Suggestions for essential backpacking equipment

Backpack. Try on several fully loaded packs; the right fit is essential. Opt for an internal frame for better stability. Choose pack size according to the length of the trip. From $100.

Tent. Look for maximum size and minimum weight. From $100.

Sleeping bag. Get one that's water-resistant but breathable, such as a synthetic shell with a down filler. From $100.

Sleeping pad. The self-inflating yet compressible kind made by Therm-a-Rest is a great choice. From $60.

Water filter. In addition to a water bottle (pictured), you'll need a way to treat your drinking water. Water filters are a good choice for removing bacteria. From $50 per filter.

Stove. Canister stoves (not pictured) are light and easy to maintain. Bring fuel and matches in a waterproof container. From $30.