I like to take a good look at my daypack twice a year – usually right before summer, when I can start lightening my load and then as we head towards fall, where I need to start thinking more about being prepped for nastier weather. I love dayhiking – and I will admit I find dayhiking to be honestly more enjoyable than backpacking – due to the amount of freedom I have while doing it. I love starting early, often before the sun has come over the ridges and hiking all day. Seeing everything I want and knowing when it is all done I get a hearty dinner, a shower and maybe couch time and a good show with the family before sliding into bed. Even better is getting to see and hike two trails in a weekend – those are my kind of weekends. And as well, I often go midweek – no crowds, just trail.
So what are my gear choices for coming into fall this year?
2008 version of the REI Womens Traverse. I scored it for less than $20 new on clearance awhile back. The new version is no way as nice, the 2008 model was more user friendly. It fits well, rides high (no butt hanging) and carries everything. Mine is a brickish red/gray color. Come snowshoeing season I do move back into my Deuter Womens Futura Zero.
I carry a silnylon pack cover by Equinox as well in red for visibility, yellow and orange are also other good chocies, especially as one moves into hunting seasons.
I carry REI liner gloves and a Mt. Hardwear Microdome beanie, both are quick to put on and weigh little. Snowshoeing may call for warmer gloves, for dayhiking liner gloves are usually all you need – a thin layer to ward off the wind and rain.
I often carry an extra set of socks if I am going above 10 miles so I can swap out midday – it really helps your feet feel better and avoid soggy feet.
I also carry an insulating layer that depends on the weather. Either an Ibex wool hoodie or a down vest to tuck in. It really makes a difference at lunch and when heading downhill to keep your torso warm. It also serves the double purpose that if you get lost or hurt you will stay much warmer.
Most times of the year I have a Royal Robbins visor with me. It keeps the light out of my eyes but also works well under a hood on on a rain jacket, so the hood doesn’t fall in your eyes – and it ventilates better than a hat. It seems they have discontinued them, a bummer as it was well made.
Stove and Kitchen Set Up:
Due to the chilly weather I almost always have a stove and pot along for a hot lunch and a cup of herbal tea. My fall back stove is my well tested and loved, no longer made, Primus canister stove. No frills, nothing special. It works and doesn’t fail. We have 3 or 4 of the stoves floating around, we love them that much. I prefer Snowpeak Giga Power canister fuel in winter. Along with the stove/fuel I carry a Bic lighter tucked in it’s silnylon stuff sack. For the pot, I often carry the GSI Outdoors Soloist pot set. It is 1.1 Liter size and comes with a insulated cup for the tea I mentioned. What works well is I can can use it for FBC meals and also do one pot meals, depending on what strikes my fancy. If I am doing FBC meals I carry one of our silver silnylon FBC Cozies. For either method, my choice of utensil is a GSI Outdoors long handled ReHydrate spoon.
I carry an assortment of usually 3 meals in a small silnylon stuff sack that also has a bag of paper towels, a garbage bag, extra new quart freezer bag, seasoning packets (salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, Parmesan cheese, etc) and as well a couple packets of olive oil. There is usually a couple packets of herbal tea and a honey packet or two in there. As well, I carry a backpack lighter.
First aid kit (carried in a quart freezer bag, built from scratch) It includes survival items such as a e-blanket and fire starting supplies (hand sanitizer, water proof matches).
MicroPur tablets for water treatment.
Two Nalgene quart water bottles, in cool months I prefer a mostly unbreakable bottle that I can flip over in winter without leaking.
Gallon freezer bag with half roll TP (remove the cardboard core) and a couple snack size plastic bags for garbage.
Small bag of Germ-X handwipes.
1-ounce tube of sunscreen. I use Coppertone Sport SPF 30 usually. Kirk uses their SPF 70, which we carry in the vehicle as well they make a great one for faces that won’t cause breakouts in the Sports series.
Garmin Foretrex 201 GPS unit. For dayhiking it works well, it is small, portable and hangs on my sternum strap (it is that light). It doesn’t work the best in tree cover but that is OK – I use it for getting the elevation mostly.
Maps/guide book of area.
Small knife and duct tape in hip belt pocket.
All weather whistle and a micro LED light clipped onto shoulder strap.
~Ready to go, just waiting for an adventure to announce itself!
Just add NW Forest Pass for parking, trekking poles and feet moving forward!