John Muir Trail Ultimate Gear Test

John Muir Trail Ultimate Gear Test

When you’re backpacking in the woods, it becomes obvious what you really need and what is dead weight. This becomes even more apparent the greater distance you hike. I, for one, have backpacked quite a bit and thought I knew what was superfluous. On this trip I packed light with a sub three pound tent and titanium cups.

What photographers and media creators struggle with in the outdoors is being fit enough to carry adequate gear and not be miserable enough while doing it to actually take out the camera and shoot. I’ve learned that both training and going light is incredibly important. You can capture more with a standard lens and a beautiful location than if you never reach your objective because of the load you’re carrying.

On this hike I brought a Goal Zero solar charger to recharge my camera batteries and a lithium ion battery to act as a reservoir. I also brought a wide zoom, standard zoom and telephoto lens. Additionally, I brought the Canon M1 as backup to my four pound 5d mk III. To put this in perspective, more than half my base weight of my pack was camera gear.

Honestly, I used everything I brought in terms of photo gear everyday, but by day four I decided to send home 18 pounds of gear. This included the solar panel (I kept the battery and charged it every 4-6 days) and even my hiking boots in favor of the lighter Altra brand shoe. More versatile equipment was just to heavy to carry 220 miles. In the end it was a great decision and I was much happier with the weight. I think this shows in my pictures as well – though they are only between 24 and 70 mm. The real solution is to walk to a better vantage point rather than carry more gear. Nothing in the world like the sneaker zoom.

Where am I going with this? I made a personal project to document what was really worth carrying. I did not include our trash or food on the trip, otherwise this is everything that was left in either my or my hiking partner’s pack. And yes, only one pair of underwear made it out in one piece.

Leave a Reply

avatar