What are Some Types of Backpacking Gear?

Ken Black

Backpacking can be one of the most enjoyable natural experiences that a person can have. However, going on such a trip takes a lot of planning and equipment. Choosing the right backpacking gear can be the difference between great trip, or a miserable one. Before choosing the right backpacking gear, determining what the weather will be like and the length of the trip is important in order to make good decisions.

Hiking boots.
Hiking boots.

In most cases, a good professional backpack is a bare minimum for a good trip. Some backpacks may come fully equipped with nearly everything you will need. However, instead of choosing these all-inclusive backpacks, choosing your own backpacking gear is better, especially for those who are experienced enough to know what they need or those who will be in certain types of conditions regularly. Certain conditions may require equipment that is not included in a package or may mean some equipment included is useless and thus a waste of resources.

A hiking backpack.
A hiking backpack.

Backpacking gear will likely include some camping gear. Be sure to bring a light, but reliable, tent that is capable of being set up relatively easily. In most cases, bringing some additional tent stakes is also recommended just in case some get bent or damaged beyond use. A good sleeping bag, rated for the kinds of temperatures in the area will the hiker will be going, is also essential.

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The packing list for a day or even overnight hike can be relatively short, depending on the weather and the length of the walk.
The packing list for a day or even overnight hike can be relatively short, depending on the weather and the length of the walk.

Also, basic materials needed for eating and drinking may be included in backpacking gear. This includes some basic utensils such as a fork, spoon and knife. Some may choose standard water bottles for hydration. Others may prefer a CamelBak®. These packs have water bladders, some of which fit inside a custom backpack, but others which can be used inside a hiking backpack. The CamelBak® system has a water tube that extends to the user's face for easy and instant access when it is needed.

A small day pack may be large enough to carry supplies for one or two day.
A small day pack may be large enough to carry supplies for one or two day.

A good pair of boots is also essential hiking gear. There are boots especially made for hiking and can be very comfortable throughout the day. The boots should have a good tread and be waterproof, at least to a certain extent. Finding a pair with good ventilation is also important to keep the feet dry throughout the day.

Backpacking gear may include flashlights for traveling at night.
Backpacking gear may include flashlights for traveling at night.

Other types of outdoor gear may also be used when taking trips in the wilderness. Those hiking on unmarked trails or through unfamiliar terrain may require the use of a compass or even, for those who want to go high tech, a GPS device. Hiking poles, or walking sticks, may also help in uneven ground. Also, a good flashlight with a reliable battery source should be taken on any overnight hikes.

Hikers sometimes carry sleeping bags.
Hikers sometimes carry sleeping bags.

Anyone considering backpacking gear should also consider the types of clothes that they will need. Backpacking clothes should be suitable for the temperature, but that is not the only consideration. For example, those traveling in areas with thick, thorny underbrush and insects may want to wear long pants and long sleeves, even in warmer temperatures. If that is the case, this fabric should be light so that the hiker does not become overheated. A good insect repellent is also essential in such cases. A high-quality rain poncho is also a good idea.

Backpacking gear may consist of a light, reliable tent.
Backpacking gear may consist of a light, reliable tent.
It is recommended to bring a bottle of water during a hike.
It is recommended to bring a bottle of water during a hike.
Hikers often use hiking poles to aid them in rocky terrain.
Hikers often use hiking poles to aid them in rocky terrain.

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