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What’s in your pack? 3 backpacking gear lists

One thing is definitely true about backpackers: no two of us carry exactly the same gear on the trail. Heck, I don’t even carry exactly the same gear on every trip! Everyone has their individual preferences, and innovative products are being released all the time. I’ve often shared my gear checklist with friends, and vice versa, hoping to learn a new trick or save a few ounces.

Over the past three days, we’ve featured three separate backpacking gear lists. These gear lists are meant to serve as a starting point for selecting the gear in your pack. Weather, elevation, time of year and other variables will determine how the contents of your own pack deviate from a given list.

One list is a solid overview of the most popular equipment available today, one list might show you a way to lighten the load in your pack, and the last list might just help you take that first step out your front door and into the wide world around you. Here are links to the three articles; which of these styles best describes you?

Each list is, of course, skewed toward a particular preference. The traditional backpacking gear list chooses from our best-selling pieces of equipment, and represents a healthy balance between weight, comfort, durability, and cost. The beginner’s backpacking gear list emphasizes low cost, comfort, and ease of use. As for the ultralight backpacking gear list, well, it’s just what you’d expect: some of the lightest gear you can take out into the wilderness, without doing anything overly radical (like leaving that gear at home).

We definitely think each list is worth reading, no matter your preferred style, as each includes a short text about the various products and some information to supplement the lists themselves. For sake of comparison, though, here is a quick overview of the major products we’ve featured:


Traditional backpacker Ultralight backpacker Beginner backpacker
    Backpack: Osprey Atmos 65 AG Osprey Exos 46 Osprey Kestrel 58
    Tent: MSR Hubba Hubba Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Mountain Hardwear Drifter 2
    Sleeping bag: Marmot Never Winter Marmot Hydrogen 30 Marmot Trestles 30
    Sleeping pad: Thermarest Prolite (M) Thermarest Prolite (S) Thermarest Trail Lite
    Water filter: MSR Miniworks EX SteriPEN Protector Katadyn Hiker
    Stove: Jetboil Flash Snow Peak LiteMax Snow Peak GigaPower
    Rain jacket: Marmot Super Mica Marmot Mica / Crystalline Marmot Aegis / Strato


Whatever is in your pack, it’s important to remember that backpacking isn’t about the stuff you carry, it’s about the places you go. These products are the vehicle for your adventures, intended to keep you safe and comfortable while you’re out there on your own. Our gear experts love helping you find what works best for you, and we all love hearing the stories you bring back with you.

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