When I was learning to backpack, I found it helpful when others posted their gear lists. It gave me a reference point for the kinds of things I needed, what I was doing right, and what I could be doing better. That said, there is no “one size fits all” gear list. There are a number of personal factors that go into making a gear list, such as size, weight, fitness level, and need for comfort. It also matters where and when you plan to go backpacking. One must factor in temperature, precipitation, terrain, water availability and natural shelter, among other things.
Updated for 2018!
A Three Season Backpacking Gear List must fit your style
My backpacking style is fairly minimalist and would be considered Ultralight. Lately, I have been carrying just about 10 lbs of equipment. That includes my pack and everything that goes in it. It does not include food, water, or clothing that I wear when I start my hike. I’m not a fan of complicated meals and I usually stick to simple food that doesn’t need cooking or just needs hot water. I’m usually never cold, so I don’t need much in the way of insulation, even on the coolest of summer nights.
- After 4 years of rough use, I had to replace my 2013 Gossamer Gear Gorilla with the 2017 model of the same pack. There are some design features of the 2017 model that I’m not fond of, but I modified it as best I could to get the pack I really wanted. Modifications include cutting off most of the straps, ditching the top cover, and adding side lacing with an over-the-top clip.
- I’ve replaced my worn out Hawk & Co puff with a Patagonia Micro Puff Insulated Jacket. The Micro Puff is insulated with Patagonia’s lightest and most pack-able synthetic fill. This fill is about the equivalent of 800-fill down but has higher moisture resistance.
- I now carry Outdoor Research Foray Jacket and Helium Rain Pants when expecting heavy rain or winds. This gear is particularly more suitable than a poncho when traveling above treeline or in the north country when summer temperatures may dip down to freezing overnight.
- I used to carry my food in an Opsack odor proof bag and a large nylon stuff sack. I now use a single silicone nylon dry bag instead. After some research, I learned that the odor proof bags were not as odor proof as desirable. I also found that the non-waterproof stuff sack was retaining a lot of moisture after hanging in a tree in the rain all night.
- I now carry only 2 x 1 liter Nalgene bottles for daytime water storage. I added a 3 liter Platypus bladder to carry and store extra water for the evening and morning.
- I used to carry a regular headlamp with extra batteries for illumination. Now I mostly carry 2 Petzl e+ Lites and no extra batteries. The e+ Lite is much lighter and I can wear comfortably around my neck though the night and not lose it. When the batteries die, its easier to simply switch to the backup lite than change batteries. The exception to this is when I’m expecting to do any night hiking. The e+ Lite is not really bright enough to walk around a lot.
My 2018 Summer Backpacking Gear List
- Tarptent Notch
- 4 peg stakes
- Enlightened Equipment Revelation X 40 (For colder weather I substitute the 20 degree version of the same quilt.)
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite – Small
- 2 x 1 Liter Nalgene bottles
- 3 Liter Platypus bladder for extra storage
- Aqua Mira Drops
- Snow Peak Gigapower Stove
- Snow Peak Mini-Solo Titanium Cookset (Pot only)
- Sea-to-Summit long handled spoon
- Sea-to-Summit 16 Liter Dry Bag
- 50 Feet of Dynaglide
Clothing – Carried
- Icebreaker Men’s Oasis Long Sleeve Hoodie
- Patagonia Micro-Puff
- Darn Tough Socks
- Campmor/Equinox Ultralight Poncho/Shelter
- Outdoor Research Foray Shell (optional)
- Outdoor Research Helium Pants (optional)
- Patagonia Houdini Windshirt
- Craft Thermal Gloves
- Wool BSA Bennie
Clothing – Worn
- Mountain Hardwear Wicked Lite T-Shirt
- ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer
- Darn Tough Socks
- Kuhl Renegade Jeans
- Outdoor Resarch Vented Cap
- Boots/Shoes vary
- Cascade Mountain Tech Trecking Poles
- Petzl e+Lite x 2
- Homemade fire kit
- Homemade first-aid kit
- Homemade repairs kit
- RUKO 149B Folding Knife
- Simple base-plate compass
- Local trail maps
- Natural Ice Chapstick
- Sun screen in dropper bottle
- Ben’s Deet in dropper bottle
- Toiletry kit
- Purell Hand Sanitizer
- Cotton Bandanna
- Apple iPhone with maps and guides
- 10″ Snow Stake (used as trowel or backup stake)
- Toilet Paper – 1 arm span per day
Also check out my Winter Backpacking Gear List