Before you take off and venture into the wild, you need to gear up with the ultimate backpacking essentials. Whether you’re making your way up to the mountains for an adventurous hike or just camping out with your buddies, keeping yourself fully equipped for the trip can save you from a lot of hassle.
You’ve probably written down a few items to bring, but have you got everything you need? If you think you’re missing something, you should tick off the following backpacking essentials on your checklist!
Backpacking Equipment Checklist
- Backpacking tent
When the cold breeze hits or the afternoon sun starts to burn your skin, you definitely need a place to take refuge in. Putting up a tent is one of the best ways to do so. Your tent keeps you essentially protected from the different elements in the environment or when the weather or temperature fluctuates every now and then. That’s why many backpackers always make sure to include tents in their backpacking essentials.
However, there are significant factors to take note of when choosing a backpacking tent. Your tent should be lightweight, portable, durable and easy to set up. You may come across a wide selection for 3-season and 4-season tents, but if you want to keep it as light as possible, opt for 3-season tents.
They are generally designed to shelter you from the wind and rain and during summer, fall and spring. These tents are designed for two persons, moreover, are more economical in terms of price and size and usually weigh around 2 to 5 pounds.
There are three important things to consider when choosing a backpack for your trip: how much load you’re planning to bring, how long your trip will take and how large or bulky your gear will be. Taking all these notes in mind will help you determine which backpack can keep up with your adventures. Focus on the capacity or volume, weight and comfort.
Before you decide on your purchase, you may try out a few backpacks from someone you know and put it on for comfort and fit. It may also serve as your basis for comparison on which type of backpack you should go for. Fill the pack with the essentials and try it out on a long hike. For your ultimate backpack, invest in a comfortable design. Some have padded straps for added comfort and multiple compartments for neat organization. You may also consider those backpacks with a 60 to the 70-liter range for optimum volume.
While the features can help you evaluate how the backpack performs, the overall convenience also depends on how much load or the type of item and gear you plan to carry.
3. Sleeping bag and pad
There’s probably nothing better than a good night’s sleep, especially after a long and tiring hike. And to survive the cold night, a sleeping bag and a pad are a must-have. For sleeping bags, consider the temperature rating, the weight and insulation. You can make your options between synthetic fill and down fill, whereas the latter is usually durable, lightweight, easy to compress and works great on dry and cold conditions. Synthetic builds, however, tend to be more affordable and excel in damp climates.
When it comes to sleeping pads, you’ve got three options: air pads, self-inflating and closed-cell foam pads. Generally, air pads are ideal for backpacking as they are incredibly lightweight, compact, easy to pack and you can adjust the firmness according to your preferred comfort level. But they also tend to be a bit pricier. Considering the weight, comfort, insulation and durability, self-inflating pads would also be a good option. However, they are a lot heavier and more expensive.
4. Backpacking stove
Another way to fuel up your long and tiring hike is with good and warm food. Whether you’re prepping for lunch or dinner, a backpacking stove can come in pretty handy. You should consider the weight, ease of use and stove type. For a lightweight and small stove, you can opt for canister-type stoves.
They are easy to use and also light up in seconds. With the built-in pressure regulator, they can deliver steady heat output. Also, you won’t have to worry about leaks and spills. However, it may produce low flame and can even depressurize during the cold weather.
If you’re worried about uneven grounds or high elevations, liquid fuel stoves are your best bet. They also perform very well during the below-freezing temperatures. And if you need to monitor how much fuel you’ve used, this stove type allows you to do so. However, they are prone to spills and leaks and may take time to light up. They also need priming.
The light output or lumens and battery life are the focal features that can make or break your headlamp. You may also look into the details of beam distance and brightness levels to make sure you get all the ample lighting, whether you’re hiking in the dark or just strolling around at night. Typically designed with LED bulbs, headlamps provide energy-efficient luminous light to help you out in the dark.
6. Water bottle and kitchen supplies
It is important to keep yourself hydrated at all times. With careful consideration of the material, capacity and style, you can get yourself a handy water bottle to quench your thirst throughout the trail. You can choose among BPA-free plastic or stainless steel water bottles that are available from expensive to affordable price range. Both types offer durability and impact resistance, but BPA-free plastic bottles are usually much lighter than stainless steel.
You probably won’t have to feast on extravagant meals during your trip. Skip on heavy and fragile kitchen supplies and go for lightweight and handy kitchen items such as pots, pans, cups, plates, utensils and other supplies that you really need for cooking and eating. You may also bring soap and towels for cleaning.
7. First aid kit
Packing up a first aid kit is always a great idea. It is best to be ready when unexpected situations happen, like accidents or injuries. Band-aids or bandages, medications, safety pins and ointments are some of the items you can include in your first-aid kit. They won’t take so much space in your backpack and you can add more depending on what you really need.
You can make the most out of your outdoor adventures if you always gear yourself up with the best backpacking essentials. And if you take note of the equipment checklist as mentioned above, you can wrap up your trip with a whole lot of fun!
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