There is a lot of outdoor gear that is needed to trek the outdoors. It can be a bit overwhelming at first but once you invest in quality it lasts for a long time for endless adventure to come in the future. This is a compilation of some gear that I have used over the years and brands that I swear by for my outdoor trekking.
1. Backpacking Backpacks
If you are looking for a backpack I have used a Kelty for years now. The Kelty I chose because of the amazing shoulder, back and waist padding comfort. Their packs have great gel technology cushion unlike some of the others. I also like osprey packs like this one here:
2. Backpacking Tents
The design of all the new backpacking tent models amaze me! I used to have a really old school metal poles that always got stuck and was so long and hard to put together especially if you are by yourself! The new designs are so simple and get put together so easily even with one person. The Kelty with its double side entrance for each person in the two person backpacking tent makes it my favorite. I have been a Coleman camper since a kid using the big family tents and they are great for camping with friends and family. They are quality and offer great different sizes.
3. Hiking Boots
I really believe boots and the pack are the most crucial pieces of gear for backpacking. Your feet need good support for miles of walking and if you are looking for
4. Backpacking sleeping bag
I have been using the Klymit the last couple of years and get actually too hot many nights using it in the outdoors. It keeps me nice and toasty and I never have the problems I used to of using sleeping bags that were not sufficient and being miserable and unable to sleep in the night. This one is great for winter and fall camping as well as low temperatures and climates.
The Nemo Tango Duo Slim 30-Degree 2-Person Down Sleeping Bag is a tremendous option for couples. The bag requires you to have sleeping pads, but it cuts down on what you have to carry. Because instead of needing to carry two bulky down sleeping bags, you can carry one streamlined sleeping bag that capitalizes on body heat. We highly recommend this bag. It’s sort of like bringing a little bed camping.
5. Backpacking pillow
There are inflatable pillows as well as small light regular pillows. I have used both and honestly really prefer a small normal pillow even though it is heavier. For shorter trips I will haul that in but for longer the inflatable is really weight wise necessary. It is nice to have different options.
6. Sleeping pad
I used to use the old school more egg crate sleeping pad and it is really nice and light to carry. That is a better option for longer trips or more intense treks that you want the most light weight pack for. Now I mostly use the sleeping pad by Klymit listed below. I normally don’t like the feeling of blow up things or mattresses but this one is really subtle and doesn’t make noise when you move around on it which is a huge plus. There is a repair kit that comes with it in case of holes but I have never had trouble for years sleeping on different terrain. I have slept on pinecones, needles and other rocks and never had anything make a hole in my sleeping pad.
Make sure you get a 3 liter instead of one of the smaller options. This is just a normal amount of water you need to have and be drinking on the trail carrying it with you at all times. This can also be refilled with your water filter from streams and lakes along the trail. This fits perfectly in every backpacking bag’s pouch in the back section with the straw hole to sip as you hike and is needed to be able to have mobile hydration. The second one below is more for dayhiking and daypacks. That option is good for when you are not backpacking and don’t want to carry as much water for the weight or have it be contained in its own pack instead of a bladder.
8. Backpacking stove
I have been using this stove since I started backpacking years ago. I really love it even though it’s not expensive or fancy it does the job. It really is a staple that is small, light and convenient to carry that comes with its own box. It screws right on the top of your small gas can to cook and has its own lighter fire starter function. Also the Jet Boil is something life changing for any hiker, camper or backpacker. This makes the ability to make trail meals or snacks in cool overlooks or to have hot coffee on your hike to see the sunrise. This is a fun option to use in life and in the outdoors. I will bring it to have tea at a city overlook and watch the sunrise. This is such a quality tool that takes a minute to heat up boiling water to make a meal or hot drink. The other brands I have use really take a significant amount of time longer and I stick by Jet Boil.
9. Backpacking stove gas cans
You can buy these anywhere not just at REI. You can get them at Walmart or Target as well. It is always a good idea to carry two on you at all times in case you run out. It is hard to know how much is left in them and generally I try to keep one at home to use if it has already been on two trips and use it in hometown adventures not the outdoors then so I don’t waste it.
10. Backpacking Cook Set
The GSI Outdoors 2 Person Cook Set is awesome. If you are looking for a starter set to last you a long time, then this one is great. It comes with insulated cups, bowls, sporks, and a cook pot. It packs down really well and is super practical.
11. Backpacking freeze dried meals
There are so many different freeze dried meal brands and really you have to try to see what you like the most! I really love the Mountain House meals because you can easily find them not just at outdoor stores but also places like Walmart or Target. They are budget friendly and easily accessible. They also make deserts which is a necessarily life meal that tastes even more amazing after trekking a mountain! Treat yourself with one of their delicious raspberry chocolate hot lava cakes or apple crisps. The meal pouches range from $5-$8 usually depending on the meal and meat included. I love the beef stew as well as the beef stroganoff. The breakfast skillet is a good option but I will say the eggs of freeze dried food for me are the most different tasting. I prefer their granola with milk and blueberries for breakfast rather than the eggs. Also they have so many good flavors but very few selections that are limited in store. I honestly order mine on amazon as a prime member and even if you don’t remember before your trip to order until 2 days before or even a day you can guarantee their quick delivery. Flavors are listed below to give you ideas.
Flavors: Beef stew, beef stroganoff, breakfast skillet, apple crisp, chicken and dumplings, chicken and mashed potatoes, chicken fajita bowl, chicken fried rice, chicken Teriyaki with rice, chili mac with beef, granola with milk and blueberries, homestyle chicken noodle casserole, ice cream sandwich desert, italian style pepper steak, lasagna with meat sauce, macaroni and cheese, mexican style rice and chicken, noodles and chicken, pasta primevera, raspberry crumble desert, spaghetti with meat sauce, sweet and sour pork with rice,
This is the headlamp that I have been using for years now and swear by. This one is rechargeable which is so helpful in terms of backpacking and outdoor adventure. It used to be you just had to pack in batteries all the time and they were heavy and you didn’t know when your headlamp would die. Now you can even bring your solar charger as well and plug your headlamp in. This is a bright light that has easy adjusting clip and really has lasted me years.
13. Water filter
A water filter for longer trips that don’t have water sources for you are crucial. Unfortunately Brita is not as easily transportable or safe but these are now so light and helpful! The life straw is really just a fun and practical option to have on hand as emergency backup.
14. Navigation: maps, apps, GPS
We are no longer in the day of paper maps for the trail. Apps are convenient on the phone but with no service and with batteries that die on the phone they are very impractical for navigation in the wild and not fully safe to rely on. Garmin has been my lifeline for all of my marathon training with my mileage watch like the one below. Garmin has also been a lifeline for navigation and the best GPS tools. They allow you to plug in coordinates for hikes and never be lost or not know where you are.
15. Solar Charger
16. First Aid Kit
17. Hiking Poles
I use these ones that were pretty cheap on amazong but have held up well. They come with different bottums for different hikes and climates that you do which is nice as well. These may seem like they are for old people but I bought them training for and doing my first 14,000 footer and they were so helpful as support whne you reach higher elevation on a 22 mile journey and need some backup.
This is a source of fire one of the 10 essential backpacking tools that since the 30’s have been written as necessities for the outdoors. This lighter is nice because of the intense casing it doesn’t rust or get wet and I have had problems in the weather with lighters not functioning properly in the past. The home kitchen basic lighters work well too and I normally have one of those on me as well.
BIC Multi-purpose Lighter sometimes you don’t need something fancy. For most of our travels, we keep a trusty BIC lighter on hand.
19. Backpacking chair
When you are trekking unfortunately not every site has logs or big rocks that create great seating. There have been so many places I end up that I don’t want to sit in my tent but there is nowhere to sit. This is a really helpful “luxary” item that is still light and if you are willing to haul it I think it makes the experience much more homey and enjoyable!
Even when backpacking it isn ice to have a rolled up daypack that you bring as well that is empty. This is great for smaller exploration and trails away from base camp and still getting to bring the staple necessities.
This is one of the 10 backpacking essentials as well and is a safety item for self defense and protection as well as first add. I use this for kindling, cutting things and gear fixing. This is a must to have on you. Gerber is an amzing brand that is quality and I have never had any problems with my product. Also the second knife has this epic paracord option which is really practical. Every trip I take I have ended up using my rolled up paracord I always bring in my back and I never know what is going to be the next way I end up using this. When it is handy on your knife so close it is even more convenient. I have had the Fiskars hatchet for quite a while and have been really impressed with the design, model and the cover over the blade. This is a safe and good quality axe that is what you need for all of your epic bonfire pursuits.
These are great resources to have for cooking, first aid, and firewood collecting/making. There is always gear repair or things that need to be done and it is good to have tools on hand.
23. Insect Repellent
I get eaten alive I don’t know about you. But that ruins my time outdoors unless I coat myself. Repel is one of the most legit companies I know that works. It really is great to spray all over the tent as well as the site to help clear insects. I like to spray it at the entrance at night to help keep them out while we sleep.
24. Garbage Bag
Always honor the outdoors and pack your trash out! This is the backpackers code and way. It is good to have on hand for several reasons as well as doubling as rain ponchos in inclimate weather or protecting your bags and gear to not get wet. These can also act as emergency heat blankets in desperate situations for safety.
25. Bear Spray/ Bear Bag
Most places will give you bear warnings as you read about different national forests, hikes or trail areas. There are big bear boxes noramlly in parking lots in national parks and trailheads for some hikes but these are open to the public and not private or safe. They also are far away from your camp site especially if you are packing in. Bear bags are the most light and easy in terms of space usage to pack and carry. You need paracord to secure and swing the bear bag up on a branch of a tree. Always have paracord on you for many reasons while backpacking! Bear spray is something I have been keeping on me now for the last several years for backpacking and hiking. It is always a good idea to not takes risks in areas that the rangers are giving warnings. Also now REI and most brands build whistles into their packs which is amazing. Always keep a whistle on you for safety and seeking help from rangers, other hikers or your party.
26. Whistle (safety)
27. Water Bottles
It is nice to pack a water bottle in as well for basecamp usage and extra water storage. The light plastic nalgene are a practical option. I love hydroflasks and own 3 different sizes and versions of the top varities they have. Hydroflasks are amazing at keeping your water cold and really high quality.
Where to buy Gear
I have been an REI member for years and love being a part of their membership program where you get 20% back on everything you spend from the year at the end of the year on your member card. This is a great way to invest in gear for your adventures but also get reimbursed some money to get more gear for free! Also, they have amazing garage sales that happen a couple times a year to be on the lookout for. These are amazing name brand things returned even barely after using once a lot of times and sold for dirt cheap for outdoor gear. I also am an avid Amazon user and prime member. We all know online shopping is way preferred at home in our underwear on the couch to going in person somewhere. Amazon has a ton of name brand gear as well that you could find the same as in REI and sometimes even cheaper! (REI, amazon.com, backcountry.com)