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Backpacking gear guide

Backpacking gear guide

What better way to experience nature than strapping all your gear on your back and hiking out into the abyss.  Backpacking is the best way to combine adventure, fitness and solitude in one trip. Hiking into the wilderness equipped with only what you can carry can be intimidating at first, but with some basic gear and a sense of wonder you can be on your way!


The gear required for your trip will depend on the climate, location, length and the resources along the way. I live in the hot, dry state of Arizona. My hikes range from beautiful desert scenery in the winter to higher elevation forest hikes in the summer time.


This is the gear that my husband and I use on our adventures for about two to three nights.


Kelty Coyote 75

»Internal frame.

This bag caught my eye by the vibrant, rich  purple color but what really sold me was the compartments. The endless zips and clips will provide your trip with enough room to bring just about anything. I especially like the pockets on the belt strap to hold snacks or anything that you might need easy access to.The fabric is easy to clean and looks brand new each trip I take. The frame is easily adjustable for any load size, with great padding on the straps. I fell in love with this pack and I would recommend it to anyone!

Shelter (Tent/Hammock)

Kelty Grand Mesa 2 (3 seasons)

»4 lbs, 2 person tent, easily to move around the campsite if need be.

»Aluminum poles for durability

»Good ventilation with rear vent

»Set up is a breeze, I would highly recommend this tent


Sleeping Bag/Pad

REI Joule – Women’

»Lightweight, Duck Down

This is a 20 degree bag, it seems like it would be a little toasty for the desert but I’ve used the wrong bag once and shivered all through the night. Lets just say I was not a happy camper. This bag is breathable, water resistant and easy to clean after the trip.

Kelty Light Year Down- Unisex

»0 degree/-18 degree Celsius

»Down bag, lightweight

Therma-Rest Pad


I brought this pad on my recent trip to Havasupai and had a weekend of wonderful sleep. It is lightweight and was easily strapped onto the bottom of my pack. After our trip I just wiped it down with a wet cloth and it was good as new.



»2L Bag (2 to 3 playtpus bags would be ideal on a 2 to 3 day trip)

»They are used to filter a ton of water to bring back to camp for cleaning and cooking

»Collapsible and lightweight to bring in pack and fill up during trip or at camp

Camelbak (Hydration bladder)

»2L at least depending on the journey. For Havasupai it was 10 miles and I brought 2L camelbak along with a 1L smart water water bottle.

Katadyne Hyper Pro Microfilter

»Filters any type of water

»Fills 1L per minute

*Water purification tablets will also do the trick.



»Easy cleaning (Bio degradable soap-Phosphate free and pH neutral *Gentle enough to use as body wash)

It is nice to have a cup if you plan on making a coffee or tea. I prefer a nice, hot cup of coffee in the morning to wake me up. A bowl comes in handy as well but not necessary. A pot with lid to boil water for freeze dried food or if you are like us some good old macaroni and cheese. A few other utensils to bring are a spoon, fork….or a spork and a knife.


MSR Superfly– MSR fuel (2 cans of fuel should be enough for a 2 to 3 day trip)

»Wide flame distribution

»Small enough that it fits in pot with lid when closed


»Freeze Dried backpack meals (Mountain House or backpackers pantry)

»Peanut Butter and Jelly

»Macaroni (Chickpea pasta *25 grams of PROTEIN and 13g of fiber* and Cheese (Velveeta cheese packets)


»Trail Mix


»Electrolyte tablets

Headlamps/ Flashlight

Headlamps work great for night trekking or going to the bathroom at night.

*Bring extra batteries


Plug in the trail on your GPS before the trip.

*A map will do the trick as well.




»Fire starters


»Microfiber towel I was pleasantly supervised by the size of both towels this package has.  I took both to Havasupai  and after a dip in the falls I was dried off in no time. The towel dried super fast and I was able to place it back in the bag the towels came in. Plus, it was purple… it matched my pack.


It is impossible to predict mother nature but being prepared will help.  It’s best to bring multiple layers to adapt to the different elements on your adventure. A wind breaker that is waterproof will keep you dry and save you from being miserable if it rains.The fabric needs to be lightweight and breathable. Socks are just as important as boots, they need to be thick to prevent blisters from occurring. Other trekking clothing that can be considered are beanies/hats, scarfs and gloves.






»Breathable, keeps feet dry

Hiking boots are probably the single most important thing while backpacking.  I made the mistake once of skimping out on nice boots and lets just say a couple blisters and a few missing toenails later I went and got me some nice ones. The boot needs to support the arch of your foot, there will be lots of uneven terrain to trek over and the support on the arch will help. When trying on boots the fit needs to be perfect, if they are either too big or too small it will be a problem. After you have found the perfect match, break those bad boys in, at least a couple weeks before the trip.





»Lip balm

Be prepared and Happy adventuring!