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HomeHikingWhite Mountains Autumn Backpacking Gear Record Defined

White Mountains Autumn Backpacking Gear Record Defined

The primary half of autumn, from mid-September via October, is the most effective time to go climbing and backpacking within the White Mountain Nationwide Forest which spans central New Hampshire and Western Maine. The temperatures are cooler, the bugs are gone, and the autumn foliage is spectacular in early October, reaching its peak on Columbus Day throughout the second week of October. Come November, the climate turns decidedly colder, and snowshoes are sometimes required to hike the upper peaks by Thanksgiving. After that winter often lasts into April and even later on the increased elevations.

I haven’t revealed my gear checklist in ages and I assumed I’d write one up that particulars the backpacking gear I exploit in September and October for autumn backpacking (down to twenty levels at evening) earlier than I’ve to transition to colder climate pursuits.

October 1, 2020. Mt Chocorua.
Mt Chocorua and The Sisters

Gear Record Abstract

Most of my journeys within the Whites are one and two-night backpacking journeys, typically solo, and lots of contain climbing 4000 footers, though I typically take off-trail detours to succeed in small fly fishing streams or bag trailless mountains.  I desire wild tenting in dispersed campsites and prepare dinner one-pot dinners on the finish of the day. I often swap from path runners to evenly insulated boots when daytime temperatures fall under freezing. I’m much less obsessive about gear weight than I was and lean extra in the direction of wilderness immersion than crushing large miles. I’m nonetheless a go-getter, however I’m loads much less fascinated about feats and extra fascinated about making reminiscences.

The entire base weight of my gear checklist is 14 lbs 10 oz, which is a couple of pound or two greater than I usually carry in summer time. My Tenkara Fly Fishing gear weighs an extra 9.2 ounces, which can be a drop within the bucket when in comparison with extra conventional reel-based fly fishing.


I switched from a Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 to a Zpacks Arc Haul Extremely 50 two years in the past as a result of I desire carrying a backpack with a suspended mesh again panel for higher air flow. The previous two summers have been brutally sizzling and humid, a development which will properly proceed for the remainder of my lifetime, and the Arc Haul is far more comfy to hold. It’s additionally made with Extremely, a extremely sturdy ultralight and waterproof material that has confirmed powerful sufficient to face up to use within the White Mountain Nationwide Forest, the place most backpacks go to die.

The Zpacks Arc Haul 50 just isn’t a house run however I nonetheless prefer it higher than another pack I personal. The roll prime leaks in heavy all-day rain so I line it with an Exped Schnozzel which is a 44L stuff sack, I’ve put just a few holes within the entrance mesh pocket, and the facet compression system is inadequate for carrying heavy objects like snowshoes. I’m additionally getting bored with unpacking the roll prime utterly each time I want to seek out some gear buried deep within the pack. It might be far more handy if Zpacks put a zipper alongside one facet of the pack that offered one other entry methodology, however the identical could possibly be stated of all roll-top backpack makers.

However the Arc Haul Extremely 50 hip belt gives a superb wrap round my hips, the torso size is absolutely adjustable, and it has daisy chains sewn to the entrance of the shoulder straps, so it’s very comfy and handy to make use of with every kind of hundreds. I’ll swap to a hotter pack with higher exterior attachments within the winter, however the Arc Haul Extremely 50 remains to be a pleasure to make use of for the rest of the 12 months.


I swap forwards and backwards between hammocks and tents and tarps each few years and I’m again in a tent this autumn after utilizing a Hammock Gear Wanderlust Hammock System for just a few years. I’m at the moment utilizing a Durston Gear X-Mid 1 which I like as a result of it packs up small and offers me a lot of further vestibule room for shoulder season climate once I need to maintain my gear below cowl and simply accessible inside my tent.

I exploit a Feathered Buddies Tanager 20 hoodless sleeping bag in autumn as a result of it’s much less drafty than a quilt, with a Sea-to-Summit Insulated Etherlite XT sleeping pad and a Sea-to-Summit Aeros Down Pillow, which I’ve been utilizing occurring 4 years now. I sleep very properly with this setup and don’t have any plans to swap it out. I additionally carry just a few segments of a ZLite foam pad on journeys to make use of as a porch for my tent so my knees don’t get moist getting out and in and to be used as a sit pad when cooking meals.


Complete ESBIT cooking kit including vaseline dipped cotton balls and three ESBIT cubes for a fast overnight 1 night backpacking trip
Full ESBIT cooking package together with vaseline dipped cotton balls and three ESBIT cubes for a one evening backpacking journey

I prepare dinner and boil water with Esbit gas cubes as a result of they’re light-weight to pack and all the time burn irrespective of how chilly it will get. I exploit 1 to 1.5 oz of gas per day and in contrast to canister gas or alcohol, there’s no empty gas container to lug round after the gas is gone. Whereas I do use a QiWiz cookset, it is rather minimal with a steel pot lid as a “range” to forestall the Esbit cubes from burning the bottom, a wire range stand, and a titanium foil windscreen. All the prepare dinner system suits into my historic Evernew Pasta Pot (M), which is sized completely for the one-pot meals I prefer to prepare dinner on the path.

Since I’m in black bear territory, I exploit a Bearvault 425 bear canister to guard my meals and the bears at evening. I additionally use it to retailer my prepare dinner pot and toiletries to maintain smells out of camp. It suits properly close to the highest of my pack as a result of it’s so small (it’s the smallest canister that Bearvault makes). Sadly, Ursacks are not authorized to be used within the White Mountain Forest, and utilizing a bear canister provides appreciable weight to my gear checklist. However a bear canister is far more handy to make use of than making an attempt to hold a bear bag at evening (which is the opposite authorized methodology), particularly in autumn when the times are shorter.


The Platypus QuickDraw Water filter works with all platypus soft bottles.
The Platypus QuickDraw Water filter works with all platypus comfortable bottles.

I’ve been utilizing the Platypus QuickDraw water filter once more this 12 months along with Platypus 2L and 1L comfortable water bottles. I just like the caps at each ends of the filter, which helps forestall cross-contamination of the clear finish and prevents the filter from making all of your different gear moist when it’s packed away. It has a quick circulation charge and lets me use my Platypus bottles, that are gusseted on the underside and arise by themselves.

I desire utilizing the Platypus comfortable bottles for lengthy water carries, which I do more and more typically to seek out dispersed campsites. They maintain their form higher than different comfortable bottles when full, which makes them simpler to hold. For instance, I usually carry 5L of water for dry tenting, and Platy bottles flop round much less when carried in my pack’s entrance mesh pocket, than say a CNOC bottle which is way softer and extra pliable.

I additionally switched to utilizing 1-liter wide-mouth UL Nalgene bottles (3.8 oz every) two years in the past. I often carry two on journeys. I switched to them as a result of I stored shedding taller bottles, together with Smartwater bottles once I hike off-trail, which I do on nearly each hike I take with a fishing rod. The squatter Nalgenes don’t get pulled out of my facet water bottle pockets. In autumn, they’re additionally helpful as a result of you possibly can put sizzling drinks in them and so they have quantity measurements on the facet. It’s very nice to have the ability to warmth up a full liter of tea on a chilly morning and sip it whereas ready for my sizzling cereal to warmth up on a chilly morning. You may’t do this with a Smartwater bottle!


Suunto M3 Compass
Suunto M3 Compass

The workplace is the brains of this operation and encompasses navigation, communications, images, lighting, and energy. I’m a map and compass individual at coronary heart and maintain my Suunto M3 declination adjustable compass shut at hand to verify my course and establish distant terrain options. I additionally put on a solar-powered Casio Professional-Trek ABC watch and use the barometric altimeter rather a lot when climbing, so I don’t should get my telephone out to verify my elevation with a GPS. I nearly by no means take this watch off, so possibly it ought to be thought-about as “clothes worn.”

Nonetheless, it’s good to have Smartphone apps with GPS-encoded maps, so I can verify my place and think about maps on the telephone that I don’t need to carry. I do a good quantity of off-trail climbing along with on-trail so as to attain distant trout streams, so it helps to have a wide array of maps obtainable in a telephone app. When it comes to apps, I exploit GaiaGPS for off-trail navigation, Farout’s White Mountain Nationwide Forest App for on-trail navigation, and Avenza Maps for navigating with historic USGS maps encoded as GeoPDFs or maps revealed by path conferences that don’t use the Farout app.

I carry a Garmin inReach Mini2, so I can textual content the individual I go away my journey plan with if I’m overdue or I’m injured. My iPhone 14 additionally has a SAR satellite tv for pc messenger operate, so I suppose the Mini 2 is redundant, however it’s far more durably made than my Smartphone.

Images: I exploit my iPhone 14 for all of my images because the image high quality is so good and carry a small Anker battery to recharge it with if I run low on energy.

Headlamp. I’m nonetheless utilizing a Nitecore NU 20 (not bought) as a result of it’s small and doesn’t have a fancy set of lighting controls. My UK climbing buddy Martin beneficial it to me a number of years in the past and I’ve been utilizing it ever since.

First Help Equipment

Band-aid Hydro-seal blister bandages review

My first help kits have all the time been self-assembled and are fairly minimal. I put probably the most effort into blister prevention and remedy, utilizing Leukotape to forestall hotspots and long-lasting, padded, Band-aid Hydro-seal bandages if I get blisters. These are tremendous sticky bandages that don’t come off for days and assist heal the wound. They’re the identical factor as Compeed bandages, bought within the UK, however a lot inexpensive.

Along with foot care, I carry the same old antihistamines, ache relievers, and anti-diarrhea tablets. If you happen to’re freaked out by sounds at evening, earplugs are helpful in autumn for blocking the sound of falling leaves. I additionally carry an N95 masks on my hikes to guard myself from Covid if I’ve to get near somebody, say an injured hiker I don’t know who wants assist, or if I’ve to enter a construction with different folks.

Clothes Carried

September 24, 2020. The Great Gulf Wilderness
September 24. The Nice Gulf Wilderness

I carry a reasonably customary set of layers for autumn climate. My rain gear doubles as wind safety above treeline and gives a thermal envelope when worn over a mid-layer. Looking season begins in September, so it’s additionally good that my rain jacket is blaze orange in coloration. It’s loopy that extra corporations don’t make blaze orange out of doors gear for hikers, isn’t it? I additionally carry a light-weight down puffy pullover that I primarily put on in camp or in my sleeping bag at evening if I really feel chilly. Gloves and a heat hat are additionally good to hold, particularly for above-treeline use or on chilly mornings.

I’m a giant believer in carrying a separate pair of dry sleeping garments, which I modify into once I get to camp so I can heat up over dinner. They’re good to have readily available in case your daytime clothes will get moist on wet days and if you must heat up. In addition they maintain your sleep insulation from getting funky, particularly in the event you can’t wash up earlier than going to mattress.

I suppose I’m relationship myself through the use of clothes from Patagonia that’s not made, however I haven’t been in a position to determine in the event that they promote something that’s akin to the light-weight layers I already personal, given their terribly complicated and continuously altering product naming scheme.

Clothes Worn

September 26, 2020 Kinsman Ridge
September 26 Kinsman Ridge

I’m at the moment sporting a pair of Saucony Peregrines 11s ($65/pair) which I stockpiled just a few years in the past, regardless that Saucony is promoting Peregrine 13s ($140/pair) at this level. Shopping for surplus, previous mannequin, path runners is a good way to economize in the event you blow via a number of pairs per season. I’ll maintain sporting the 11s till I want to modify to waterproof mids when the climate turns colder in late October.

I wore REI Sahara Convertible Climbing Pants (for the shorts) most of this summer time however have switched to Railrider Bone Flats Pants because the climate has gotten cooler. These ventilate higher than the Railrider’s EcoMesh pants I utilized in years previous, one other adaption to the hotter and extra humid summers we’ve been having. The Bone Flat Pants are usually not pre-treated with Insect Protect, so it’s a must to ship them out to InsectShield your self or spray them with Sawyer’s Permethrin if you wish to forestall tick and bug bites.

Tenkara Fly Fishing Gear

Brook Trout
Brook Trout

With all this discuss fly fishing, you’re most likely questioning what it’s I do carry. The reply just isn’t a lot, as you possibly can see above. That’s the great thing about Tenkara. It’s very elemental and easy. I can fish all spring, summer time, and autumn with simply 9.2 ounces of fly fishing gear.

I exploit a light-weight telescoping carbon fiber rod that’s made in Japan referred to as the Tenkara USA Iwana and catch trout which are usually below 10″ in size. I’m strictly a catch-and-release fisherman and I exploit barbless hooks, that are simple to take away. I don’t all the time carry Tenkara Gear on hikes particularly if I’m climbing with somebody who simply desires to go climbing or just isn’t a fisherperson. However once I hike alone, I often carry my fishing gear, and nearly all the time once I go backpacking.

Wrap Up

Whew! There’s lots of data there. In case you have any questions on any of the gear I exploit or why I carry what I do, be at liberty to go away a remark under along with your questions. I’m additionally completely satisfied to reply any questions you might have about climbing or backpacking within the Whites in autumn.

Concerning the writer

Philip Werner has hiked and backpacked over 8500 miles in the US and the UK and written over 3000 articles because the founding father of, famous for its backpacking gear evaluations and climbing FAQs. A devotee of New Hampshire and Maine climbing and backpacking, Philip has hiked all 650+ trails within the White Mountains twice and has accomplished 10 rounds of the 48 peaks on the White Mountains 4000 footer checklist with over 540 summits in all 4 seasons. He’s additionally the writer of Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 Footers, a free on-line guidebook of the most effective backpacking journeys within the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Maine. He lives in New Hampshire. Click on right here to subscribe to the SectionHiker publication.

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