What should you know about backpacking gear before hitting the trail?

Before you go backpacking, there are a few things you need to know about gear. This includes what gear is essential, how to choose the right gear, what gear you need for sustenance, what “extra” gear you might carry, what gadgets to take, and how to choose backpacking gifts for a fellow backpacker.

What gear is essential for backpacking?

The most essential items for backpacking are your sleeping system (shelter, sleeping bag or quilt, sleeping pad), backpack, boots or shoes, UV-resistant clothing, insulating clothing, rain gear, illumination (flashlight or headlamp), stove and gas, cookware and eating utensils, water filter, first aid kit, and map and compass and/or GPS device.

What gear is ‘nice to have’ when backpacking?

The list below contains some optional extras you might want to take on a backpacking trip.

  • Pillow
  • Backpacking chair
  • Sit pad
  • Camp shoes
  • Camp slippers
  • Quick-drying towel
  • E-reader or book
  • Camera
  • Coffee maker
  • Solar charger

What features to look for in backpacking gear?

The best backpacking gear available has the ideal balance of durability, portability (lightness and compactness), ruggedness, and user-friendliness.

What mistakes are made when choosing backpacking gear?

The list below outlines the most common mistakes made when choosing backpacking gear.

  • Scrimping and then having to upgrade down the line.
  • Overspending on something that’s overkill for what you need.
  • Splurging on ‘luxury’ items that are too heavy to carry.
  • Choosing an ill-fitting backpack.
  • Buying too much gear.
  • Only buying from the biggest-name brands.
  • Buying regular camping gear.

How does ultralight gear differ from standard backpacking gear?

Ultralight backpacking gear is, as the name suggests, the even lighter-weight alternative lightweight backpacking gear. While ultralight gear is made with thinner and lighter materials, those materials are usually durable enough to withstand use and abuse. The use of high-tech, top-notch materials also means that UL gear is typically more expensive. 

What are the best brands for backpacking gear?

The list below contains some of the best brands for backpacking gear.

  • Big Agnes
  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear
  • REI
  • Feathered Friends
  • Enlightened Equipment
  • Gossamer Gear
  • Zpacks
  • Thermarest
  • Osprey
  • Gregory
  • Granite Gear
  • NEMO
  • Merrell
  • La Sportiva
  • Salomon
  • Scarpa
  • Sierra Designs

Can you try backpacking gear before you buy?

You can try backpacking gear before you buy it from retailers that offer a “try it before you buy it” program, such as Outdoors Geek.

How do you keep backpacking gear in good condition?

Below, we’ve outlined how to keep your backpacking gear in good condition.

  • Give all of your gear a once-over after every trip, taking care to remove muck, tree sap, bird droppings, or anything else you find on it. 
  • Re-waterproofed waterproof gear and reseal the seams at least once a year.
  • Clean and store your tent correctly.
  • Clean and store your sleeping bag correctly. 
  • Have broken zippers or seams repaired by a pro.
  • Store all of your gear out of direct sunlight in a cool, well-ventilated space.

What shelter type should you choose for backpacking?

When it comes to shelter, you have three main options – a tent, hammock, or a tarp. Generally speaking, backpacking tents are the best options for protection from the elements and bugs, while a hammock or tarp is your best bet if your priority is cutting pack weight.

What is a backpacking tent?

A backpacking tent is, essentially, a pared-down and lightweight version of a regular camping tent.

How do backpacking tents differ from camping tents?

Compared to standard camping tents, backpacking tents are usually lighter, smaller, more compact, less durable, and have fewer features.

Why wouldn’t you take a normal tent backpacking?

The main reason not to take a normal camping tent backpacking is weight – in most cases, a four-person camping tent will weigh a pound or two more than a four-person backpacking tent.

Should you choose a freestanding or non-freestanding backpacking tent?

Non-freestanding tents are usually lighter because they have fewer poles, but they’re harder to set up on your own and can’t be moved around easily once pitched. If you’re camping alone, therefore, a freestanding tent might be a better choice; if weight savings are a priority, then a non-freestanding tent is worth considering.

What features should you look for in a backpacking tent?

The main features and attributes to look for in a backpacking tent include a lightweight design, compactness, ruggedness, ventilation, waterproofing, livability (spaciousness), storage (vestibule, pockets, gear loft), and ease of setup.

What backpacking tents are best for harsh conditions?

For suboptimal weather conditions, you want a backpacking tent that’s highly waterproof, well-ventilated to prevent condensation, double-walled, and with a geodesic design to deal with strong winds.

What backpacking tents are best for warm conditions?

In hot weather, the ideal backpacking tent will have plenty of ventilation features, a roll-top rainfly (one that can be rolled back to boost ventilation), two doors, multiple windows, and an inner layer constructed mainly of mesh.

What brands make good quality backpacking tents?

Some of the best brands for backpacking tents are listed below.

  • NEMO
  • Zpacks
  • Big Agnes
  • REI
  • MSR
  • Six Moon Designs
  • Sea to Summit
  • SlingFin
  • Hilleberg
  • Marmot 

What is an ultralight backpacking tent?

While there’s no hard-and-fast definition of what qualifies as an ultralight tent, the consensus is that to be considered ‘ultralight’ it should weigh under three pounds.

What features should you look for in an ultralight backpacking tent?

When buying an ultralight backpacking tent, you should consider weight, capacity, livability, waterproofing, ease of setup, adaptability, and whether the tent is freestanding or non-freestanding.

Should you choose an ultralight or standard backpacking tent?

Choosing between an ultralight or standard backpacking tent depends on your objectives and physical limitations. If you aim to travel light, far, and fast, or have difficulty carrying heavy loads and need to shave off every ounce, then an ultralight tent is worth considering. If you prioritize durability, comfort, and livability, and don’t mind carrying a little extra weight, however, a standard backpacking tent is the way to go. 

Can ultralight backpacking tents withstand harsh conditions?

Many modern ultralight backpacking tents are “three-season”, meaning they’re designed to withstand the same conditions as regular backpacking or camping tents. That said, most do not offer the same stability in high winds.

What brands make good quality ultralight backpacking tents?

The following list includes our favorite brands for ultralight tents.

  • NEMO
  • ZPacks
  • Big Agnes
  • TarpTent
  • SlingFin
  • MSR
  • Durston
  • Gossamer Gear
  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear
  • Samaya

How can a tarp be used instead of a backpacking tent?

You can learn how to make a tarp tent in a variety of configurations to stand in for a backpacking tent: in lean-to mode using two poles, over a ridgeline, in an A-frame configuration, or as a “wind shed”.

What should you consider when choosing a backpacking tarp?

The main things to consider when choosing a backpacking tarp are waterproofing and size. You need to make sure it’s waterproof enough to deal with rainfall and large enough to provide the coverage you need in the configuration you choose.

The best backpacking tarps also have robust grommets and are light enough to warrant using them instead of a tent.

What is a backpacking bivy sack?

A bivy sack is, essentially, a tent in miniature. Bivys are designed for one sleeper only and either use a limited pole structure or no poles at all.

When should you choose a bivy sack over a tent?

Which is best – bivy or tent? The main reason to choose a bivy sack instead of a tent is that bivys weigh a lot less, saving solo campers often a pound or more in pack weight.

What makes up a good backpacking sleep system?

A good sleep system for backpacking consists of a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and some form of pillow. The name of the game is ensuring each of these items does the job you need it to do at the lightest possible weight.

Why do you need a sleeping pad for backpacking?

A backpacking sleeping pad serves two purposes: it provides insulation from the cold ground and protects you against anything (rocks, roots, twigs) under your tent.

Can you use a yoga mat as a backpacking sleeping pad?

You can use a yoga mat instead of a sleeping pad when camping, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Yoga mats are thinner than sleeping pads, meaning they’re less comfortable and offer less insulation and less protection against roots and rocks under your tent. 

What features should you look for in a backpacking sleeping pad?

A backpacking sleeping pad should have an appropriate R-value, be suitable for your sleeping style, and be compact and light enough to carry easily on multi-day trips.

Does your sleeping position affect sleeping pad choice?

It’s important to choose a sleeping pad that’s thick enough to suit your sleeping style without “bottoming out” (coming into contact with the ground through the pad). Hips and shoulders are the biggest pressure points, so choosing a pad that is too thin may result in an uncomfortable night.

Side sleeping places more weight around the hips and shoulders, so you’ll need a thicker pad for comfort. Front and back sleepers’ weight is more evenly distributed, so they can get away with a thinner pad.

Why are R-values important when choosing a sleeping pad?

Sleeping pad R-values measure the thermal resistance of the pad, i.e. how much insulation it provides against the cold ground. If the R-value isn’t high enough for the temperatures you’re camping in, then you’re in for a cold night!

Is an inflatable or closed-cell foam pad better for backpacking?

Inflatable pads are usually lighter and more compact than closed-cell foam pads. However, unlike closed-cell pads, they can be punctured or leak, meaning you might have to do field repairs to get a comfortable night’s sleep while out on the trail

What brands make good quality backpacking sleeping pads?

The best backpacking sleeping pads are made by brands like Thermarest, NEMO, Big Agnes, Klymit, REI, and Sea to Summit.

What features should you look for in a backpacking sleeping bag?

The main things to consider when buying a backpacking sleeping bag are fill/insulation type (down or synthetic), weight, packed size, warmth-to-weight ratio, water resistance, style (mummy or rectangular), and size.

Are down or synthetic-filled sleeping bags better for backpacking?

Down sleeping bags are usually the go-to choice for backpackers because they boast better warmth-to-weight ratios and are more packable. However, down doesn’t perform well when wet (unless you buy a bag with price hydrophobic down), so a synthetic bag may be better if you plan on backpacking in wetter or humid locations.

How do sleeping bag ratings affect your choice for backpacking?

The comfort or temperature rating will determine whether or not a sleeping bag will be warm enough for the conditions you’ll encounter on your backpacking trip.

We always recommend buying a bag that’s rated down to at least 10 degrees lower than the lowest nighttime temperatures you expect to encounter, but you have to bear in mind that warmer bags are invariably heavier bags.

What sleeping bag shapes are best suited for backpacking?

Mummy bag or rectangular bag? For backpacking, mummy bags are the way to go. They’re lighter, more compact, and have a better warmth-to-weight ratio than their rectangular cousins.

Does your sleeping position affect sleeping bag choice?

Mummy bags are more restrictive than rectangular sleeping bags, so if you shift around a lot in your sleep, tend to feel claustrophobic, or are a side sleeper, it’s worth trying out a rectangular bag.

What to use instead of a sleeping bag when backpacking?

To save pack weight when backpacking, you may be able to use a sleeping bag liner if conditions are warm enough.

Where should you pack your sleeping bag when backpacking?

Your sleeping bag is the last piece of gear you’ll need to take from your pack on any given day on the trail. As such, it’s best to store it at the base of your pack – many backpacks have a separate sleeping bag compartment at the bottom for this reason. If there’s no room inside, you can always attach your sleeping bag to the outside of your backpack.

What are popular backpacking sleeping bags?

The following list includes some of the most popular backpacking sleeping bags.

  • REI Co-Op Magma 30
  • Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt 10°
  • Kelty Cosmic Down 20°
  • NEMO Disco 15°
  • Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20
  • Sea to Summit Spark SpII 28
  • Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20

Are backpacking pillows worth it?

Backpacking pillows can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad one. Given that some stuff sacks and inflatable pillows can weigh under two ounces, they’re well worth carrying if you struggle sleeping on folded sweaters or jackets. 

What features should you look for in a backpacking pillow?

For a backpacking pillow to be worth carrying, it should be comfortable, lightweight, and compact enough to warrant carrying the extra weight and bulk.

With inflatable pillows, it’s important to look for puncture-resistant materials and a leak-resistant valve. Whichever pillow you choose, look for a soft face fabric – ideally brushed polyester or cotton.

What different kinds of backpacking pillow are there?

The four main types of backpacking pillows are inflatable pillows, hybrid pillows, stuff sack pillows, and compressible pillows.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of inflatable pillows?

The main advantage of inflatable pillows is their light weight and tiny packed size. The main disadvantage is they are susceptible to leaks and punctures.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of compressible pillows?

Compressible pillows are supportive, very comfortable, and can’t be punctured, but they’re also heavy and very bulky.

Does your sleeping position affect backpacking pillow choice?

Side sleepers usually need a backpacking pillow that provides more support, which makes inflatable pillows or hybrids the best choice.

What are popular backpacking pillows?

The list below includes some of the most popular backpacking pillows.

  • Sea to Summit Aeros Down
  • Therm-a-Rest Compressible
  • HEST Camping Pillow
  • Nemo Fillo Elite
  • REI Co-op Trailbreak
  • Therm-a-Rest Trekker
  • Exped Air Pillow UL

What can backpackers use as a pillow substitute?

If you don’t want to carry a dedicated pillow, you can use items of clothing or a stuff sack filled with a jacket or sweater. 

What features should you look for in a backpacking quilt?

When choosing a backpacking quilt, you should consider warmth, weight and fill power, packability, warmth-to-weight ratio, customizability, and shell material.

When should you choose a backpacking quilt over a sleeping bag?

It’s a big question for backpackers. Quilt vs sleeping bags: which wins? Backpacking quilts are a better option for hot sleepers, anyone who tends to move around a lot in their sleep, and anyone who tends to feel claustrophobic in a standard sleeping bag.

What are popular backpacking quilts?

The following brands are our favorites for backpacking quilts. 

  • Enlightened Equipment
  • Thermarest
  • ZPacks
  • REI
  • Loco Libre
  • Sea to Summit

Are cots suitable for backpacking?

This is a hard ‘no’. While cots are great for enhancing comfort when car camping, even the best camping cots are too heavy to carry for mile after mile on the trail when backpacking.

What features should you look for in a backpacking cot?

If you choose to take a cot on your backpacking trips, two things are essential: one, it has to be as light as possible; two, it has to be comfortable enough to warrant carrying the extra weight.

What to know about packing and storage when backpacking?

The list below outlines our top tips for packing for a backpacking trip.

  • Make a checklist
  • Assemble your gear and lay it all out on the floor
  • Check everything is in good condition
  • Use stuff sacks to save space or packing cubes for organization
  • Use scent-proof bags or containers for food and scented items
  • Choose the right size of backpack
  • Store bulky and heavy items in the base or middle of your pack, ideally close to your body
  • Store smaller items near the top
  • Store gear you might need to access quickly or frequently in the lid or pockets
  • Attach any oversize gear to the outside of the pack using gear loops and lash points

Are there different types of backpacking backpacks?

There are two types of backpacking backpacks: internal-frame packs and external-frame packs.

What backpack capacity should you take on a backpacking trip?

The backpack size you need generally depends on the duration of your trip. The following list outlines the capacities we recommend for different trip durations.

  • Single Day/Overnight. 20–30 liters
  • Weekend (2–3 nights). 30–50 liters
  • Multi-day (2–5 nights). 45–55 liters
  • Extended (5+ nights). 55+ liters

What features should you look for in a backpacking backpack?

These are the most important things to consider when choosing a backpacking backpack are capacity, weight, fit, suspension system, padding/cushioning, compartmentalization, and features (gear loops, daisy chain, front access, hydration sleeve, rain cover).

Should you choose an internal or external frame backpacking backpack?

Should you choose an external or internal-frame backpack? Internal-frame backpacks are almost universally considered the best choice for backpacking because they’re lighter, less cumbersome, more convenient, and more conducive to good balance. It’s only worth considering an external-frame pack if you’re looking to score points for using throwback gear and plan on backpacking only breezy, well-maintained trails.

Do you need to have a backpacking backpack with a suspension system?

Suspension systems are not indispensable, but they can greatly enhance your comfort by transferring the weight of your gear to the right parts of the body and allowing you to move more freely as you hike.

What defines an ultralight backpacking backpack?

Ultralight backpacking backpacks typically weigh under 2.5 lbs. Most have minimal features and skimpier padding but are usually made with equally if not more robust materials compared to standard backpacking backpacks.  

How should a backpacking backpack fit?

With a well-fitting backpack, around 80% of the weight should sit on your hips and only 20% on your shoulders. When the pack is loaded, the shoulder strap attachment points should be roughly 2–3 inches below the top of your shoulders and form a 45-degree angle between the pack and your back. The hipbelt’s padding should sit squarely on top of your hip bones. 

When buying a new pack, make sure you measure your torso size to ensure the pack’s adjustment range will fit your body size.

What is the best way to pack a backpacking backpack?

When packing a backpack, look to ensure that bulky, heavy items that you won’t need until camp (tent, sleeping bag, cooking kit) are stored in the base of the pack. Keep anything you might need on the trail, like spare clothing,l at the top of the pack, and use the pockets for items you’ll need to access frequently or quickly.

If you have any gear that won’t fit inside the pack, you lash these to the outside using the lash-on points and gear loops.

What are popular backpacking backpacks?

The list below contains some of the best backpacking backpacks.

  • Gregory Optic 48/Octal 45
  • Osprey Rook 65
  • R.E.I. Flash 55
  • HMG 2400 Southwest
  • Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 
  • Osprey Atmos AG 65/Aura AG 65
  • Osprey Aether AG 70/Ariel AG 65
  • Gregory Baltoro 65/Deva 60

What are packing cubes for backpacking?

Packing cubes are fabric, cube-shaped sacks of varying sizes that are used to compartmentalize and organize the gear in your backpack.

What is the best way to pack a packing cube?

When packing clothes in your backpack, roll each item up before placing it inside the packing cube and scrunch up other loose items. When placing the cubes in your backpack, put the large cubes at the bottom and smaller cubes at the top.

What are compression sacks for backpacking?

Compression sacks are fabric bags that close with either a drawstring or roll-top closure that allows you to compress the contents, thereby making it more compact.

What features should you look for in a backpacking compression sack?

A good compression sack should be made of durable material and have a DWR (durable water repellent) or waterproof finish to keep the contents dry. It’s also best to ensure the sack is big enough for whatever you plan to store inside it, especially if this is a sleeping bag.

What gear is essential for sustenance when backpacking?

To keep yourself fed and hydrated when backpacking, you’ll need a backpacking stove, cookset, eating utensils, a lighter or matches, and a water filter or purification tablets.

What are the different types of backpacking stoves?

There are three types of backpacking stoves – canister stoves, liquid-fuel stoves, and alternative-fuel stoves.

What type of stove is best for backpacking?

Canister stoves are generally considered the best option because they’re easy to use, compact, lightweight, efficient, and easy to find fuel for.

What basic features should you look for in a backpacking stove?

The main features you should look for in a backpacking stove are a push-button ignition, adjustability, simmer control, good boil time/efficiency, packability, and wind protection.

What additional features may a backpacking stove have?

Some additional features worth having in a backpacking stove include a Piezo igniter, hanging kits, included pots or pot sets, coffee-making accessories, and simmer control.

What safety features should you look for in a backpacking stove?

The main safety features to look for when choosing a backpacking stove are a wide, stable base and a neoprene or non-slip sleeve (canister or integrated stoves) to prevent accidental burns. 

What fuel should you use in a backpacking stove?

With backpacking canister stoves, you have a choice of three fuel types: Propane, butane, and isobutane. Propane is easy to find, usually cheaper, and works far better at extremely low temperatures. However, butane is the lighter of the two, so is popular with backpackers for this reason. 

How do you use a backpacking stove in windy conditions?

When using a backpacking stove in windy conditions, use a lid on your pot and use any supplied windscreen. If your stove doesn’t have a windscreen, create your own with rocks or by using aluminum foil with a grill or a pair of sticks.

Is a backpacking stove necessary?

You can go without a stove on your backpacking trips if you are able (and permitted) to build campfires or choose to eat no-cook meals. 

Is a backpacking stove better than a campfire?

Backpacking stoves are more efficient than campfires because they concentrate heat under your cookware. You also don’t have to rely on the availability of dry fuel (wood) and you’ll have more control over heat output.

What are popular stoves for backpacking?

The list below includes some of the best backpacking stoves.

  • MSR PocketRocket 2
  • BRS 3000T
  • Soto Amicus
  • Primus Essential 
  • Jetboil Flash
  • MSR WhisperLite

Do you need a water filter for backpacking?

For overnight backpacking trips in the backcountry, a water filter or purification tablets are non-negotiable. The reason? You won’t be able to carry enough water to last the trip you won’t find anywhere to stock up on bottled water, and any water you take from rivers or streams could contain pathogens and viruses.

How does a backpacking water filter work?

A backpacking filter works like a sieve, filtering out protozoa like Cryptosporidium and Giardia and bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella and other contaminants down to 1 or 2 microns.

What features should you look for in a backpacking water filter?

When choosing a backpacking water filter, you should consider the type of filter (pump, gravity, bottle, or straw), flow rate, weight, packability, effectiveness, and maintenance requirements.

What micron rating does a backpacking water filter need?

Filter with pores measuring 2–5 microns will filter out larger sediment but those with pores measuring 1–2 microns are safest with water that might contain bacteria or protozoa.

How often do you need to change the water filter?

The lifespan of the filter varies from product to product – most last in the region of 750–1,500 liters, though a few outliers have a filter life of up to 10,000 liters.

Do any backpacking water filters also remove viruses?

Most backpacking water filters do not remove viruses – for this you’ll need purification tablets or a UV pen like the SteriPen Ultra UV Water Purifier.

What water purification methods can be used as well as a filter?

Once you’ve filtered your water, you can either purify it with water purification tablets or boil it to play it extra safe.

What are popular backpacking water filters?

The brands that make the most effective, reliable, and popular backpacking water filters are Platypus, Katadyn, MSR, Sawyer, LifeSaver, and LifeStraw.

What type of knife is best for backpacking?

The best type of knife for backpacking is a pocket knife with a drop-point blade. These won’t take up much space in your pack and can handle most campsite tasks.

What features should you look for in a backpacking knife?

The main things to consider when buying a backpacking knife are portability, weight-to-length ratio, construction quality, and ergonomics. 

What are popular backpacking knives?

The most popular backpacking knives are made by brands like Gerber, Morakniv, SOG, Benchmade, Kershaw, Spyderco, and Victorinox.

How do you use backpacking knives safely?

The following tips outline how to use a backpacking knife safely.

  • Make sure you cut away from your body
  • Dry your hands and the knife before using it
  • Store the knife in a sheath
  • Ensure the blade is always sharp
  • Take care when removing the knife from its sheath
  • Use a solid, stable base when cutting

What is included in a backpacking cookware set?

Most backpacking cookware sets include a pot or two, a pan and lids, and often a few accessories like cutlery, cups, or plates. 

What features should you look for in backpacking cookware?

When buying backpacking cookware, you should consider weight, the number of people the cookware serves, packability, the quality of the materials, ease of use, and the accessories included.

What is a multi-tool useful for when backpacking?

The beauty of a backpacking multi-tool is that it can help you carry out myriad campsite tasks, the most important of which are listed below.

  • Cutting
  • Food prep
  • Sawing
  • Opening bottles
  • Opening cans
  • Tent repairs
  • First aid
  • Hygiene (nail clipping)
  • Creating wood shavings for a fire
  • Navigation (using the ruler in combination with a map)

What features should you look for in backpacking multi-tool?

When buying a multi-tool for backpacking, look for quality materials (stainless steel, carbon steel, and/or anodized aluminum), functionality, a good manufacturer warranty, and portability (weight and size).

What features should you look for in a backpacking fishing pole?

When choosing a backpacking fishing pole, you should consider type (telescopic or breakdown, fly rod or spinning pole?), versatility, rod weight (power) and length, action, and weight and packability

Is a telescopic or collapsible fishing pole better for backpacking?

Telescopic rods are usually lighter, more compact, and collapse to a shorter length. Collapsible rods, however, are typically stronger and more well-balanced.

What types of backpacking grill are there?

The three main types of backpacking grill are box grills, foldable or flatpack grills, and a wire or metal cooling rack.

What features should you look for in a backpacking grill?

When you’re choosing a backpacking grill, you need to consider weight, packability, the size of the cooking surface, material, and support.

Is there anything you can’t cook in a backpacking frying pan?

You can cook almost anything in a backpacking frying pan. Some notable exceptions are things you would normally cook in an oven.

If your pan is cast iron, you should also avoid anything acidic, fish, eggs, and anything else that is particularly sticky or smelly. If your pan is non-stick, then avoid tomatoes, sauces, foods that need deglazing, tomatoes, and meat you need to sear or char.

What features to look for in a backpacking skillet?

When buying a backpacking frying pan or skillet, you should consider its weight, size (capacity and compactness), material (aluminum, stainless steel, or titanium), and ease of use.

What other backpacking gear is useful to pack?

The following is a list of some non-standard or non-essential backpacking gear you might find useful.

  • Backpacking chair
  • Sit pad
  • Hatchet
  • Firestarters
  • Massage ball
  • Camp shoes
  • Tent slippers
  • Pillow
  • Coffee maker
  • Pee bottle
  • Solar charger
  • Candle lantern

Is packing a backpacking chair worth it?

While modern backpacking chairs are relatively lightweight and can pack down quite small, their cost, the burden of carrying them, and the availability of other makeshift chairs (your backpack, rocks, logs, a bear canister), make it hard to justify taking one along on a trip.

Are there different types of backpacking chairs?

There are four types of backpacking chairs: foldable chairs, stools, ground chairs, and sit mats.

What features should you look for in backpacking chair?

A good backpacking chair should have a high maximum weight capacity and be lightweight, compact, stable, easy to set up, and comfortable enough to make it worth carrying.

What weight are backpacking chairs?

While camping chairs can weigh upwards of 5 pounds, backpacking chairs typically weigh between 1.5 lbs and 3 lbs.

Can backpacking chairs give good back support?

Some, but not all, backpacking chairs provide good back support. The best options are normally ground seats or regular chairs with a taller back, such as the Big Agnes Six or Helinox Chair Zero.

Can backpacking chairs have additional features?

Very few backpacking chairs have additional features as their priority is keeping weight to a minimum. 

What is the maximum weight capacity a backpacking chair can hold?

Most lightweight backpacking chairs have a maximum weight capacity of 250–300 lbs. The Leki Timeout (30 oz.), however, has a capacity of 320 lbs.

What are popular lightweight portable chairs?

A few popular lightweight backpacking chairs include the REI Flexlite Air (16 oz.), the Big Agnes Skyline UL Stool (18 oz.), and the Helinox Chair Zero (17 oz.).

What features should you look for in backpacking towel?

Good backpacking towels should be lightweight, compressible, soft, anti-microbial, durable, and come with a hanging loop and functional stuff sack.

What multiple uses can a backpacking towel have?

The list below outlines the various ways in which you can use a backpacking towel.

  • Drying yourself
  • Drying dishes and cookware
  • A headscarf
  • A pillow
  • A light blanket
  • Wiping condensation off your tent

What can you use a backpacking saw for?

The three main uses of a backpacking saw are sawing wood for campfires, making bushcraft shelters, and clearing trails.

What features make a saw suitable for backpacking?

A backpacking saw should be lightweight and compact (pocket chainsaws, folding saws, folding bow saws), have an ergonomic grip and 2 or 3-sided cutting teeth for efficiency, and be suitable for single-handed operation.

Why do you need a shovel when backpacking?

A backpacking shovel isn’t an essential item, but it can come in handy for the purposes listed below.

  • Digging catholes
  • Knocking in or removing tent pegs
  • Leveling the ground when pitching your tent
  • Digging a rainwater trench around your tent
  • Stirring the embers in your fire
  • Self-defense

What features make a shovel suitable for backpacking?

The features that make a good backpacking shovel are ruggedness, durability, portability, and functionality.

Where can you find budget backpacking gear?

You can buy budget backpacking gear from retailers like REI Outlet, and you always have the option of buying used gear from retailers like REI (the used section), an online marketplace, or dedicated used gear sites like Geartrade or Outdoors Geek.

You can also find cheap gear in the January/February clearance sales, around Memorial Day (May), Labor Day, and Black Friday. REI Co-Op also has its REI Member Moment in March, when you can expect to find big-name brand gear at around 20% off.

What are popular budget backpacking gear brands?

The following list contains a few popular budget backpacking gear brands.

  • Quechua and Forclaz (Decathlon)
  • Coleman
  • OneTigris
  • Kelty
  • Snow Peak
  • Nevo
  • ALPS Mountaineering
  • GeerTop
  • TetonSports

What electrical gear is useful for backpacking?

Some electrical gear that can come in handy on a backpacking trip includes a power bank, solar charger, GPS device, two-way satellite messaging device, headlamp, and fast-charging plug.

Are backpacking solar chargers worth it?

If you’re backpacking in a location where you’ll have no access to electricity for multiple days and have several power-hungry gadgets to feed, backpacking solar chargers are 100% worth it.

How does a backpacking solar charger work?

Backpacking solar chargers have a collection of photovoltaic cells that absorb direct sunlight and convert it to an electric charge that is either fed directly into your connected devices or stored in an attached battery pack.

What different types of backpacking solar charger are available?

The four main types of backpacking solar chargers are power banks with an integrated solar panel, solar panels with a built-in battery, solar panels with an external, detachable battery pack, and direct-charge solar panels (solar panels only).

What features should you look for in backpacking solar charger?

When choosing a backpacking solar charger, you should consider weight, compactness, solar panel size, wattage, general wattage guidelines, charging speed, and number of charge ports.

Is a solar charger better than a power bank for backpacking?

The main advantage of a solar charger is that you’ll have the ability to recharge your devices even when your power bank is out of juice and you’re far from an electrical outlet. However, solar chargers need sunlight to function, can’t store power, and in most cases are much heavier than power banks.

What size of power bank do you need for backpacking?

The size of backpacking power bank you need depends on the duration of your backpacking trip and how energy-hungry your gadgets are. If you only need to charge your phone and/or GPS device a few times, a 10,000 mAh power bank will suffice. If you need to charge larger devices like digital cameras, however, a 10,000 mAh charger is a better choice.

What features should you look for in a backpacking power bank?

The following list includes everything you should look for in a backpacking power bank.

  • Multiple charge ports
  • Compatible charge ports for your devices
  • Ruggedness
  • Water resistance 
  • Weight
  • Size
  • Capacity and number of charges
  • Charge time

Are there advantages of a power bank over a solar charger when backpacking?

The main advantages of a power bank over a standalone solar charger are that they don’t need sun to function, can store energy, and often weigh less.

Can you take a normal camera backpacking?

While we wouldn’t recommend carrying a heavy, bulky DSLR or EVIL camera on the trail, only you will know what you prefer working with – if you’re a pro or enthusiast, shooting quality photos may be among your main reasons for making the trip. For most backpackers, however, the best cameras for backpacking are bridge cameras or compact point-and-shoots.

What features should you look for in backpacking camera?

When choosing a backpacking camera, you should look for ruggedness, compactness, a reasonable weight, multiple shooting modes, good image stabilization, good battery life, good image quality, and weather sealing.

What are popular backpacking cameras?

The following list includes some of the best backpacking cameras out there.

  • Olympus Tough TG-6
  • Sony RX100 VII
  • Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II
  • Sony Alpha a6400
  • Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
  • Fujifilm X-T3
  • Sony Alpha a7R IV
  • Canon EOS Rebel T7i
  • Pentax K-70
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Where should you store a camera when backpacking?

When backpacking or hiking, you can store your camera in a multi-pack in the chest configuration, in a fanny pack, under the lid of your backpack, or by attaching your camera pack to the outside of your backpack using straps and the D-rings.

Why would you take a thermometer backpacking?

The main reason to take a thermometer backpacking is to track conditions and temperatures.

What features should you look for in backpacking thermometer?

The ideal backpacking thermometer should be lightweight, compact, accurate, and have a few extra features, such as a barometer, compass, and humidity reader.

What features should you look for when gifting backpacking gear?

The best backpacking gifts are those that will genuinely add value to or improve your loved one’s backpacking kit by making it lighter, more compact, more convenient, more reliable, more durable, and/or easier to use.

What are backpacking gift ideas for women?

Some examples of our favorite gifts for outdoor women are included on the list below.

  • Sea To Summit Aeros Down Pillow
  • Gregory Octal 45 Backpack
  • Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad
  • Deuce of Spades Camping Trowel
  • Freshette Pee Funnel 
  • Ursack Major Bear Bag
  • Women’s Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2
  • Women’s Salomon Quest 4 GTX
  • Rab Hut Slippers
  • Fjallraven Abisko Trail Tights
  • Arc’teryx Gamma LT Pants
  • Women’s Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Socks
  • Patagonia Fleetwith Skort
  • Zippo Handwarmer
  • Garmin inReach Mini
  • THERMACELL Backpacker Mosquito Repeller
  • Garmin Instinct Solar Watch
  • National Parks Adventure Pass
  • REI Gift Card

What are backpacking gift ideas for men?

Some examples of our favorite gifts for outdoorsmen are included on the list below.

  • Leatherman Charge TTI
  • REI Co-Op Flash 55 Backpack
  • Sea To Summit Aeros Down Pillow
  • ENO Doublenest Hammock
  • Gerber Strongarm Fixed
  • Gerber 17.5-Inch Freescape Hatchet
  • Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel
  • Outdoor Survival Ammo Can
  • Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2
  • Salomon Quest 4 GTX
  • Outdoor Research Sombriolet
  • Patagonia Down Sweater
  • Patagonia Quandary Pants
  • Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Socks
  • Garmin inReach Mini
  • THERMACELL Backpacker Mosquito Repeller
  • Garmin Instinct Solar Watch
  • National Parks Adventure Pass
  • REI Gift Card