backpacking gear checklist

A backpacker hiking to Spider Gap in Washington's Glacier Peak Wilderness.

An Essentials-Only Backpacking Gear Checklist

By Michael Lanza

What do you need to pack for a three-season backpacking trip? While the specific items depend in part on factors like the precise time of year, your companions and backpacking style, and the trip’s length and weather forecast, this story provides a core checklist of essential gear to help you organize and efficiently pack—and avoid overpacking—for virtually any backpacking trip.

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A lightweight backpacker on the Titcomb Basin Trail in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

A Practical Guide to Lightweight and Ultralight Backpacking

By Michael Lanza

What if you could do one thing to make every backpacking trip more enjoyable? Three decades of backpacking have taught me what that one thing is: keeping my pack light. All of the superfluous ounces removed from my pack add up to fewer pounds on my back, and that makes each trip better. And a smart approach to ultralight and lightweight backpacking does not compromise safety or comfort—the point is to increase comfort and safety. If you’re not accomplishing both objectives, you need a new strategy.

In this article, I’ll share my tips—learned over the course of many thousands of trail miles—for minimizing pack weight while staying safe and comfortable on every trip.

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A backpacker in Kerrick Canyon, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: 5 Steps to Lightening Up Your Backpacking Gear

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”] [et_pb_row admin_label=”row”] [et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”] Hi Michael, My husband and I have decided it’s time to invest in lighter backpacking gear to ease the impact on our bodies. Our kids are nine and 11, and backpacking as a family is an important part of our lives. Recently, we upgraded our mountain bikes so that we could still happily bike with our kids; it seems like we need to do the same with our backpacking equipment. Knowing that you are in touch with the latest gear compared to our old stuff, what would you recommend as the most important things to upgrade, with weight in mind? Our gear is mostly 20+ years old (we got a great Big Agnes tent last year per your advice). With backpacking, there are so many elements, from stove to pack to sleeping bags. Do you think we can reduce our weight loads a reasonable/noticeable amount, and feel like our investment was worth it?

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