If you are starting to get interested in going out on multi-day backpacking trips, you might have heard a lot about different pieces of equipment you need to buy.
All of this equipment can be overwhelming, especially if you have never gone backpacking before, and that’s why I have prepared this How To Choose Backpacking Equipment For Beginners and explains what to look for when purchasing backpacking equipment for potential backpackers.
How to choose a tent
Picking the right tent for you can be a little tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several things you should consider when choosing a tent. First of all, what is your budget? How much do you want to spend? The more money you spend on a tent, the better quality and durability it will have. But if this is your first time backpacking, you might not want to spend a lot of money on your gear until you know what works best for you.
Next, think about where you will be backpacking. If you plan to go on long backpacking trips in harsher conditions, then buying a pricey tent might be worth the money. If you plan to backpack in milder conditions, purchasing a lower-priced or cheaper tent is probably a good idea.
It will also help save some money if you decide that backpacking isn’t for you. You won’t feel as bad losing or breaking an affordable tent as one that costs $250-$300 or more.
Next, up is how many people will be using the tent? Will it just be one person or more? If it’s just one person, buying a small 2-person tent might not make sense because there will be extra space inside. On the other hand, you don’t want to be limited by the size of your tent when planning an adventure where you’ll be away from civilization.
The next thing to consider is what you’re hoping to get out of your tent. Some people like to have separate rooms in their tents (one for sleeping, one for storing gear), while others prefer a single room design; this decision is entirely up to you.
Finally, think about how well your tent stands up against rain and wind. This might limit your options if you live in an area with heavy weather year-round, but it’s a good idea to ask yourself this question before you buy any tent.
How to choose a sleeping bag
Choosing the right sleeping bag can be a complicated process. There are many different styles of sleeping bags, and each one has its unique pros and cons. But even when you have decided what type of sleeping bag you need and have found one that fits your budget, there are still a few more things to consider before making a purchase. First, let us look at the different styles and price ranges of sleeping bags available:
Backpacking Style Sleeping Bags:
These are the most popular sleeping bags among backpackers. They are lightweight and designed to be used in all four seasons. They usually weigh between 2 and 5 pounds. The most important feature to look for in this style is durability, as they will most likely see some rough conditions while backpacking. Backpacking sleeping bags tend to be on the more expensive side, but they also tend to last longer than other styles of sleeping bags.
Heat-Friendly Sleeping Bags:
These are great for warmer weather because they help regulate body temperature. They use insulation technology to keep you warm by trapping a layer of air next to your body that acts as an insulator, creating an ideal microclimate for warmth.
Down-Insulated Sleeping Bags:
A down insulated sleeping bag will be light, compact, and warm to ensure you are comfortable during your time outdoors. There are several types of down insulated sleeping bags available on the market today. These include:
Compressed: These bags are compressed into a form that can easily be stored in a compartment or a backpack. This makes it easy to carry around with you while you travel. The material is lightweight, so it will not weigh you down when you are carrying it with you on your travels.
Mummy: These sleeping bags have been cut in such a way that they can be shaped around the body for warmth and comfort during the night. The body heat will help keep you warm throughout the night as there is less room for air to get inside the bag.
Sleeping Quilt: Similar to a standard sleeping bag, this one has extra space for blankets underneath for added warmth. The bag is lighter than others on the market and allows for free movement of arms and legs
How to choose your backpack
Backpacks are the most important piece of equipment a hiker will use. They house all your gear and provide your body with the support and structure it needs to carry those items day after day. A poorly fitting backpack can cause pain in your shoulders, neck, and lower back. A good backpack will enhance your comfort level by properly aligning your body, distributing the weight evenly on both shoulders and eliminating hot spots. That is why choosing a suitable package for you is so important. Here are the essentials for beginners:
Backpack size: The size of the backpack depends on your height, weight and the length of your trip. You can get by with a 40- to 50-litre pack for weekend trips and short excursions. For loads between 40 and 60 litres, opt for an internal frame with waist and chest straps. Packs over 60 litres are designed for carrying heavier loads for longer distances or for people who like to bring extra equipment.
Pack shape and size: Internal frames usually come in rectangular shapes sized according to torso length. External frames are more compact but can be adjusted to fit various torso sizes. Women might find outer edges comfortable because they allow movement without causing chafing against the hips.
How to choose your shoes
It might seem like a fundamental question, but choosing the right pair of shoes for backpacking can be a bit tricky. The first thing you need to do is decide how much time you’ll spend on your feet. If you plan on doing a lot of miles, having a solid and sturdy shoe that can take the constant pounding and pressure from your hiking boots is important.
Traction is another important factor you should consider when choosing your shoes. Do you find yourself on slippery surfaces often? Is it the rainy season where you are going to hike? Having good traction will make sure your journey will be safe and enjoyable.
Durability should also be considered when choosing backpacking equipment. Being able to wear the same pair for multiple hikes is always lovely, especially if you have a minimalist approach to travel. The more gear you carry, the heavier your backpack will be, so having one less item to take is always a plus!
The last thing you want when backpacking is to feel uncomfortable or have sore feet at the end of the day. Your shoes must fit well and are comfortable so that you can enjoy the journey. Too small or too large can cause blisters or cause discomfort throughout the day, so it’s essential to consider your size specifically when selecting shoes
How to choose Weather-appropriate clothing
If you’re hiking in the summer, lightweight and breathable is the way to go. If you’re walking in the winter, you want something that keeps you warm. But what about spring or fall? The weather is unpredictable in these seasons, so make sure you have a good mix of lightweight and outerwear.
Cotton clothing is versatile and breathable, which means it can be used in almost any season. While cotton doesn’t insulate against the cold, it’s still important to dress warmly enough that you don’t feel too hot on your first few outings.
Waterproof pants will protect against rain and mud, while breathable hiking pants with pockets will keep you dry.
Gloves and hats keep your hands and head warm in cold weather, while sun protection is vital for sunny days in summer. A hat can also help keep your ears from getting too cold at night.
Rain Jackets: Rain jackets are an essential piece of gear for any backpacking trip, even if it’s just a day hike. The best ones are made with waterproof material and have hoods that cover your face when it rains.
Shorts: Depending on how warm you need to be on the trail, shorts will either be unnecessary or too warm. For example, if you’re hiking in cold climates, you won’t need shorts at all —wear some tights or leggings under your pants.
Socks: Socks are your first line of defence against blisters and other foot problems. Wear them every day because having good socks can take years off your life expectancy…or prevent them completely! Neoprene socks are waterproof, making them ideal for backpacking in wet environments like river crossings or snow-covered trails. Alternatively, cotton socks are warmer and more breathable than fleece
How to choose a Small repair kit
Backpacking is about having the right backpack and having a comprehensive set of backpacking equipment. The small repair kit is a must for any backpacking trip. This is why it’s important to know what should go inside your small repair kit, how to use each of its components, and where you should keep it.
The Small Repair Kit contains duct tape (or gaffers tape), a needle and thread, a lighter, a razor blade, and some paracord. You might also consider adding chapstick or sunscreen as they can get lost in your bag easily, and you don’t want to get burnt during your hike because you forgot them.
The role of this kit is to fix minor problems with your gear that would otherwise require extensive repairs or replacement. You can use it to fix broken zippers or adjust loose straps. It can even save you from getting stuck in the wild if you find yourself without your backpack (or any other essential piece of equipment).
If you are new to backpacking and unsure which items are necessary for your trips, it’s best to start with the basics and add more gear as you learn about new activities.
Finally, It is no surprise that the very first step for choosing backpacking equipment for beginners is figuring out what budget you want to stick to. If you have limited funds, you might have to create a list of potential pieces of equipment that would work on the lower end of your budget.
However, whenever possible, try to plan out your backpacking trip ahead of time. This will let you know what you need to bring with you and eliminate any guesswork during the packing process. Also, remember that when you are in the woods, whatever you carry with you will be weighing down on your shoulders.
The fewer things you bring with you, the better off you will be. This is why it might be a good idea to leave electronics at home and only bring along your essentials like toiletries and clothing.