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The Evolution of Backpacking Gear

Backpacking and thru-hiking gear are experiencing an evolutionary change. Few innovations had occurred in outdoor gear for decades. Thankfully, the new millennium brought about several shifts that have benefited the backpacking and thru-hiking community immensely.

The rise of blogging in the early 2000s, followed by increased social media use in the 2010s, contributed to an increased awareness of some of the lesser-known gear makers in the United States. Suddenly, cottage industry companies like Mountain Laurel Designs, Zpacks, and Western Mountaineering had a platform and a voice.

As backpacking and thru-hiking has become more popular, the chatter around gear has increased. More entrepreneurs are joining the industry every year, and their influence is pushing the name-brand gear companies to innovate and evolve as well.

Suddenly backpackers wishing to drop pounds of weight don’t have to own a sewing machine or dish out thousands of dollars for gear. The industry is booming and we’re benefiting.

See the full article by Lisa Pulsifer on the Trek's website here.


May 7, 2022

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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


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

Pete Ortiz


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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