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Backpacking Gear Checklist

By Grace OBrien on

We know what you’re going through because we’ve been there too – sitting at your desk, dreaming and planning for your next backpacking trip. You’ve checked the boards, chatted with other thru-hikers, and are ready to take on your dream hike. But, before you hit the trail for your epic backpacking trip, it is time to get your backpacking gear list in order. You need to ensure you’re covered for various elements while also ensuring your backpacking gear isn’t weighing you down. Whether this is your first backpacking trip or your yearly trip to unplug and unwind, this list is perfect for helping you save weight in your pack while making sure you hit all of the essentials.

If this is your first backpacking trip, we recommend heading to your local retailer to try on different packs. You’ll quickly figure out if you want external or internal frame packs and how big of a pack you want to carry. No matter the length of your trip, our personal preference is to pack smarter and save weight on your pack. Also, make sure that the pack you buy has ample room for your backpacking tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camping stove, and all the other essentials you need to make this a successful backpacking trip.

And speaking of trying things on, an easy mistake is bringing a new pair of hiking boots on your trip without putting some miles on the trail and testing out those boots. You want to make sure your hiking boots are trail tested before you go on your backpacking trip. Test those hiking boots with different pairs of socks too. Comfort can vary significantly for each person. Some hikers like ultra-light, no padding socks, while others look for heavy-weight, knee-high hiking socks. No matter which thickness of the hiking socks you choose for your hiking boots, we recommend you go with the merino wool/nylon fiber blend we offer in our full line of socks. Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial, meaning no stink from socks in your backpacking tent. It also helps keep feet comfortable when wet, in case that creek crossing is higher than anticipated, and moves moisture away from the feet, helping to keep your feet dry and cozy for mile after mile on your backpacking trip.

You may be wondering what the best way to save on space in your pack is - our tried and tested method is by using backcountry gear that can be worn for multiple days without worrying about odors or damp clothing. Using natural fibers like our organically sourced cotton or merino wool is an excellent first step. Not needing a new base layer or pair of hiking socks for each day on your hike is an easy way to save space and weight (leaving plenty of room for more of your delicious trail mix). Our base layers are the best standalone base layer that can be worn as temps heat up, or they can be layered up for when the inevitable rainstorm catches you on the hike.

On the topic of rain, make sure you have solid, lightweight rain gear on your backpacking checklist. Stio offers a wide range of rain gear for backpacking trips. We have great super packable, lightweight rain jackets that pack down into a pocket and more sturdy rain jackets meant to take on the harsher elements of high-mountain backpacking trips. And while we may be biased, our rain pants are another must-have for any backpacking trips where you could experience a downpour versus a gentle morning rain. They are easy to slip on over shorts and offer the rain gear protection you need at a moment’s notice.

Alright. We think we’ve got you mostly packed. You figured out an internal frame is the pack you want to go with, and your boots have been on a few adventures before your trip. You’ve perfected the ratio of M&Ms to peanuts to almonds to chocolate chips for your trail mix and have loaded up your first aid kit for any misadventures on your backpacking trip. After testing out your base layers on your break-in-your-hiking-boots trips, you’ve realized the max number of base layers you’ll need to enjoy your trip while cutting back on the overall weight of your pack. And as a bonus, this means you have the space to throw in that pair of super cozy camp shoes you thought may be on your backpacking checklist cutting block (sorry, camp chair – we still couldn’t make room for you).

You’re set. You’ve nailed your backpacking checklist and are ready to break free from your office job to reconnect with nature. Find yourself in awe of your surroundings, basking in the purest mountain air, and lose yourself in the moment. We love the mountains just as much as you do and are excited to send you down the trail on your next outdoor adventure. As we wave from the door, wishing you well, don’t mind us as we yell out, “You forgot your sunscreen!” (We get the gear right. Apologies for missing the sunscreen.)

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