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:
Pillow: MEC Air Pillow
Bum Pad: Therm-a-rest Z Seat
Ultralight Chair: Helinox Chair One
Navigation and Electronics Gear:
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: Mophie Powerstation Mini
Camera: Sony A6000 and kit lens Check price: Amazon
Camera Bag: Lowe Pro Dashpoint
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
First Aid Kit: Zippered case with first aid supplies personally chosen and assembled by me
Waterproof Breathable Jacket: MEC Synergy
Waterproof Breathable Pants: MEC Hydrofoil pants
Rain Skirt (yup that’s a thing): Enlightened Equipment Rain Wrap
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
Sleeping and Camp Clothes:
Base Layer Top: MEC T3 Hoodie (discontinued)
Sports Bra: Knixwear Evolution bra
Hat: MEC Run Hat (discontinued)
Gaiters: MEC Kokanee Gaiters (discontinued)
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.