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Autumn Hiking Gear List Extras

I was cold so I put a buff on to insulate my neck and gloves with wrist gauntletts
I was cold so I put a buff on to insulate my neck and gloves with wrist gauntlets. Again, insulating the areas where your blood flows close to your skin pays big dividends in staying warm.

The late autumn hiking season from late October through November is a notoriously fickle time of year when shorter days and unpredictable weather require a higher level of preparedness on day hikes and bushwhacks. It’s a great time to hike with no bugs and the leaves off the trees, but if you get caught out after sunset, which is as early as 4:00 pm, you want to bring a little extra insurance.

Here are the unexpected situations that I like to be prepared for at this time of year.

  • Hikes that take longer than expected and require hiking out in the dark
  • Accidents with an immobilized hiker that require an unplanned overnight until help can arrive to help move them
  • Additional traction if we encounter snow or ice on rocky trails and ledges

For me, it’s worth carrying the extra gear to hike at night if you have to, stay warm, make a fire, boil water for hot drinks, or safely walk on icy surfaces. I just don’t carry this gear around. It gets used more often than not and most of my hiking buddies carry it also.

Extra Gear for Shoulder Season Hikes

So in addition to the day hikers 10 essentials, I usually pack these extras on autumn hikes:

This might seem like a big list, but it compresses down nicely in my current day hiking and bushwhacking pack, an indestructible Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Backpack.

Do you carry any extra gear for autumn hiking?

Updated 2015. 

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  1. The only thing that changes for me year-round on DIAD adventures is layers.

  2. Very helpful lists. They are indeed important for autumn hikes. Bringing them is not that hard but can also help make our hiking easier and more enjoyable.

  3. That Anker backup battery looks pretty cool.

    • It is really cool. I love the fact that it has a built in USB plug so I don’t have to carry an extra cord. I get about 3 cell phone charges off of it. Thin profile and under 40 bucks. Works with both my phone and my headlamp. That is a big deal for me and a reason to buy petzl headlamps IMHO.

  4. I Didn’t know Petzl had headlamps that recharge from micro-usb. I’ll have to see if they have a kit for my Tikka XP2 which just runs off of AAA’s. I’m sick of AAA batteries. That is really a cool feature, I think everything low voltage should charge off of micro usb connectors. Everything else already uses it.

    I actually carry less than that around here for a day hike. We don’t have very steep terrain so extra traction usually isn’t required unless it gets to be late December.

    If I take the dog along I’ll usually carry a collapsible water bowl for her. Sometimes I’ll bring an insulated mug along if I want to make tea or some other hot beverage, but that is it otherwise.

  5. Good list. When I go local (NJ/PA), I am usually no more than a mile from a road, and usually can get cell reception. I am usually nowhere nearly as remote as the Whites, so rescue shouldn’t be that far away, and the danger is much lower. I don’t carry a stove or tent on dayhikes, but this list serves as a reminder to add to my pack.

    I usually carry a “winter supplement” for my typical gear. I’ll do an audit and possibly add some stuff in (extra old socks as bottle warmers/”gloves”/socks, etc.).

    • Hi Joe G. I will be in the Delaware Water Gap area in mid to late November. Are there water sources on the AT heading west from the Gap? Thanks

      • Warren – are you talking on the PA side, heading “south” on the AT?

      • Yes South. Plan to be out three nights

      • Since a majority of this section of the AT is along a ridgeline, most of the water sources are either at a shelter, or down off the ridge. Howeve, in November, things should still be running well (as opposed to dry in July). I refer to this for beta (see page 150/151) http://www.pdf-archive.com/2013/05/20/at-1/at-1.pdf.

        Coming from DWG, there is water at Eureka Creek, as you climb the ridge (first mile or so out of town). Then, I’d follow the Companion’s notes for water at shelters. Again, once you’re on the ridge, you either have to get water via pump at a shelter, near a road crossing, or traverse off the ridge a bit to an established spring.

      • Thanks, Joe your information was very helpful. I was just watching a couple of videos from CNYHiking.com for the portion of trial I will be hiking. I am getting stoked. Question, as this being my first hike would you suggest I stay at the Kirkridge Shelter which is only 6 miles from my starting point or hike further on to a campsite and set up my tent?

      • Kirkridge is fine, depending on what time you start. If you drive to the TH in the morning, and start the hike then, Kirkridge seems like a good stop point. If you are starting at first light, you’ll probably make it to the shelter by noon.

  6. Don’t do what I ended up doing this week on an overnighter, packed the Petzl MYO XRP and when I came to use it at 4:30pm it didn’t work, had to resort to the back up Petzl e+lite. Discovered later there was no cells in the MYO (first time out since the spring)……..don’t assume, check your gear before setting out!

  7. Deuter makes nice packs. I have a Speedlight 20 for dayhiking where I don’t need to carry much. Superlight and great quality.

  8. I carry extra stuff in the fall/winter too. I’m always prepared to spend the night semi-comfortably, if I have to. I use an Osprey Exos 34 for all fall/winter day hikes. Often I bring my stove so I can make a hot lunch or a hot beverage. I usually have a one gallon zip lock bag of just food. :) Great list!

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