Backpacking Gear – Spring/Summer 2020
Ah, the wonderful information saturated world of backpacking gear… In this blog post I’ll list the equipment I’m using through the Spring and Summer of 2020 and I’ll also talk a little bit about the thinking behind my gear choices thus far.
Many people, including myself, work hard to lessen the weight on their back so they can hike faster, see more views, and not struggle so much on big uphills. One way backpackers gauge this weight is through something called base weight which is “the weight of non-perishable equipment on your back”. This includes everything from your tent to your sleeping bag to your pack and it is a great way to measure the mass of the equipment that’ll be with you for ALL trips short or long. The main idea with this metric is it allows you to measure only the absolutely essential equipment that you’ll be carrying at any given time thereby giving you a never-in-flux, minimum, weight.
Base weight is a slippery slope however. To paraphrase Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, purchasing cheap gear. You step onto the trail, and if any of it fails you, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Many hikers get obsessed with the idea of being ultralight (under 10 lbs base weight) and end up putting themselves at risk for injury or worse because they are not prepared for the conditions they are hiking in. Don’t let this be you! Purchase the gear that you’ll be happy relying on for whatever hikes you may take. The best way to backpack is safely and comfortably and the best way to do this is to balance the weight of your equipment with the comfort of equipment that keeps you safe and happy.
Items marked with a * are consumables and shouldn’t be factored into base weight calculations.
“Big Three” (Tent, Sleep System, Pack)
- REI Half Dome 2 Plus
- REI Stratus Sleeping Pad
- REI Trail Pod 30° Sleeping Bag
- Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow
- Osprey Exos 58L Pack
- MSR Pocket Rocket 2
- *MSR IsoPro Canister
- GSI Outdoors Boiler Pot
- Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork
- Ursack AllMitey Bear Bag
- Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
- Anker 20100 Power Bank
- Benchmade Pocket Knife
- Deuce of Spades Trowel
- Black Diamond Cork Trekking Poles
- Cell Phone
To close out this post, a great way to track gear weights and just have a catalog of what you take on trips in general is to use a site called lighterpack.com. I am in no way affiliated with the site, but I have found their tool to be incredibly useful since it makes it VERY obvious where you might be able to save some significant weight. In my case, my next big upgrade will likely be my tent and my sleeping bag as they make up a hefty 9 lbs of my total base weight by themselves. Here’s a link to my current revolving and most up to date lighterpack list as an example.