Be prepared with our guide to all the gear you’ll need for the perfect backpacking trip
Lauren Ladoceour and Jessica Mordo
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The ’s simple frame is strong enough to carry up to 30 pounds, and the padded shoulder and waist straps make even a long trek comfortable.
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The literally lights up at night, thanks to LED bulbs, and still manages to come in under nine pounds, all in.
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As comfy as your bed at home, this keeps you extra toasty with a fill that's a down and synthetic blend, and its lightness won't weigh down your pack on the trail.
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This compresses well yet expands to a comfortable thickness to ensure a good night’s rest. The pad’s lightweight foam makes it a cinch to carry around in your pack.
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No potable water in sight means seeking out creeks and lakes to stay hydrated. But before you take a sip, run the H20 through this super convenient that lets you drink directly from the filter, which you can attach to most threaded water bottles.
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There’s a reason why the is a classic: It easily slides into full backpacks and makes for easy access to H20.
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At night, you’ll want a , with its bright and fully dimmable beam and long-lasting battery. Bonus: There’s a lock on the button so it doesn’t turn on at the bottom of your bag while you're day-hiking.
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Map & compass
Never get lost with a , a basic wilderness survival aid. We recommend packing a paper map for the park or forest you’re exploring, as digital GPS isn’t always reliable off the grid.
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The makes it possible to be prepared for any cuts and scrapes without weighing you down.
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Matches or lighter
Light your campfire kindling or your cooking stove with one of these necessities.
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Oh-so-light yet oh-so-useful, this ’s wooden handle gives it some serious style, too. You won’t know how you backpacked without one.
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This with a collapsible stovetop saves space and weight in your pack. It works with any type of fuel, and the included windscreen is super handy.
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Designed for two people, this has a pot and scraper, pan, bowls, insulated mugs, potholder, and lids, and everything neatly nests inside the pot, which saves space in your pack.
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This titanium barely weighs anything, yet its sturdiness will serve you well in the backcountry.
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This lightweight, versatile is perfect for all your meals, from scooping up soup to cutting soft foods with its edge.
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Cook in it, freeze in it, store in it, reheat in it—this versatile is a backpacker’s best friend. The platinum silicone material is totally safe, too.
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If you’re backpacking in the woods, you’ll most likely need a light for storing food, toiletries, and anything else that smells. Just be sure to keep it away from your tent, and pin it up against something heavy like logs.
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The super-versatile staple serves as a sweat-absorbing headband, dish rag, sun shade in your tent, a bindle-style daypack, and much more.
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With t's UPF 50 sun protection and moisture-wicking fabric, your head will stay cool and happy.
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will keep your feet warm, dry, and well padded on the trail.
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Hiking shoes or boots
These provide the ultimate combo for your backcountry adventure: waterproof protection and strong traction on wet surfaces.
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You’ll want long underwear, hiking pants, a base layer like a workout shirt, a waterproof windbreaker or shell, and a warm yet lightweight puffy jacket. Opt for synthetic or wool fabrics always.
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We know, we know…packing sunscreen for an outdoor adventure is second nature by now. Be sure to choose a product with broad spectrum SPF 30 protection.
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Seek out a product with SPF protection. Not only does it keep your lips hydrated, but also it shields your lips from harmful UV rays.