11 Pieces of Equipment Every Backpacker Needs

11 Pieces of Equipment Every Backpacker Needs

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.

Keep everything warm. Don’t forget to bring a portable burner when hiking.

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.

2) Stove

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.

4) Tent

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

Don’t go anywhere without your favorite hiking boots. It will protect you from getting injured.

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.

10) Headlamp

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.

7 Items that Should Be on Your Safe Hiking Checklist

7 Items that Should Be on Your Safe Hiking Checklist

Whether you’re going on a lengthy backpacking trip or just a short day hike, it’s important that you plan properly and have the right items so you’re prepared for any possible problems. Make sure you have the following essential safety items on your safe hiking checklist and you’ll be ready for anything.

1. First Aid Kit

On any hike, you can end up with cuts, scrapes, or other abrasions. With a portable first aid kit, you can disinfect and patch up any minor wounds. You can either buy a kit or create your own, just make sure that you know how to use everything in it. You don’t want to end up trying to learn on the fly in an emergency.

2. Safety Whistle

A safety whistle takes up hardly any space, but it can be a lifesaver. If you get lost or are injured and unable to move, a whistle can help anyone in the area locate and assist you.

3. Water

Dehydration can set in quickly, and when it does it will affect your concentration and your energy levels. This is especially problematic if you’re in a hot climate, but considering how much of a workout hiking is, you can get dehydrated anywhere. You should always bring water with you when you go on a hike.

4. Map and Compass

You’re much less likely to get lost if you bring a map of the area with you, along with a compass so it’s easier to find your way around. Just like with your first aid kit, make sure that you know how to read your map. Since GPS technology is everywhere these days, map reading has become a lost art.

5. Sun Protection

Getting lost isn’t the only danger when you go on a hike, as the sun can do some serious damage to your skin. Bring some sunscreen with you and apply it whenever the sun is out. Read here for more skin protection suggestions.

6. A Flashlight

The sun can set quickly, and if you misjudge the amount of time it’s going to take you to get back to your car, you could find yourself wandering around in the dark. Bring a flashlight or a headlamp if you’d prefer to keep your hands free, and don’t forget to check the batteries before you go out. You may want to bring a couple spare batteries, just in case.

7. Food

Food may not be as essential as water, but you don’t want to be hungry while you’re out on a hike, especially if you end up in any potentially dangerous situations. Protein bars are a good choice when it comes to food, as they last a long time and have a balanced mix of protein and carbohydrates.

None of the items you need on your safe hiking checklist are expensive, and they’re all small enough to fit in a backpack. You never know what could happen, so make sure you have these items with you on every hike.