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Essential Backpacking Gear: 15 Items I Can’t Hike Without

Written By: Noel Krasomil

If you’re on a quest for essential backpacking gear — the top-notch items that’ll enrich your life on the trail — you’ve come to the right place. Why? Because I’m a hopeless ultralight backpacking junkie, and I’m itching to nerd out over my 15 all-time favorite pieces of gear.

Health, happiness, and comfort in the backcountry have a lot to do with the gear you bring along. The items you pack will become your bliss or your burden every single step of the way. The choice is yours.

I’ve poured countless hours of my life and thousands of my hard-earned dollars into my backpacking habit. So, take a look through all of the lightweight, durable, and versatile gear that I bring along on my overnight trips and swear by wholeheartedly.

After my gear recommendations, I’ve included a complete backpacking checklist and a few tips to help you find some unbeatable gear of your own.

So, without further ado, here are the very best pieces of backpacking gear I’ve ever laid hands on — the essentials, if you will.

LAST UPDATED

May 7, 2022

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The Packable Life

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Hello, world. I’m Noel Krasomil, the guy behind The Packable Life. I’m a trail-seeking, deal-finding, street food-devouring, blog-obsessed 30-something from Colorado, U.S.A. I have been a full-time travel writer for over a year, with no end in sight.

I created The Packable Life to inspire others to travel, hike, and blog with purpose — to grow stronger, more focused, and more inspired every day on the road. I want to challenge you to pack lighter, travel longer, hike farther, and blog smarter.

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My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick

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Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz
Writer

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The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
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