As much as I love REI, or any gear store really, who are we kidding, I’m like a kid in a candy store in there! But I live out in the middle of nowhere in the Colorado Rockies. So, there aren’t exactly a plethora of local hiking and camping gear retailers out here.
As a Prime member, I end up buying a lot of things on Amazon. When it comes to hiking and camping gear, I’ll check Amazon first especially for smaller/inexpensive gear items, and any consumable items I take on the trail. Although, if there’s a bigger ticket item you know you want specifically, it’s always worth checking it out on Amazon for a price comparison. If you aren’t even sure exactly what gear you still need, download the Ultimate Backpacking Gear Checklist for free before you go shopping.
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Must have hiking and camping gear from Amazon
- A backpacking pack for overnights. I can’t speak highly enough about Osprey packs, so if you’re looking for a backpacking pack, check out this Osprey Variant 52-Liter Backpack while you can find cheaper packs out there, they’re also usually a couple pounds heavier. Ouch. And you can also find lighter more expensive packs out there as well, but I think this is one is a great compromise on price and weight.
- A day hiking pack for day hikes. Again, sticking with Osprey here, if you need a day pack, check out this Osprey Hikelite 26-liter daypack. I know this isn’t the cheapest day pack, but if you’re going to be getting into longer day hikes (think 6, 8, 10 hours or longer) you’re going to want a high quality, high comfort pack on your shoulders.
- A sleeping pad. I currently use the Thermarest ProLite and it is very comfortable, but honestly it’s a little heavier than I would like and am in the market for a new one. Top of my list is the Thermarest Z Lite Sol pad.
- A sleeping bag. This 32 degree Hyke and Byke down bag is a great middle of the road option as far as price, warmth, and weight. Think about where you’ll be camping most though, because a 32 degree bag might not be warm enough if you camp out a lot in cooler climates or cold shoulder seasons.
- A cook pot and stove. You don’t need a full on 14-piece camping cookset or anything like that, literally just a pot like this to put your food in, a camping stove to heat it up on, and then a spoon or spork to eat the food out of the pot with. I have used and loved my SnowPeak GigaPower stove for many years now and recommend it if you’re looking for a camp stove.
- An ultralight titanium spork. A fellow hiker swears this titanium spork is her #1 must have piece of gear – and after breaking several plastic camp spoons and sporks myself, mostly trying to eat ice cream out of the carton on zero days, I understand why!
- Water treatment or filter. I like to use Aquamira drops because they are very small and light to carry, but some hikers prefer to use a filter or SteriPen instead.
- First aid kit! Please always carry a first aid kit with you, even if you’re just going out on a short day hike. Be sure to really check it over once or twice a year to replace anything that’s been used or has expired.
- A rain jacket. I pretty much always carry a rain jacket with me, and keep one in my car, not only for rain but it also doubles as an extra layer in it’s colder than I expected out.
- A headlamp. I also always keep a headlamp in my pack, whether I’m backpacking or day hiking, just in case I end up out later than I expected. I’ve used the same Black Diamond Spot for many years and it’s still going strong.
- SuperFeet insoles. After working in a small gear shop and learning the in’s and out’s of their shoe department, I found out that the insoles that come in your hiking or running shoes, aren’t really made to be used. They’re cheap and temporary and will get smooshed down to nothing really quickly under the full weight of a pack or the repetitive pounding from running. Invest in some good insoles like SuperFeet instead to actually support your feet while hiking. I also find that I can stretch out the life of my shoes by just replacing the insoles if they start to feel too worn out, rather than buying new shoes all together.
- Deuce of Spades trowel. I always carry my poop kit with me, even on day hikes! Because you just never know. When I say poop kit, I mean a quart size ziploc bag, with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and this trowel in it. It’s super light, pretty compact, and easy to tuck away in any pocket or compartment of my pack.
- A quick dry travel towel. (Yes, a towel, not a duplicate trowel.) Just a small one 😉 It is so worth it to be able to really wipe off, wash off and then dry off during a backpacking trip! I use a small quick drying travel towel like this to dry off after rain storms, to wash myself in the backcountry, then wring it out really well and use it again to dry off afterward.
- Emergency blankets. Okay, you should really only carry one emergency blanket at a time as a hiker or backpacker – this 6 count might be excessive. But I have a feeling if you ever do have to use one out on the trail, you might not want to fold it up and reuse it, may as well throw a new one in your first aid kit and hike on.
- An ultralight pillow. Some hikers swear by just rolling up whatever clothes or jacket they might have laying around to use as a pillow…. but my predicament hiking and camping in the Rockies is that I’m always wearing all my layers and clothes at night! While a luxury, I appreciate my OutMore camping pillow, and for less than 3 ounces, it’s worth it.
I hope this list helps you fill in the gaps so you can get everything you need to complete your hiking gear stash. If you’re new to camping and backpacking, be sure to
download the Complete Backpacking Gear Checklist
before you go.
Let us know your must have hiking and camping gear items in the comments below!
For more tips and recommendations on the best backpacking gear, check out:
- How to choose a backpacking pack
- The ultimate guide to the best backpacking tents
- How to choose a hiking sleeping bag
- The 10 Essentials of Hiking