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: MEC | Backcountry.com | Outdoor Research
Pillow: MEC Air Pillow
Kitchen Tarp for group trips: RAB Siltarp 2 Check price: Backcountry.com | 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 | Backcountry.com
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
Stoves: Snow Peak GigaPower with add-on windscreen Check price: REI | Backcountry.com or MSR Whisperlite Check price: Backcountry.com
Pots: Primus eta Pot (discontinued) or Sea to Summit X Pot 2.8L Check price: MEC | REI | 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 | Backcountry.com, 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 | Backcountry.com
Bowls: Sea to Summit X-Bowl Check price: MEC | REI | Backcountry.com or Orikaso folding bowl (discontinued)
Mug: Snow Peak titanium double wall: Check price: REI | Backcountry.com
Hydration: Platypus Big Zip Reservoir and Platypus Soft Bottle collapsible bottles Check price: MEC | REI | Backcountry.com
Water Treatment: Platypus Gravityworks 2L Check price: REI | Backcountry.com or Pristine Drops Check price: MEC
Bear Canister: Bear Vault BV450 Check price: MEC | REI | Backcountry.com, 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 | Backcountry.com or Petzl Bindi and Petzl e+Lite as a backcup. Check price: MEC | REI | Backcountry.com
Wrist watch: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Check price: MEC | REI | Backcountry.com
Compass: Silva Ranger Check price: MEC | Backcountry.com
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: 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
Foam ear plugs
Lip Balm: SPF Blistex in a tube
Towel: PackTowl face cloth Check price: MEC | REI | Backcountry.com
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 | Backcountry.com MSR Tent pole repair splint Check price: Backcountry.com
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
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: Backcountry.com
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 | Backcountry.com | 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: Backcountry.com 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 | Backcountry.com
Socks: Injini Liner Crew Socks and Smartwool PhD Outdoor Crew Light Hiking Socks
Camp Socks: Defeet Woolie Boolie Check price: MEC | REI | Backcountry.com
Gaiters: MEC Kokanee Gaiters (discontinued)
Boots and Shoes: Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX Light Trail Shoes Check price: MEC | REI | Backcountry.com, or Salomon XA Pro Trail Running Shoes Check price: MEC | REI | Backcountry.com
Camp Shoes: People Footwear The Rio Slip on Shoes: Amazon
The Big Items
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
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
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
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.
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
Monday 12th of September 2022
If you are a cold sleeper, definitely go for a -9C bag over a 0C bag.
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.
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!
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: https://happiestoutdoors.ca/ways-to-save-money-on-hiking-gear/ It's got lots of tips for buying gear without spending too much.