I left a few things behind on purpose before setting out to the trail, and a few other things I forgot to pack and take with me before heading to the airport. I’ll post an update on what worked and what didn’t shortly. My total pack weight including water and consumables was 21lbs at the trail head.

      • Cool, I can’t wait to read about what worked and what didn’t

  • Wow that is a lightweight set-up. Did you have everything you needed?

  • I’d reduce the sleeping pad and pillow… plenty of things can serve as a pillow and I can still sleep well on a 4 oz. pad if I hiked a good hard day.

    • Are you out of your mind? How is a 25 pillow too heavy? On a related note the BPL single-use pillow was totally useless and wouldn’t stay inflated for more than 5 mins. I ended up not using it after the first night and wadding up my Mont-Bell jacket instead.

      I have now vowed to myself that I will never again use “something else” as a makeshift pillow – I’m going to buy the lightest weight proper inflatable pillow that I can, because tossing and turning all night and having to rearrange a pillow is not what I want to have happen any more.

      • I agree on the pillow. When backpacking, I always bring a lightweight pillow. I consider it a necessity, otherwise I can’t get a good night’s sleep.

  • I’d reduce the sleeping pad and pillow… plenty of things can serve as a pillow and I can still sleep well on a 4 oz. pad if I hiked a good hard day.

  • First aid and hygiene kit looks a bit rich too.

  • First aid and hygiene kit looks a bit rich too.

  • amytys

    I would add a whistle, which works especially well in the Sierra for signaling over distances.  Someone in your group is carrying a water filter?  In the Sierra?  Save for the Whitney area, it’s “dip and go” – Aqua Mira in small dropper bottles is all you need.  And water is EVERYWHERE… why the 3-liter capacity?  How about a 1.5 liter sports bottle?  I’d also leave the DEET at home.  We are talking August in the Sierra, right?

    Looks like an investment in a 20 oz quilt could save you some weight.  My GoLite 45 F quilt works fine down to 28 F when used with a Mont-Bell jacket and warm hat like you’re packing.

    My secret weapon in the Sierra is a 1 oz spray bottle from Sally Beauty Supply.  I fill it with water and then spray it on my face for a welcome cooling effect.

    I also have a “find, check, and pack” list, but also add a “to-do” list that includes stuff like paying my bills and making sure the memory card in my camera has been cleaned up (nothing like going on a trip with a full memory card of pictures from your last trip that never got downloaded).

    I see a kuksa in your gear photos – but I didn’t see it in the pack list.

    No groundcloth?  Hard-core.  Sierra trip w/o a Sierra Cup?  Blasphemous!  :)

    • Whistle? It wasn’t on my gear list because I simply forgot, but I have an ACR I wear around my neck. Unfortunately, not only did I neglect to add it to my gear list, I left the whistle, my microlight, and all of my coffee at home on the kitchen counter and forget to pack it with me! So much for using my list…

      There are some areas I’m willing to cut weight, but my bag is not currently one of them. I personally don’t like quilts as I tend to squirm a lot at night – mummy bags are my preference and the WM Ultralight is absolutely superb. I also prefer not to double up with clothes in my bag just to stay warm and it avoids getting them sweaty and smelly too quickly.

      Water is everywhere and for the most part all I used was a 32oz empty sports bottle that I kept refilling. Unfortunately from Whitney trail camp to the summit and back there is no water, so you have to carry a whole day’s or at least several hours supply – and it was HOT. So having a bigger spare platy and the bottle really came in handy.

      I definitely like the idea of the misting spray. I was dipping a bandana in the streams and putting that around my neck for a little AC cooling.

      Thanks for all your feedback, there were a lot of things that went really well on the trip and several that went badly – I’ll be writing up a post later to go over them both in more detail. It should be an interesting read.

  • Amytys

    I would add a whistle, which works especially well in the Sierra for signaling over distances.  Someone in your group is carrying a water filter?  In the Sierra?  Save for the Whitney area, it’s “dip and go” – Aqua Mira in small dropper bottles is all you need.  And water is EVERYWHERE… why the 3-liter capacity?  How about a 1.5 liter sports bottle?  I’d also leave the DEET at home.  We are talking August in the Sierra, right?

    Looks like an investment in a 20 oz quilt could save you some weight.  My GoLite 45 F quilt works fine down to 28 F when used with a Mont-Bell jacket and warm hat like you’re packing.

    My secret weapon in the Sierra is a 1 oz spray bottle from Sally Beauty Supply.  I fill it with water and then spray it on my face for a welcome cooling effect.

    I also have a “find, check, and pack” list, but also add a “to-do” list that includes stuff like paying my bills and making sure the memory card in my camera has been cleaned up (nothing like going on a trip with a full memory card of pictures from your last trip that never got downloaded).

    I see a kuksa in your gear photos – but I didn’t see it in the pack list.

    No groundcloth?  Hard-core.  Sierra trip w/o a Sierra Cup?  Blasphemous!  :)

  • Whistle? It wasn’t on my gear list because I simply forgot, but I have an ACR I wear around my neck. Unfortunately, not only did I neglect to add it to my gear list, I left the whistle, my microlight, and all of my coffee at home on the kitchen counter and forget to pack it with me! So much for using my list…

    There are some areas I’m willing to cut weight, but my bag is not currently one of them. I personally don’t like quilts as I tend to squirm a lot at night – mummy bags are my preference and the WM Ultralight is absolutely superb. I also prefer not to double up with clothes in my bag just to stay warm and it avoids getting them sweaty and smelly too quickly.

    Water is everywhere and for the most part all I used was a 32oz empty sports bottle that I kept refilling. Unfortunately from Whitney trail camp to the summit and back there is no water, so you have to carry a whole day’s or at least several hours supply – and it was HOT. So having a bigger spare platy and the bottle really came in handy.

    I definitely like the idea of the misting spray. I was dipping a bandana in the streams and putting that around my neck for a little AC cooling.

    Thanks for all your feedback, there were a lot of things that went really well on the trip and several that went badly – I’ll be writing up a post later to go over them both in more detail. It should be an interesting read.

  • Are you out of your mind? How is a 25 pillow too heavy? On a related note the BPL single-use pillow was totally useless and wouldn’t stay inflated for more than 5 mins. I ended up not using it after the first night and wadding up my Mont-Bell jacket instead.

    I have now vowed to myself that I will never again use “something else” as a makeshift pillow – I’m going to buy the lightest weight proper inflatable pillow that I can, because tossing and turning all night and having to rearrange a pillow is not what I want to have happen any more.

  • I left a few things behind on purpose before setting out to the trail, and a few other things I forgot to pack and take with me before heading to the airport. I’ll post an update on what worked and what didn’t shortly. My total pack weight including water and consumables was 21lbs at the trail head.

  • Ah yes the photo dots – it’s actually a new technology that I have custom built for use on my blog. I could tell you how I did it, but I’d have to kill you! Or you could check out ThingLink :-)

  • You’re welcome. I hope it gives everyone some ideas on how to pull together a gear list and the benefits of using one.

  • dd

  • Cool, I can’t wait to read about what worked and what didn’t

  • Justin

    doesn’t your pack, the Gossamer Gorilla have a whistle as part of the the chest strap clip?

    thanks for posting this and for your spreadsheet, it’s always interesting to see what others pack

    • Justin, you’re right my Gorilla pack does have a whistle/clip as part of the sternum strap, but generally speaking they are not very good. Besides, I’m kinda old school in that I prefer to have a whistle around my neck and not attached to my pack – that way even if I get separated from my pack I have the whistle.

      Yeah, you’re welcome regarding the gear list. I typically use it for my own purposes but decided to share it simply because like you I always like to see what others are packing and carrying.

  • Justin

    doesn’t your pack, the Gossamer Gorilla have a whistle as part of the the chest strap clip?

    thanks for posting this and for your spreadsheet, it’s always interesting to see what others pack

  • Justin, you’re right my Gorilla pack does have a whistle/clip as part of the sternum strap, but generally speaking they are not very good. Besides, I’m kinda old school in that I prefer to have a whistle around my neck and not attached to my pack – that way even if I get separated from my pack I have the whistle.

    Yeah, you’re welcome regarding the gear list. I typically use it for my own purposes but decided to share it simply because like you I always like to see what others are packing and carrying.

  • Ken

    If I was going I’d ditch the bug bivy. Bugs are almost certainly going to be all but non-existent. But I suppose you want a groundsheet and adding the netting probably only adds 2.5-3 ounces.

    The wag bags are a definite annoyance.

    • Not only are the wag bags annoying, they don’t work! I wouldn’t mind using them if they at least kept the smell sealed in.

      Yeah that was my thinking too pretty much. All I needed was a ground sheet because the buggies are few and far between at that altitude. However, the netting add so little weight that it was easier to use the bivy because it helps keep the ground cloth underneath me because of the way it works – no slipping on and off the ground sheet at night.

      Next time I’ll be taking a freestanding dome – no more tarps on mountains!

  • Ken

    If I was going I’d ditch the bug bivy. Bugs are almost certainly going to be all but non-existent. But I suppose you want a groundsheet and adding the netting probably only adds 2.5-3 ounces.

    The wag bags are a definite annoyance.

  • Not only are the wag bags annoying, they don’t work! I wouldn’t mind using them if they at least kept the smell sealed in.

    Yeah that was my thinking too pretty much. All I needed was a ground sheet because the buggies are few and far between at that altitude. However, the netting add so little weight that it was easier to use the bivy because it helps keep the ground cloth underneath me because of the way it works – no slipping on and off the ground sheet at night.

    Next time I’ll be taking a freestanding dome – no more tarps on mountains!

  • A2999223

    If you’re headed to The Whitney Zone, in addition to the dreaded WAG bags, you’ll also need a bear canister.

    • You’re absolutely right! You can pick up your WAG bags for free at the ranger station in Lone Pine (more on this in a future post) and I rented a bear canister from them too – I think the cost to rent for our multi-day trip was $8.

  • A2999223

    If you’re headed to The Whitney Zone, in addition to the dreaded WAG bags, you’ll also need a bear canister.

  • You’re absolutely right! You can pick up your WAG bags for free at the ranger station in Lone Pine (more on this in a future post) and I rented a bear canister from them too – I think the cost to rent for our multi-day trip was $8.

  • Great gear list Brian.  Gorilla pack is very good.  I just gave in and got a pillow.  Simple thing with a bit of padding and you stuff clothing into it.  Works well and a good night sleep to come I hope. 

    • Thanks Martin, I haven’t decided on what type of pillow to get but I can tell you that I’m not going to rely on makeshift ones or bundled clothes alone anymore – I want to be able to sleep for more than 5 minutes at a stretch.

      Some friends have recommended the Mont-Bell pillow so I’ll be checking that out. What is the name of the pillow you are using? Just curious.

  • Great gear list Brian.  Gorilla pack is very good.  I just gave in and got a pillow.  Simple thing with a bit of padding and you stuff clothing into it.  Works well and a good night sleep to come I hope. 

  • Thanks Martin, I haven’t decided on what type of pillow to get but I can tell you that I’m not going to rely on makeshift ones or bundled clothes alone anymore – I want to be able to sleep for more than 5 minutes at a stretch.

    Some friends have recommended the Mont-Bell pillow so I’ll be checking that out. What is the name of the pillow you are using? Just curious.

  • Stu_TenPoundBackpack

    How did the Mont Bell Parka work out? I’ve been eyeing it for awhile but haven’t been able to pull the trigger on it just yet.

    • It’s one of the more high priced items for sure, so you’re right to ask around and get feedback. I love it for all the obvious reasons, light, compact, warm, and the hood is a real bonus with a haircut like mine! One of the great things about it is the quality of manufacture, it’s an item that properly looked after will last you a very long time, so over the years it pays for itself IMHO.

      The parka sizing seems to run a hair small so take that into account when you’re buying. A lot of the better websites have very detailed sizing charts so be sure to take a look at them and know what size you need to order. Time permitting I might write up a short review of the parka here, but it’s been review so much by others I don’t think I’d have anything new to add – do you think I need to review it or that it would help?

  • Stu_TenPoundBackpack

    How did the Mont Bell Parka work out? I’ve been eyeing it for awhile but haven’t been able to pull the trigger on it just yet.

  • It’s one of the more high priced items for sure, so you’re right to ask around and get feedback. I love it for all the obvious reasons, light, compact, warm, and the hood is a real bonus with a haircut like mine! One of the great things about it is the quality of manufacture, it’s an item that properly looked after will last you a very long time, so over the years it pays for itself IMHO.

    The parka sizing seems to run a hair small so take that into account when you’re buying. A lot of the better websites have very detailed sizing charts so be sure to take a look at them and know what size you need to order. Time permitting I might write up a short review of the parka here, but it’s been review so much by others I don’t think I’d have anything new to add – do you think I need to review it or that it would help?

  • Brian, checkout Kooka Bay pads and Mont Bell pillow – see my blog at http://www.lightweighttramping.blogspot.com for how I integrated these. I hired the Wild Ideas carbon fiber bear barrel (900grams). Re shelter, I love my Hexamid tarp with their new bug net – Sooooooo light and yet performs in wind really well. Joe at Hexamid  is a dream to deal with  

    • Rob, thanks for the gear tips and nice blog – I have some new reading to do! Hexamid make some great shelters, but I haven’t tried their tarps yet.

  • Brian, checkout Kooka Bay pads and Mont Bell pillow – see my blog at http://www.lightweighttramping.blogspot.com for how I intergrated these. I hired the Wild Ideas carbon fiber bear barrel (900grams).
    Re shelter, I love my Hexamid tarp with their new bug net – Sooooooo light and yet performs in wind really well. Joe at Hexamid  is a dream to deal with  

  • Rob, thanks for the gear tips and nice blog – I have some new reading to do! Hexamid make some great shelters, but I haven’t tried their tarps yet.

  • So that cat has officially been let out fo the bag! Here is a link to a post about Mike’s Super Spackle recipe.

  • keinoson

    I think the link is dead.  Could you re-upload the spreadsheet file?

  • Great gear list Brian. You might want to consider utilizing your MB parka as part of your sleeping system. I currently do that paired with a custom quilt so I’m not wasting any insulation that I carry.

  • Lrott

    Can you send me the gear list (excel that you created) lina@nuttybuddy.com
    @nuttybuddy:disqus 
    Thanks Brian….

  • Catharine Slover

    what is that ethnic-looking cup with the string through the handle? couldn’t find it on the gear list.

    • Catharine, the cup that you see is a Finnish-made Kupilka 21. It’s not a UL cup but it gorgeous to look at wonderful to use. You can see several of my blog posts about it here: Kupilka posts on BBB.

      Let me know what you think of it after you’ve had time read more.

  • Catharine, the cup that you see is a Finnish-made Kupilka 21. It’s not a UL cup but it gorgeous to look at wonderful to use. You can see several of my blog posts about it here: Kupilka posts on BBB.

    Let me know what you think of it after you’ve had time read more.

  • Catharine Slover

    what is that ethnic-looking cup with the string through the handle? couldn’t find it on the gear list.

  • rcMike

    Brian, I have permits for Mt. Whitney in July and will have almost exactly the same gear list as yours.  How did you pack the bear canister in your Gossamer Gear Gorilla?  I just got the 2012 version and my BV450 looks like it fits vertically although I haven’t test packed everything yet.  I am thinking I will stuff my bag down in the bottom, followed by the BV450, then everything else will pack around it.  If it’s too tight a fit, I may have to take a larger pack.
    Thanks,
    Mike

    • Mike, there were three of on our hike and it was my turn to carry the bear canister. I simply packed the bear canister (full f food, why waste space) on the top of my pack after everything else. After the water bottle, the canister and my food was the second most grabbed item – so this worked for me.

      I just got the new Gorilla yesterday and plan to use that for my second attempt at Whitney this August. I’ll be there shortly after you :)

      Are you using my gear list as a guide, or do you happen to have a lot of the same gear already? Either way is fine, but I would NOT recommend a tarp as shelter. There’s no easy way to stake it out securely at the summit trail camp, it’s too rocky.

      • rcMike

        Brian, thanks for the info. I have a lot of the same gear already and won’t be using my SpinnTwinn on this trip.  I could bring a freestanding tent but it would weigh more and take up more room in the pack. Something like a Nemo Meta 1P, while offering more protection, still needs to be staked out.   Either way, with the potential for windy nights, I will still need to stake things down.  What shelter are you bringing in August?

        • Good question Mike. I’m looking at a couple of free standing 1P dome tents as my choice. I can tell you that it get’s very windy up at summit trail came, so you will need to stake out whatever shelter you use.

          I’m thinking of a BigSky Mirage 1P dome tent, but really not completely decided yet. Do you have any good suggestions?

          • rcMike

            I have looked and the BigSky Mirage 1P online and like the external pole structure.  If I got one, I’d probably go for the standard material since the UL material looks like it doubles the base price of the tent.  However, since I already have a number of tents to choose from, it will come down to the Nemo Meta 1P (which handles wind very well), Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2, and the Hilleberg Akto (waiting for it to arrive).

          • Let me know which one you go with, it’s the only thing I have yet to decide for my trip. Agree on the fabric cost – insane.

          • I’m glad I stumbled across this discussion, I’m heading up the High Sierras in a few weeks for the first time. I was planning on bringing my MLD Trailstar, but now I’m not so sure that would be a good idea… My buddy has a BD Firstlight or Hilight though.

  • rcMike

    Brian, I have permits for Mt. Whitney in July and will have almost exactly the same gear list as yours.  How did you pack the bear canister in your Gossamer Gear Gorilla?  I just got the 2012 version and my BV450 looks like it fits vertically although I haven’t test packed everything yet.  I am thinking I will stuff my bag down in the bottom, followed by the BV450, then everything else will pack around it.  If it’s too tight a fit, I may have to take a larger pack.
    Thanks,
    Mike

  • Mike, there were three of on our hike and it was my turn to carry the bear canister. I simply packed the bear canister (full f food, why waste space) on the top of my pack after everything else. After the water bottle, the canister and my food was the second most grabbed item – so this worked for me.

    I just got the new Gorilla yesterday and plan to use that for my second attempt at Whitney this August. I’ll be there shortly after you :)

    Are you using my gear list as a guide, or do you happen to have a lot of the same gear already? Either way is fine, but I would NOT recommend a tarp as shelter. There’s no easy way to stake it out securely at the summit trail camp, it’s too rocky.

  • rcMike

    Brian, thanks for the info. I have a lot of the same gear already and won’t be using my SpinnTwinn on this trip.  I could bring a freestanding tent but it would weigh more and take up more room in the pack. Something like a Nemo Meta 1P, while offering more protection, still needs to be staked out.   Either way, with the potential for windy nights, I will still need to stake things down.  What shelter are you bringing in August?

  • Good question Mike. I’m looking at a couple of free standing 1P dome tents as my choice. I can tell you that it get’s very windy up at summit trail came, so you will need to stake out whatever shelter you use.

    I’m thinking of a BigSky Mirage 1P dome tent, but really not completely decided yet. Do you have any good suggestions?

  • rcMike

    I have looked and the BigSky Mirage 1P online and like the external pole structure.  If I got one, I’d probably go for the standard material since the UL material looks like it doubles the base price of the tent.  However, since I already have a number of tents to choose from, it will come down to the Nemo Meta 1P (which handles wind very well), Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2, and the Hilleberg Akto (waiting for it to arrive).

  • Let me know which one you go with, it’s the only thing I have yet to decide for my trip. Agree on the fabric cost – insane.

  • Ryan

    I’m glad I stumbled across this discussion, I’m heading up the High Sierras in a few weeks for the first time. I was planning on bringing my MLD Trailstar, but now I’m not so sure that would be a good idea… My buddy has a BD Firstlight or Hilight though.

  • Tim H

    “If you have any questions about any of my gear or the format I’ve used for my spreadsheet, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer” I’m interested in the format you used for your gear list, Brian- I’ve got a LW backpacking course I’m teaching for Boy Scout Leaders in a couple of weeks and that would be useful. Great read! Tim H., Edmonds, WA

    • Hi Tim, you can download a blank version of the template I created (in Microsoft Excel with all the formulas) here for free :) – Download PDF Gear Template Let me know if you have questions about using it, my email is at the top right of my blog.

  • Katie Barth

    Hi Brian, I’m hiking Mt. Whitney for the first time this year! I’m unable to see/download your list in this article (probably user error) can you provide a download link?

    • Katie – let me check it right now. It should still be there unless I’ve moved something.

    • Katie, I’ll add this to the blog post too, but for now you can get my gear lists here: Mt. Whitney Gear List (.xlsx) or (PDF)

      • Katie Barth

        thank you!