How to Pack Your "Seek the Peak" Daypack

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Whether you’re “Seeking the Peak” on Mount Washington, climbing an Adirondack High Peak, or taking on some of New Hampshire’s hardest, one thing you’re likely to bring is your daypack. But, having all that extra stuff inside won’t do you much good if you’re not packing it the right way, with everything easily accessible, organized, and distributed correctly.

For a day hike on Mount Washington, you’ll want to make sure you have the following things:

3L reservoir

Especially during the summer, having enough water to climb Mount Washington is vital. Usually, three liters will be enough to get you up and down, but it won’t do you any good if you’re not drinking it. Storing it in a bladder against your pack’s back panel will keep it within reach and help ensure you’re staying hydrated.

First aid kit

Anything could happen on Mount Washington. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you had your first aid kit. Store this in the pack’s main compartment.

Rain jacket

Mount Washington is known for its unpredictable and wild weather. It could be raining at any minute! So, keep a quality, breathable rain jacket easily accessible in the outside stretch pocket.

Extra Techwick T-shirt

After a long, sweaty climb, it’s sometimes nice to have a clean, dry shirt to put on top, especially in Mount Washington’s winds. Store this at the bottom of your main compartment.

Fleece

At over 6,200 feet, Mount Washington can be cold on top! As preparation, always carry an extra layer, even in the summer. Store this at the bottom of your main compartment, with your T-shirt.

Pack cover

If it starts raining, you don’t want everything in your pack to get wet, so throw a pack cover on top. Some have them built in, but if yours doesn’t, keep a separate one close by in your main compartment.

Stuff sack with lunch

Climbing Mount Washington is a full-day endeavor. To prepare, bring plenty of snacks to eat along the way, along with a larger lunch to have on top. Keep most of it in a stuff sack in your main compartment, but it’s also nice to have a Clif Bar or two in your hip belt pocket for easy access.

Multi-tool

You never know! Have this in your other hip belt pocket in case you need it in a pinch.

Headlamp

It’s always a good idea to have a headlamp in your pack, even if you don’t plan on hiking in the dark. Again, anything can happen, and you’ll be wishing you had one if you end up getting down a littler later than expected.

Trekking poles

Mount Washington is rocky and steep, so these will be in your hands more often than not. However, for Osprey packs, if you need to free your hands up in a pinch, you can strap them under your arm in the dedicated trekking pole holster.

Compass and Map

Keep these handy and know how to use them! Mount Washington is a maze of trails, but if the conditions change quickly, you might not be able to see them at all.

GPS unit

This is always a handy thing to have in addition to your map and compass. Keep it in a hip belt pocket or clipped to a shoulder strap to follow along on your hike.

GoPro

There are several awesome things to see on the Northeast’s tallest peak, so take pictures and video! Keep this handy in a side pocket.

Bug protection

Especially down low, bugs are a staple of Mount Washington’s summers. Apply this before you leave in your car, but keep it in your main compartment in case you need more.

Sunscreen

Just like bug spray, apply this before you leave, but save it in case you need to reapply, especially on the exposed summit.

 

Do you have everything you need to Seek the Peak?

Mount Washington from Mount Monroe. | Credit: Ryan Wichelns
Mount Washington from Mount Monroe. | Credit: Ryan Wichelns