Essential Backpacking Gear

Due to COVID-19, social distancing in the woods has never been more timely. If you’re planning a backpacking trip, always remember to Recreate Responsibly. This means following Leave No Trace Principles, knowing your limits, keeping your distance, researching before you go, and of course staying home if you are sick. That being said, exploring our natural spaces is one of the healthiest things we can do. Check out our recommendations for gear to make your backpacking trip safe, comfortable, and fun!

Gregory Deva Women’s Pack– It’s important to do a lot of research when it comes to choosing the right hiking pack. As a woman with a long torso, I had a very hard time finding a pack that fit me. Osprey women’s packs tend to cater towards a shorter torso. The Gregory Deva ended up being a great fit for me. I love the padding and hip belts, and there is so much room for storage. As I have taken more trips however, I think I would downsize next time to a smaller pack, 70L is a lot of space (there is a 60 L option). This is a great pack for starting out overnight backpacking trips!

Gregory Deva Pack

Gregory Stout Men’s Pack– Eric also went with a Gregory pack. They are super reliable and comfortable. Both of our packs came with a rain cover included. Eric has the 65L and also feels he could go smaller next time.

Gregory Stout Pack

Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Person Tent– We absolutely love this 2 person tent. It is super light at 2 lbs 10 oz, and packs down quite small. It has a removable rain fly. It can get quite stifled with the rain fly fully on but it can be partially removed for better airflow. It is the perfect amount of space for Eric and I to sleep comfortably together, our beagle, Joni, also camps with us and is able to comfortably sleep at our feet.

Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 person tent

Therm-a-rest Prolite Sleeping Pad– A sleeping pad is pretty important for comfort when tent camping. Our Prolite sleeping pads have done a great job saving our backs on overnight trips. They weigh just 12 ounces and have a stuff sack included. They are self inflating which is just one less thing to do when you’re setting up camp. They are a bit of a pain in the butt to get back into their sack but that’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make for their comfort and space saving features.

Therm-a-rest Prolite Sleeping Pad

Sleeping Bag- Unfortunately the sleeping bags Eric and I both have are discontinued so we have no recommendations for this category. We both have mummy bags, however in the future, we may opt for a quilt that is able to be zipped. Mummy bags are not as versatile in warmer temperatures as they are difficult to unzip like a blanket. There are a lot of considerations to take when choosing a sleeping bag. The biggest of such is down vs. synthetic. The pros of synthetic are the price point, and their performance when wet. Down is superior however in weight to warmth ratio. If you are looking to stay warm and have a lighter pack, down is your choice. Be sure to look at the temperature rating of you sleeping bag, this will tell you the coldest temperature at which the average person will be comfortable. The lower the temperature rating, the warmer the sleeping bag.

Eno Hammock– Okay so maybe these aren’t essential, but they’re pretty darn nice to have on a back country camping trip. Eric and I each have a hammock, one is a 1 person hammock and the other is a 2 person hammock in case we want to snuggle 🙂

ENO Hammock

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration– In our opinion, this product is an essential for a multi day hiking trip. Packing in all of your water is just not feasible, as long as you have a water source, you can safely filter all the drinking water you need along your trip. The Sawyer filters 99.99999% of bacteria and protozoa and has a 0.1 micron filter size. It is rated up to 100,000 gallons. We have been using ours for over 2 years now and with a little maintenance have had no issues. You do have to make sure it doesn’t freeze, so if you are hiking in below freezing temperature, you will want to keep it close to your body. There are other water purification methods available but Sawyer reigns supreme in our minds. One life pro tip- ditch the pouches that come with them and get a disposable Smart Water waterbottle. The cap to the Sawyer twists right on to it and you are able to drink straight from the bottle. The Smart Water bottles are pretty durable and can withstand a bit of squeezing.

Sawyer Squeeze

MSR Pocket Rocket Camping Stove- Having a way to cook a warm meal on a camping trip is huge. This camp stove is so simple and small and uses the fuel canister as a base.

MSI PocketRocket Camp Stove

GSI 1.8 Liter Packable Pot- In addition to having a camp stove, you have to have something to cook in. We love the size of this pot and the rubber handle to keep you from burning your hands. The handle flips over the lid to keep it closed in storage. We are able to fit our fuel canister and stove in here when we’re travelling. The pot cools off quickly and can double as your bowl to eat from.

GSI Packable Pot

Kula Cloth– Alright ladies, hear me out of this. This is a technical pee cloth and it will change your life. It is antimicrobial and super easy to clean, it has snaps so you can hike with it dirty side in on your backpack. No more packing out toilet paper, no more air-drying!

Kula Cloth

Petzl Headlamp– If you plan on hiking after dark, or even going to the bathroom after dark, this is a necessity. This Petzl headlamp takes AAA batteries, is plenty bright, and has multiple settings including strobe, and red for light that won’t affect your night vision.

Petzl Headlamp

Paracord– This is super multi-purpose, strong rope that can save your butt in the back country. It can be used for anything from tying splints, to tying up your food to keep it from animals. We also use this as a long lead for our beagle, Joni, because it is lightweight to pack.

Paracord

Leukotape- This stuff is THE BEST for preventing and treating blisters. We like it even better than the old standby-Moleskin. It sticks so well and stays in put while hiking. Seriously cannot recommend this stuff enough.

Luekotape

Morakniv Fixed Blade Knife- Having a knife in the backcountry is essential and these knives are simply awesome. Seriously sharp, more effective than a pocket knife, and come in a convenient plastic casing that you can keep on your belt loop.

Morakniv Fixed Blade Knife

All of these pieces of gear are items we use on our backpacking trips. We have tested each item and can personally recommend them. We hope this post helps you plan out your next trip into nature. Happy trails, friends!

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