The Northville-Placid Trail is a rugged backcountry trail in the Adirondack Region of Upstate New York. It’s a fantastic trail if you’re looking for peace and quiet and to really get away from society. A lot of the trail (especially away from the high-peak region) is not heavily trafficked.
If you’re interested in learning more about hiking the Northville-Placid Trail, specifically the region from Lake Durant to Piseco, refer to our backpacking guide.
The Adirondack Region can be a beautiful and tranquil backpacking trip. However, if you’re not used to backpacking on the East Coast you be unfamiliar with want to pack for this trip. It’s a little bit different than backpacking through the Southwest, for example. Here’s the gear I would recommend for backpacking in the Adirondacks. If you’re experienced in this region, please feel free to share what you agree and disagree with!
Basic gear is all the essentials for backpacking such as your backpack, tent, and sleeping bag. I’ve included a few other things that I would consider essential to my backpacking gear. These are all things I would personally bring backpacking the Adirondacks.
Black Diamond Ultra Mountain Carbon Trekking Poles 100cm or Black Diamond Trekking Poles – The terrain is rugged and unpredictable. Depending on the season, the weather, and recent wildlife habits (like beavers), you never know what to expect on the trail. There may be spots very difficult to traverse especially when coming across streams. Having trekking poles will make the hike easier and safer and give you the support needed to get through some of the more difficult sections of the trail. You can also use them to check the water depth before crossing.
Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack – Because there are various water sources that you may need to cross, keeping some of your more valuable items in dry bags will assure your gear stay safe and dry. You may want to have a dry bag for your spare clothing as well as your sleeping bag. If your sleeping bag gets wet it may ruin your entire trip and nighttime temperatures can drop quite low depending on the time of the year. The 12L or 20L would be a good fit for your sleeping bag depending on your bag and how much it compresses.
Osprey Xenith 88 or Osprey Aura 65 (and rain cover) – Choose a backpack appropriate for your size and gear. As a petite woman I prefer to use the Aura 65 size XS as it fits my body well and gives me ample room for gear.
MSR Carbon Reflex 3 and Tent Footprint – A tent is actually not essential if you plan out your route. There are multiple shelters along the trail where you can stay overnight. However, there is always a chance that shelters will be full or that you cannot make it to one before nightfall. If you are also visiting during a heavier insect season it will keep you sheltered from them. A tent is more a matter of preference based on your confidence and intentions. This particular tent is perfect for a couple, comfortably fitting 2 people and incredibly lightweight.
Marmot Trestles 30 or Big Agnes Buffalo Park 40 – Make sure to check the weather before your trip. If you’re early in the spring or late in the fall, the night temperatures may drop pretty low. Then, a 30 or 40 degree tent may be insufficient. However, for the majority of the spring, summer, and fall, these sleeping bag options are perfect. I use the Marmot Trestles because I prefer a lower temperature range, while my husband is usually more than comfortable with the 40 degree bag.
Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pador Big Agnes Insulated Sleeping Pad – The insulated sleeping pad is quite comfortable but also requires blowing up each time. If you don’t prefer this out of inconvenience, the Therm-a-Rest can be attached to the outside of your bag to save pack room. If you are omitting the tent on your trip, you may also not bring a sleeping pad. All a matter of preference.
Big Agnes Memory Foam Pillow – This is one of my favorite pieces of gear and it takes up hardly any room! It’s inflatable and quite comfortable.
Katadyn Microfilter – You need water on your trip and this filter makes it fairly quick and simple to filter water out of the streams. You can filter from lakes although I prefer to find moving water sources if possible.
Black Diamond Cosmo or Storm Headlamp – If you end up still searching for a campsite in the dark (not recommended), headlamp is a matter of safety. The headlamp also just helps you around your campsite as you lose sunlight. Don’t forget to check the batteries and even bring extra.
Find clothing that is comfortable, durable, lightweight, and breathable. Because of the rough terrain and opportunity for ticks I would not recommend wearing shorts. Lightweight hiking pants would be a good option. On top I would also wear a long sleeve to protect your skin from bugs, brush, and sun exposure. Patagonia makes capilene shirts that are extremely comfortable and wick moisture away from your body to keep you (more) comfortable.
Salomon Discovery GTX (Women) or LOWA Renegade GTX Shoes (Men) – The GTX (GORE-TEX) fabric on these shoes makes them water-resistant. There may be days with a lot of rain and the last thing you want is wet feet. These pairs of shoes are just above ankle height giving some protection to your ankle joint and stability as well.
Thorlos Sock – Great, comfortable hiking socks!
Oakley RPM Edge Sunglasses (Women) / Oakley Radar EV Path Sunglasses (Men)
Sierra Designs Microlight Jacket/Raincoat / Patagonia Raincoat – You never know when you might get rain along your trip. Make sure to have a lightweight raincoat on hand.
Under Armour ColdGear Infared hoodie / Patagonia Capilene shirt / similar option for men – You might want a t-shirt and a long sleeve shirt on your trip for variable weather conditions. Although I mentioned that long sleeve might be best, on warmer days or around camp, short sleeve just might be more comfortable.
Optional: gaiters and bug netting – If you go during black fly season (May/June), bug netting is highly recommended.
Gear for Fueling up
Jetboil Sumo Group Cooking System (fuel from local REI or outdoor store) – This particular cooking system is great for at least 2 people. You can boil enough water to rehydrate your packages of backpacker’s food as well as enough for your morning coffee. It heats up very quickly.
Personal cooking systems are also an option (boils enough for 1 at a time)
Snow Peak Plate, Snow Peak Spork (alt: utensil set), and Snow Peak Mug – Because you gotta eat. And probably drink coffee. These are all very lightweight and durable.
Water enhancers (my favorite)
Bug spray bug spray bug spray!!
Optional: bear spray (see Bear Safety)