Wednesday December 21, 2016
Wilderness backpacking is a lifelong skill and takes practice - and over the years getting out in nature has taught me many things. There is nothing like a long hillclimb with a heavy pack to teach you humility, and what gear you actually need! More so, it’s a healthy habit and its popularity is growing quickly. Not much is required to buy-in and once you do, it opens up more adventures than one can fit into a lifetime.
I could go on for far too long about what gear you could/should buy, but the basis of every backpackers ruck should be somewhat the same. The following is my list of the top ten essentials to get into backpacking, and my recommendations for your gear list. Keep in mind every person is different and there are countless ways to get the job done - but if you start here, you’ll at least have your bases covered.
So find a backpack, gear up, get going, and get outside!
Ten Backpacking Gear Hacks
- Bring a handkerchief - use it as a neck gator, emergency water filter, washcloth, do-rag, breathing mask or for first aid as a tourniquet, sling, or sun protection.
- Keep a few feet of duct tape wrapped around your water bottle, lighter, or trekking pole. Use it...well, for anything really.
- Individually wrap electronics or water-sensitive gear in zip-tight plastic sandwich bags.
- On colder nights, fill your water bottle with hot water and keep it by your feet, inside your sleeping bag.
- Waterproof your backpack by lining it with a trash compactor or garbage bag.
- Keep a clean and dry pair of socks separate from your hiking socks for camp and sleeping.
- Use your clothing stuff sack as a pillow to save the weight of bringing one.
- To cut weight for shorter hikes, pack fresh food that doesn’t require cooking and leave your stove at home.
- Use hand-sanitizer or toilet tissue as emergency fire-starter.
- Cut expenses and weight by dehydrating and packaging your own food and prepared meals.
Top Ten Backpacking Essentials
- The Backpack
- Shelter (Tent, Bivy, Hammock shelter, or tarp)
- Proper Clothing (Non-Cotton Base Layers, Insulation, Rain Shell)
- Footwear (Non-cotton socks and mid-height hiking shoe/boot)
- Sleeping System (Bag and Pad)
- Pocket Knife
- Stove & Fuel
- Water Filter/Bottle
- Good Food
1. Backpack - Fjällräven Kajka Pack - Simple, adjustable, and robust trekking backpack with possibly the smallest carbon footprint on the market. Built with Fjällräven’s eco-friendly G-1000 fabric and wooden frame - it’s comfortable, durable, and green.
2. Shelter - MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2p. This lightweight and freestanding tent has gotten me through numerous expeditions. Weighing in at only 3 lb. 7 oz. it offers loads of comfort (i.e. wind blocking and water resistance) and space in a compact package.
3. Proper Clothing (Non-Cotton Base Layers, Insulation, and a Gore-Tex Rain Shell). I’m recommending gear from this years Patagonia line. Their business transparency, and environmental and social responsibility make them a business worth sharing.
- Base Layers - Patagonia Merino Air top/Bottom
- Insulation - Patagonia Sol Patrol Shirt, Quandary Pant, Nano-Air Jacket
- Shell - Patagonia Triolet Jacket
- Socks - Wigwam Ultimate Liner layered under Wigwam Pacific Crest Pro
- Shoes/Boots - Garmont 9.81 Trail Pro II Mid GTX
5. Sleeping System
- Sleeping Pad - Sea To Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat
- Sleeping Bag - Sea To Summit Trek TK Sleeping Bag
6. Pocket Knife - Swiss Army Ranger Grip 61
7. Stove & Fuel - MSR Reactor Stove System
8. Headlamp - Black Diamond Revolt
9. Water Filter/Bottle
- Filter - Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System
- Bottle - Klean Kanteen Reflect Steel Bottle with Bamboo Lid
Stay tuned next week for Michaels tips on planning your next adventure!