Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Backpacking Gear of 2022

Our backpacking experts pick the best backpacking gear available from tents to stoves, and packs to pads
Best Backpacking Gear of 2022
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
By Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Tuesday June 28, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

We've taken the time to list all of our favorite backpacking gear in one place. This dream list has options for any type of trail treader. Whether you love to go fast with the lightest gear on the market or prefer a more leisurely hiking adventure with lavish, comfortable gear, we've got options. We also consider the best value options to help you save money. Links are provided below to each review if you want more info on any product or category.

Editor's Note: We updated this article on June 28, 2022, to incorporate our latest picks for Trekking Poles.


backpacking gear - exploring colorado's rocky mountain wilderness with the aura ag 50.
Exploring Colorado's Rocky Mountain wilderness with the Aura AG 50.
Credit: Briana Valorosi

Backpacking Backpacks


Finding the right backpack is one of the most essential backpacking trip decisions. Getting the right balance in weight, storage, cost, and comfort is key, but needs to fit with your intended use and budget. We've tested more than 200 backpacks, putting each through an intensive evaluation and rating process.

Backpacking packs are designed to carry large loads (30-50 pounds) for multiple days and usually range between 50-80 liters in capacity. If you plan to hike long distances with smaller loads, see below for ultralight packs.

Unisex and Men's Backpacks


Many backpacks are designed to be used by men or women, with a unisex design, Most men use this kind of pack, while most women prefer a pack designed specifically for women (see our picks below). Here are our review's top picks for unisex/men's backpackinf packs.

Best Overall Backpacking Backpack

Granite Gear Blaze 60

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Best Bang for the Buck

REI Co-op Flash 55

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Backpacks Designed for Women


Most, but not all, women will prefer a pack designed specifically for women. Women's models often have shorter torso lengths available, narrower shoulder widths, and waist belts designed for the angle of women's hips.

Best Overall Women's Pack for All-Around Comfort

Gregory Deva 60

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Best Bang for Your Buck

Osprey Renn 65

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Ultralight Backpacks


Ultralight backpacks are for experienced hikers that want to reduce weight and carry only the bare essentials. These packs are best suited for light pack loads of 10-25 pounds and can work reasonably well for heavier loads too. If your pack load is above 30 pounds, we'd recommend a traditional pack.

Best Overall Ultralight Backpack

Gossamer Gear Mariposa

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Best Bang for the Buck

Osprey Exos 48

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Hydration Bladders


You might also want to consider a hydration bladder that most backpacks can accommodate, to help you keep hydrated on the trail.

Best Overall Hydration Bladder

Gregory 3D Hydro

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Best Bang for the Buck

Platypus Hoser

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backpacking gear - this lightweight wonder is comfortable and durable.
This lightweight wonder is comfortable and durable.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Tents for Backpacking


Our experts have put hundreds of tents to the test, and can help you find just the right balance between weight, comfort, packed size, and cost. Whether you are looking for a traditional backpacking tent, or the lightest possible shelter you can find, we've got you covered.

Backpacking Tents


Best Overall Backpacking Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

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Excellent Balance of Features and Weight

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+

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Ultralight Tents and Shelters


Best Overall Single-Wall Ultralight Tent

ZPacks Duplex Flex Upgrade

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Best Double Wall Semi-Freestanding Tent

Durston X-Mid 1P

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Bivy Sacks


Best Overall Bivy Sack

Outdoor Research Helium Bivy

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Best Bang for Your Buck

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy

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Hammocks


It is worth nothing that some ultralight backpacking enthusiasts skip a tent entirely and use a bivy sack or an innovative backpacking hammock instead.

Best for Backcountry Shelter

Warbonnet Original Blackbird

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Best for Backyards

Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip

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backpacking gear
Credit: ian McEleney

Sleeping Bags and Pads


The perfect night's sleep on the trail can be elusive, especially when trying to minimize the weight of your pack. Our backcountry experts spent thousands of nights, sleeping in the top models on the market, to help you choose the right now. Whether you need a traditional bag for men or women or an ultralight quilt, our team can recommend the right bag or pad for you.

Unisex and Men's Backpacking Sleeping Bags



Best Overall Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Western Mountaineering MegaLite

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Best Budget Down Sleeping Bag

Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30

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Backpacking Sleeping Bags Designed for Women



Best Overall Women's Sleeping Bag

Feathered Friends Egret UL 20 - Women's

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A More Spacious Overall Favorite

Sierra Designs Cloud 800 - Women's

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Ultralight Sleeping Bags



Best Overall

Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL

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The Best Ultralight Hooded Mummy Bag

Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20

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Backpacking Sleeping Pads



Best Overall Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm

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Best for Ultralight Adventures

Klymit Static V2

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Backpacking Sleeping Pads Designed for Women



Best Overall Women's Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's

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Best Bang for the Buck

REI Co-op AirRail Plus - Women's

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backpacking gear - this stove is less stable than the competition. our testers...
This stove is less stable than the competition. Our testers recommend using smaller volume (less than 1L) cookware.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Backpacking Stoves and Kitchen


Our backcountry culinary crew compares the best stove and backcountry cooking setups so you can create your ultimate kitchen away from home.

Backpacking Stoves



Best Overall Backpacking Stove

Soto Windmaster

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High Value and Ultralight

Soto Amicus

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Camping Cookware



Best Base Camping Cookware

GSI Pinnacle Camper

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Best Personal Cooker

Stanley Adventure Base Camp

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Backpacking Chair



Best Overall Backpacking Chair

Big Agnes Skyline UL

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Best Bang for the Buck

Moon Lence Camp Chair

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Pocket Knives



Best Overall Pocket Knife

Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585

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Best Lightweight Pocket Knife

Kershaw Leek

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Sporks



Best Overall

Snow Peak Titanium Spork

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Best Bang For Your Buck

humangear GoBites Uno

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Energy Bars



Best Overall Energy Bar

Kate's Real Food

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Most Loved Quick Snack

Justin's Maple Almond Butter

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backpacking gear
Credit: Amber King

Backpacking Water Filters


Carrying water (and making sure it's safe to drink) is the most basic and essential backpacking need. We look at everything from high-volume water filters to options that weigh less than a cell phone and can be used in seconds. Be sure to also check out our reviews of water bottles and hydration bladders too.

Best Overall Filter for Group Use

Platypus GravityWorks

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Best Overall Filter for Personal Use

Sawyer Squeeze

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Best Bang for Your Buck

Aquamira Water Treatment Drops

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backpacking gear - a good pair of hiking boots will give you the confidence to hike in...
A good pair of hiking boots will give you the confidence to hike in all kinds of conditions.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Footwear


Happy feet make for a happy hike. We do side-by-side comparisons of the best backpacking footwear whether you are going 10 miles or 1000+. From the best traditional hiking boots to lighter hiking shoes and trail running options, we've got your feet covered.

Men's Hiking Boots



Best Overall Hiking Boots

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex

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Best Bang for the Buck

Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof

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Women's Hiking Boots



Best Overall Women's Hiking Boot

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX - Women's

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Best Bang for the Buck

Salomon OUTline Mid GTX - Women's

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Trekking Poles



Best Overall Trekking Pole for Men

MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon

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Best Overall Trekking Pole for Women

Black Diamond Distance Z

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backpacking gear
Credit: Bligh Gillies

Backpacking Clothing Essentials


Finding the right layers for men and women can make bad weather a mere nuisance and not a morale crusher. Check out our How to Layer Clothing to Keep Warm article to help develop a strategy to stay warm.

Men's Down Jackets


Down is the lightest and warmest insulator you can find, but not all down jackets are created equal. We've spent months testing more than 55 of the best down jackets to find our favorites.

Best Overall Down Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2

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Best Bang for Your Buck

MontBell Superior Down

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Women's Down Jackets


There are many choices when it comes to lightweight down jackets designed for women, and we've put more than 40 of them through extensive field testing. Here are our favorites.

Best Overall Women's Down Jacket

Feathered Friends Eos - Women's

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Excellent for Alpine Objectives

Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket - Women's

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Men's Base Layers


A quality base layer is the kick-off point of having functional clothing set up for getting outside to play. Our expert review will help you find the perfect base layer top to regulate body temperature, wick away moisture, and keep you comfortable.

Best Overall Base Layer

SmartWool Merino 250 Crew

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Best Lightweight Base Layer

Meriwool Midweight Thermal

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Women's Base Layers


A solid base layer top sits right next to your skin, and its biggest job is to keep moisture off your skin while providing comfort. Our picks will help you find the best base layer top that'll have you lookin' fine while keeping you safe from cold weather.

Best Merino Wool Base Layer for Women

Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip - Women's

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Best Synthetic Base Layer for Women

Carhartt Base Force Heavyweight 1/4 Zip - Women's

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Men's Long Underwear


Base layer bottoms are a fundamental ingredient in staying warm and comfortable while outside playing in a range of temperatures and environments, and, as such a critical piece of gear, they deserve the same level of respect.

Best Overall Long Underwear

Ortovox 185 Rock'N'Wool Pant

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Best Midweight Bang for the Buck

REI Co-op Midweight Bottoms

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Women's Long Underwear


Perhaps one of the most important pieces of gear to consider is the one that sits next to your skin. A great piece of long underwear (or a base layer) does its job by wicking away moisture and transporting it away from your skin to ensure that you stay dry.

Best Overall Long Underwear Bottoms for Women

Icebreaker Merino 260 Zone Leggings - Women's

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Best Bang for the Buck

Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist

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backpacking gear

Backpacking Electronics


The right trail tech can offer piece of mind and aid navigation, especially in bad weather. Our experts test top satellite messengers as well as mini solar panels and GPS navigation aids.

Satellite Messengers


Many of us go to the wild to escape the tether of modern communications, but we may still want the ability to keep in touch, or call for help in an emergency. Enter the array of satellite messengers, personal locator beacons, and other backcountry communication technologies. We've been testing these devices for almost 10 years, and below are our favorites.

Best Overall Beacon with Custom Messaging

Garmin inReach Mini 2

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Occasional Activation Bang for the Buck

ACR Bivy Stick

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Portable Solar Chargers


If you are in the backcountry, and have devices you want to keep charged, a portable solar charger can be just the ticket. Here are our favorites.

Best Overall Solar Charger

BigBlue 3

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Another Excellent Performer

Goertek 25,000mAh

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Get Out There!


We hope this summary of our favorite backpacking gear has been helpful. We have a number of other gear lists in key outdoor categories from hiking to climbing coming soon. In addition, be sure to see our Buying Advice articles for most major categories where our experts guide you through selecting the perfect type of backpacking gear for your needs. See you on the trails!

Chris McNamara


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