Before shopping for a pack, consider how long you plan on backcountry camping. The longer you'll be exploring, the more supplies you'll need to bring. Our technical packs are available in a range of sizes to provide adequate space for all your gear. Search by the following sizes to help determine which backpacking pack you'll need:
- Overnight Explorations: 35 liters or less
- Weekend Adventures: 35-50 liters
- Longer Expeditions: 50-75 liters
After you've decided how long your trip will be, browse different pack styles to find the pack frame you need to succeed. Depending on the length of your trip, you may need a pack with a specific frame. Browse the following pack frames to determine which one is best for your adventure:
- Super-light frameless packs for quick explorations
- Mid-weight packs with internal frames and numerous pockets for longer adventures
- Heavy packs with rigid external frames to carry heavy loads for the longest expeditions
Mid-weight internal frame packs are a favorite for most backcountry campers, making them ideal for beginners to use while they discover nature's playground.
After you know which size and frame you'll need, pick a style. Generally, the pack you choose will come down to personal preference and how you like to organize your gear. However, there are technically innovative features you'll need to perform well in the backcountry. Shop for packs that include the following features:
- Rugged, durable, weatherproof materials
- Breathable innovations
- Hydration-compatible features
- Suspension systems for a comfortable, secure fit
- Dedicated sleeping bag compartments
- Fully adjustable straps
Sleeping bags designed for backpacking prioritize light weight and compactness. There are several factors to consider when buying a sleeping bag for your trip:
- Insulation: Synthetic insulation can keep you warm and dry, even in wet conditions. Down insulation is light and warm, but can't perform as well in rainy or wet elements. You can choose full synthetic, full down or a mix of both to fit your preferences and backcountry location.
- Warmth: Sleeping bags are rated for warmth. Consider what time of year you plan on going camping to determine which sleeping bag rating you'll need. Summer bags are good for conditions where the weather is above 32 degrees. Three-season bags are rated between 10 degrees and 32 degrees to keep you cool and comfortable throughout most of the year. For winter camping, look for bags that have a rating lower than 10.
- Shape: Most backpacking sleeping bags are mummy-shaped to reduce weight and space in your pack, while also providing insulation and comfort through the night.
When camping in the backcountry, your apparel should be breathable, warm and protective. Look for backcountry camping apparel made from synthetics or wool for superior comfort and durability.
While everyone has preferences for what apparel to wear in the backcountry, there are some basics you'll need to keep you comfortable in specific locations and seasons. Plan on wearing the same clothes for most of the trip to make room for other essentials in your pack. Consider wearing the following men's camping apparel or women's camping apparel on your adventure for extra protection and comfort from the elements:
- Pants/Shorts: Choose synthetic pants or shorts that provide durability, weatherproof features, breathability and a full range of motion for days at a time.
- T-shirt: A shirt made of synthetic material or merino wool should serve as your first layer of protection.
- Fleece or hoodie: Your mid-layer should be a fleece or hoodie, crafted of either synthetic material or merino wool.
- Lightweight jacket: For a fully insulated jacket that packs up small, consider bringing an insulated or down jacket.
- Beanie: Grab a hat that keeps your ears and head warm.
- Socks: A good pair of hiking socks can last for two days easily, sometimes longer.
- Light gloves: A light pair of gloves will keep your fingers toasty without adding too much weight.
Before picking a pair of hiking shoes, plan out where your backcountry camping trip will take place. The area you choose may decide which type of protective footwear you need. Consider the following factors when choosing the best men's hiking boots or women's hiking boots for your trip:
- Weight: The more heavy-duty the hiking boot, the more it will weigh. Of course, with that weight, you get durability, protection, ankle support and often waterproofing that you'll need to travel across rough, rugged terrain.
- Ankle support: Ankle support can help you continue through rocky ground. Look for hiking boots with uppers that go above your ankle and provide a secure fit around the heel for durable, reliable support throughout your expedition.
- Waterproofing: Depending on where you're exploring, you may need waterproof features to keep your feet comfortable and dry.
- Stability: When hiking over rough terrain, a thick and rigid sole promotes extra comfort and offers more protection.