Although it requires one heck of a climb to get to, Sunrise Lakes might be my favorite campsite in Yosemite National Park. The Sunrise Lakes area has tons of dispersed, semi-established spots along the shore for you to lay out your tent footprint and call home. One of my favorite things about Sunrise Lakes is not only the lake views but also the ability to have a campfire. With wildfires being a very real and reasonable concern in Yosemite NP, campfires have been banned in a lot of the backcountry but Sunrise Lakes luckily falls within the safe zone (just be sure to use an established fire pit). Also, the proximity to fresh water is an added bonus, as you do not need to carry up a ton of water with you for the night. Of note, there was a marsh-y waterlogged area at the lake’s east end that I can see being quite buggy depending on the time of year. We luckily did not encounter too many pests during our time of stay but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get the chance to test out products from time to time and I recently brought my Qaras Waterproof Soft Shell Jacket made by Mishmi Takin into the backcountry with me while backpacking in Yosemite National Park. During my trip, I encountered both wind and rain and the jacket holds up impressively well. I usually wear a size S in regular tops and a size M in the Qaras jacket fit me well with room for layers underneath (I was warned that sizes tend to run small). The jacket’s design features different zippers that you can open for your ideal amount of ventilation. However, keep in mind that the inside of the pockets are not fully lined and you’ll lose a lot of heat if you keep them wide open, which could be a desired effect depending on the weather conditions you’re dealing with. I am excited to trial this jacket out in the snow and see how it performs, I have a feeling it will do exceptionally well. In a backpacking setting, this jacket is a bit bulkier to carry than the typical lightweight waterproof shell jacket I’m used to carrying, so this could be a potential con for you weight conscious backpackers. However, armed with warm fleece lining, you might be able to eliminate carrying around additional layers.