The initial investment for your backpacking gear will be around $1000 dollars. You can go lower or higher, depending on the deals you are able to find and the quality of the items you purchase. You can also buy used gear from websites like amazon.com, e-bay.com, or craigslist.com, or go to an REI used gear sale.
If you are hiking in a group, you will be able to share some items—such as water filtration system, stove/fuel, and tent—in order to lessen your pack weight. If you do so, make sure nobody forgets to bring their items and that the weight is distributed evenly. However, you may prefer to pack everything you will need in order to feel safe and self-sufficient, this way you won’t have to wait for your turn to cook your dinner or filter your water, and you will have everything you need in case you get lost.
Bladder: $30. A bladder is the most comfortable way to carry your water. Most backpacks will accommodate a bladder, allowing easy water access while you are on the move. Average bladders hold approximately 2 liters of water (101 oz.).
Tent: $150. If you hike alone, you can either buy a bivy sack or a one man tent. The bivy sack is smaller and weighs around 2 lbs., while the one man tent is much roomier and weighs around 3 lbs. If you usually hike with a partner and you don’t mind sharing your tent, you may want to get a tent that can accommodate two or three people so you can divide the weight by splitting up the poles, fly, and tent.
Sleeping bag: $200. Down bags are the lightest, warmest, and most compressible sleeping bags. A 15-degree down sleeping bag will keep most sleepers comfortable in most weather conditions.
Pillow: $20. A pillow is not necessary, but it won’t add much weight to your pack and it will make a difference while trying to get a good night sleep. However, you will probably get a good night’s sleep with or without it after a challenging day of backpacking!
Backpacking stove: $80. You will mainly use it to boil water to prepare your diner or make yourself a coffee in the morning. You can also use it to sterilize water if you don’t have a water filtration system.
Water filtration equipment: $100. The water sources in the back country may contain microorganisms (bacteria and viruses such as Giardia) that can make you very sick, so it is essential to filter your water properly before drinking it. Water filtration systems make it very easy to filter and collect water from any water source you may encounter.
Flash light or headlamp: $15. When the sun goes down and you are still on the go or setting up camp, a headlamp/flashlight could become the most important item in your bag. Headlamps are convenient because they light up what you are looking at and allow you to use both of your hands. Make sure you always pack an extra set of batteries.
Trowel: $10. A trowel will be essential to respect the 7th rule on the ’10 basic rules’ list.
Wool socks: $15. Wool or synthetic socks are also very important, they will wick moisture and keep your feet dry. Stay away from cotton because it takes too long to dry.
Nalgene: $20. Nalgene bottles are very light weight and are very easy to carry since many backpacks have side pockets specially designed for these bottles. Nalgene bottles can also make your water filtration process much easier.
Hanky: $1. You can use your hanky as a napkin, bandana, a tourniquet, and even as a bag. They are also easy to clean and quick to dry.
Lighter: $1. Lighters make it easy to start a campfire and can also be used to light your camp stove. You can also bring matches, either way, make sure you pack them in a water proof container or bag; sometimes even your sweat can ruin your gear.
Once you have collected all your gear, you will be ready to begin your backpacking adventure! Remember to respect the rules and regulations of the area you are visiting at all times and to always plan ahead and pack enough food for your trip. For more information and suggestions on hiking and backpacking food, click on the ‘Hiking and Backpacking Food’ link below.
- Why Hiking and Backpacking is so cool.
- Learn all you need to know to be prepared: Hiking and Backpacking Checklist.
- 10 Basic Rules you need to respect while hiking and backpacking.
- Best Hiking and Backpacking Food.
- Hygiene Kit, basic items and practices that will keep you safe and comfortable.
- Learn how to pack a thorough Wilderness Emergency Kit
- Tips & Extras, make your trip more enjoyable!