Be prepared with our guide to all the gear you’ll need for the perfect backpacking trip
Lauren Ladoceour and Jessica Mordo
1 of 24Courtesy of Gossamer Gear
The Gossamer Silverback 50’s simple frame is strong enough to carry up to 30 pounds, and the padded shoulder and waist straps make even a long trek comfortable.
2 of 24Courtesy of Big Agnes
The Big Agnes Tumble 4 mtnGLO literally lights up at night, thanks to LED bulbs, and still manages to come in under nine pounds, all in.
3 of 24Courtesy of Big Agnes
As comfy as your bed at home, this sleeping bag keeps you extra toasty with a fill that's a down and synthetic blend, and its lightness won't weigh down your pack on the trail.
4 of 24Courtesy of Therm-a-Rest
This self-inflating pad compresses well yet expands to a comfortable thickness to ensure a good night’s rest. The pad’s lightweight foam makes it a cinch to carry around in your pack.
5 of 24Courtesy of Sawyer
No potable water in sight means seeking out creeks and lakes to stay hydrated. But before you take a sip, run the H20 through this super convenient Sawyer Squeeze system that lets you drink directly from the filter, which you can attach to most threaded water bottles.
6 of 24Courtesy of Amazon
There’s a reason why the Camelbak is a classic: It easily slides into full backpacks and makes for easy access to H20.
7 of 24Jeff Diener / Getty Images
At night, you’ll want a Black Diamond Spot, with its bright and fully dimmable beam and long-lasting battery. Bonus: There’s a lock on the button so it doesn’t turn on at the bottom of your bag while you're day-hiking.
8 of 24Courtesy of Amazon
Map & compass
Never get lost with a compass, a basic wilderness survival aid. We recommend packing a paper map for the park or forest you’re exploring, as digital GPS isn’t always reliable off the grid.
Light your campfire kindling or your cooking stove with one of these necessities.
11 of 24Courtesy of Amazon
Oh-so-light yet oh-so-useful, this folding knife’s wooden handle gives it some serious style, too. You won’t know how you backpacked without one.
12 of 24Courtesy of MSR
This ultra-light stove with a collapsible stovetop saves space and weight in your pack. It works with any type of fuel, and the included windscreen is super handy.
13 of 24Courtesy of GSI
Designed for two people, this all-in-one set has a pot and scraper, pan, bowls, insulated mugs, potholder, and lids, and everything neatly nests inside the pot, which saves space in your pack.
14 of 24Courtesy of Amazon
This titanium plate barely weighs anything, yet its sturdiness will serve you well in the backcountry.
15 of 24Courtesy of Amazon
This lightweight, versatile utensil is perfect for all your meals, from scooping up soup to cutting soft foods with its edge.
16 of 24Courtesy of Amazon
Cook in it, freeze in it, store in it, reheat in it—this versatile cooking bag is a backpacker’s best friend. The platinum silicone material is totally safe, too.
17 of 24Courtesy of BearVault
If you’re backpacking in the woods, you’ll most likely need a light bear canister for storing food, toiletries, and anything else that smells. Just be sure to keep it away from your tent, and pin it up against something heavy like logs.
18 of 24Hero Images / Getty Images
The super-versatile staple serves as a sweat-absorbing headband, dish rag, sun shade in your tent, a bindle-style daypack, and much more.
19 of 24Courtesy of REI
With this hat's UPF 50 sun protection and moisture-wicking fabric, your head will stay cool and happy.
20 of 24Gary Friedman / Getty Images
This pair will keep your feet warm, dry, and well padded on the trail.
21 of 24Courtesy of Brooks
Hiking shoes or boots
These trail-runners provide the ultimate combo for your backcountry adventure: waterproof protection and strong traction on wet surfaces.
22 of 24Dougal Waters / Getty Images
You’ll want long underwear, hiking pants, a base layer like a workout shirt, a waterproof windbreaker or shell, and a warm yet lightweight puffy jacket. Opt for synthetic or wool fabrics always.
23 of 24Ruben Sanchez @lostintv / Getty Images
We know, we know…packing sunscreen for an outdoor adventure is second nature by now. Be sure to choose a product with broad spectrum SPF 30 protection.
24 of 24DESEO DESEO / Getty Images
Seek out a product with SPF protection. Not only does it keep your lips hydrated, but also it shields your lips from harmful UV rays.