So, you’re planning a trip out into the backcountry and getting ready to look at gear. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, here’s a breakdown of all the essentials.
1) Water Filter
Water (which also makes our list of hiking safety items) is the number one top priority for all backpackers. If you can’t pack in your water, there are many choices when it comes to finding the perfect water filter. Whether you’re interested in lightweight UV pens or pump-systems, there’s a solution for every style of backpacker. It’s also a good idea to have more than one option in case one method fails; you don’t want to be in the middle of your trip and have no way to filter water. Iodine tablets are lightweight and small, serving as a fantastic backup.
The Platypus GravityWorks is the number one rated water filter system, according to OutdoorGearLab. This is ideal for its fast treatment of water and easy storage.
A lightweight and portable fuel stove will make all the difference in your meals. When you’re hiking up to ten miles a day, you’re going to be burning twice as many calories than you usually do in the city. When eating just plain granola bars isn’t going to cut it, you need a stove to cook your meals. MSR consistently creates the best quality stoves for the price, with the Windburner, Whisperlight, and the Dragonfly taking the top three spots as rated by Adventure Junkies.
3) Bear Canister
Whether or not you’re going to be traveling in bear country, a bear canister is the best way to protect your food from any hungry animals. Animals can easily ruin a trip by chewing through your tent, your backpack, and other gear to get to your food.
A tent is your primary source of shelter, protecting you from rain, wind, and the elements. Keep in mind that weight can be broken down between two or more of your backpacking party by separating the rain fly, poles, and body of the tent.
5) Sleeping Bag
The primary insulation to keep you warm for the night is going to be a sleeping bag. In the backcountry, sleeping well means having a good day the next day and many more miles and scenes to see. Switchback Travel recommends the Feathered Friends Swallow Nano, an amazingly warm bag that will compress down to almost nothing.
6) Wool Socks
Your feet are your best friends on a long hike. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you. Bring at least one wool moisture-wicking pair of socks for each day of your trip, and change them every single day.
7) Hiking Boots
Protecting your feet and giving you the stability to scale a mountain, the hiking boot is likely the best investment you’ll make in your backcountry career. Switchback Travel recommends the Salomon Quest as one of the toughest tested boots of 2017 for all your heavy-duty hiking needs.
8) Rain jacket
Heavy rains can make or break a trip; make sure you invest in a lightweight rain jacket that will fit over your other layers.
9) Thermal underwear
Temperatures can drop significantly in the backcountry. Thermal underwear is easy to wear for extra layering, and you can add or remove them to adjust your internal temperature.
Traditional flashlights are heavy and difficult to wield while carrying other items; a headlamp will enable you to use both hands while you are scrambling down boulders or putting up a tent.
11) Utility Knife
A knife is one of the best tools you’ll bring on your backpacking trip. You can use it in cooking, in repairing gear and more, and you’ll be glad to have it.