Questions to Ask: Backpacking Gear Review

For a beginner backpacker who is looking for backpacking gear for the first time, there are so many choices out there it is difficult to decide what is the right choice in backpacking gear. Thus, a backpacking gear review that gives the main features that solid backpacking equipment should have. The three biggest items to buy, both in weight and in price, are the tent, sleeping bag, and the backpack, as well as the gear that goes with each one.


There are many backpacking gear reviews that talk about the specific features that make one tent better than the next, and the local specialty backpacking store employees will also be able to tell all of those special features. The first decision when buying a tent is what size to buy – deciding how many people will normally be sleeping in the tent. Most backpackers will buy a two person tent even if they will be the only one sleeping in it the majority of the time. The reason for this is that it will give them more room for supplies within the tent which allows for a more comfortable sleeping condition.

The next consideration, which makes a difference especially when looking at cheaper tents, is whether the rain fly goes all the way to the ground. In discount backpacking gear, the cheaper tents sometimes have a fly that only reaches about six inches to a foot from the ground, level with the bottom of the screen inside the tent. This does not provide adequate protection from the rain, nor does it give protection to supplies that may need to stay outside the tent, but still need protection from the elements. Finally, make sure the tent stays under the four pound mark, or there will be too much weight in the pack with the other supplies and the hike will not be as enjoyable.

Sleeping Bag

The main issue to consider with a sleeping bag is what the lowest temperature will be at night in the area where the backpacker will be going. Again, other backpacking gear reviews will give the more specific details about different bags, but a sleeping bag is for warmth and comfort at night, so that is the main concern in looking for a bag. In addition, the weight of the bag is important, because along with the tent, it is one of the more cumbersome supplies, so it needs to stay at a minimal weight, definitely under three pounds.


Backpacks are probably one of the most disputed items in backpacking gear reviews since every backpacker has her own taste in the style of pack that works best for her. There are two main issues to be concerned about with a backpack: the size of the pack and the fit. The size of the pack is determined by the length of the trip and the weather conditions. There should also be plenty of tie-downs and pockets for the smaller supplies. The backpack should rest comfortably on the hips so that the bulk of the weight is carried there rather than the shoulders. Again, other backpacking gear reviews or specialty store personnel can give the specific qualities of individual brands of packs.