A Personal Choice: The Best Backpacking Gear

In reading any number of backpacking blogs, a person will quickly discover that there is not much consensus on any product in the backpacking and camping world, even backpacking food! Each backpacker has his own personal affinities regarding packs, tents, sleeping bags and stoves, so it is difficult to determine what brands or types of gear are considered the ‘best’ backpacking gear overall.

That said, there are some general things that every backpacker looks for in certain types of gear. These are the things that novice backpackers should keep in mind when shopping for backpacking gear. The best backpacking gear in every area is the kind that works best for that particular backpacker in those particular conditions.

General Recommendations

The first recommendation for beginning backpackers is to try out different types and brands of gear first before purchasing any in order to see what works for them. They can do this by borrowing gear from friends and family members who have some, or they can rent it from many outdoor equipment stores, which will give them the time with minimal investment to find the best backpacking gear for them.

The next recommendation is to check out what they already own. See what kinds of clothing, jackets, hiking shoes, containers, bottles, sunglasses, flashlights and other small items they have already so they do not duplicate. This will save them some money, as backpacking supplies usually run about four hundred dollars to get the essentials shopping at discount stores.

The rule of thumb for tents is that the rain fly must go all the way to the ground to prevent rain from blowing into the tent. Cheaper models do not have this type of fly and are not the best backpacking gear; they will be regretted on the first stormy night. A ground cover, even a simple plastic painting tarp, is also essential to keep water from seeping into the tent from underneath. The last thing any camper wants is to find she is floating in a puddle of water in the morning!

Sleeping bags need to be rated to the most extreme temperatures of the region. That way the camper will be assured to stay warm even in the most extreme conditions. Sleeping pads are also a must, since they not only pad the camper from the hard ground, but also keep her warmer because it acts as insulation. Backpacks must fit comfortably and rest on the hips rather than on the shoulders to reduce the strain on the back.

Camp stoves are another controversial subject, but the main thing is that they need to work in the conditions experienced at the campsite. It also needs to be easy to transport the fuel for the stove.