Pack

When off on a wild backpacking adventure, your pack is the most important piece of gear you will choose. You'll rely on it for miles on miles of comfort, and you trust it to keep all your gear dry, packed, and secure. Your pack is definitely a personal choice, that's why we couldn't choose or recommend one for this list. We suggest going to your closest REI or outdoor store, try some backpacks on and get them fitted to make sure you get the best for your height, weight, and body shape. Good luck!

 

SHELTER

1. NEMO LOSI LS 3P TENT

There's a reason why the NEMO Losi LS 3P Tent has won countless awards and 5-star ratings in the past few years. that it hit the market. It's one of the best backpacking tents out there - lightweight, tough against various types of weather, and ample room for two and your gear. It's extremely easy to put up, includes separate rainfly and has double vestibules and zipped doors on two sides in case you don't want to wake your partner if you need to get out in the middle of the night. This tent is just so well-made, from it's patented DAC® Jake's Feet corner anchor system that locks the lightweight, but sturdy poles in place to its removable gear organizer to store your smaller belongings. Despite it being lightweight, the material is strong and top quality.When packed, its about 2 feet by 8 inches, and can fit nicely in your framed backpack for your next adventure. Grab the Losi Garage to extend your living space even more.

(photos from rei.com)

 

Comfort

2. Thermarest NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad

If you've read our other guides (Luxury Couple, Modern Duo), you'll see that we highly recommend a sleeping pad when you're mustering up energy for a long hike the next day. Trust us, your back will thank us. The Therma-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad packs up smaller than your water bottle, and only weighs a few ounces. You have no excuse NOT to throw it in your pack! You can even purchase the NeoAir Mini Pump if you have extra room and you don't want to inflate the pad manually.

(photos from amazon.com and cascadedesigns.com)


3. Sea to Summit Spark SpIII Sleeping Bag

This ultralight sleeping bag doesn't make you compromise size, weight, or warmth for your backpacking adventure. It's filled with ultra-dry down, meaning it's water-repellant, keeps you warm up to 46°F (EN Rating, 3-season), and packs down to the size of a grapefruit with the compression sack. It also comes with a stuff sack to let the down filling "breath" when you're keeping it in storage at home. Use the compression sack only when traveling otherwise it can damage the feathers with prolonged compression.

(photos from rei.com)


4. Cocoon Ultralight Air-Core Pillow

Sleep in comfort alongside your Sea to Summit Spark SPIII and Therm-a-rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad with this lightweight, easily packable pillow. This should complete your trifecta for a good night's sleep without compromising comfort and space in your rugged backcountry journey. Believe us, when you and your partner get up bright and early after a comfortable slumber, you'll be ready to take on anything the wild brings you. As a plus, this pillow is also small enough to bring with you in the car for road trips, or on a long plane flight!

(photos from rei.com)


5. ENO DoubleNest Hammock

Hammocks have been a blazing trend for the past few years, and Eagle's Nest Outfitters do them best. Although they're not a complete necessity, if you have extra room in your pack, it's a nice luxury to have in the backcountry. Lay down and enjoy the view with some camp-made coffee or warm up with a Pendleton National Park Blanket. This specific DoubleNest can hold two, with a weight capacity of 400lbs. (Be sure to research online and see what regulations your National Forest or Park have for hammock use - as they can damage specific trees.)

(photos from rei.com and crossroadsonline.com)


6. REI Flex Lite Chair

Low, lightweight camping chairs are sprouting all over the outdoor market. Made with a super durable, but lightweight aluminum framing, this chair is stable and can hold up to 250lbs of weight. The seat material is made of ripstop nylon, and weighs a little under 2lbs. Also, the REI Flex Lite Chair comes in 7 awesome colors. It's a bit high in price, but you can also use this chair for music events, the beach, and other countless outdoor activities.

(photos from rei.com)

 

Gear

7. Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Leave that bulky lantern or flashlight at home, and bring this Black Diamond Headlamp with you instead. Great for hands-free illumination when you're hiking up that rocky trail at night, or when you get to camp late at night and have to pitch your tent in the dark - you won't be sorry. The LED on this headlamp outputs 160 lumens up to 70m in front of you. There's a few different LED options - Red for night vision, a low (25 lumens) and bright (160 lumens) dimmer, and 3 strobe functions for both white and red lights. It's waterproof against rain, uses 4 AAA batteries that provide 36 hours (high) to 200 hours (low). There's even a lock mode when you're packing it so you can be sure to not waste battery if it accidentally gets turned on in your backpack. Don't skip the awesome views just to race to the campsite before sundown - now you can handle the dark, hands-free and experience the other side of the wilderness.

(photos from blackdiamondequipment.com)


8. CAMELBAK UNBOTTLE INSULATED RESERVOIR - 100 FL. OZ.

Water reservoirs - now a necessity from national parks to music festivals - are an effortless way to keep hydrated. Its shape slips into your pack easily, and you don't need to keep reaching into your backpack to get that bulky water bottle holding a measly 16oz of precious water you need to conserve for the rest of your 20 mile hike. This specific insulated UnBottle is our favorite because of the low-profile cover (you don't need to worry about it being punctured in your bag) that also has buckles to secure it safely in your bag. It also has quick-connect enhancements so you can easily add accessories to your reservoir, listed below. 

(photos from amazon.com and rei.com)

 

Camp Kitchen

9. Sea to Summit X Pot

Sea to Summit has been revolutionizing the camp kitchen scene with their X-Series of lightweight, portable, and well-thought out kitchen gear. This collapsible X-Pot is our fave of the collection. Other camping pots in the market are so bulky - you may have to leave it at home and sacrifice that yummy pot of mac & cheese for dinner. With the X-Pot, you won't need to. Collapsibility, lightweight, great cooking performance and even a translucent lid with a built-in strainer make this pot a must-have to bring on your trip. Collapsed, the pot even nests other X equipment between the pot and lid, which you can buy as a set: X-Set 31.

(photos from rei.com)


10. MSR PocketRocket Backpacking Stove

A stove is an essential part of your camp kitchen. You don't only need it to cook your meals, but you can boil water too for sterilization (drinking water). Not much prep is required, you simply need to buy the correct fuel canister, turn it on, and start cookin'. The flame is fully adjustable and the knobs and valves are easy to control. It even comes in a neat carrying case and weighs about 3oz (excluding the fuel canister).

Another alternative we found is the BioLite Wood Burning Camp Stove that uses dry twigs that you find around your campsite to fuel its flame. This is a great option if you'd rather not lug around fuel canisters with you. It even includes a USB port to charge your electronics while its fueled! You can also use wood pellets that are sold in your local garden store if you're not allowed to collect twigs wherever you are camping (neat-o!)

REI also has this awesome guide on how to choose the best stove for the type of trip you're going on. Check it out here.

(photos from rei.com and @kmt88 on Instagram)

 

WANT TO SUGGEST AN AWESOME PRODUCT TO THIS GUIDE?
We're always open to finding new products and gear that makes your adventures that much better. If you find something that you think is an essential item and is not already on this list (or is way better than something that is already listed above), please let us know! You'll get credit and we'll even send you a little thank you gift. Click the button below to suggest a product!