Home / Awards / Section Hiker’s Readers Choice Hiking and Backpacking Gear Awards – 2015

Section Hiker’s Readers Choice Hiking and Backpacking Gear Awards – 2015

Reader's Choice Hiking and Backpacking Gear Awards - 2015
Reader’s Choice Hiking and Backpacking Gear Awards – 2015

Last year, I decided to collect gear recommendations from my readers, collate them, and start publishing an annual list of the gear that you use and recommend. I got tired of reading product reviews from magazines and other gear review sites that looked like they’d never used the gear they were recommending. So I decided it would be good to turn the tables, and let the people who have to buy the gear, ie. Section Hiker readers, have their voices heard for a change.

The products listed below are ones that multiple readers have recommended time and again as best-in-category in reader polls and comments on SectionHiker.com. I’ve only included products where there was a clear reader consensus, and if there are missing categories below, it’s because no such consensus was expressed.

While I use some of the products listed here myself, these are your gear recommendations, not mine. Still, I think these are all quality products, tried and true by the hiking and backpacking community, and best buys.

Best Hiking Daypacks

Best Multi-Day Backpacks

Best Backpacking Tents, Hammocks, and Shelters

Best Car Camping Tents

Best Sleeping Bags and Quilts

Best Sleeping Pads

Best Backpacking Stoves and Cook Systems

Best Water Filters and Purifiers

Best Headlamps

Best Rain Gear

Best Hiking Socks

Best Hiking Underwear

Best Hiking Pants

Feel free to leave a comment below if I missed any gear that you feel should be added to this list of reader recommended products. Also be sure to participate in future Section Hiker Raffles and Reader poles to voice your gear recommendations so other readers can benefit from your experience.


  1. A very good selection of gear. I’m just glad to see my latest gear list is almost completely present here. Or maybe it just means I’m not “hardcore” enough? :-)

  2. I like my Gossamer gear gorilla for multi day trips. Comparable in size to the ULA ohm, I was surprised that neither made your list – too big for day pack category and too small for multi day?

  3. it would be interesting to me to see what your picks would be, and how they compare with the readers’ list.

  4. I did not know you were collecting this data. Is there a tab or link on your blog for it?

  5. Surprised that the original Sawyer Squeeze filter did not make the list, especially as many people seem to be abandoning the Mini due to its’ slow flow rate.

  6. It is always nice to see that one is not alone in their choice of Equipment…I mean I wouldn’t change what I have because it wasn’t on the List or if nobody else liked it, it is a personal thing and fits me the individual and makes me comfortable and happy, But it is nice to see agreements..

  7. Gossamer gear Gorilla! And the Sawyer squeeze! l I witnessed other hikers struggle with the mini And it’s mini flow rate! :) The sea to summit ultralight pad I believe is superior to the neo xlite. I know this is a survey of what readers use. And my two cents are probably already in, lol. And loving the Gossamer Gear Type Ii pack as a day pack!

  8. I love the New “Sea to Summit” line of sleeping pads and although it’s not considered “ultralight” the REU Crestrail 70 is an incredibly functional and comfortable multi day pack. I eould highly recommend both…

  9. Dream hammock is a hammock company that is often overlooked. You can customize your hammock to anything you like. Mine weighs just under 2lbs with a bugnet AND an over cover for colder temps.

  10. The Columbia SilverRidge pants are the best. Love ’em. But would argue that Kelty products could be on there. They are an excellent balance of cost, quality, and availability.

  11. Surprised the Hennessy hammocks did not make the list. By far it the best fo expended stays, or multiple days on the trail.

  12. I have many of the items on the Readers Choice Awards list but was surprised not to see the SMD Skyscape X on the list. It’s a great tent and only weighs 21 oz. with Tyvek ground cloth, titanium stakes, cordage and stuff sacks. Also the Jet-Boil spoon is a great utensil, small and light. It slides open and closed. Thanks

  13. Any thoughts on poles?

  14. Like other readers, I certainly appreciate all the effort that you put in gathering the data and preparing this list. Keep up the great work!

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