Planning Ahead: Backpacking Gear


When planning on going backpacking, there are a lot of components to think about regarding backpacking gear. For a beginner, it is a good idea to start with a basic list of essential supplies and then build from there. Another thing to consider is whether to go with light or ultralight supplies. The benefit of light or ultralight backpacking is that the hiking part of the trip is more enjoyable when only carrying a base weight of twenty pounds or less versus over twenty with a normal load.
Another thing to consider as a beginner backpacker is what the budget is for the supplies. Backpacking gear can be expensive, and for a beginner who doesn’t yet know whether backpacking will be a moment’s fling or a lifetime affair, investing in cheap backpacking gear might be the wisest choice to start with.
Gear List
Backpacking gear is divided into the big supplies, which take up more room and have the most weight, and the small supplies, which can be fit into cracks and crevices in the pack. The other type of supplies is consumables, which means food, water, and anything else that is eaten or used during the course of the trip so that it doesn’t have to be carried back home again, thus reducing the weight of the pack throughout the trip.
The big backpacking gear includes the pack, shelter, sleeping, and clothing. The backpack is the first essential piece of equipment since it is what will be holding all of the supplies, plus it has to be comfortable and fit properly on the back. In order to decide on the proper pack, the backpacker must determine what type of a trip he is going on. The longer the trip, the larger the pack that is required, so that must be determined up front. Most backpackers end up buying several different packs so that they can choose which one works for different trips.
The next element in backpacking gear is the shelter, which is normally a tent. However, depending on the environment and time of year, a tarp or screened tent may be sufficient. There are also times when no shelter at all is required, but it is best to check the weather service to be sure, and it never hurts to be prepared with some sort of shelter. It is also good to have a ground cover, which is some sort of tarp to lay over the ground before putting the tent down or sleeping pads to protect from ground moisture.
Sleeping gear involves sleeping bags, liners, and pads. This gear can be very bulky, so it is important to consider what might be needed according to the weather conditions. Clothing may or may not have to be bought depending on conditions, but for colder climates, wool socks, caps, long underwear and a good parka and windbreaker are musts.
The other, small essential backpacking gear includes the kitchen items, including a camp stove, nesting pans, matches and fuel. A flashlight and, of course, the map are also essential items for a great backpacking trip.