Recommended Backpacking Gear
A list of the best lightweight backpacking gear.
Recommended Backpacking Gear has a focus on value—great performance and reasonable cost.
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This will be expanded over the next six months to a year to include recommend equipment for all gear categories. For the time being, this will be a list of recommended gear for the “Big Three,” Backpacks, Sleeping Bags (and Quilts), and Tents (to include all forms of shelter).
The Best Cheap $0.25 Backpacking Gear in my kit are Pint Ziploc Freezer Bags. They are a perfect size and have a ton of uses. I’ve used them to protect my iPhone and other expensive equipment packrafting in Alaska, rafting down the Grand Canyon in winter, trekking in Patagonia and the rain forests of New Zealand. Surprisingly, they are virtually unknown and you won’t find them on grocery store shelves.
Just how light can you go on backpacking gear for the AT and still be an efficient hiker? I believe this "Practical Light Gear List Appalachian Trail" is very close to the lower weight limit of gear to efficiently walk long days on the AT without sacrificing comfort, functionality or miles hiked per day. My goal is a sub 12 pound total pack weight (gear, food, water & fuel) to do a ~100 mile section of the AT without resupply.
Best Backpacking Stoves: Trail Designs Caldera, the best alcohol stove system, and JetBoil, the best canister stove system. What makes these systems “best” is that they are fuel efficient, wind-resistant, stable and stow into a small package. Which is the best for you?...
Do-it-all Packs: These are your first choice if you want one light pack to work for all your trips. These packs will carry gear and food for trips up to 7 days or more—yet at around 2 pounds they are not too heavy to use for a long weekend on the Appalachian Trail.
Possibly the best all-around, lightweight shelter is a pyramid shelter. I have used Pyramid Shelters on trips to Alaska, Patagonia, the Sierras, major European treks and around the world. (Picture of Alison in a Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid XL [...]
To save as much as 10 to 12 pounds with with the minimum of effort, look at The Big Three. 1) Backpack, 2) Tent/Shelter, and 3) Sleeping bag (or quilt). The lighter versions of these are just as functional as their heavier counterparts.
A pyramid shelter is likely your lightest effective shelter, unless the weather forecast is for constant, pouring-down rain or there are going to be a bunch of bugs (and there is an optional Innernet to handle that). This [...]