Our Staff Picks | Best Backpacking Gear of 2023

rei member moment

If you’re looking for the best backpacking gear of 2023, then you’ve come to the right place. On this list, you’ll find the lightest, smartest, and most innovative hiking products on the market. This is what we take to Alaska, Patagonia, Utah, Appalachia, the Sierra, and everywhere in between. It’s what we recommend to our closest friends, and it’s what we recommend to you if you want to improve your gear and your backpacking experience. Depending on the item, we may recommend multiple options, taking into account different environmental needs, personal preferences, and budgets. Happy trails!

Quick Reference List | Best Backpacking Gear 2023

Best All-Around Tents

Best Backpacking Gear Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Zpacks DupleXL Ultralight Tent

Best Backpacking Gear Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2P Backpacking Tent

Read our complete tent guide for more great tents

Best Overall Tent | Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2

When assessing a tent, you must evaluate many factors like weight, volume, livability, materials, stormworthy-ness, and features, and price. The Copper Spur gets high marks from us across the board; it excels in every single category, it’s intelligently designed, and it’s highly livable. It’s a simply excellent overall tent, and without flaw. Great for backpackers of all experience levels. Plus, we love the innovative awning vestibules.

Best Ultralight Tent | ZPacks DupleXL

We believe the DupleXL is the best ultralight tent available for most backpackers.  It offers a highly livable space, stellar performance, and incredible stats. Constructed with DCF and weighing only 21 oz, it’s amazingly sturdy, wind resistant, spacious and easy to pitch. the DupleXL is undoubtedly best-in-class, and a clear upgrade over the original Duplex, increasing space significantly for just a couple of ounces. Truly, this hall of fame tent is among the best backpacking gear money can buy.

Best Value Tent | Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2

The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 uses a single-pole, semi-freestanding design to save massive amounts of weight compared to its freestanding peers, making it one of the lightest traditional tents on the market. Compared to the Copper Spur, it’s 25% lighter, and ~25% less expensive. This is a legitimately excellent backpacking tent for a good price.

Best Stakes | Anygear 7075 Stakes

You can do better than the stakes that came with your tent, and we recommend these Y stakes by Anygear. They are extremely affordable, and the triple notch neck Y shaped chassis offers an excellent blend of strength, stability, and customizable pitching.

Best Footprint / Ground Cloth | Gossamer Gear

With use over time, most tent floors will sustain thousands of micro-punctures and begin to lose their waterproofness, which is why it’s great to use a ground sheet. Or maybe you camp in a floorless shelter. Either way, we recommend Gossamer Gear’s size L Polycryo ground sheet. For only 3.6 oz, it could massively extend the life of your tent. And of course, they add additional defense against wetness and vapor, and at $11, it’s a bargain compared to tent-specific sheets that can cost 10x that and weigh 2-3x as much.

More Great Tents & a Hammock!

Slingfin Portal 2 Person Tent

Best Backpacking Gear Six Moon Design Lunar Duo Outfitter Ultralight Trekking Pole Tarp Tent Shelter

REI Trail Hut 2 Person Backpacking Tent

Read our complete tent guide for more great tents

Most 4-Season Tent | Slingfin Portal 2

The Portal applies serious engineering and design innovations to achieve an elegant, highly storm-worthy, sub 3lb freestanding tent design. This is our preferred dome chassis for extremely windy, snowy, or otherwise “4 season” conditions. We love how light, livable, and smartly-made it is.

Best Budget Ultralight Tent | Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Outfitter Hiker Tent

At only $210 for a 3.5 lb fully enclosed bug-proof tarp tent, the Lunar Duo Outfitter certainly offers the most ultralight bang for your buck. Most tents in this price range weigh almost twice as much, and are definitely smaller. This is a great option for anyone looking to lighten up and support the cottage industry. As budget backpacking gear goes, we’re really impressed by the weight-to-value ratio on this one.

Best Budget Tent | REI Co-op Trail Hut 2

If you’re shopping for the best backpacking gear on a budget and feel overwhelmed, trust the Trail Hut 2 from REI Co-op. There’s nothing fancy or innovative here. It’s an easy-to-set-up-dome structure, and weighs about 5 lbs. Think of it like a slightly heavier Half Dome without the bells and whistles. The “Kabocha Orange” is a nice look, and we appreciate that it includes a footprint. A great first tent!

Best 1-Person | Zpacks Duplex

Since soloist can’t share backpacking gear, minimizing weight is extra important. That’s why we turn to the original Zpacks Duplex over the DupleXL, which we prefer for sleeping two campers. While the Duplex is technical a two person tent, it is practically a palace for one, offering supreme livability and better ventilation than the Zpacks Plex Solo (a true 1p tent) for only four extra ounces. The Duplex is a fully enclosed ultralight trekking pole shelter, yet it is very sturdy and weatherproof. Designed with DCF, it’s also long lasting, and highly resistant to wind-loading and tears.

Best 3 Person Tent | Zpacks Triplex

Given that we also love their 1p and 2p tents, it’s no surprise that the Zpacks Triplex is our also our top pick for best 3p tent. Constructed with DCF, it’s strong and tear resistant, but weighs only 24 oz, a miraculous 8 oz per when thought of as split three ways. Like all 3p tents, it’s a bit on the cozy side for three full-sized adults, but perfect for two and a child or dog, or anyone who wishes to spread out (it’s only 3 ounces heavier than the duplex, and sizing up is a smart comfort hack).

Best Pyramid | MLD DuoMid XL DCF

It might not look like a regular tent, but it certainly outperforms one. The DuoMid XL is significantly lighter, more spacious, and more storm-worthy than any traditional tents. Weighing only 16 oz and offering 65 sq ft, this pyramid tent has the best area-to-weight-ratio we’ve ever seen.

Best Hammock Camping System| Hammock Gear Wanderlust Complete Kit

Here’s excellent lightweight backpacking gear for your pack! This ultralight, bug mesh hammock packaged alongside everything you need to hang it up, and protect it under a tarp. And at only $229, it’s a killer buy. Hammock camping is our preferred strategy when going solo. Add in the Burrow top quilt and underquilt for high quality, great value insulation designed for hammock use.

Best Backpacks

Best Backpacking Gear Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400

Zpacks Arc Haul 60L Challenger Ultra Fabric Ultralight Backpack

Best Backpacking Gear Osprey Eja Women's Backpacking Backpack

Read our complete backpacking backpack guide for more great backpacks

Best Overall Backpack | Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400

This is our favorite backpack, the one we grab most often. Constructed with ultralight, waterproof, and extremely durable Dyneema fabric, the HMG Southwest 3400 delivers the best overall performance among all backpacks currently available. We laud it also for a surprisingly comfortable carry, and massive external pockets. This pack belongs in the hall of fame for best backpacking gear.

Best Ultralight Performance Backpack | Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60L

Lightest of all framed backpacks at only 21 oz, the Arc Haul 60L, with its carbon fiber frame, is a marvel of engineering. This pack is constructed with a new best in class, durable, waterproof fabric called Challenger Ultra. Ounce for ounce, it’s significantly tougher than Dyneema. We love the massive, external pocket and expect to see lots more of these on the trail in the years to come. We believe this is the best performance ultralight backpack on the market right now.

Best Value Backpack | Osprey Exos 58 & Eja 58

A big part of what makes backpacks comfortable is how they carry, how they ventilate, and how cushy they are. Most users find that the men’s Exos and women’s Eja’s frame does an excellent job of transferring weight to the hips, that the mesh materials are soft and don’t chafe, and that the airflow back panel actually reduces sweat. Meanwhile, it’s also large, lightweight, durable, and affordable. A winning combo.

Best Dry Bags | Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dyneema Pods and Dry Bags

Featherweight and extremely durable, these are the best made, best material, and best-shaped in-pack dry storage units around. The pods are great for maximizing pack space, and the roll top dry bags are extremely versatile.

Best Sleeping Bags & Quilts!

Enlightened Equipment Enigma Quilt

Best Backpacking Gear Hammock Gear Burrow Economy 20

Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag 20 degree

Read our complete sleeping bag guide and camp quilt guide for more great options

Best Quilt | Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20

This is the best ultralight backpacking quilt or sleeping bag money can buy. At 19.3 oz, the EE Revelation offers the highest warmth-to-weight ratio on the market, utilizing 950 fill power down, high quality ultralight materials, smart baffling, and an overall flawless ultralight design execution. We strongly recommend this if you want to upgrade your backpacking gear and decrease pack weight.

Best Value Quilt | Hammock Gear Burrow Econ 20

This quilt delivers a premium warmth-to-weight ratio at an entry-level price. It’s an elegantly simple design, weighs only 24 oz, and outperforms all traditional hooded sleeping bags and many costlier quilts. And for under $250, it’s indisputably the best value on the market, bar none.

Best Sleeping Bag | Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag 20

We love this innovative new sleeping bag from Zpacks. Weighing only 20 oz, it blows the competition out of the water in terms of warmth-to-weight ratio. And the full length zipper goes all the way around the toe box to maximize ventilation when needed. This allows the user to convert it into a blanket. Eschewing the hood makes this a sleeping-bag-quilt-hybrid, but the hood is the least effective component anyway, so we don’t miss the deadweight. Another great design from Zpacks!

Best Value Sleeping Bag | REI Magma 15

This is the most affordable top-tier ultralight sleeping bag, and it can often be purchased at mid-tier pricing, that is, under $300. REI’s proprietary Magma line presents an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio using a tried and true design. We also like its lighter-weight cousin, the Magma 30 Quilt.

Best Sleeping Pads & Sit Pads

Best Backpacking Gear Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite

Therm-a-rest Z Lite SOL

Best Backpacking Gear Therm-a-rest Z Seat Pad

Read our complete sleeping pad guide for more great options

Best Sleeping Pad | Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite, Women’s

We believe this is the best blend of high comfort, low weight, long-term durability, and heat reflectivity. Because women sleep colder than men, they’ve upped the R-value (warmth rating) on this model to compensate, which we find preferable to the unisex model. Our only quibble is the crinkly sound it makes when you roll over. Nonetheless, it’s a best backpacking gear hall of fame contender for sure.

Best Value Sleeping Pad | Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol

Popular among thru-hikers for their indestructibility and lie-anywhere comfort, Z Lite Sol is the best and most classic closed cell foam pad on the market. It offers a good R-value, a low weight, and a great value at only $58.

Best Camp Seat | Therm-a-Rest Z Seat

At only one ounce, the foam Z seat offers one of the highest comfort-to-weight ratio of any object you might bring.

Best Shoes for Hiking & Backpacking

Men's Altra Lone Peak 7 Trail Running Shoe

Best Backpacking Gear HOKA Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoe

HOKA Challenger 7 Trail Running Shoe

Read our complete hiking shoe guide for more great options

Best Overall Hiking Shoe| Altra Lone Peak 7

An excellent hiking shoe, renown for its aggressive tread, wide toe box, zero drop, and high comfort. This has been a go-to piece of backpacking gear for many years, and we’ve worn it in Alaska, Patagonia, the Sierra Nevada, the deserts of Utah, and everywhere in between.

Best Off-Trail Hiking Shoe | HOKA Speedgoat

Technical and very sturdy, even on challenging terrain, this nicely cushioned shoe is tough, comfy, cushy, extremely grippy, and has a successful track record among my friends and hiking partners. We highly recommend this shoe to anyone who wants to try something a bit narrower, and more cushy than Altras.

Best On-Trail Hiking Shoe | Hoka Challenger 7

Perfect for grinding out long days on the PCT or hiking up your local peak, the Challenger 7s are very cushy, very comfy, and plenty grippy enough. Because the tread is slightly less aggressive than the Lone Peak and Speedgoats, we expect it will last longer in terms of mileage. A great all-around shoe.

Best Traditional Hiking Shoe | Merrell Moab Ventilator

The lightest, comfiest, most breathable traditional hiking shoe we know of. It’s comfy, it’s timeless, and it very long lasting. While we tend to prefer trail runners most of the time, this is our pick for when you need something burlier to get the job done. They are available in low and high top, as well as waterproof and non-waterproof.

Best Hiking Socks | Smartwool Performance Hike Socks

These socks fit very securely, are virtually seamless, and the merino blend fabric is light, breathable, wicking, and comfortable against the skin. We have yet to find a better sock. To reduce sweat, we prefer options that are lower cut and with minimal cushion.

Best Hiking Gaiters | Dirty Girl

Thru-hikers have voted with their money, and collectively, they’ve chosen Dirty Girl brand gaiters. These are very lightweight, and protect against sand, snow, or other debris entering your footwear.

Best Trekking Poles

Best Backpacking Gear LT5 Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles

Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Trekking Poles

Best Backpacking Gear Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Pole

Read our complete trekking pole guide for more great options

Best Ultralight Trekking Poles | Gossamer Gear LT5 Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles

At under 10 oz per pair, these poles are shockingly light and surprisingly strong. And they are adjustable so work with most trekking pole supported shelters.

Best Value Trekking Poles | Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

Sturdy, lightweight, carbon fiber trekking poles for $45. This deal can’t be beat.

Best 3 Section Collapsing Trekking Poles | Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ

These poles collapse down in a Z formation, and they’re shorter than any telescoping poles when stowed. This comes in handy for travel (they can fit in a day pack), or for more hands-on trips where poles are carried in a pack as frequently as they are used. What’s more, they only weigh about 11 ounces for the pair. Make sure to pick up the adjustable “FLZ” version which is better for setting up trekking pole supported tents.

Best Rainwear

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket Pertex Diamond Fuse Waterproof

Best Backpacking Gear Patagonia TorrentShell 3L Rain Jacket for Hiking

REI Co-op XeroDry GORE-TEX Rain Jacket for Hiking

Read our complete rain jacket guide for more great options

Best Overall Rain Jacket | OR Helium Rain Jacket

The Outdoor Research Helium Rain is our most-recommended rain jacket and the best overall blend of weight, price, and performance on the market. We believe this jacket would serve most hikers the best on most trips, and commend OR on producing such a durable ultralight rain jacket for only $160. This is a seriously great ultralight product at a seriously great price. Topnotch ultralight backpacking gear!

Best Eco-Friendly Rain Jacket | Patagonia Torrentshell 3L

Amazing value for a rugged, 3-layer jacket from a beloved company! This is a durable jacket that comes with Patagonia’s warranty and we love the eco-friendly, sustainable build. It’s constructed with recycled materials, and is bluesign® and Fair Trade certified. We’re glad to see the pit zips. And most importantly of all, it keeps you dry in the backcountry.

Best Value Rain Jacket | REI XeroDry GTX Jacket

It’s hard to argue with a fully featured Gore-Tex rain jacket for under $200, which is why we nominate the REI Co-op XeroDry for our best value award. It’s a simple and highly functional design for a lightweight hard shell. At 12oz, it’s not the lightest option, but it’s definitely the one we’d choose in a downpour. And it’s available in men’s tall and women’s plus sizes.

Best Budget Rain Jacket | REI Rainier Jacket

A fully featured rain jacket from a trustworthy source for under $100 — many times on sale for far less. It’s nothing fancy, but has the right features and gets the job done. This jacket will keep you dry and happy.

Best Lightweight Rain Pants | Outdoor Research Helium Rain Pants

Waterproof, durable, and ultralight for the low price of $120. We love the Helium Rain Pants, nothing else on the market comes close in term of bang for your buck. And they’re impressively tough for how lightweight they are.

Best Puffy Wear

Best Backpacking Gear Zpacks Goose Down Jacket 950 fill power ultralight

REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0 for hiking

Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover Synthetic Insulation

Read our complete down jacket & pants guide for more great options

Best Performance | Zpacks Goose Down Jacket

3.4 oz of 950 fill power down in a 6.8 oz jacket makes for one incredible warmth-to-weight ratio in an ultralight puffy. Half its weight is plumage! And what’s more, they didn’t skimp on pockets or features. The new Zpacks Goose Down jacket is about as high performance as it gets and is our new go-to down jacket for 3 season hiking. This one definitely hits the mark and is certainly thru-hiker approved.

Best Value | REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0

It’s pretty amazing to be able to buy a legit, lightweight, responsibly sourced, down jacket made with recycled fabric for just $100. The basic Co-op down jacket is one of the best value propositions in this article, and we’re thrilled to recommend it here. What a great buy!

Best Synthetic | Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover/Jacket

No synthetic jacket comes closer to down in performance than the Enlightened Equipment Torrid. By combining high tech ultralight fabrics with a high warmth to weight, water resistant synthetic loft, Enlightened Equipment has delivered the best synthetic warmth-to-weight ratio on the market. Plus, it comes in a pullover model with kangaroo pocket, our favorite chassis.

Best Insulated Pants | Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pants

Insulated pants are more susceptible than jackets to rips, tears, and getting wet, which is why we think the Torrid Apex synthetic insulated pants are the best ultralight option for keeping your legs warm. And at only 5.4 ounces, they’re hardly heavier than down and far superior to fleece.

Best Fleece

Best Backpacking Gear Patagonia R1 fleece pullover

The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece pullover

Best Backpacking Gear Patagonia R2 TechFace Fleece Hoody

Best Performance | Patagonia R1 Fleece

Famously stretchy, breathable, and beloved across all outdoor sports, Patagonia’s R1 Fleece offers something for everyone. From hiking to mountaineering, this fleece has traveled the world and been proven time and time again. It’s a particularly great option for when you plan to wear a mid-layer all day long on the move.

Best Value | North Face TKA

Old fashioned fuzzy fleece actual delivers a high warmth-to-weight ratio performance. While it’s marked as a budget pick, and it certainly isn’t anything fancy, TNF’s TKA fleece line is a great product with great stats at a low price. Highly recommend!

Best Weather Resistance | Patagonia R2 TechFace

If you need a fleece with a bit more weather resistance, we recommend the R2 TechFace fleece. It pulls inspiration from Patagonia’s main R1, but adds in a more tightly knit flat face exterior that blocks wind and resists light precipitation while still maintaining excellent breathability. We recommend it for high exertion activities in very cold climates. Winter hiking, mountaineering, and cross country skiing are all great use cases.

Best Shirts

Outdoor Research Echo Sun Hoodie UPF15+

Best Backpacking Gear Ex Officio Bugsaway Tiburon Long Sleeve Button Up InsectShield Shirt

Smartwool Merino Wool Quarter Zip

Best Sun Hoody | Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie

For most three season hiking, we recommend OR’s amazing Echo Sun Hoody. Incredibly light, breathable, airy, quick drying, moisture wicking, and rated to UPF 15, this shirt does it all. Pack a sun hoody and you’ll find that you use less sunscreen and get less sun burns. We’ve worn this shirt around the world and are always impressed with its performance.

Best Bug Shirt | ExOfficio BugsAway Long Sleeve Button Up Shirts

In late spring and early summer, when mosquitos and ticks thrive, we prefer to wear a long-sleeved button up bug shirt treated with InsectShield permethrin. Traditional sun shirt fabric is too thin and stretchy and bugs can bite through, hence the more traditional looking button up. We’ve taken this shirt, and similar options, to Alaska and the Sierra with great success.

Best Cool Weather Base Layer | Smartwool Merino Quarter-Zip

For fall, winter, and early spring, we recommend merino wool base layers from Smartwool. This fabric keep you just warm enough in chilly conditions and just cool enough when it starts to warm up. It smells better than synthetics, and the zipper venting further widens its comfort range. If you tend to run cold, opt for their thermal mid-weight. If you run hot, choose an all-season or sport lightweight option.

Best Pants

Best Backpacking Gear Eddie Buaer Guide Pro Hiking Pants

REI Sahara Convertible Hiking Pants

Best Backpacking Gear Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts

Read our complete hiking pants guide for women and hiking pants guide for men for more great options

Best Hiking Pants | Eddie Bauer Guide Pro

Style meets high performance and comfort in this great looking, reasonably priced pair of hiking pants. We appreciate them for the their two way stretch comfort, durability, and elegant look. What’s more, they have nice pockets and the DWR treatment resists light precipitation.

Best Convertible Hiking Pants | REI Co-op Sahara Pants

A great pair of convertible pants, and now with a dash of spandex to make big steps easier. They wick, they breath, and they dry very quickly. These are a great pair of pants for summer in the mountains or desert.

Best Hiking Shorts | Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts

What makes a perfect pair of shorts is relatively subjective. But we like the Outdoor Research Ferrosi for its stretchy, breathable, and durable fabric. It’s available in a multiple inseam lengths (and the pants are great too).

Best Electronics

Nitecore nu25 360 lumen triple output headlamp for camping

Best Backpacking Gear Anker Powercore II 10000

Zoleo satellite communicator SOS device

Read our complete hiking electronics guide for more great options

Best Headlamp | Nitecore NU25 360 Lumen HeadLamp

We hate disposable batteries and love rechargeable electronics, especially given how frequently we pack a USB charger. This ultralight headlamp is a favorite with ultra runners, and at 1.9 oz, it’s no surprise as to why. The Nitecore is super easy to operate with only a few modes (including a button lock), and it’s actually pretty bright when you turn it up to full. Charge it every few nights and you’re good to go.

Best Charger | Anker Powercore II 10000

Weighing just 6.9 oz, this powerhouse, rechargeable USB battery can charge most phones multiple times — great for use on trips longer than three days. And unlike many “smart” batteries it will detect & charge low drain devices like a fitbit or smart watches.

Best Satellite Communication Device | Zoleo Satellite Communicator

Staying safe in the backcountry has never been so small and light. The Zoleo Satellite communicator allows two-way text messaging (by bluetoothing to your phone) with a dedicated SMS number and easy SOS pings from anywhere, no service necessary. An indispensable comms unit that’s half the price of the inReach system. And it’s easier to use. We consider this to be an essential piece of backpacking gear for every single trip, and we believe everyone else should too.

Best GPS | Gaia GPS App

Available on iPhone or Android, Gaia GPS offers a Google Maps-like experience but pinpoints you on topo maps. No cell service or LTE required, so long as you download the maps in advance. Much more affordable and user-friendly than dedicated GPS units. Gaia is our primary navigation tool, and makes dedicated GPS devices into an obsolete piece of backpacking gear.

Best Basic Watch | Timex Expedition Scout

When it comes down to it, a basic weather resistant watch is pretty much all you need. This one is made well and sold at a good price. We prefer to rely on our iPhone for most tracking, navigation, and GPS, which means a simple watch is a-okay. And as backpacking gear goes, it’s got a tasteful look.

Best Smart Watch | COROS APEX 2 Pro Smartwatch

Designed specifically for endurance athletes, this watch delivers an astounding battery life — 110 to 140 hrs of GPS tracking GPS in UltraMax mode. And a impressive 30 days of regular use or 75 hrs. of full-on GPS tracking. And of course, it includes all of the fancy tracking options like altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, thermometer, pulse oximeter, heart rate, etc. Compared to the original, the version two improves battery life, GPS accuracy, touch screen navigation, and is generally an all-around upgrade.

Best Backpacking Stoves

Best Backpacking Gear Jetboil Stash Stove System

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Stove System

Best Backpacking Gear MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Ultralight Backpacking Stove

Best Stove | Jetboil Stash

At only 7 oz for the entire system, the Stash is the lightest Jetboil-style integrated stove on the market. And amazingly, it retains the famed Jetboil heat efficiency and fuel economy, and resists wind better than similar options in its weight class. We love how well it holds a pot, how quickly it boils water, and how it nests a fuel canister inside the pot, and just how astoundingly light. The Jetboil Stash is some of the very best backpacking gear on the market.

Best Alcohol Stove | Trail Designs Caldera

Weighs only 5.5 oz, yet very safe and superbly wind resistant, the high efficiency Caldera is an obvious choice for the best alcohol stove. The cone protects from breezes while creating a very stable and heat-efficient system with the best fuel economy among all alcohol stoves. Yet it still weighs less than all conventional isobutane stoves.

Best Value Stove | MSR Pocket Rocket 2

The simplest and most classic backpacking stove of all time is lighter, smaller, and more efficient than ever. The old faithful Pocket Rocket weighs less than three ounces and might just last you a lifetime of backcountry service. You cannot go wrong with this stove.

Best Camp Cookware

TOAKS 750ML Titanium Pot

Snow Peaks Titanium Single Walled Backpacking Mug 450ml

TOAKS Titanium Long Handle Spoon with Polished Bowl

Best Pot | TOAKS Titanium Pots

These pots are no-nonsense, and constructed with durable, ultralight titanium with prices ranging from $30-50. Soloist might opt for a pot as small as 650ml, while group chefs might prefer the 1100ml option.

Best Mug | Snow Peak Titanium Single Wall Cup 450

Ultralight and ultra durable, titanium mugs are a tried and true piece of backpacking gear. This one weighs a scant 2.4 oz and has been facilitating coffee succesfully for many years.

Best Spoon | TOAKS Titanium Long Handled Spoon

Strong, lightweight, and long enough to dip into the deepest of freeze-dried meal bags.

Best Coffee | Hario V60 01 Plastic Dripper + V60 Paper Coffee Filters 01

This 2.2 oz marvel is the coffee dripper that Tetsu Kaysuya used to win the 2016 World Brewers Cup Championship. Pour over is a huge upgrade over Starbucks Via.

Best Hydration

Best Backpacking Gear Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration and Purification System

Smartwater Bottle 1L Ultralight

Best Backpacking Gear Aquamire Water Treatment

Best Water Purification | Sawyer Squeeze System

Faster and more efficient than pumping or chemical treatments, the Sawyer Squeeze system offers on-the-go hydration at a good flow. This product is long-lasting, affordable, reliable, and very user-friendly. We also like the sawyer water bags for compressibility and how the filter can attach to Smart Water bottles for easier drinking. While the flow is slightly slower than squeeze bladder options like Katadyn’s BeFree, we find the Sawyer Squeeze lasts longer and the bags or bottles you can attach it to are significantly more durable than Katadyn’s bladders, making the entire system more reliable. When it comes to backpacking gear, if thru-hikers use it, you know it’s reliable.

Best Water Bottle | Smartwater 1L

Ditch that heavy Nalgene for a significantly lighter Smartwater bottle. This iconic bottle is incredibly durable and long lasting, and it fits a Sawyer Squeeze filter. And because they’re taller and skinnier than Nalgenes, they slide in and out of side pockets more easily. This is a thru-hiker favorite and not just a single-use piece of plastic. Each bottle can last for over a year of hiking. The 1L size is our go-to, but you might prefer the 20oz bottle for stashing in a shoulder holster.

Best Water Purifier | Aquamira Water Treatment

Time-tested, as the best overall way to chemically treat water when most filters will not remove viruses or cryptosporidium. For general use, we prefer filters, but this is your best option when that’s not enough. We appreciate that it does not taint the taste of the water like iodine.

Best Bear-Proof Storage

Ursack Major Bear Sack 10L

Best Backpacking Gear Bear Vault BV500 Canister

Loksak Opsak Odor-proof barrier bag

Best Bear Bag | Ursack Major

Unless a canister is required, we always prefer the bear-resistant Ursack Major bear bag, made of kevlar. It’s lightweight, comfy to carry, and actually protects your food. We recommend pairing it with the Loksak Opsac bag as a smell-proof, waterproof, liner system. As a backpacking gear upgrade over a bear canister, the Ursack is one of your best weight savings opportunities. The 10L version will cover most trips, but if you’re a backcountry gourmet or packing for an expedition, the 15L XL is probably a better option.

Best Bear Canister | Bearvault BV500

When regulations strictly require bear canisters, we prefer the Bearvault BV500, or its smaller cousin the BV450 for 2-3 day trips. These canisters offer the best blend of volume-to-weight, durability, and price.

Best Bear Bag Liner | Loksak Opsak Odor-Proof Barrier Bags 12×20”

Nesting perfectly in an Ursack Major Bear Bag, this giant, ultra-heavy-duty Ziploc bag will keep your food dry when it rains, and prevent smells from escaping when properly closed. A necessary pairing to fully protect your food from the elements and the critters.

Best Accessories

Best Backpacking Gear Gerber LST Ultralight Knife

Suunto M-3D Leader Compass

Best Backpacking Gear TentLab Deuce #2 Trowel

Best Knife | Gerber LST Ultralight Knife

With an impeccably sharp 2” blade and weighing a scant 1.2 oz, this Gerber Knife is great for backcountry food prep and all general-purpose cutting and backpacking gear repair.

Best Compass | Suunto M-3D

A classic piece of backpacking gear, The Suunto M-3D is a simple and durable lightweight compass with all of the essential features including declination adjustment. Great to carry along with paper maps as a backup to GPS. Make sure to practice navigating by compass so you know what to do in a pinch.

Best Trowel | TheTentLab The Deuce #2

This is the sturdiest sub one ounce trowel we know of. And at $20, it’s also a great buy.

Best Bug Head Net | Sea To Summit Mosquito Head Net

Weighing only one oz and totally mosquito-proof, you barely notice this comfy, high visibility bug net. The InsectShield treated version is preferable. During bug season, a mosquito net might be one of your single most important pieces of backpacking gear.

Best Gloves

Showa Atlas Temres 282 japanese fisherman gloves

Best Backpacking Gear outdoor research versaliner fleece liner glove with shell system

Glacier Glove Islamorada Fingerless Sun Gloves

Best Cold Rain Gloves | Showa TEMRES 282

As bizarre and out of place in the backcountry as rubber-like fisherman’s gloves might look, the Showa Temres are simply warmer, and more reliably waterproof than the competition. We prefer these gloves to other options for cold rain, sleet, and wet snow. They’re shockingly waterproof, warm, and just breathable enough. The fit is a bit funky, and we recommend sizing up.

Best Fleece Gloves | Outdoor Research Versaliner Sensor

Here’s a fleece liner style glove with a highly water resistant pullout overglove to use in wind and rain. A nice little 2-for-1 combo.

Best Sun Gloves | Glacier Glove Islamorada Fingerless

In the very harsh sun, gloves can be preferable to constantly reapplying sunscreen. These are our pick for the best overall option thanks to the comfy, breathable, durable fabric, and accommodating price.

Best Hats

Best Backpacking Gear Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap

REI Co-op Sahara Path Sun Hat

Best Backpacking Gear REI Co-op lightweight Beanie

Best Sun Cap | Outdoor Research Sun Runner

A great option for any hiker who prefers caps and neck capes to 360 brims. Caps with neck capes outperform full brim hats in strong wind, and protect your neck better in angled, late afternoon sunlight. The Sun Runner’s neck cape is modular and can be removed. The cap and cape are breathable, wicking, quick drying, and rated to UPF50. As wearable backpacking gear goes, this one is definitely more function than fashion.

Best Sun Hat | REI Co-op Sahara Path Hat

Based on the popular Tilley sun hats, REI’s Sahara Path Hat offers even more ventilation and at half the price . This safari hat looks great and is rated to UPF 50. The brim is stiff enough to hold its shape and floats in water. The hat is quick drying and wicks sweat off of your brow. A great buy for $50.

Best Beanie | REI Co-op Lightweight Beanie

A beanie’s a beanie. Get one with a cuff to double ear warmth, or unfurl for max coverage. REI’s beanie look elegant and performs great. Rep the Co-op with pride.

Best Balaclava | Outdoor Research Option Balaclava

If you really want to keep your head warm, don’t skimp on neck coverage For spring, fall, and winter hiking, we prefer balaclavas, like the OR Option Balaclava, because the neck coverage combines with the head coverage to offer a better overall warmth to weight ratio, and a more protective garment.


This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. I do not receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed. For product reviews: unless otherwise noted, products are purchased with my own funds. I am never under an obligation to write a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.