Thursday, March 10, 2016

Backpacking Gear List

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Backpacking Gear List
Let's talk Gear!

Walk into REI or any other outdoor store and you'll definitely feel overwhelmed with so many options for backpacking. Do you want to go Ultralight (UL)? Do you want to cook food or eat dehydrated? Do you want comfort or style? So many questions, right?! Then you have to pick the coolest color...

Deciding on gear can be tough but not if you know what to look for. I started backpacking when I moved to Montana and met a few friends who invited me along on one of their trips. This was back in 2009 - I had NO gear and had to borrow everything. However the trip was so memorable I knew I had to start collecting my own gear. The very first thing I bought was my own Cabela's Backpack. Let me tell you, I had no idea to look for in a pack. I just found the biggest pack I could and bought it on sale for $80. I thought the price was good for how big the pack was. Years later I now understand that bigger isn't always necessarily better. I also bought a men's pack (because it could hold more gear and the color was better LOL), which didn't help because it doesn't fit me properly on the hips and shoulders. Because gear costs can add up quickly (especially if you go UL), I slowly got my own gear over the years. 7 years later I finally have all my own stuff - this makes me super happy! Thank you friends who have lent me your gear during those years! It made me learn what I wanted to buy for my pack and also what to look for.
(Backpacking to Kermsuh Lake, Uintas - July 2018)

I've complied a list of ALL of my backpacking gear I use to help newbie backpackers get started or give seasoned backpackers some new ideas. It's also fun to see what others use. You may ask, "How do you afford all this??" Like I said, it took me years to get everything mainly because I waited for sales and to really learn what I wanted to get. I also asked for gift cards to REI for my birthday and Christmas.
Backpacking Gear List
 (Camping in Mammoth Springs, CA before heading into Yosemite National Park, July 2015)
Backpacking Gear List
MSR Freelite2 tent  (Click here for an awesome guide to picking out the right backpacking tent.)
REI Magma 17 Sleeping Bag 
Pillow (Optional. In the past I've just balled up clothes to prop up my head)
Backpacking Gear List

Backpacking Gear List
Long Handeled Spoon to get to the bottom of my meal
Ziplock Bowls I mainly use these bowls to make oatmeal

Backpacking the Escalante River Trail
Backpacking the Escalante River Trail (2018)

Backpacking Gear List, Backpacking clothes

The amount of each item I bring depends on my length of trip
Sportsbra (I can also swim in this)
Heabands to soak up sweat & keep my hair out of my face.

Click here to learn about what I wear while hiking & backpacking in Winter!

Teva's Terra Sandals for hiking in a river, swimming, or just around camp
Altra Lone Peak 3.5 for hiking/trail running

Backpacking Gear List
Ziplock Bags to carry trash out
My Favorite Lip Balm, with SPF 25
Wisps for brushing teeth
Travel Size Deodorant
KT Tape to Blisters
Ibuprofen/Advil (I only pack 6-10 pills)
Paracord to hang food bags or dry clothes
Chair to relax at camp or near the river
Gear Line Great idea to hang various items or hang packs away from squirrels.
Backpacking Gear List, backpacking food
The most important thing...

Mountain House Dehydrated Meals (Lasagna is my fav!)
Trail Mix (I love Smith's Antioxidant Trail Mix from the bulk area)
Granola Bars (I am allergic to Inulin, a synthetic fiber, and these don't have that)
Hard Coated Candies like Skittles
Honey Stinger Waffles You can buy them individually at REI for about $1.50/each
ShotBloks for quick energy
Tuna packets (only $1 each at Walmart!)
Apples, cheese, bagles, triscuits, avocados, peanut butter packets
Backpacking Buckskin Gulch October 2017
Backpacking with Dogs
When I backpack with Charlie, he carries his own pack. Check out my article on Backpacking with Dogs & the 9 Items to Keep in your Dog's First Aid Kit while Hiking and backpacking.
Backpacking Gear List, Backpacking the Uintas
(Winter Backpacking in the Uintas- January 2016)

What other items do you use? Post it below!
Backpacking Gear List for women


  1. Replies
    1. You bet! And thanks for checking it out :) -Alicia

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  3. How much does your pack weigh in at? Thanks for the help.

    1. I don't really ever weight it, and it totally varies by trip length. I did weigh it last year when I did a 3 day backpacking trip in Yosemite, and it was 38 lbs. - Alicia

  4. Since you're looking for a backpack, have you looked at Osprey Packs? If not here is the link: If you see something that interests you, contact me.

    1. I have looked at Osprey, and several of my friends have those packs. They seem like really good, strong quality material. I was looking at the XENA 70, until my friend suggested ULA out of Logan, UT. I don't many options! -Alicia

    2. I highly recommend the ULA backpacks. They are awesome!

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  6. What if your on your menstrual going on Havasupai hike?

    1. I just bring baby wipes to clean up, and there are restrooms throughout the campground. Pretty easy. -Alicia

  7. I highly do not recommend ULA packs. I ordered one after all the glowing reviews prior to a 5 day trip to Isle Royal Royale. I was surprised how much I did not care for the fit or the features. My wife said you are gonna regret buying this thing. I went to REI and found a perfect Osprey pack, one of three that I now own. I was working with ULA support the entire time, yet they gave me snark when I sent it back one day past their deadline of a month. Plus a $25 return postage fee. Plus they gigged my credit card for hand loops that were returned in one of the pockets. Plus they put your name on junk mail lists.

    1. Yeah, after I tried my friends ULA pack I'm glad I didn't go with that one. I mean, yeah its ultralight, but it wasn't comfortable for me. That sucks that give you such BS to send it back! Loving my Osprey as well! -Alicia

  8. This is a great post! Do you happen to have any good suggestions for vegan backpacking food? Thanks! :)

    1. I've never eaten vegan, so I'm not sure. But I would check out these dehydrated products: