Essentials For Backpacking Yosemite North Rim

Yosemite Backpacking Essentials

This week, I plan to head off to Yosemite for a few days of backpacking, most likely along the North Rim. Here is my gear for the trip.


Gregory Deva 70 ($319): Fully redesigned for 2015, this beast of a pack comfortably carries even the heaviest of loads. I have worn it for numerous multi-day backpacking trips, including the Uintas, Desolation Wilderness, and Yosemite. The Deva 70 uses three different torso sizes (XS, S, M) with shoulder canting and hipbelt angles curved to fit the female form. The A3 suspension system moves with your body to deliver maximum comfort and stability when carrying heavy loads.

With 70L of space in this top loading design, you can pack everything you need (and even some extras you probably don’t)–the separate sleeping bag compartment at the base of the pack provides quick access and offers a nice reminder on how best to pack your backpack. Front U-zip access lets you quickly get at stuff in the middle of your pack without having to unload everything first.

The internal reservoir sleeve doubles as an ultralight daypack for bagging summits, and the pack comes with a raincover that stows in it’s own zippered pocket inside the front panel. To drop weight you could leave both the rain cover and internal reservoir sleeve at home (even the removable top lid, too).

One of the hipbelt pockets is waterproof for safe storage of your phone or camera. To help you gain access to your water bottle on the go, Gregory changed the angle of the side pocket and added a drawstring pull for security–tuck the pocket away if you don’t want to use it.


Hydrapak Stash Bottle ($17.95): I don’t know about you, but my cupboard full of water bottles is starting to get a bit unruly. The top and bottom on this collapsible water bottle snap together for easy storage at home or in your pack. Great to throw in your carry on for travel too.

Platypus Gravityworks Filter ($119.95): I have been using the gravity filter now for years over many adventures and it continues to serve me well–dead simple to use and quick to filter multiple liters of water.

Silipint Rock Glass ($7.95): For drinking coffee in the morning and wine at night. Made from 100% food grade silicone, these flexible glasses insulate both hot and cold liquids.

Jetboil MiniMo: On my solo adventures, I don’t need much more than the MiniMo.

Food in a bear can: Yosemite is bear country. You can’t backpack without one.

Snowpeak Titanium Spork: One tool is all you need.


Sunday Afternoons Echo Cap ($32): Stylish UPF 50+ sun protection with a folding clamshell brim for easy packing.

Royal Robbins Jammer Roll Up Pants ($75): These light and airy pants are not only wrinkle resistant, but also quick drying, making them easy to wash or rinse out in the backcountry. Draw cords enable you to change the length from ankle to capris.

Ibex T-Shirt ($65): Ultra lightweight merino wool breathes well and cuts down on the stink factor after many days on the trail.

Wigwam Ultra Cool Lite ($14): These comfortable socks are enhanced with Dri-release Tencel fabric for rapid moisture evaporation to keep your feet cool and comfortable. The seamless toe closure helps prevent blisters. I bring one pair to hike in and one dry pair to sleep in at night.

Adidas Terrex Boost ($160): This spring, Adidas added their Boost technology, normally reserved for running shoes, to their mountain shoe line. Designed for competitive mountain trail running, the Terrex Boost make great light hikers. The rugged Continental Rubber outsole penetrates the ground and holds onto slick, slippery surfaces.

OR Deviator Hoody ($185): My favorite mid layer piece, as it offers warmth without the weight or bulk. I am a big fan of Polartec Alpha insulation, as it dries quickly, retains warmth, and circulates airflow around the torso for incredible breathability. Polartec Power Grid in the hood, sleeves, and back panel wicks moisture and keeps you comfortable.

Columbia Sleeker Rain Jacket ($80): Made from waterproof yet breathable Omni-Tech fabric, the Sleeker keeps you dry both inside and out. Light Rail hand pocket zippers create a clean design and open when extra venting is required. The rain jacket scrunches down small to store in the bottom of your pack until you really need it.

Base Layers: Warm layers to switch into at night. I love these Karitraa merino wool base layers. Stay tuned for a full review this fall.

Skida cashmere hat, OR Gloves, and Millet Down Hoodie: Warm and cozy gear to put on as soon as the sun dips below the horizon and to have on hand in case you get caught out in some weather.


Tent: I am currently testing solo ultralight shelters for Backpacker so be sure to check out my reviews in the upcoming September issue.

Sierra Designs Backountry Bed: Bring the comfort of sleeping under your home duvet to the backcountry. The top blanket design makes it so much easier to get in and out and not feel trapped fully zipped inside a mummy bag. Filled with DriDown insulation, you don’t have to worry about the bag wetting out over a few days.

Thermarest NeoAir: Still one of my favorite ultralight sleeping pads.


Sunscreen: You’ll be out in the sun all day, every day, so don’t leave home without it. Lip balm, too.

Map & Compass: Even though I have hiked this route many times, it’s always good to have a map and compass with you just in case.

Sunglasses: Look cool with the 90s retro vibe of the Smith Tioga.

Headlamp: For use around camp and in case of emergency.

Toiletries: Remember to bring a trowel and pack out your toilet paper. Practice leave no trace.

Happy trails!

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