The fall is a great time for backpacking – cooler temperatures ward off both crowds and bugs, making the mountains a much more enjoyable place.
Sure, you may get yourself caught in the occasional hail or snow storm, but that’s just part of the excitement of shoulder season hiking.
Here is an updated list of everything in my pack for the adventure ahead.
ORANGE denotes a new item and
strikethroughs indicate things that I have dropped from the previous list.
Below the initial list you will find my reasons for making any changes followed by detailed descriptions of each item (including weights, prices, and where to find them).
What’s in my pack is constantly changing and I welcome feedback or suggestions. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
THE BIG STUFF
- BACKPACK | Osprey Exos 58 (Review)
- SHELTER | Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2* (Review)
- SLEEPING BAG | Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15** (Review)
- SLEEPING PAD | Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite
- LINER | Sea to Summit Reactor Thermolite
- HEADWEAR | Fitted Baseball Cap
- HEADWEAR | Icebreaker Apex Hat
- SUNGLASSES | RayBan RB2140 Wayfarer (54mm)
- RAIN JACKET | Columbia Outdry EX Tech Shell
- DOWN JACKET | Columbia Decompression Jacket
- SHIRT | Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Long Sleeve Hood
- SHORTS | Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Midweight Active Short
- SHOES | Merrell Moab Ventilators
- INSOLES | Superfeet Wide Green Premium Insoles
- SOCKS | Darn Tough 1/4 Hiking Socks x 2 (Review)
- UNDERWEAR | Ibex Woolies 1 Boxer Brief
- BUG PROTECTION | Sea to Summit Head Net
- STOVE | Jetboil MiniMo
- UTENSIL | Snow Peak Titanium Spork
- FIRE | Mini Bic
- STORAGE | Assorted Ziplocs
THE SMALLER STUFF
- HEADLAMP | Petzl Tikka XP
- WATER TREATMENT | Sawyer Squeeze MINI (Review)
- WATER BOTTLE | 2L Smart Water bottle (x2)
- KNIFE | Petzl Spatha Knife
RAINCOVER | Osprey UltraLight Raincover
- SLEEPING BAG STUFF SACK | Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack (13L)
- STUFF SACKS | Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sacks (4L, 9L, 15L)
- PHONE | Nexus 6P
- POWER | AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank (10,000 mAh)
- HEADPHONES | Sony XBA H1
- CAMERA | Canon 60D
- LENS | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
- TRIPOD | Joby Gorillapod
- ACCESSORY | Peak Design Capture Clip (Review)
- STRAP | Peak Design Leash
- CORDS | USB Type-C/Micro Cord
- CHARGER | USB Wall Adapter
- TOILET PAPER | Make it soft
- TOOTHBRUSH | Chop the handle
- TOOTHPASTE | Travel size
- HAND SANITIZER | Travel size
- CARDS | Credit/Debit
- CASH MONEY | Benjamins = ultralight
- RUBBER BANDS | Quite useful
- DUCT TAPE | Basically first aid
- NOTEBOOK | Write stuff down!
- PEN | Pilot G2 0.7
WHY? The Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Mat is great (I really love the valve), but the Sea to Summit Ultralight has an R-value of just 0.7. With things cooling down in the fall, I’ve decided to switch back to my NeoAir Xlite – with an R-value of 3.2. A very noticeable difference.
WHY? I love the Icebreaker t-shirts, but I really wanted something that could protect my arms from bugs and my neck from the sun. The Cool-Lite Sphere does both. The sleeves roll up easily when it’s warm, and keep me warm when I need them to. Loving it so far.
ADDED | Jetboil MiniMo
WHY? I’ve been stoveless for a long time now, but I was recently swayed to give cooked food a chance again. The Jetboil MiniMo is certainly an upgrade from my alcohol stove days on the Pacific Crest Trail, and I do admit that the MiniMo is quickly growing on me. Now it’s time to expand my food selection.
WHY? The Petzl Tikka XP was recommended by a thru-hiking friend of mine. Thankfully, the battery door on my red-light-less Princeton Tec Remix recently broke, giving me an excuse to upgrade my headlamp. So far, I’m a fan of the Tikka XP.
Osprey Exos 58
Although the Exos 58 isn’t super ultralight (just regular ultralight), it’s comfortable and comes with a frame that maintains airflow across your back. It’s wide enough for a bear canister or four-season bag, and I’ve used it to carry loads of 40 lbs (18 kg).
42 oz (1.19 kg) – $220 US
Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2
34 oz (980 g) – $450 US
Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15
I’ve been using this sleeping bag for a few years now, and although it’s been replaced by the Flame 15 (which is basically the same bag in a different color and 800 instead of 850 fill), I am still happy with this bag. Read my full Phantom 15 review here.
33 oz (935 g) – $500 US
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite
The NeoAir XLite is arguably one of the best sleeping pads on the market (and is definitely one of the lightest). The pad comes in three sizes, it compacts down nicely, it has a 3.2 R-value, and it is backed by a great warranty (I’ve had one replaced no problem).
12 oz / 350 g – $160 US
Sea to Summit Reactor Thermolite Liner
A sleeping bag liner isn’t entirely necessary, but I love having my Thermolite Liner along to keep my bag clean and to use as a sleeping bag substitute when it’s warm outside. Plus, I have a soft spot for the stretchy material its made out of.
8.7 oz (248 g) – $50 US
Icebreaker Apex Hat
The Apex Hat is a one-size-fits-all beanie capable of fitting over my 7 5/8 head. It’s lightweight, warm, stretchy, and best of all, merino.
2.33 oz (66 g) – $20 US
FIND IT AT: Amazon
Columbia Outdry EX Tech Shell Jacket
Columbia’s Outdry EX Tech Shell Jacket is undoubtedly 100% waterproof, and although I don’t like the pocket positions (they’re a bit high/awkward, that’s not an important consideration when choosing a shell.
12.1 oz (343 g) – $175 US
Columbia Decompression Down Jacket
This ultralight down jacket has been discontinued, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to throw it out just yet. It’s convinced me that I want a down jacket with a hood, and that lightweight and warm are not mutually exclusive.
9 oz (255 g) – $200 US
Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Long Sleeve Hood
For me, the Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere is the perfect hiking top for fall. It’s made of a wool, tencel, nylon blend which keeps the material cool on the skin while also insulating. It dries three times faster than Icebreaker’s standard wool blend. This could easily become my all-season top.
9.7 oz / 275 g – $120 US
Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Midweight Active Short
Although I’m not 100% committed to these shorts (mostly because they don’t have back pockets), the Chockstone Midweight Active Shorts are comfortable, stretchy, quick-drying, and have zipper pockets (which I didn’t like at first, but now I’m happy with).
9.9 oz (280 g) – $75 US
Merrell Moab Ventilators
The Moab Ventilators are my favorite shoes for trekking. They’re wide enough for my fat-ass foot, water-resistant (but still breathable), and have awesome tread/laces. There’s a Goretex version available, but I would stick with the standard shoes since they’re far cheaper and breathe a bit better.
13 oz (369 g) – $100 US
Superfeet Wide Green Premium Insoles
I started using the Superfeet Wide Green Premium Insoles early in my first thru-hike when I was having foot, toe, and blister problems – and I’ve been using them ever since. I can’t say 100% whether or not they’re responsible for increasing my comfort, but I’m happy to have them along.
1.6 oz (45 g) – $50
Darn Tough 1/4 Hiking Socks
By the end of my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike nearly everyone was wearing Darn Tough socks. They’re comfortable, made with merino wool, have a lifetime guarantee, and offer great cushion. You will never want to buy another brand of socks. Read my full review here.
7.2 oz (204 g) – $20 US
Ibex Woolies 1 Boxer Brief
Continuing my wardrobe’s transition from synthetic to wool, Ibex’s Woolies 1 Boxer Brief is the current champion of chafe prevention. They are comfortable, quick-drying, and have yet to become too revolting after days of extended use.
2.8 oz (79 g) – $50 US
Sea to Summit Head Net
Basically, a must, the Sea to Summit Head Net is a small, lightweight, and basic piece of equipment with a very important job – to keep insects off your head and out of your face holes. I’ve had the same one for years and usually, just keep it stuffed into my pocket and ready to deploy.
1.2 oz (34 g) – $10 US
The Jetboil MiniMo is the stove you want if you’re into making everyone else jealous. Incredibly quick boiling times, a simmering function, a built-in strainer, an attached cup, a low-profile pot that the stove packs into – the MiniMo has it all.
14 oz (400 g) – $135 US
Snow Peak Titanium Spork
Sure, you could get a plastic spoon from McDonald’s, but if you want a utensil that’s going to last forever (so long as you don’t lose it), then get a Snow Peak Titanium Spork. It won’t melt, it’s easy to clean, and it’s mother fucking titanium. Eat your trail meal like the champion you are.
0.3 oz (8.5 g) – $10 US
Petzl Tikka XP
The weather-resistant, 180-lumen Tikka XP has a wide beam, a focused beam (they can be used separately or together), and a red light (with flashing modes for all lights). It takes 3 AAA batteries and because of “constant lighting technology”, the beam does not weaken as the batteries are used up.
4.2 oz / 119 g – $50 US
Sawyer Squeeze MINI
The Sawyer Squeeze MINI is an incredibly lightweight filter that works great for shorter backpacking trips. I don’t know that I would use it on a thru-hike, but for an everyday filter, it’s hard to beat this thing. Read my full Sawyer Squeeze MINI review here.
2 oz (56.7 g) – $25
Petzl Spatha Knife
Some people may like bringing multi-tools, but the only thing I ever used on mine was my knife. I have since converted to carrying a Petzl Spatha Knife and I have been very happy with its cheese-cutting performance (and price). It might not be completely necessary, but it’s definitely useful and I enjoy having a knife with me on the trail (bear fights, etc.)
1.4 oz (40 g) – $40 US
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack (13L)
For keeping your sleeping bag compact and dry, there are few options better than the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack. I’m not a huge believer in cuben fiber as it basically disintegrates over the course of thru-hikes so I will stick with the nylon stuff sacks.
1 oz (28g) – $22 US
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sacks (4L, 9L, 15L)
I am a fan of organization, and the lightweight Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sacks are what I use to carry my clothing, food, and miscellaneous items. They are water-resistant (not waterproof like the one I use for my sleeping bag), and durable (so long as you keep sharp/pointy objects away from them).
.4 oz (11g) – $15 US / .7 oz (20g) – $18 / 1 oz (28 g) – $19 US
Most of you probably have your phone situation sorted, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still plug my current (and favorite) phone, the Nexus 6P. This phone takes spectacular photos (it could easily be your camera replacement on the trail), has a decent battery life (especially on airplane mode), and allows me to do all the Halfway Anywhere updating I need to do (when I get service/wifi). The only thing is that it’s huge.
6.31 oz (179 g) – $500 US
FIND IT AT: Amazon
It’s true, I would prefer a mirrorless camera for all the backpacking I do, but until I come into a large sum of money, I am satisfied using the Canon 60D. For what I need, this camera performs fantastically in both the photo and video departments.
27.2 oz (771.1 g) – $800 US
FIND IT AT: Amazon
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
Although there are lenses out there I would prefer, I don’t have thousands to spend on a lens. The Canon EF-S 10-22mm is awesome for landscape and walkaround photography (and it isn’t too heavy).
13.6 oz (385.6 g) – $650 US
FIND IT AT: Amazon
Yes, it’s heavy, and yes, it could easily be replaced with a stack of rocks, but for me, having a portable tripod is worth the extra weight. The Joby Gorillapod allows me to quickly set up both boring and unique shots and to stabilize my camera for nighttime photography as well.
7.4 oz (209.8 g) – $50 US
Peak Design Capture Clip
I love Peak Design’s Capture Clip. It lets me attach my camera to my shoulder strap and easily access it at any time. It’s a far cry from having to put down my pack and take out my camera or carrying it on a strap around my neck. Read my full Capture Clip review here.
3.5 oz (100 g) – $60 US
Peak Design Leash
Although I don’t necessarily use it all the time (since my camera is attached to my Capture Clip), I like having the Peak Design Leash in case I need to do some tricky climbing or I want to get some awesome perspective.
2 oz (56.7 g) – $35 US
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