Our Backpacking Gear (+ Backpacking Packing List!)

Heading on a backpacking trip? We’re sharing our favorite backpacking gear, plus our backpacking packing list with everything you’ll need for a comfortable night out in the wilderness!

Backpacking is one of our favorite outdoor activities! Carrying all of our gear on our back makes us feel pretty dang strong, we love getting unplugged for a couple days, and backpacking has given us the chance to explore areas that are a bit too long for a day hike, like The Enchantments in Washington, Alice Lake in Idaho, and Garibaldi Provincial Park in British Columbia.

We have been backpacking quite a few times and while we aren’t experts, we’ve learned a lot along the way about what to bring! Check out our backpacking packing list to see the exact items we always take with us on our backpacking adventures.

The majority of these are must-haves, with a couple nice-to-have items thrown in there, and many of the items on this list work for car camping too.

We hope this backpacking packing list helps make your next backpacking adventure a success! If you have a favorite backpacking item that we did not mention, let us know in the comments. We’re always excited to learn about new gear!

Download our customizable backpacking packing list for your own adventures. Note: To use the sheet and create your own customizable version where you can add items, remove items, and check off items, please follow these instructions:

Web Browser: File-> Make a Copy
Mobile: Go to the menu at the top right of the Google Sheet -> Share & Export -> Make a Copy

Our Backpacking Gear


For years we used the Osprey Mens Atmos 65 AG pack and the Osprey Women’s Aura 65 AG pack. Both of them have loads of storage and are very comfortable to wear for many miles. You’ll also want to have a raincover on hand just in case as these packs are not waterproof.

However, in 2023 we are going to be testing using our ​ REI Co-op Trail 40 Packs for backpacking. With our new sleeping quilts (more on that below!), our gear is much lighter and smaller, so our goal is to use these smaller packs.


We have had the REI Half Dome 2+ for several years now and we still love it! It can fit the two of us, plus our pup Kona, and our backpacking packs comfortably. It also has storage on the “ceiling” and all four corners for any items you need to grab quickly. 

Sleeping Bags

For years we used the TETON Sports LEEF Lightweight Mummy Sleeping Bag, which kept us so warm at night! However, they are bulky, so we have upgraded to Enlightened Equipment Revelation Sleeping Quilts, which are MUCH lighter and smaller. They are pricy, but we hear amazing things and can’t wait to test them out!

Sleeping Pad

To make our nights sleep out in the backcountry even more comfortable, we use Outdoorsman Lab Camping Sleeping Pad. They have changed the backpacking game for us especially since they pack up to about the size of a water bottle.


The Camping Inflatable Pillow also packs up tiny and makes sleeping on the ground much more bearable. 

GPS Device

The Garmin InReach Mini is a satellite device that allows you to send messages to your loved ones when out hiking, gives you the ability to send your location, and has a SOS in case of emergencies. It does require a monthly subscription, but it can be as low as around $10/month. 

Backpacking chairs

We don’t always take our Sportneer Camping Chairs with us as they are a bit of a luxury, but depending on how long of a trip we’re going on and what the terrain is we might bring them along.  


The Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stove is about the size of a deck of cards and makes it easy to boil water and cook food while backpacking. Don’t forget to get propane for it!


We use the kettle to warm up water for coffee and our backpacking meals. This kettle has worked great for years and is perfect for 2 people. 


We don’t normally bring cookware with us anymore, but when we did we used a kit similar to this CampingRocks Camping Cookware Mess Kit

Cathole Trowel

Be sure to follow the Leave No Trace principle #3 and dispose of human waste properly. We use this trowel when we have to do our business in the wild. 


We always carry at least one CamelBak Crux 100 oz Hydration Pack Reservoir. It carries almost 3 liters of water and is super easy to drink from while on the move. 

If we need to refill the CamelBak on our trip we use a Sawyer water filtration kit and they have worked great over the years! We have also recently purchased a Katadyn BeFree 1L water filter water bottle to have an additional water filter option and to be able to carry less water on hikes with many water sources that we can filter from!

Foldable Daypack

This HIKPRO 20 liter daypack is the perfect bag for when you get to your spot for the day, but still have some time to explore the area and you want to bring some things along. They come in a couple different sizes, are water resistant, and they fold up very compactly.

Bear safety

Bear spray is a must have item when hiking or camping in areas where bears are present. Thankfully we have yet to need it!

Also, if you’re going to be traveling through bear country it’s a good idea to bring a durable bear proof canister. We have used the Backpacker’s Cache canister and while it is heavy, we feel confident that a bear will have a tough time getting into. Not only do we not want a bear to get our food, but we want to keep the bear and other animals safe.


The Kahtoola MICROspikes are AMAZING and the best investment we have made for hiking. They have made hiking in icy and snowy conditions so easy! We can basically run on ice without falling.

Ten Essentials 

We always make sure we have the 10 essentials on our backpacking trips, such as emergency shelter and a first aid kit. Check out our How to Make Your Own 10 Essentials Kit post to learn more about the 10 essentials and to make your own kit for hiking.

Backpacking Food

Here are some of the food items that we love and bring with us on most of our backpacking adventures!

Backpacking Clothing

Here are the clothing items we wear on our outdoor adventures. We try to stick to higher quality products, which may be more expensive, but tend to last longer. We are big fans of Lululemon, PrAna, Vuori, Patagonia, and REI!

We recommend always bringing layers when backpacking, especially in the mountains, as the temperatures can vary, as well as rain jackets in case it rains!

Backpacking Packing List

Download our customizable backpacking packing list for your own adventures. Note: To use the sheet and create your own customizable version where you can add items, remove items, and check off items, please follow these instructions:

Web Browser: File-> Make a Copy
Mobile: Go to the menu at the top right of the Google Sheet -> Share & Export -> Make a Copy

The Ultimate Backpacking Packing List | Camping and Backpacking packing list for beginners | What to take backpacking | Backpacking gear | #Backpacking | #Packing List | Camping packing list | What to take camping | Camping supplies | Backpacking supplies

about us

Hi y’all! We’re Adam, Kathryn, and Kona, an adventurous married couple (+ pup!) living on the road in our self-converted sprinter van! You can often find us driving all around the US and Canada, scoping out the best coffee shops, eating tacos and ice cream (we’re a 5+ taco and 2+ scoop household), and enjoying nature.


affilliate disclosure

This website contains affiliate links from websites such as MileValue.com, Amazon.com, Booking.com, and Rentalcars.com. If you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. We only recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!


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  1. Suzanne

    Great list! How about bug spray?

    • Kathryn Frazer

      Aw man, how did we miss that?! We just added it and uploaded a new version. 🙂 Thanks for catching our mistake!

    • Kathryn Frazer

      Aw man, how did we miss that?! We just added it and uploaded a new version. 🙂 Thanks for catching our mistake!

  2. Tom

    Great list! Y’all take great pictures. What do you use for a camera?

    • Kathryn Frazer

      Thanks so much Tom! ? We use a Nikon D750 with a 35mm lens (most of the time—we also have a 50mm lens!)

  3. Kelsey MacConell

    Kathryn, do you have a favorite kind of leggings for hot weather? My best friend and I are doing a Utah trip next year, probably June or Sept. Absolutely LOVE watching your videos, so informative and as a result, my to-do list is growing.

    • Kathryn Frazer

      Hi Kelsey! I wear Under Armor leggings that I have gotten off Amazon, which have worked well (struggling to find the exact ones)! I wear them in either hot or cold weather and they have kept me a decent temperature for both!

  4. Sarah Tipton

    Fall weather is coming quick. Thanks to your recommendations here about the tent and backpacks and also bringing layers; I think we’re prepared for the 18 miles out and back from Upper Works Trailhead to Mt. Marcy. Woohoo!

    I’m originally from near Lake Placid region. I highly recommend Ampersand Mountain and even little Azure Mountain (it has a cool fire tower you can climb up into) next time you’re over that way. I think the views and the climb itself are really fantastic. You guys could probably do two of these small fry mountains in one day. 😀 Happy trails!

    Sarah Tipton

    • Kathryn Frazer

      Woo! Have a blast!!! Thanks for the tips, we will be back that way someday…we loved it out there!

      • Sarah Tipton

        Thanks much! I’m sure you will get back there to the ADKS. 🙂


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