Best Backpacking Gear
- Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan Hardwood
- Western Mountaineering UltraLite 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
- J5 Tactical V1-Pro 300 Flashlight
- Outlander Packable Lightweight
- Simple Modern Summit Water Bottle
- Teton Sports Explorer 4000
- Pwrxtreme Insulated Lunch Bag
- Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compass
- Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent
- Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When talking about any product on the face of this earth, it all starts with the design. The design is paramount with any product you want to invest in and backpacking gear is no different. However, because of the diverse nature of backpacking equipment, there are different design elements that you need to look for in different pieces of gear essentials. There are some similarities with some of them, but just keep an eye out for the unique traits.
Take, for example, a water bottle and a lunch bag. For both of these, pay a special mind to the insulation that is designed inside. It is important for them to either keep your contents cold, with ice or hot. How about a compass or GPS? Insulation does not matter for them, but you can look for aspects such as their display and navigation capabilities. The same goes for gear such as backpacks and sleeping bags as they have their own unique factors like comfortability and space. This could go on forever, but you understand the point. When looking at the design, you can’t judge each piece of gear by the same criteria. Each will be special in their own way.
Backpacking can be a very difficult activity, but a rewarding one. However, your gear can make the experience all the better. But, it depends on how convenient it is. Outside of the gear itself, which will be convenient for you regardless, keep an eye out for additional design features that provide an extra amount of usefulness. Much like the overall design, this will vary from gear to gear but there are some general criteria you can look for.
Firstly, analyze any pieces of gear that offer you more functions and/or extra features to use. For example, with a Swiss army knife, you can also use several other blades and objects such as tweezers, scissors, a nail file, a screwdriver, etc. Also, for gear such as lunch bags, backpacks, and tents, you may find they are designed with extra storage compartments that can be used for additional accessories. Given that you will most likely be stockpiling a lot of gear, you will need all the storage you can get. Past all this, simply look for features that offer convenience to you. Such as a backlight on a GPS or compass for easy viewing at night or an accompanying storage bag for certain gear.
Truthfully, this one all comes down to you. As soon as you answer this question, how much weight do you want to carry on your backpacking trip? The smaller the number, the more careful you need to be about the gear you choose. Always pay attention to the product weight as even something as small as two pounds can easily add up your total weight. If you are aiming for a smaller load, prioritize the gear that is most important to you. For example, if you know you are not staying overnight, ditch the sleeping bag and tent. For the most part, though, gear such as a GPS, flashlight, and pocket knife are so lightweight that you will not even notice their weight.
Top 10 Picks
1. Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan Hardwood
For a multi-purpose tool on the road, the Swiss Army Spartan Pocket Knife from Victorinox can’t be beaten. It will accommodate for so many situations that you eventually feel lost without it. If there ever were to be a perfect product, this Swiss Army knife would be pretty darn close. Its usefulness, simplicity of design, and variety of color options make it a must-have for every backpacker.Read more
Victorinox designed this Spartan Pocket Knife to meet most of your needs while out on a trail, camping, or backpacking. It's a sleek design that looks great, but it also, of course, is functional. It has 12 functions that were designed specifically for an active person who loves the outdoors. Not to mention, the new hardwood design is highly appealing and a refreshing take on the classic.
Besides a traditional pocket knife, this fourteen-function knife also features a nail file, a screwdriver, scissors, tweezers, a toothpick, and a key ring. In addition, the entire knife will easily fit inside of your pocket and is a perfect addition to your set of keys.
Besides taking up very little space no matter where you put it, its small nature makes it easy to use. Each blade and function are easy to utilize and provides little confusion.
Aside from the hardwood, there are many colors to choose from that everyone is guaranteed to find one for them. This includes blue, yellow, silver, black, and camouflage.
This lightweight knife clocks in at a messily 2.08 oz.
2. Western Mountaineering UltraLite 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
Western Mountaineering is renowned for making high-quality sleeping bags. They seem to create such a fine balance between lightweight, warm, and quality that many other brands just can't compete with. This is definitely true of the ultralight backpacker-friendly Western Mountaineering UltraLite 20 Degree Sleeping Bag. When the night arrives and the cold follows behind, you will be thrilled to crawl into this sleeping bag. It has 850 quality down filling to keep you warm, will protect you from moisture, and comes with the Western Mountaineering seal of quality.Read more
The design of this sleeping bag has draft tubes that interlock consistently throughout to ensure that you stay securely snuggled and warm all throughout the night.
When backpacking, you can simply place the sleeping bag in its accompanying carry bag with compression straps. Not to mention, this bag is both breathable and water-resistant in one go, so that you have both the convenience of airflow and protection from moisture.
The only tricky aspect of sleeping bags is storing them away and this one is no different. Just ensure you roll it up tightly and it should easily fit in the carry bag.
What you see is what you get as there are no other seller options to speak of.
The official weight rating for this sleeping bag is 1lb 14oz.
3. J5 Tactical V1-Pro 300 Flashlight
This may not be a piece of backpacking gear that you think about, but it can come in handy. Due to its brilliant design, the V1-Pro 300 flashlight from J5 Tactical is the best for backpacking. Looking past the execution of the different intensity settings, the V1-Pro 300 is pure greatness. When you are lost in the thickest part of the woods in the middle of the night, you will be thankful you have this.Read more
No matter how dark the environment is ahead of you, with its 300 lumens LED light it will produce an intense beam of light to clear the path. However, you can properly adjust the light (choosing between high, low and strobe) to adapt to the level of darkness that surrounds you.
To save you money, this flashlight only runs off a single AA battery. In addition, it does not require much energy and will provide you with hours of use. For wider illumination, you can also control the width by zooming in and out.
This can be tricky because the V1-Pro 300 flashlight can easily fit in the palm of your hand and be used with one hand. But, when you need to switch the intensity of the light, you must toggle through multiple functions. While not necessarily difficult, it is a little unnecessary.
There are a pretty good amount of colors to choose from including blue aqua, hunter orange, forest camo, and black.
As with most flashlights, this is very lightweight in nature clocking in at only 2.4 ounces.
4. Outlander Packable Lightweight
While the Outlander Travel Backpack is better intended as a lightweight backpack, it still provides plenty of storage space and phenomenal design. For non-hiking enthusiasts, or for people looking for short trips, this is a perfect backpack. It may not be large enough for some people, but its smaller size does hold advantages in comfortability.Read more
Durability is key here and it is constructed from water-resistant and rip-resistant (to an extent) nylon fabric. This provides incredible strength and long-lasting performance without adding extra weight. For extra longevity, the stress points are also reinforced with bar tacking.
To start, this pack is considered to be ultra-lightweight. Thus, adding little to no weight to your load. This combined with adjustable, breathable straps that allow for customization and airflow, makes for a comfortable experience.
Just because it is lightweight does not mean it suffers in the storage compartment. With a spacious main compartment, two side pockets for water bottle and accessories, and two front zipper pockets to hold any additional items, there is plenty of room for all your goodies.
Everyone should be able to find a color for them with options for blue, green, black, dark blue, fuchsia, gray, orange, purple, red and pink.
This Outlander pack only weighs 0.7 pounds and has a roomy interior that will hold 35L.
5. Simple Modern Summit Water Bottle
In times of food and refreshments, you now know of a great lunch box. However, what if you a lunch pail is overkill? Perhaps you are just looking for a refreshing beverage and if so, check out the Simple Modern Summit water bottle. Besides the stellar design and features, it is convenient that you can select between multiple sizes. For backpackers looking for the lightest load possible, you could invest in the smallest capacity.Read more
To keep your drink cold or hot, depending on if you put ice inside, this water bottle is both vacuum insulated and double-walled. Outside, it is constructed from premium stainless steel and will never rust or leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Each separate size has its own unique design, for the most part. The 14 oz., 18 oz. and 22 oz. versions, while they do not have a handle, come with a flip lid. However, the 32 oz. the version comes with both a handle and a flip lid. Meanwhile, the 40 oz. and 64 oz. versions have a handle on the lid for simple transport.
Water bottles are not a consumer product that evokes a lot of confusion as they are self-explanatory. But, the 14 oz., 18 oz. and 22 oz. will fit in a standard-sized cup holder.
Besides the size options already listed, there are multiple colors to choose from including candy apple green, slate gray, deep ocean blue, and sunshine yellow.
The weight will vary depending on the size you get and the amount of liquid you put inside.
6. Teton Sports Explorer 4000
With a sensational amount of comfortability and gear compartments, the Explorer 4000 from Teton Sports rightfully takes the top spot on this list. But, it was very close! No product is perfect, and there are some slight downsides present here, but this is as good as it gets for backpacking gear.Read more
The backpack is made from a rugged internal frame for the perfect shape and the bendable aluminum is extremely durable. In addition, the thick lumbar and upper back provides, even more, stability when carrying heavier loads.
To fit a wide range of bodies, the torso, shoulder, and hip possess straps that can be adjusted. The Explorer 4000 also has a durable open-cell foam lumbar pad and molded channels that provide an excellent amount of comfort and airflow.
When it comes to storage and compartments, there a plenty to enjoy. This large capacity pack includes a sleeping bag compartment, six pockets, three mesh pockets, side pockets for storing tent poles, multi-directional compression straps, upper and lower gear loops, and will hold up to a 3-liter water bladder. There are not too many colors for you to choose from, but the options are open for gray, hunter green, and navy blue.
This pack is large and rugged, with a 4,000 cubic-inch (or 65L) capacity. It accommodates for men, women, and youth and will fit essentials for a 2-5-day trip.
7. Pwrxtreme Insulated Lunch Bag
When you are backpacking, no matter the length, there is a strong chance you will want some food and refreshments. What better way to do that than with an insulated lunch bag? Better yet, how about the Pwrxtreme model that is nearly perfect in every way? Good luck finding another lunch bag that is as impeccable as this. Everything comes together perfectly and it makes a terrific acquaintance.Read more
The high-quality nylon is resistant to stains, punctures, and tears. To keep your contents safe, the bag is also waterproof. Plus, the non-toxic EVA lining and PE foam insulation will prevent the bag from leaking while also sustaining optimal temperatures for your contents inside.
Past the interior storage, there are extra storage compartments that you can utilize. The side meshes pockets and front-zipper pockets can hold all your accessories including your keys, wallet, and smartphone. However, inside you can hold stacked food storage containers and water bottles (but may have to set the bottles down on their side).
The included shoulder strap is not only handy but also versatile. It is painless to attach and detach the strap with the quick-release plastic thumb clips.
Unfortunately, there are no extra color options available. But, the jet-black design will satisfy most people.
By itself, this pack weighs just under 12 ounces. However, obviously, this will change depending on the number of items you place inside.
8. Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compass
In the midst of this technology-driven world, sometimes a compass can be your best friend. This Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compass is a great survival and emergency device that will help you out of any situation. In the case of a smartphone or GPS malfunction, a compass is a great backup too. While not for everyone, it is better to be safe than sorry. It is a heavy-duty and durably constructed compass that is made out of aluminum alloy. It is known for being very accurate and compact as it folds into 75x57x30mm and is very lightweight so is very portable. This Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compass is built to last for several years as its rugged construction helps with its durability.Read more
To increase the accuracy of the compass, there is a lens on the rear sight that magnifies the card dial. Plus, it is built to survive in the harshest conditions with its shake-proof and waterproof nature. This Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compass is made from a heavy-duty aluminum alloy which helps with its long lifespan. It is waterproof and shake-proof and has a solid metal build. Its liquid-filled chamber helps give the most accurate readings.
Besides being very portable, with it having a belt loop attachment, the interface will also glow in the dark during nightfall or low light conditions. This way, you do not have to point a flashlight on the compass to use it in the darkness. It also comes with a tripod mount hole which helps if you are wanting to use this compass hands-free. It also comes with a pouch to keep it safe and secure in so you can keep it safe and resist scratching and also comes with a lanyard to hold it on your neck securely. The big downside to compasses is they can be complicated. Practice makes perfect no matter the model, so it will take a little discipline to get this device down.
This device will easily fit in your pocket or bag weighing in at 5.6 ounces. This Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compass compacts itself and folds itself into 75x57x30mm which makes it easily portable. It also comes with a little bag for you to keep it in.
9. Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent
For some of you, backpacking might be overnight or multiple-day trip. In this scenario, you may not want to sleep under the stars. If you do not, you need a tent, and with the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent, you will find everything you're looking for in a backpacking tent. Tagging along with a tent as superb as this will allow you to sleep in peace when the time comes. But, for day trips, it is okay to leave this one at home.Read more
The dome design of this tent makes it perfect for ventilation. Along with this, there are two zippered doors that are made of mesh to add easy access as well as air ventilation. This tent also comes with a fly that has more air vents on it. The bathtub type of floor keeps you dry when dew sets in at night.
This tent is ultra-easy to set up, as it is a free-standing, two-pole design. It is meant to be set up in minutes so that you can get back to enjoying the outdoors knowing you have a cozy place to sleep.
Overall, it is very simple to set-up. The design creates this simplicity by offering a two-pole design and a color-coded fly for easy set-up.
Mountaineering products, such as this tent, are made to an excellent set of standards that ensures quality, as well as a technical design that is meant to be used for many seasons.
This two-person tent weighs 4.5 pounds, so it definitely is a light option to go with and won't weigh down your backpack.
10. Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro
The one huge essential that has not been covered yet is navigation. In the middle of nowhere, you might want to know where you are. To do so, there are not a better means than to invest in a GPS. While there are many to choose from, the Bad Elf 2200 GPS is as good as it gets. You may have a GPS installed on your smartphone already, but the Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro could either be used as a backup or alternative means altogether. No matter what, its quality speaks for itself.Read more
It is designed to be simple and effective. Outside of its external GPS receiver, the exterior is IPX4 splash-resistant which makes it safe for outdoor use. Plus, the large LCD screen comes equipped with a backlight for easy viewing during night-time operation.
The Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro has Bluetooth technology and can be paired with up to five iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch devices. When using this mode, you can track and log up to 16 hours of data.
When you download the Bad Elf Utility app on your iPhone or iPad, you can monitor the GPS straight from it. However, note that when you are downloading data you need to have data logging disabled.
It is both a unisex design and color, so while there is only one, it should accommodate everyone.
Being just 3.2 ounces in mass, it is very lightweight and easy to carry.