Backpacking Gear List

Hiking deep into the backcountry requires you to carry everything you'll need to get through your hike. The temptation to bring everything including the kitchen sink is normal. That said, you can cover more miles, hike safer, and generally be more comfortable if you can keep your gear lightweight and minimalist.

On Me

  • Lightweight, quick-drain trail shoes
  • Wicking socks
  • Hiking pants/shorts
  • Wicking shirt(s)
  • Road ID bracelet
  • Technical hat
  • Hiking poles
  • Phone

In My Backpack

I use a 44L backpack that has served me well over the last few hiking seasons. Purchased at Walmart, it didn't cost a fortune and holds everything I need to get out and enjoy the backcountry. Here's what I keep in my pack:

  • Tent
  • Coffee mug
  • Solar charger
  • 2 32-oz. water bottles
  • Paracord
  • Sleeping bag
  • Air mattress
  • Inflatable pillow
  • First-aid kit
  • Stuff sack with clothing
  • Food bag (lightweight drawstring bag)
    • Jetboil Sol
    • Food
    • Long spoon
    • Heat pouch
    • 1 qt. zip-lock baggies
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Deodorant
  • Rain pants
  • Rain poncho
  • Rain hat
  • Bath wipes
  • Fire kit in zip-lock sandwich bag
    • Lighter
    • Fire starter sticks
  • Compass/whistle/thermometer
  • Map
  • Headlamp, stored without batteries
  • 6 AAA batteries
  • Multi-tool
  • Katadyn water filter
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen

Gear Favorites

  • Hiking Poles | My friend, Dave, was right - hiking poles are the best piece of hiking gear you can own. They're particularly helpful on uneven terrain or on extra long hikes when the struggle gets real.
  • Jetboil Sol | This cook system is compact, easy to use, and gets the job done quickly. Plus, coffee is a must-have in the morning, and this boils water lightning fast.
  • Long Spoon | Nearly all of my meals are either boiled in a bag or are ready to eat pouches. That makes the long spoon the perfect utensil on the trails.
  • Air Mattress | Foam mattresses are lightweight, but can be bulky and aren't nearly as comfortable as my Therm-a-rest air mattress. This keeps me sleeping very comfortably - a huge plus after a long day on the trails.
  • Inflatable Pillow | You could save weight and space by forgoing this item, but this makes it so much easier for me to sleep. Waking up well rested is one of the keys to great backpacking.

Gear Tips

  • Lightweight | Try to find the lightest weight gear that you can comfortably afford. There is an exponential price increase for sometimes minimal weight/space savings.
  • Compact | Avoid bulky items - especially your backpack! The bigger your pack, the greater the temptation to carry way too much gear.
  • Multi-function | Items that serve multiple purposes cut your pack weight while still getting the job done. For example, some types of tent stakes can also serve as a trowel.
  • Evolution | At the end of each backpacking trip, make note of what you used and what you didn't. Over time, your gear will evolve to include only the things you need or truly want in your pack.