My Top 5 Must Have Items
When you wheel the Iconic Rubicon Trail
Now some of these items seem like no brainers as we would normally bring these items when we wheel.
Water Yes, you should always bring water. However, it is vitally important on this trail to bring more then you think you need. I would double, maybe even triple the amount of water you would normally bring. Especially if the weather is going to be hot. It may not seem like wheeling is strenuous, but it can get that way especially if you are doing a lot of getting out of your Jeep to watch other Jeepers attempt an obstacle or you are doing a lot of spotting or even a little hiking on the trail.
Fridge Yeah that may sound silly, but it really isn’t. Having a cold bottle of water can do wonders when you are out wheeling. A cooler with ice is most likely not going to make it through the whole trail. Now remember some people have made it through the whole trail in 2 days. That is going really fast. You aren‘t able to enjoy yourself and appreciate the trail. For some folks this is a once in a lifetime trip so take your time and enjoy. Plus, expect the unexpected. Some Jeepers need a little more time to wheel through those obstacles or you may have delays due to Jeep troubles. So, having a fridge to keep your water cold and store your food is so important. Last fall, we bought a Costway fridge and have used it every day since our purchase in September of 2019. It is still holding strong, and only cost half of what you pay for those name brand ones. It plugs right into my Jeep, and will stay running as long as my Jeep is on. At night it keeps cold until I turn it on the next morning.
Food another of course you need to bring item, but again bring extra food in case you get stuck out on the trail. I would plan on a meal or two, extra snacks, and extra lunch. Maybe peanut butter and jelly or those MRE type meals as back up. Like I said before, expect the unexpected. You just never know what will happen on the Rubicon trail. Remember once you get on this 22-mile trail there are no quick get off and get back on spots. We were low on our lunch rations, and the last day we were rescued by some great California guys who left us with extra cold water, and some of the best sub sandwiches we ever had. A big shout out to those Cali Guys. We were lucky for they came along, so we did not turn into the Donner Party.
Extra Fuel First make sure you find the closest gas station to the trailhead you will be entering the Rubicon Trail. For us at the Loon Lake trailhead there was a gas station on Icehouse Road. Stop and top off your tank. Every drop of gas is needed on this trail. I made it out to the McKinney Lake trailhead, but you still have a way to go to get into the town Tahoma and then to find a gas station. As I was coming off Observation Hill my gas was low, Eventually my gas light came on. Luckily, I came across a super nice guy and his family coming into the trail to camp at Rubicon Springs for the night. We stopped and chatted for a bit, and I shared our trail woes. He said he had a 20-gallon gas can in his truck at the trail head. There were 5 gallons left in it, and said it was mine. I am fairly sure I would have run out of gas before I found a gas station. One of the reasons is, I left my Jeep running through out the day even when we were stopped. As well as at camp to keep the fridge running. It was an unusually hot week up in the Sierra Nevadas, so it was warm inside my jeep. An extra 5 gallons can make a big difference.
Winch I was able to wheel the whole 22 miles without winching myself off the obstacles or getting winched off by another Jeeper. However, we put my winch to good use helping other Jeepers. Especially the ones without lockers. Expect to winch or to be winched, and expect body damage. The Rubicon Trail is quite an experience. For me it was amazing, but at the same time very frustrating and stressful as the situation we were in. It was life changing, and I plan on going back. This time under different circumstances. I hope it will be less stressful so I can enjoy it. Remember on the Rubicon Trail Expect the Unexpected and Be overly prepared. I know the Donner Party can attest to that.