Camp Muir Mt. Rainier 1 Day Glacier Trip Hike Pack List

Published:  08/08/2016

man and woman standing in snow with mountains in background

Maria Faires, RD and son Taylor hiking to Camp Muir Mt. Rainier

If you're planning to hike up to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier, I've compiled a comprehensive mountaineering checklist along with some crucial tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

The hike to Camp Muir is a wonderland of beauty with sites that are so stunning, you'll wonder if they're otherworldly. 

Please read my Camp Muir Hike Tips before you go. It is imperative that you have the necessary snow, navigational and survival skills to do this hike. 

In addition, the Camp Muir hike is long and arduous. This hike is only recommended for strong, experienced hikers. The climb from Climb from Paradise to Camp Muir is done in 5-6 hours. The ascent is a steep 4,780 feet elevation gain in approximately 4.5 miles. The entire hike is a total of 9 miles.  The whole hike takes 8 to 10 hours and mostly is on snow.  You will carry a pack of 20+ pounds during this hike.  

A cautionary note: This route isn't for everyone since it is exposed and does involve substantial snow travel and may require good route finding skills. Fierce storms can come in rapidly and dramatically and can bring a whiteout. It can get cold fast and the route can be obscured. Hikers have either died of hypothermia or wandered blindly over cliffs so please be prepared by checking the weather forecast and road conditions before you go. Even if you expect good weather be prepared for sudden weather changes.

It is imperative that you check the weather forecast and only go in optimal conditions. If you have any questions about your fitness level or mountaineering or route finding skills with GPS or compass, don't go.

Plan ahead and take the things you would need to survive if conditions change. This list does NOT include survival items. If you have decided to go when conditions may be less than perfect, compile a survival kit that would include extra food, clothing, tent, sleeping bag and/or emergency bivy survival bag

Check the weather forecast and adjust these items accordingly. If you plan on climbing Mt. Rainier or other Mountain summit in the near future, use this hike as a way to test your gear.

If you want a recount of my hike up to Camp Muir, go to this blog. If you would like some tips regarding hiking Camp Muir, go here.

I've compiled a comprehensive packing list here and I have chosen some specific items based on what I personally found has worked and I have also researched some of the best items in each category. You may or may not want some of the items on the list, for instance, personal locator beacons or satellite communicators. But my goal was to provide a comprehensive list that indivuduals can then personalize. 

Are You Physically Fit for Glacier Travel?

Maria Faires, RD Summit Climb Mt. Rainier

Before your trip, you need to consider your current ability. Are you currently training 5 or 6 days a week? If not, you need to develop a plan to increase your training and train optimally for mountaineering. 

I am a mountaineering fitness and nutrition expert. I can provide you with a comprehensive training program so that you have the fitness level to summit our magnificent mountains safely and have fun doing so. I have climbed most of Washington’s prominent peaks and have assisted hundreds of hikers, backpackers, and mountaineers achieve their goals world-wide, including the seven highest summits.

Climbing a mountain with snow, rock, ice and steep, uneven terrain requires a significant amount of strength, aerobic endurance and balance. Within a mountaineering training plan there are several important specialized components that should be included in your climbing prep training. 

Camp Muir Mt. Rainier 1 Day Glacier Trip Hike Pack List

Maria Faires, RD (in blue) leading a Climb for Clean Air Group to Camp Muir

Large backpack you are using for your climb if this trip is a practice for your climb, typically 30 to 50 liter. 

Insulated Sit Pad

Large garbage bag to sit and slide on if there is glissading and another to line your backpack before packing

Compass and/or GPS- optional if going with someone else who has them and Camp Muir trail map with bearings  

Fully charged cell phone. Turn to wifi as you are hiking to save the battery.

Portable Charger Power Bank Double check compatability of your phone

Solar Portable Charger For training hikes I like to have a solar portable charger for charging my phone like this one

Headlamp PRO 

Trekking poles w/ baskets or ski poles. I can't tell you how much I love my Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles. They're light, rugged, durable, telescoping, functional, easy to use and comfortable. I use these with snow baskets for snowshoeing. At the time of writing this blog they are less expensive on Amazon than REI. Black Diamond Expedition Version 3 Ski Poles  These Leki Jannu FX TA Trekking Poles are also highly rated if you like a foldable style. 

Snow Baskets These brightly colored highly rated baskets are compatible with Black Diamond Poles. Always have extra baskets with you since they fall off 


Altimeter Watch - optional 

Personal Locator Beacon

Satellite Messenger: 

    Garmin inReach Messenger     
    Garmin inReach Mini 2     
    ACR Bivy Stick     
    ZOLEO Satellite Communicator     
    Garmin GPSMAP 66i

Ice ax- ask group leader if necessary

Disposable Hand Warmers 

Food For Mountaineering

Maria Faires, RD with Peter Whittaker, owner of Rainier Mountaineering Inc. on Camp Muir Route

Maria Faires, RD with Peter Whittaker, owner of Rainier Mountaineering Inc. on Camp Muir Route

2 full water bottles (2 quarts total) AND 1 quart Gatorade or equivalent. Be sure to keep these bottles INSIDE your pack. If they were placed in a pouch on the outside of your pack and they fell out, you would be without fluids.

Big Lunch Plus snacks: What worked well for me (a 120 pound woman) was a turkey and cheese sandwich, 1 cup fresh cherries, 3 Kind bars and some nuts.

Other ideas: I like large pretzels (large don't crumble to tiny bits), trail mix, Creative Snack Co. BrainFood, Cheetos, granola, sports bars, lemon hard candy, chocolate covered coffee beans, bars, gels, chews, drink mix, etc.

Also pack a snack and water for the car ride there and snacks and water for the ride home.

Other hiking snack food ideas here

Climbing a mountain? Go here for what to eat on summit day

Personal Items

Looking up the Camp Muir Route towards Mt. Rainier


Prescription Meds 

Menstrual products

Money plus $30 for Mt. Rainier National Park entrance fee (check their website for current fee)

Personal first aid kit: Ibuprofen--works best for altitude headaches, Blister kit, band aids, personal meds, wound care, peppermints or mint gum for nausea

Kleenex and/or Toilet paper in ziplock. Camp Muir toilets ususally do not have toilet paper. I take a roll of TP to donate and leave at Camp Muir.

Large Ziplock bag - in case you have to do #2 it must be packed out

Sunscreen: Zinc Oxide based 45+ AND waterproof. Apply every 60 minutes. Including up your nose, up your shorts and in your ears.

Zinc based Lip balm with 15+ sunscreen. Apply every 60 minutes. This Naked Bee zinc lipbalm is the one I use for outdoor sports including sailing.

Handwipes, about 5 in a ziplock.

Hand sanitizer wipes or small bottle of gel

Quickdry handtowel- use to wipe away sweat before applying sunscreen. I grommet these towels and attach to a carabiner on my pack so it is readily available. Here is how to put a grommet on a towel

These towels are just the right size if you choose the face or hand size or this one.

Layering System for Mountaineering 

Lightweight Base Layer Top and Bottom 

Midweight Insulating Layers: Bring 2 or 3 to mix and match as needed: a fleece pullover, an insulated vest, or a light synthetic or down jacket 

Soft Shell Jacket: Light, breathable, non insulated, semi-waterproof, wind protection. Used instead of a heavier insulating jacket if it’s warm. 

Soft Shell Pants Soft: Soft synthetic to provide a little warmth and waterproofing. 

Hard Shell Gore-Tex Jacket & Pants: Lightweight for windy and wet conditions. Uninsulated, not ski pants, full side-zips if you will be wearing these with crampons. 

Parka: Down 700 fill power and a total weight of 18 to 24 ounces or a Synthetic Parka. Typically not necessary for the hike up to Camp Muir. 

Clothing for Mountaineering

Base Layer:

Base layer, long-sleeved top that is a non-insulating, moisture wicking synthetic material. It is an advantage to have it be a sun hoody. Outdoor Research Men's Echo Hoodie Quick Drying Active Hooded Sweatshirt for Men or Women's Echo Hoodie for Women 

Base Layer Smartwool 150 Weight:   

Smartwool Classic All-Season Merino Base Layer Bottom - Men's  

Smartwool Classic All-Season Merino Base Layer Bottom - Women's

Smartwool Women's Classic All-Season Merino Wool Base Layer Top 

Smartwool Classic All-Season Merino 1/4-Zip Base Layer Top - Men's

If you are going on a very cold weather mountain climb, the Smartwool 250 weight is warmer than the 150 weight.
Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer 1/4 Zip - Men's  
Smartwool Intraknit Thermal Merino Base Layer Bottom - Men's
Smartwool Women's Intraknit Merino Thermal Leggings 

Mid Layers: 

Fleece Pullover: Patagonia R1 or R2 

Arc'teryx Atom Hoody for Women 

Arc'teryx Atom Jacket Light Men's 

Women Arc'teryx Atom Hoody for Women Down Jacket  

Outdoor Research Men’s Helium Down Jacket – Puffer Jacket for Men   

Soft Shell Jacket:

Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi Hoodie 
Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Hooded Jacket 

Soft Shell Pant: 

Waterproof and breathable shell pants to provide a small amount of warmth and waterproofing

Outdoor Research Cirque II Soft Shell Pant for Women

Outdoor Research Men's Cirque II Pants These Cirque II are considered pretty warm so during summer climbs, these may be too warm so sub hiking pants or the lighter weight Cirque Lite pant

OR Cirque Lite for Men 

OR Cirque Lite for Women

Hard Shell Gore-Tex Jacket & Pants:

For windy and wet conditions. Uninsulated, not ski pants, full side-zips if you will be wearing these with crampons.
OR Women Aspire Jacket  

Men’s Foray II Jacket    

OR Apollo Hard shell Pant Men

REI Rainier Full-Zip Pants


Believe it or not, there are many times the weather is so warm you will want to wear shorts. My rule of thumb is if it is over 55 degrees, I wear shorts (but bring my long layers too)

Hiking Socks:

Wool-synthetic blend socks. Bring 2 pairs. You can change into a dry pair at Camp Muir.

DarnTough Snowpack Men's OTC Midweight with Cushion Sock  

Darn Tough Women's Snowburst OTC Midweight Ski and Snowboard Sock


Brimmed: this one also provides shade for your neck and has a chin strap to prevent it blowing off

Warm ski cap


Lightweight neck gaiter that is wicking for warmth and face protection 

BUFF Adult CoolNet UV Half, Multifunctional Neckwear and Headband for UV protection Merino Wool Ski Neck Gaiter - Face Mask Neck Warmer for Men & Women  this one is warmer

Trek Walking Poles Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork

They're light, rugged, durable, telescoping, functional, easy to use and comfortable. I use these with snow baskets for snowshoeing.

Buy on Amazon
Trek Walking Poles Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork

Microspikes Yaktrax Diamond Grip All-Surface Traction Cleats for Walking on Ice and Snow

I prefer this type of traction because the beads swivel independently, preventing buildup of snow and ice making them ideal for transitioning between surfaces like gravel, dirt, and concrete

Buy on Amazon
Microspikes Yaktrax Diamond Grip All-Surface Traction Cleats for Walking on Ice and Snow

Insulated Sitting Pad Therm-a-Rest Z Seat Cushion

Highly rated Durable, superlight (2 ounces) closed-cell foam portable camping seat for insulation and on-the-spot comfort on rough terrain.

Buy on Amazon
Insulated Sitting Pad Therm-a-Rest Z Seat Cushion

Helinox Chair One Original Lightweight, Compact, Collapsible Camping Chair, Black/Blue

Lightweight, compact chair packs smaller and weighs less than a bottle of wine and is easy to set up

Buy on Amazon
Helinox Chair One Original Lightweight, Compact, Collapsible Camping Chair, Black/Blue

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Categories:   Hiking and Mountaineering 

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