Backpacking Gear List
For Summer on-trail hikes and easy off-trail hikes with Class-2 climbs in the Sierra Nevada and All California Coastal Mountains
February 15, 2009
* = Most Important Things DH = Bring on your day hikes too.
*Backpack—Including whatever accessory straps you might need to lash things on the pack.
*Pack Cover or Pack Liner for the Backpack—Keeps your clothing and sleeping bag dry
when hiking in the rain. You can use either a formal pack cover or pack liner, which you can
purchase wherever packs are sold, or you can use a 30 or 40 gallon trash bag. On the trail
you can cut slits in the bag for the pack straps and hip belt if you want a cover, but plastic
bags used as pack covers often self-destruct after a few days. Alternately or additionally, you
can store your sleeping bag and clothing in durable plastic bags, or in dry sacks made for
backpacking, such as those made by Sea to Summit,
http://www.seatosummit.com/products/cat/3 . The advantage of this method is that your bag
and clothing are protected against accidental dunking while attempting stream crossings.
*Sleeping Bag—Between 7,000 and 9,000 feet of elevation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains,
you can generally expect night low temperatures in late July to be around 55 degrees
Fahrenheit +/- 12 degrees, 50 to 60 is most common, but 40 degrees at night is not at all
unusual. A rule of thumb is to have a sleeping bag rated for at least 10 degrees less than the
most likely cold temperature. A 40 degree bag will often do. However 30 degree bags are
generally considered better for summer use in the Sierra. Some people who usually sleep
with more blankets than other people, and hikers who are on hikes lasting from Spring
through Autumn, often prefer 15 degree bags. Of course you can augment your insulation by
wearing clothing or long underwear. Coastal and coastal mountain conditions tend to be
about 10 degrees warmer than conditions in the Sierra, but not always. More information is at