This page is a notebook of sorts for lightweight gear that I use or am interested in or I think readers will be interested in. It is really just a page for me to organize and store thoughts and ideas about lightweight backpacking gear, supplies, and techniques.
Lightweight Backpacking Books
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tool & Techniques to Hit the Trail, by Andrew Skurka. Andrew is one of the top backpacker’s in the world and has been named Adventurer of the Year by Outside Magazine.
- Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips: A Practical & Philosophical Guide (with Cartoons), by Mike Clelland. Mike is an extremely knowledgeable backpacker and NOLS instructor, as well as a great cartoonist. This is a fun book with the great tips on ultralight backpacking.
- Tenkara: Radically Simple, Ultralight Fly Fishing, by Kevin C. Kelleher. One of the first tenkara books. Not as detailed as some, but a good introduction to the topic.
Ultralight Gear Suppliers
- Dirty Girl Gaiters makes colorful gaiters for the ultralight hiking. Keeps the rocks out.
- Gossamer Gear makes backpacks, shelters, and other gear popular with ultralight backpackers.
- Hennessy Hammock makes the “coolest tent in the world” if you ready to try something different.
- Hyperlight Mountain Gear makes high-end backpacks and shelters from cuben fiber.
- Mountain Laurel Designs is well-known for its shelters and rain-mitts, among other types of ultralight gear.
- Montbell is known for ultralight down clothing and sleeping bags.
- Oware is known for reasonably priced tarps and bivy sacks.
- REI is not really the place to look for ultralight gear, but the Dash-2 and Big Agnes Fly Creek UL-2 tents might qualify, and it is a great place to get clothes and other odds and ends you need for camping. It often carries products from other suppliers, but check the weight and be sure what you are buying is light enough for you.
- Six-Moon Designs makes innovative packs, shelters and rain gear.
- Tarptent makes lightweight tents and shelters.
- Ultralight Adventure Equipment makes backpacks that are carried by many long-distance hikers.
- Western Mountaineering makes down sleeping bags, quilts, and clothing popular with ultralight backpackers.
- Yama Mountain Gear makes a variety of shelters in silnylon and cuben fiber models.
- Z-Packs makes cuben fiber packs, bivys, shelters, and other ultralight gear.
- Arc’teryx makes high performance clothing that is extremely well made and comfortable.
- Darn Tough socks were the Christmas gift of choice this year!
- Mountain Hardwear makes tough clothing that holds up in the outdoors.
- Patagonia makes tough light clothing, shoes, packs and other equipment. Their clothes are exceptional. I wouldn’t go outside without their Houdini wind shirt.
- Rab is a UK company that makes high-end, extremely comfortable outdoor clothing. Usually have to buy one size larger than normal.
- RailRiders makes “the toughest clothes on the planet” The Eco-Mesh pant is a favorite.
- Smartwool makes base layers and socks that can go for days without smelling too funky.
- Section Hiker has a nice review of the Tarpent Notch tent.
- The Stealth: A UL Tarptent from Trekkertent ( Section Hiker favorite)
- A nice review of the Big Agnes Scout UL 2 tent.
- Section Hiker review of the REI Dash-2 UL tent.
- Best ZPacks Hexamid Solo tent review I’ve read.
- Not a tent, but for sleeping outside, I just picked up a US Military Gore-Tex bivy bag for about $60 on Amazon. Paired with a $10 tarp from the hardware store, and you have a shelter system for less than $75.
- How to choose an ultralight tent or shelter by Section Hiker.
- Great review of various ultralight tents and shelters by Section Hiker.
- A must read if you are thinking about using a tarp for a shelter.
- Review of the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 tent.
- Excellent review of the Six Moon Designs Deschutes CF tarp, which I used on my last Colorado Trail adventure.
- Another great Section Hiker review of the popular Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 tent.
- Informative review of Six Moon Designs Fusion 65, my current favorite backpack.
- My own review of the Six Moon Designs Fusion 65 backpack.
- Thinking of a Gossamer Gear backpack? Section Hiker helps you decide which is right for you.
- Thorough review of the Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight backpack.
- Nice review of the ULA Circuit backpack. One of the favorites of thru-hikers.
- Excellent review of the 2016 model of the Gossamer Gear Mariposa backpack, a thru-hiker favorite.
- Review of the Z-Packs Arc Blast backpack.
- Section Hiker’s take on the Five Best Ultralight Backpacks for long-distance backpacking.
- Excellent review of the Osprey Exos-58 backpack, one of my favorites.
- Excellent article on how a backpack hip belt should fit.
- Section Hiker’s review of the Granite Gear Crown-2 backpack.
Other Gear Reviews
- One of the best ultralight gear pages out there is written by CleverHiker, Dave Collins.
- Resource page for the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers Ultralight Backpacking Course.
- Well done review of the Sawyer Mini Filter.
- Another excellent review of the Sawyer Mini Filter, which has now become my go-to filtering choice. I use it with a 1.5 liter Evernew “water carry” bag.
- Good discussion on the pros and cons of using the Sawyer water filters.
- Nice review of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm sleeping pad.
- Review of the Exped SynMat HyperLite Sleeping Pad.
- Looking for inexpensive rain gear? DriDucks may be for you. Excellent review.
- Extremely thorough review of the DeLorme inReach satellite communicator.
- Wes Siler has an extensive review of sleeping pads for both backpacking and camping.
- Thinking about switching to a quilt? Advice from someone who has.
- In the market for winter boots? Here is some good advice.
- Sober look at the MSR Windboiler stove that claims to be great in the wind.
- Everything you wanted to know about 2015 extermal UCB battery chargers for phones, etc.
- Excellent, thorough review of the Steripen Classic 3 for water purification.
- Review of the new JetBoil MiniMo stove.
- Review of Darn Tough socks.
- Section Hiker review of the ever popular Marmot Precip Rain Jacket.
- Good information here on SteriPEN units for water purification.
- Review of the Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt.
- Thorough review of the Garmin InReach satellite communicator with two-way communication ability.
The first advice we give to anyone who wants to lighten the weight of their backpack is “weigh everything.” But, once you do, you need some kind of spreadsheet to enter the weight into so you can make intelligent choices about what to take. Here are a few of our favorite speadsheets.
- Erik the Black, well known for his excellent trail guides, has a Backpacking Gear Planner Spreadsheet that we use to weight our gear when getting ready for a hike.
- BackpackingLight offers a Wilderness Trekking School Gear List and article that describes its use.
- BackpackingLight has a Gear List Contest and you can download the contest winners.
Eating on the Trail
- Vegetarian food from Outdoor Herbivore and a food review
- Dehydrated backpacking kits from Harmony House Foods
- One Pan Wonders backpacking meal ideas
- Dehydrating food for backpacking
- My backpacking dinners come to me as Christmas and birthday presents from Mary Janes Farm
Using Electronics on the Trail
- Using your smartphone in the backcountry.
- Excellent article on using your iPhone as a GPS device.
- Preserving and estimating phone charge on the trail.
- Looking for a lightweight backpacking tripod for your camera?
- Apple recommendations for improving battery life of phones and tablets.
- Nice Lighten that Pack! presentation for people just getting started with lightweight gear. For day hikers as well as backpackers.
- Another excellent presentation on lightweight backpacking for people starting out.
- List of various bear canisters with weights and volumes.
- Tips on seam sealing tarps and tents
- Another, excellent article, with pictures, for seam sealing silnylon shelters.
- Evernew “water carry” bags for use with Sawyer filters
- Ultralight First Aid kit.
- Need to be frugal? Here are suggestions for a complete backpacking kit for under $300.
- Here are suggestions for how to load a backpack.
- See many of these gear suggestions and others on my Pinterest Lightweight Backpacking board.
- Great advice and training program for getting ready for a long trail hike.
- Tips for hiking in snake country.
- Excellent video on how to hang your food “PCT style.”
- How to use an ursack. (My current backcountry strategy.)
- Here are some gear repair hacks.