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Gear I Use

Gear I Use

I’ve been backpacking for nearly two decades. Over the years I’ve tried lots of different gear and learned a lot about what works best for me and my style of backpacking. I’m not an ultralight hiker by any means, but I like to be comfortable, both in camp and with the load I carry on my back.

Here’s the full list of gear that I take on most summer backpacking trips. On most trips, I share a lot of this gear with a partner, typically my husband.

This list is up to date as of December 2021.

Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support. -Taryn

The Big Items

Sleeping and Camp Gear:

Compression sack: OR Ultralight Compression Check price: | Outdoor Research

Pillow: MEC Air Pillow

Kitchen Tarp for group trips: RAB Siltarp 2 Check price: | Amazon

Guylines and rigging: 2mm reflective cord in various lengths and NiteIze Figure9 Caribiners Check price: MEC | REI

Pegs: MSR Mini Ground Hog Check price: MEC | REI |

Lounge Hammock: Therm-a-Rest Slacker Double Hammock and Suspenders (read my review). Check price: Amazon

Bum Pad: Therm-a-rest Z Seat

Ultralight Chair: Helinox Chair One

Kitchen Gear:

Stoves: Snow Peak GigaPower with add-on windscreen Check price: REI | or MSR Whisperlite Check price:

Pots: Primus eta Pot (discontinued) or Sea to Summit X Pot 2.8L Check price: MECREI | Amazon

Fire starter: Bic Lighter or Light My Fire Swedish Firesteel Check price: MEC | Amazon

Eating/cooking utensils: Snow Peak Titanium Spork Check price: REI |, Single blade Gerber folding knife (discontinued model)

Clean up: Sea to Summit Pocket Wilerness Wash. Check prices: MEC; GSI Compact scraper Check price: MEC | REI |

Bowls: Sea to Summit X-Bowl Check price: MEC | REI | or Orikaso folding bowl (discontinued)

Mug: Snow Peak titanium double wall: Check price: REI |

Hydration: Platypus Big Zip Reservoir and Platypus Soft Bottle collapsible bottles Check price: MEC | REI |

Water Treatment: Platypus Gravityworks 2L Check price: REI | or Pristine Drops Check price: MEC

Bear Canister: Bear Vault BV450 Check price: MEC | REI |, Garcia Machine Backpacker’s Cache Check price: REI or URSack Check price: MEC | REI

Food Bag: Seal Line Bulkhead View Dry Bag Check price: MEC | REI and cheap hardware store yellow poly rope for hanging

Navigation and Electronics Gear:

Headlamp: Petzl Actik Check price: MEC | REI | or Petzl Bindi and Petzl e+Lite as a backcup. Check price: MEC | REI |

Wrist watch: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Check price: MEC | REI |

Compass: Silva Ranger Check price: MEC |

GPS: Garmin eTrex 30S Check price: MEC | REI or Gaia GPS App for my phone

Map Case: Gallon sized Ziploc freezer bag Check price: Amazon

Map/Guidebook: Paper maps and guidebook photocopies/internet printouts for the area

Reading material: Amazon Kindle

Power Bank: Anker 313 Power Bank (10000mAh)

Emergency Communication: Garmin inReach Mini Check Price: MEC,  and iPhone Xs, and Fox 40 Whistle Check price: MEC | REI 

Camera Gear:

Camera: Sony A6000 and kit lens Check price: Amazon

Camera Clip: Peak Design Capture Clip Check price: REI | Amazon

Camera Bag: Lowe Pro Dashpoint

Tripods: Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom Check price: REI Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber Check price: Amazon

Health and Safety:

Sunscreen: Small tube of sweat-resistant sunscreen

Head Net: OnSight Equipment Mosquito Head Net

Toothpaste: Travel sized tubes free from the dentist’s office

Toothbrush: Carry Clean travel toothbrush

Deodorant: Travel sized from the drug store

Toilet paper and hand sanitizer in a ziploc

Hair elastics

Foam ear plugs

Lip Balm: SPF Blistex in a tube

Towel: PackTowl face cloth Check price: MEC | REI |

Bear Spray: Frontiersman Bear Spray with Seattle Sports Holster

First Aid Kit: Zippered case with first aid supplies personally chosen and assembled by me

Repair: Gearaid Tenacious Tape Check price: MEC | REI | MSR Tent pole repair splint Check price:

Hiking the King's Throne Trail in Kluane


Waterproof Breathable Jacket: MEC Synergy

Waterproof Breathable Pants: MEC Hydrofoil pants

Rain Skirt (yup that’s a thing): Enlightened Equipment Rain Wrap

Wind Jacket: Patagonia Houdini – Check Prices: MEC | REI | Patagonia USA | Patagonia Canada

Insulated Jacket: MEC Hot Cocoa Parka or MEC Light Obsession (both discontinued) or MEC Boundary Light Down Vest

Hiking Clothes:

T shirt or tank top: wicking tee or tank – I have tons from lots of different brands but right now my favourites are the MEC Core Train Tshirt and the Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Tshirt – Check prices: REI | Patagonia US | Patagonia Canada

Long sleeved warm shirt: MEC T2 Long Sleeved Zip T (discontinued).

Long sleeved sun protection shirt: MEC Lupin Long Sleeved button up (discontinued)

Pants: MEC Terrena Stretch Pants

Shorts: MEC Terrena Stretch shorts or Black Diamond Valley Shorts Check price:

Sleeping and Camp Clothes:

Base Layer Top: MEC T3 Hoodie (discontinued)

Base Layer Bottoms: MEC T3 Long Johns (discontinued) or Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Bottoms – Check prices: MEC | REI


Sports Bra: Knixwear Evolution bra

Underwear: Patagonia Active Hipster REI | | Patagonia; and cotton panties for in camp


Hat: MEC Run Hat (discontinued)

Toque/Beanie: MEC Pom Pom Toque or Smartwool Merino 250 Beanie – Check prices: MEC

Buff: Buff Original – Check prices: MEC | REI or Merino Wool Buff – Check prices: MEC | REI

Gloves: DeFeet Dura ET gloves Check price: or MEC Waterproof Enough Gloves

Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles – Check prices: MEC | REI | Black Diamond

Sunglasses: Sunskis Headlands Check price: MEC | REI |


Socks: Injini Liner Crew Socks and Smartwool PhD Outdoor Crew Light Hiking Socks

Camp Socks: Defeet Woolie Boolie Check price: MEC | REI |

Gaiters: MEC Kokanee Gaiters (discontinued)

Boots and Shoes: Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX Light Trail Shoes Check price: MEC | REI |,  or Salomon XA Pro Trail Running Shoes Check price: MEC | REI |

Camp Shoes: People Footwear The Rio Slip on Shoes: Amazon

My Opinion

The Big Items

Gregory Amber 70 Backpack

Gregory Amber 70 backpack

My preference for backpacks is something that has enough space for a week-long trip but isn’t too heavy. The Gregory Amber 70 fits the bill.

It has a women’s-specific fit that works for my curvier body.

It like that it doesn’t have too many unnecessary extra features – the only ones I care about are the hip belt pockets large enough to fit my phone and the stretchy back pocket.

*This version is discontinued and has been replaced with the Gregory Amber 65.

Zpacks Triplex Tent

Zpacks Triplex tent

I was a bit skeptical about switching to a trekking pole tent from our old favourite, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX. But the huge weight savings has made it worth it – it weighs just 622g/21.9 oz!

It is a bit more work to get it pitched correctly, and it does get more condensation inside than a double-wall tent, but I love it.

This tent has lots of room for two people plus gear. When it’s pitched properly, it holds up to all kinds of rain and wind. I’ve used it on the West Coast Trail and the Overland Track and won’t go back to a heavier tent.


Therm-a-Rest Ohm 32F/0C Sleeping Bag

Therm-a-rest Ohm sleeping bag

This is the sleeping bag that I bring on most summer trips in warmer weather. Once it starts to get below about 10C (50F) I switch to warmer bag.

I don’t like bags that fit very snugly, so I love the almost rectangular cut of this sleeping bag.

It’s made with high end 900 fill power down so it’s quite light – 520g (1 lb 2 oz). It also packs down really small – about the size of a grapefruit.

You can also unzip it all the way to lay it flat like a quilt.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm

I sleep quite cold and this pad has made a huge difference. With an R-value of 6.9, it keeps me warm not matter what the temperature is outside (including below freezing!)

And since it’s 2.5″ (6.4cm) thick, its also really cushy. I can sleep on my side without my hipbone bottoming out.

It’s not the lightest or smallest pad out there, but for it’s warmth and cushiness, I think it’s worth it. (It weighs 470g/1lb 1 oz) and packs down to about the size of a 1L water bottle.

Some users complain that it makes a crinkly noise when you roll over. It does, but the noise lessens over time and I don’t mind it enough to stop using the pad.

So that’s the full list of things I might usually bring on a backpacking trip. If you have any questions about my gear and why I chose it, let me know.


Monday 4th of December 2023

Just realized you are a BCer, and you published a book! I will order the kindle version and bring to backpacking trips for reading in tent. Hope you will write more books about your other backpacking destinations.

Taryn Eyton

Tuesday 5th of December 2023

My next book about backpacking on Vancouver Island comes out in April 2024.


Monday 4th of December 2023

Really helpful and informative, especially from an experienced backpacker. Can you share your experience with MEC Hot Cocoa down jacket? Someone is selling a used one to me. Not sure if it is warm enough for -20C in campsite. Thx. -20C is -4F for your reference.

Taryn Eyton

Tuesday 5th of December 2023

The Hot Cocoa is not quite an arctic parka, but it's pretty warm. If you're buying used, make sure you have a good look at it too make sure the down hasn't gotten too compressed or lost its fill over time. I don't know if it would be warm enough on its own at -20C, but with some other layers I think it would work well.


Sunday 11th of September 2022

I have a R 4.2 sleeping pad. Should I go for a -9 or 0C sleeping bag? Cold sleeper. Backpacking in BC including garibaldi, golden ears peak

Taryn Eyton

Monday 12th of September 2022

If you are a cold sleeper, definitely go for a -9C bag over a 0C bag.

Ken MacLean

Thursday 18th of July 2019

Taryn, super useful list, impressive listing of hikes and depth of background. I have hiked many of these and fun to see if through your eyes.


Ludek Zaboj

Monday 8th of July 2019

To be direct, for all the money you spend on your gear I could have a nice motorhome, or hire a sherpa and servant to feel comfort, depending on a destination. It does not help a guy, especially from Vancouver. Do you want to share money or lifestyle? Ludek


Wednesday 30th of June 2021

I thought this list was reasonably priced and thoroughly helpful. Not sure what you’re trying to say here, Ludek, all of these supplies would be applicable in B.C./the P.N.W. Thanks, Taryn!

Taryn Eyton

Monday 15th of July 2019

Hi Ludek, I've collected this gear over many years. I actually rarely pay full price for gear since I buy used gear, shop sales and take advantage of industry deals. If you're looking to save money on gear, check out this post I wrote: It's got lots of tips for buying gear without spending too much.