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Backpacking Gear List

That Granite Gear and Therm-a-rest combo.
That Granite Gear and Therm-a-rest combo.

It’s been almost a decade now that I’ve been an avid backpacker, camper, and long-distance hiker. I’m sharing my personal backpacking gear list with you guys. This is the stuff that I bring into the mountains, and trust me, I have been through a lot of gear.

Also, I believe in affordable gear, and trying not to have too much brand loyalty. While I might fan girl over Granite Gear packs or Feathered Friends sleeping bags, I’m not going to insist that you have a specific brand of anything or spend a ton of money.

Without further ado, read on for my complete backpacking gear list.

There are affiliate link in this post, meaning if you click a link and buy something then I get a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and I make some money. And it’s a great way to support your favorite hiking blogger. Win, win!

Backpacking Gear List

  • Backpack. Granite Gear backpacks are typically my go-to choice. They’re great if you’re going on the lighter side with your gear selections. Osprey backpacks are also a great choice in terms of comfort and lots of back support.
  • Sleeping bag. I own two Feathered Friends sleeping bags, one for winter camping and one for the rest of the time. For down sleeping bags, they’re my favorite. If you’re looking for a less expensive, synthetic option; I got my start using Marmot sleeping bags. They are reliable and won’t break the bank.
  • Sleeping pad. For a low price go with the Therm-a-rest Z Lite foam pad. The plus side is that a foam pad will last forever. However, they just aren’t as comfortable as inflatable pads. I don’t have much brand loyalty when it comes to inflatable sleeping pads. It seems like I buy a new one every year because of leaks and holes. But they are comfortable. Just browse REI for a good deal on inflatable sleeping pads.
  • Shelter. So many options. For a lightweight tent that requires trekking poles for set up I like my Six Moons Designs Lunar Solo. For summer in regions with trees, I’m hopelessly dedicated to my Hennessy Hammock Hyperlight. For work I have a cheap tarp that I string up between two trees, an art worth knowing.
  • Water treatment. I’ve always been happy with my Steripen Adventurer, and occasionally I go with Aquamira Water Treatment Drops.
I don't need to remind you to pack beer.
I don’t need to remind you to pack beer.
  • Water storage. Know how frequently you will come across water sources before you start. For many places on the Appalachian Trail, I only carry two liters at a time. For hiking in the Utah desert, I always have capacity for at least five liters.
  • Stove and cooking pot. This is optional, as some hikers cut weight by eating cold food and other hikers simply dislike cooking. I have been using my MSR Pocket Rocket for six years now, and it still works. I’ve been using a Toaks titanium cooking pot lately.
  • Toiletries bag. And everything in it.
  • Two dry bags. One for clothes and one to use as a food bag.
  • Clothing Checklist (summer):

    • Hiking shoes. I always go with trail runners. It looks like my favorite, Altra Lone Peak 2.0, is no longer available (not sure if the Lone Peak 3.0’s measure up). But my second favorite, Salomon X-Mission, are available.
    • Clothes to wear while hiking. Shorts, t-shirt or tank top, sports bra.
    • Rain jacket. I’m happy with my Outdoor Research Helium II.
    • Bottom base layer.
    • Top base layer. I’m obsessed with my Smart Wool midweight.
    • 2-3 pairs of socks.
    I'm in love with my Hennessy Hammock.
    I’m in love with my Hennessy Hammock.

    Additional cold weather clothes:

    • Down or synthetic puffy jacket.
    • Warm clothes to hike in. Add a pair of hiking pants and make your top base layer your hiking shirt.
    • Rain pants. Breaks the wind and keeps you dry.
    • Hat and gloves.
    • Fleece or extra top base layer. Only if the weather will be cold enough that your puffy jacket won’t be enough.
    • Sleeping bag liner. Depending on the rating of your sleeping bag, a liner may or may not be necessary.

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