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Consider this the general master packing list for going on a backpacking trip.
This is everything I packed for an 800 mile walk across Nepal’s Himalaya range.
Do you need a gift for the hiker in your life but have no idea what to get them? Here’s a list of gear that won’t disappoint, ranging from $20 to $300.
Here is my all time favorite gear for hiking and travel. I have extensively tested all of this gear, and am only recommending the best stuff. If it’s on this list, it’s something I like so much that I would buy it again.
Granite Gear Crown 60-
This ultralight pack has traveled with me along the Appalachian Trail and to Nepal. This is my go-to pack for the majority of the hikes I do. I like the simplistic design and the roll top.
Granite Gear Nimbus Trace 85-
I used the Nimbus Trace when I worked as a wilderness guide because I needed something that could swallow up all the extra gear I was carrying. It also makes a great travel pack because the front zips open, and it’s waterproof. I think this pack would also function well for family outings where you have to carry gear for your kids or dogs.
KAVU Rope Sling Bag-
The Kavu bag is awesome to take traveling. The practical uses are endless. I can carry my laptop in it for work sessions at the coffee shop. It fits all of the beach day essentials and everything I need for the climbing gym or a day hike. It is also a pretty good looking and stylish bag, and I like having it as an outfit staple.
Hennessy Hammock Hyperlight Asym Zip-
Oh boy, am I a fan of backpacking with hammocks. This hammock is my go-to when I’m hiking in regions that have trees and it’s not wintertime. It’s so comfortable I sleep like a baby.
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2-
I used this two-person tent on the Great Himalaya Trail. It’s perfect for when you have a hiking partner and you want to stay ultralight while still having personal space. The Copper Spur 2 Platinum
is the updated and lighter version.
Sleeping Bags and Sleeping Pads
Feathered Friends Egret Nano 20-
This is the sleeping bag I used on the Great Himalaya Trail, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s so warm and compact. If you have a boo thing who also has a Feathered Friends bag, they can be zipped together to stay extra warm. I’ll be using this sleeping bag for many years to come.
Therm-a-Rest ZLite Sol Sleeping Pad
– The only sleeping pad that has never disappointed me. This is a foam pad that pairs great with the Hennessy Hammock (above) and is a solid addition to an ultralight set up. It’s also affordable and lasts for years.
Therm-a-Rest ProLite Sleeping Pad-
There are certainly lighter and thicker inflatable sleeping pads out there. I’ve owned more comfortable ones as well. However, the ProLite is the only inflatable sleeping pad I’ve ever owned that has not malfunctioned or popped holes from reasonable use. It’s the Old Faithful of sleeping pads.
MSR Pocket Rocket Stove-
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I have been recommending this stove over and over again for years. I am literally still using the same Pocket Rocket stove that I bought seven years ago. This thing lasts forever.
Petzl Zipka Headlamp-
This is a cool little headlamp. It’s tiny and weighs almost nothing, but it’s still powerful enough to use for night hiking.
Steripen Adventurer Water Purifier-
The Steripen uses ultra-violet light to sterilize your drinking water. I’m a fan of this product for longer trips because I don’t like the alternative of drinking iodine or chlorine treated water for weeks or months on end.
Sea to Summit Dry Bags-
I usually backpack with three dry bags. One is a clothes bag, another for my food bag, and a small one for toiletries and other miscellaneous objects.
LifeProof iPhone Case-
My phone would be destroyed if I didn’t have a good case for it. After unintentionally killing two different phones in the wilderness, I decided it was worth it to invest in a better case. I haven’t ruined a phone since I bought a LifeProof case.
Amazon Kindle E-Reader 6″-
I consider myself a voracious reader, so having a book to read in my hammock at night is critical. Books are heavy though, and I don’t like using the Kindle app on my phone because it drains my battery quickly. Usually the Kindle stays charged long enough to read an entire book.
Lucy Get Going Pants-
These are by far the best active wear pants I’ve owned. They are loose fitting yoga pants, so they’re super stretchy and comfortable. The pockets are big enough to hold my phone and whatever else. They are available in plus sizes
. The sizes run big, so maybe order one size smaller than usual. They are also a little long, so consider getting a short length instead of regular length.
Smartwool Mid 250 Zip Long Sleeve-
These long sleeve shirts are so soft, cozy, and comfortable. I don’t go on any overnight trips without packing a Smartwool shirt.
Nike Power Legend Tights-
I love bringing a pair of Nike tights when I’m backpacking and traveling. Spandex doesn’t necessarily have the best warmth-to-weight ratio, but I think it’s worth having a pair. For one, they are not see through, so I can actually wear them as pants and not just as a base layer. And second, when I’m traveling I inevitably want to do some sort of physical activity, so I need a workout outfit.
Darn Tough Socks-
After years of extensively trying different brands of hiking socks, I can confidently say that I find Darn Tough socks to be the most durable and comfortable. Plus, they have a lifetime guarantee, so if you do wear holes in them you can get a free replacement pair.
Merino Wool Buff-
I usually skip the beanie hat and go for a Buff because they are so versatile. I can roll it over a few times to keep my ears extra warm. It stretches over a ball cap, so I can stay protected from the sun. If I get too hot I wrap it around my wrist, so I don’t have to stop and put it away. On chilly nights, I wear it as a face mask to keep my nose warm.
Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket-
I needed a rain jacket replacement when I was hiking the Great Himalaya Trail, so I picked this jacket up in Kathmandu. The hood stays on when it’s super windy, and the fit looks flattering.
Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket-
This is another rain jacket that I like. The biggest benefit of this jacket is how lightweight it is; just over six ounces.
Sierra Designs DriDown Hoodie-
The awesome thing about this jacket is that it’s comparable in weight to the lightest down jackets on the market, but the price tag is much lower.
Salomon X-Mission Trail Runners-
I have owned a few pairs of Salomon Mission shoes over the years. Every model they come out with is just as reliable as the last, and I can typically get at least 500 miles out of a pair.
Altra Lone Peak Trail Runners-
Altra definitely makes a unique shoe. The soles are extra cushy and comfortable, and the toe box is so wide you don’t have to worry about blisters.
I’ll never buy a different brand of insoles ever again. Sole’s insoles mold to your exact foot shape. Plus, they have awesome arch support.