By Eric Friend
My Go To Hiking/Backpacking Gear!
The purpose of this blog is not to compare a ton of products against one another but simply to give me a chance to outline what I use and why. I’ve used many different brands and types of items for hiking and backpacking and it took me a while to really find what works the best for me. If you are a traveling or adventure enthusiast, I hope this helps you find great gear to invest in that you end up loving as well 😀
about the blog
My photography blog, where adventure meets aperture and wanderlust waltzes with white balance! I’m your globetrotting guide, capturing the world one breathtaking snapshot at a time, with a side of snark and a dash of daring. Join me as I unveil photography’s best-kept secrets, spill the beans on the trendiest gear, and serve up a smorgasbord of tips and tricks to elevate your travel photography game. Fasten your camera straps, folks; we’re about to embark on a thrilling journey through the viewfinder!
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Before I had the money to buy a nice backpacking backpack, I just used whatever I could get my hands on and honestly, backpacking was pretty miserable. I can’t begin to explain the difference it makes when you have a good backpacking pack that helps distribute weight as you hike. These Osprey backpacks are the best backpacking bags I’ve used! I currently have the women’s AG 65 bag but that’s so I can fit my camera gear in it along with my clothes, and other backpacking essentials. I would say most of the time you could get away with a AG 50 bag. The less you can get away with carrying, the better!
Here are some options for both men and women.
I have the Ultralight, Aluminum, 3 person tent (because we have a pup). Otherwise, the 2 person tent would work great. This tent is incredibly easy to set up and take down. The full net cover and removable rain cover makes it easy to stargaze or make it through a rainstorm depending on what conditions you encounter. I have had this tent for about 4 years and it is still in perfect condition despite being heavily used. It’s also a great looking tent which is fun for taking adventure photos 😀
The first backpacking trip I went on I was sleeping on a $20 blow up floaty that was claiming to be a backpacking pad…. I will say that I got ZERO sleep for 3 days. After deciding it was time to get something I could use long term, I did hours of research and settled on this Therm-A-Rest sleeping pad. I have had no reason to look elsewhere after this purchase. This self-inflating pad is extremely comfortable, well insulated for year round use, and has a special valve that ensures lighting-fast inflation and deflation. With all these features it still only weighs only 29 ounces!
Never did I ever know that a pillow could fold up to be so tiny! This pillow blows up to be a decent size but when deflated, it takes up less space than the fist of your hand. It is very durable to the point where I’ve seen people not only use it to sleep but use it as a little pad to sit on when you don’t want to bring a camping chair. I think what makes me love this pillow so much is the ability to fine-tune the pillow pressure. The covering is so soft that when you get the perfect amount of air in the pillow, it’s as close to a regular sleeping pillow as it gets.
I’m the type of person who wants one good thing that works all the time. When I started searching for a sleeping bag, I wanted something I could use in as many conditions as possible. I am proud to say that I have never needed to buy another sleeping bag as this one has worked perfectly for me! That being said, I don’t usually camp in weather less than 25 F so if you love the freezing cold weather camping, I can’t say if this will be your best pick. For all other seasons, I have comfortably used this bag for the last 4 years. Once again, you get all this for 2.13 lbs of weight while hiking.
I keep waiting for the day that I feel the need to upgrade this mini stove and it still hasn’t come. It’s been too nice having such a tiny easy little flame to carry around. This little stove boils 1 liter of water in less than 4 minutes and comes with a little hot safe bowl to easily work with. I’ve used this for dehydrated backpacking food, oatmeal, ramen, tea, coffee, etc. It’s a quick light way to get some food ready to go.
About 4 years ago I went backpacking in Havasupai. We had heard the stories of the killer squirrels and honestly didn’t know if it was true. Just to be safe, we got a rodent/bear safe bag to hold all our food. Two of the girls on the trip were not so lucky… They woke up on the last morning with mini bite marks throughout all their food. We were lucky it was the last day otherwize this could have been extremely unfortunate. Bears are what most people think about and are definitely something you want to treat seriously but don’t underestimate small animals. I have been to more locations where mice and other small animals are what is trying to get your food. This sack includes odor proof sacks to make sure it’s safe from bears as well.
I’ve used 3 other filters prior to this one and all were annoying to use or got clogged constantly. This one keeps the water tasting great and is able to produce up to two quarts of water in one minute. If you go anywhere without sure access to clean water, having something like this is a must!
Peak is one of my favorite brands of backpacking food, it’s great to get it in bulk to keep around that house as emergency food storage and then you have it to grab and go. These taste great and are extremely filling which I didn’t expect!
I have had this Osprey Travel Backpack for 6 years!!! I use it on almost every foreign trip I go on. It works perfectly when you are taking trains or flights or bouncing between hostels. If I really need to, I’ve used it as a backpacking backpack as well and it’s doable for shorter hikes. It’s never failed me to fit as a carry on since it has a removable day pack.
This backpack makes it easy to combine your bags when you need to carry both and then remove and use the day pack when you can leave the large bag in your hostel/hotel.