Smaller is Better – Talking Backpacking

Smaller is Better – at Least for Backpacking

This is the follow up to Backpacking = Hiking on Steroids I wrote last week. In this article you will learn more about packing essentials for backpacking and how they vary from camping gear. The number one thing to think about when choosing gear is weight. This is a big concern since you will be carrying it on your back the entire time. It helps to go with a camp buddy as then you can split the burden.

For example, two people can share one tent as well as one bear canister. I mention these two items because they are two of the largest and bulkiest items that take up a ton of space. From there, a couple other items that don’t take up as much space but are optional to share are a cook stove and water filtration system. Beyond that, each person is going to need their own sleeping bag as well as other essentials gear items that I’ll cover. This is where choosing small, light, and easy to pack items is really important.

Top 9 Items Specific to Backpacking vs. Camping:

  1. Tent – backpacking tent is much smaller in size and lighter than a standard camping tent. It will usually sleep 1-2 people.
  2. Sleep pad – this goes under your sleeping bag since you won’t have an air mattress. It makes for a much more comfortable night’s sleep.
  3. Compression bag – these are amazing for compressing your sleeping bag down to about a tenth of it’s size! It saves a ton of space.
  4. Lantern – this is very small making it super packable and runs on batteries, not propane.
  5. Stove – a single burner that uses a small fuel container, much smaller in size than the the common lantern fuel containers used for camping.
  6. Cookset – I use a combination pan, bowl, plate and cup all combined into a single cook set. It packs small because one fits inside the other for less storage space.
  7. Eating utensils – you will use the same utensils for each meal, so forget about the disposable ones. It’s nice to have a case to put them into to keep them clean.
  8. Collapsible sink – this is to wash your cookware, dishes and eating utensils in. This will fold up to smaller than a deck of cards.
  9. Food – MREs (meals ready to eat) work excellent and are small in size as compared to bulk foods. You can get them at a military surplus store or an outdoor retail shop like REI.

If you are looking to get into backpacking,
hopefully you got some solid info that you can apply from this article. My intention was to differentiate backpacking gear from camping gear to keep your load light while maintaining function. I hope that you enjoy an awesome first trip or at least gain some knowledge that you didn’t know before reading this. Get out into the great outdoors and start living your life to the optimum as soon as possible!

*The mentioning of this outdoor equipment company in this article is for the sole purpose of helping the reader to locate similar products mentioned in this article. I do not receive any compensation for my endorsement.

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About the Author:

Melissa Allen is a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist residing in El Cajon, California, where she owns and operates Optimum Condition. Her goal is to empower people through fitness, education and coaching.