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Backpacking Gear List for New Hampshire and Maine (2017)

Backpacking Gear List (2017)
Backpacking Gear List (2017)  for June thru October in New Hampshire and Maine

Most of the backpacking trips I take are 1-3 nights in length in the mountainous terrain of New Hampshire and Maine. This includes sections of the Appalachian Trail and the 1440 mile trail system in the White Mountain National Forest. I still do longer trips when I’m section hiking the AT down south or backpacking in Scotland, but most of the time I stay local to New England because the backpacking is so fabulous and I can drive from my house to the backcountry in two hours. There aren’t any grizzly bears or rattlesnakes to worry about in New England and it’s easy to find solitude.

There are basically two seasons in New Hampshire and Maine: summer and winter. Summer lasts from June until the end of October, and winter lasts from November through May although snow can linger into July at higher elevations. What about spring and autumn? They go by so quickly up north, that they just merge into summer and winter.

This gear list of for the summer months (June-October), but I also a have winter gear list that’s up to date.

When nighttime temperatures get above 40 degrees at night, I usually switch from a tent to a hammock when I’m not testing and reviewing gear. I got hooked on hammocks for backpacking in New England about 2 years ago because I finally found a hammock (Warbonnet Blackbird) that I really enjoy using. But when it gets cold again at night, I head back to ground for the duration of the year.

If you look though this gear list, my base weight with a hammock is 12 pounds. I could easy chop a pound off that weight if I was willing to spend some money to do it, but I’m kind of frugal when it comes to buying new gear. I actually care more about gear volume than weight because I’d rather carry a lighter, smaller volume pack than a larger one. And with this gear list, I can still fit three days of food into my Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest backpack.

I have plenty of leftover space in my pack for 3 days of food
I have plenty of leftover space in my pack for 3 days of food

If you’re not familiar with New England terrain or weather, I’ve included an environmental conditions assessment below this gear list that explains the rationale behind many of the gear selections on this list. I always find it useful to write up a plan like this, if only to document my assumptions.

If you have any questions, about my gear or our New England weather, leave a comment and I’ll respond.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Packpacking28.3
Lowepro Dashpoint 20 Camera Pocketpacking1.9
Assorted CF Stuff Sacks (HMG)packing3
White Trash Compactor Bagpacking2.4
Victorinox Classic Swiss Army Knife w/ mini binerpacking0.8
Fox 40 Plastic Whistlepacking0.1
Warbonnet Blackbird SL, Bishop Bag, Whoopie Slingsshelter14.5
Dutchware Dyneema Tree Strapsshelter1
Warbonnet Minifly Tarp, mesh snakeskins, suspensionshelter14.75
8 x MSR Needle Stakesshelter2.4
Window wrap "door mat"shelter0.5
Feathered Friends Flicker 40 (down)sleeping19
Loco Libre 40 Caynnne Pepper underquilt (climashield)sleeping14.3
Clothing, Not Worn
Sea-to-Summit Insect Shield Head Netclothing, not worn0.8
Mountain Hardware Micro Dome Beanieclothing, not worn1
Darn Tough Socks w/Insect Shield (1)clothing, not worn2.4
Lightheart Gear Silnylon Rain Jacketclothing, not worn6.7
Montane Minimus Rain Pantsclothing, not worn5.8
Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Long Bottomsclothing, not worn5.9
Supernatural Wool Jerseyclothing, not worn6.7
100 wt Fleece (doubles as pillow)clothing, not worn9.9
Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot (M) w/lidcooking3.9
QiWiz Esbit "stove", pot stand, titanium wind screencooking1
Light My Fire Firesteel 2.0cooking1.5
GSI Plastic Spooncooking0.3
Ursack (Allwhite) Bear-Proof Bear Bagcooking7.7
OPSack Odor Proof Bagcooking1.2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-S27 POS Cameraelectronics7.6
Nitecore NU20 Headlampelectronics1.7
iPhone 6 w/ Lander Casenavigation5.9
Sunjack Quick Charge 8000 mAh Batteryelectronics6.7
SPOT GPS Satellite Messengerelectronics4.1
Guthook's New England Hiker App (on-trail)navigation0
Gaia GPS (off-trail)navigation0
Suunto M3 Compassnavigation1.5
First Aid
First aid kit (DIY)first aid3.4
Plastic Water Bottles (2)hydration2
Sawyer Squeeze (filter only)hydration2.4
Platypus 2L Hydration Reservoirhydration1.5
Total Carried12.2 lbs.194.55
Clothing Worn
Darn Tough Hiker Boot Socksclothing, worn2.4
RailRiders JourneyMan Shirt w/Insect Shieldclothing, worn7.4
La Sportiva Ultra Raptorsclothing, worn28
Outdoor Research Sentinel Brim Hat w/Insect Shieldclothing, worn2.5
RailRiders Ecomesh Pantsclothing, worn10
Under Armor 6" Boxersclothing, worn3.2
Pacerpoles - Dual Lock Carbon Fiber Trekking Polesstability20.1
Total Worn5.08 lbs.81.35

Environmental Conditions Assessment

  • Locale: New Hampshire and Maine, mostly on the White Mountain Trail System or Appalachian Trail, some off-trail bushwhacking
  • Date: June – October, when nighttime temperates are over 40 degrees fahrenheit
  • Daily Mileage: Usually 15 miles per day with 3000-5000 feet of elevation gain
  • Terrain: Mountains and dense forest, some exposed above-timberline terrain
  • Duration: 1-3 nights
  • Climate/Weather forecast
    •  June – October
      • 40 degrees up to 70 degrees at night, 50-100 degrees during the day
      • High humidity from June-August, with frequent thunderstorms
      • Colder at higher elevations; snow possible year-round
    • Gear
      • 40 degree quilt
      • 40 degree underquilt
      • Hammock tarp with doors for increased weather protection
    • Source
  • Water availability
    • Expected
      • Generally abundant, possibly some dry stretches
    • Gear
      • 2 x 1 liter water bottles
      • 2+L platypus for camp and dry stretches
    • Source:
      • Caltopo maps
      • Local waterproof maps
      • Guthook’s New England Hiker app
      • Gaia GPS App
  • Water purity
    • Expected
      • Purification/filter advised
      • Beavers are prolific, but there’s no livestock, urban or industrial pollution to worry about
    • Gear
      • Aqua Mira purification drops for bulk purification
      • Sawyer Point One filter
    • Source
      • Previous experience
  • Wildlife Issues
    • Expected
      • Bears
      • Moose, during September/October rutting season
    • Gear
      • Ursack Bear Proof Food Sack
      • Whistle
    • Source
      • Previous experience
  • Insects
    • Expected
      • Ticks: April through October is prime Deer Tick season.
      • Mosquitos and Black Flies, terrible from June – August
    • Gear
      • Insect Shield treated clothing, including socks, long sleeve shirt and long pants
      • Heat net
      • Picaridan Insect Repellent as needed.
    • Source
      • Previous experience
  • Daylight
    • June
      • Sunrise: 5:05 am
      • Sunset: 8:21 pm
    • July
      • Sunrise: 5:06 am
      • Sunset: 8:32 pm
    • August
      • Sunrise: 5:33 am
      • Sunset: 8:10 pm
    • September
      • Sunrise: 6:08 am
      • Sunset: 7:22 pm
    • October
      • Sunrise: 6:43 am
      • Sunset: 6:27 pm
    • Gear
      • Nitecore NU 20 headlamp
    • Source
  • Trail conditions
    • Expected
      • Muddy at times, but mostly rocky and full of roots
    • Gear
      • Trail runners w/ wool socks – they dry pretty fast
    • Source
      • Previous experience in region
  • Sun/Snow Glare protection
    • Expected
      • Not significant.
    • Gear
      • Insect Shield wide brim hat
      • Sunglasses, above treeline
    • Source
      • Previous experience
  • Navigation
    • Expected
      • Sporadic blazing
      • Remote and less maintained trails can be difficult to follow
    • Gear
      • Guthook’s New England Hiker App on iPhone
      • Delorme Gazetteers in car
      • Photographed pages from the White Mountain guide
      • Gaia GPS
    • Source:
      • Previous experience
      • Intel from friends
      • Trip reports
  • Remoteness
    • Expected
      • Some small towns
      • Cell phone access is very spotty
    • Gear
      • SPOT Gen 3 Satellite Communicator to msg home daily
      • Cell phone
    • Source
      • Previous experience in the area.

Written 2017.

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  • 2017 weather for the white mountains nh maine


  1. Philip thanks for the post, I’m interested in the FF flicker 30 deg UL wide being a side sleeper and i’m wondering if the fabric choice and the width is over kill in your experience.

  2. A minifly? Neat! Should we be keeping out eye out for a review of it soon? It is an interesting offering from Warbonnet, though there aren’t a ton of reviews. I’m interested in what you have to say about it.

  3. Thanks for posting. It is helpful to see the gear list posted with the environment assessment for an Eastern mountain hiker.

  4. Do you have issues with the widebrim hat hitting your pack behind your head?

    I’d like the sun protection but can’t seem to use a wide brim without this problem

  5. Great timing for me as the last of my kit is on the way..a Sea to Summit insulated comfort plus mat. Based partly on your review I bought a FF Flicka 20. It’s so light it’s hard to believe how warm it’s supposed to be. How far into the fall can I expect it to do the job?

  6. Wow! Such a detailed and exceptional packing list! I am definitely saving your post!

  7. Phil

    There are plenty of rattlesnakes in New England especially MA and CT

  8. Phil; good list – we’re coming from Flordia for a section hike (4-5 days) of The Long Trail, ending up in Stowe area. Was wondering if your weather expectations, etc in New Hampshire are a good proxy for Vermont conditions?

    • Absolutely. Vermont is just one ridgeline to the west. The only slight difference is the amount of precipitation – Vermont has somewhat more – although this year in New Hampshire has been very wet. For instance, I’d use the same exact gear list for a Vermont backpacking trip.

  9. I love your optimistic thought that summer lasts through October. Not in the New England mountains it doesn’t!

  10. Waiting for someone to come up with a simple little bungee chord doodad to hold those skinny bottles re-purposed for the trail in the pocket of my backpack without sacrificing being able to get them out without taking my pack off. It never fails I bump the pockets on my Osprey pack or bend over to tie a shoe and they go shooting down the trail, or worst of all, down the glacier when I’m on Mt. Rainier. Besides the possibility of catching a liter of water in the face if you happen to be walking up the mountain behind me, there goes your water and now I have to break out a stove and melt some snow. I’ve only made each of those mistakes once, but had to switch back to Nalgenes because I can loop a compression strap or carabineer through the lid. Do you know if anyone has put something like this out yet? If not I’m going to figure one out and retire a rich man to my cabin in the woods–or maybe not. ha-ha.

    • My packs have bungee cord doodads on the bottle holders but the elastic has worn out so they don’t work too well. I lost a bottle while accidentally bushwacking up Mt. Madison, but luckily my hiking partner had a filter so we could resupply at Osgood tentsite.

    • You might try duct taping a loop of paracord to your repurposed bottle and securing it to your pack with a microbiner.

  11. A comprehensive list but in order to encourage hiking among, shall we say, the less affluent, might you be able to develop a low budget list?

  12. Why do you go to ground under 40 degrees? I have the Blackbird too with a zero UQ and sleeping bag, protector and sock. You just trying to save money by not purchasing the lower degree gear under 40?

    I can’t sleep on the ground due to it hurts my hips no matter how many mattress and pads I have under me.
    Thanks for the great info!

  13. CAPT G M Andres, USN (ret)

    Philip—as always—I much appreciate your insight. I am still planning a AT thru hike for 2018, but now contemplating a flip-flop vs a NOBO.

    I am curious….is the Lumix camera listed (DMC S21) still the one you carry? I am looking at the new Z-70. Also, in the Whites…curious if you wear sunglasses? Given your thoroughness — I would appreciate a good outdoor sunglasses review. I know that they come across as a luxury to many…but at 63, I really consider them a necessity for my aging eyes. I like Oakley Flaks for Bikepacking / trail running—many prefer Natives, Smith, etc….I am on the fence the ones to carry/wear the AT.

    Your thoughts, sir?

    • I’m currently using a Lumix DMC-S27. It’s small and USB rechargeable. It’s “ok”, but super convenient, so I like it. It’s also impossible to get. I got the last one on Amazon because mine is pink! I don’t think it ultimately matters what camera you carry unless it *really* matters to you. Most thru-hikers seem to use their phones.

      The only time I wear sunglasses in the Whites is when I’m fly fishing. Most of the time, not. I wear prescription lenses.

  14. What’s one piece of gear that you’d like to see come onto the market that isn’t available for purchase yet?

    A.T. Class of 2016

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