Backpacking Gear Reviews – What’s actually good?

As someone that backpacks around 1000 miles a year, I need to have gear that works. There’s nothing more frustrating than being in the wilderness only to discover that a piece of gear has failed, or that it’s not working as expected. Fortunately, when this has happened to me I’ve been able to avoid most dangerous situations, but I have had to bail from some trips.

I hope that my backpacking gear reviews can help you! If any of what I write means that you can spend less time figuring out gear and more time backpacking, I’ll take it as a win!

I intend to add detailed reviews of gear that I have used extensively. I do not think that all gear is worthy of a review, but some certainly is. Does the Bear Vault 500 really need to be reviewed? Does it matter if a backpack I used for over 300 miles was perfectly adequate, but not exceptional? Probably not. I’ll only post long-form reviews for gear that I think stands out, either because it’s exceptional or because a lot of folks seem to use it and I really think there’s better gear that’s worth mentioning.

If you would like me to test something out, please feel free to get in touch! I will not opine about any gear that I’ve used until I’ve used it for at least 300 miles.

The Gear I Aggressively Defend

Exceptional Gear

Gear I Often Use (’cause there’s nothing better?)

  • Black Diamond FLZ Trekking Poles
  • Black Diamond Alpine Cork Trekking Poles
  • Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket
  • Platypus Quick Draw Filter (better than Sawyer Squeeze)
  • LokSak OpSaks
  • Bare Boxer Bear Canister
  • Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers
  • Icebreaker Tech Lite Short Sleeve Crew
  • Talenti Jar
  • Garmin InReach Mini

Other Gear Worth Mentioning

The Backpacking Gear I don’t Care For

  • ULA Backpacks
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket (wets out too quickly. There’s better)
  • Altra Timps
  • SPOT GenIII Tracker
  • La Sportiva Wildcats
  • La Sportiva Ultra Raptors
  • Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Pants
  • ZPacks bear bag kit (bag)
  • Smartwool Socks
  • Smartwool T-Shirts
  • Frogg Toggs Rain Suit
  • Hiking Boots (for snowshoeing they’re fine)
  • MSR Whisperlite stove
  • Prana Stretch Zion Convertible Pants
  • Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

If you find any of my backpacking gear reviews useful, please feel free to share them with your friends. Please let me know if you end up using anything based on my recommendations, and how it works out for you!

Abbreviated List of Other Gear I’ve Extensively Tested

  • Outdoor Research Helium Pants
  • MLD Prophet
  • MLD Duomid
  • Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60L
  • Osprey Exos
  • Osprey Talon
  • ULA Photon Backpack
  • Mountain Hardware LightPath2
  • Marmot Pulsar
  • Tarptent Stratospire
  • Stabilicers
  • REI Mojave Sleeping Bag
  • Platypus, Camelbacks, and other Hydration Bladders
  • Various Petzl and Black Diamond Headlamps
  • Nitecore NU25 Headlamp
  • Petzl e+lite
  • Various Snowshoes — the type of snowshoe to get is highly dependent on the kind of snowshoeing expected
  • Hoka Speedgoat shoes
  • Various Lems shoes
  • Prana Brion Pants

* the best purchase of my child-life was an Unlimited Edition Black Lotus

Scroll to Top