While I get to try out more backpacking gear than most people, I have a highly refined list of gear favorites that I bring on my personal hiking, backpacking, camping, fly fishing, and winter trips. It’s the kind of stuff I’ve been using for years and will likely replace when it wears out. I still buy most of my personal gear, so I’m always looking for the best balance of function, durability and cost.
That said, I have dropped a few old favorites because they simply wore out or I’ve replaced them with gear that’s more durable and attuned to the types of trips I’ve been taking over the past two years. (See bottom of this post.) It’s was all great stuff, just not quite as well suited for my needs anymore.
With that in mind, I’ve tried to explain the conditions that the gear listed below performs best in. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.
- Tough as nails. The most durable backpack I’ve ever used to death. External Dyneema pockets are far more durable than mesh ones. Still going strong, but not as bright white as it was when it was new.
- Same fit as the HMG 2400 but with a longer extension collar. The huge main compartment is good for storing bulkier cold weather sleep insulation.
Best high-volume backpack for off-trail and multi-day backpacking trips, including packrafting and winter backpacking. Seek Outside Unaweep Fortress 4800 external frame backpack. (2 years – link to review)
- Great hip belt and external attachment system. No load is too heavy – the benefit of an external frame backpack.
Tents, Hammocks, and Shelters
- Swapped my double layer Blackbird for a single layer Blackbird this year and switched from cinch buckle strap system to whoopie slings to save gear weight. Still basically the same hammock, just a different suspension.
- Truly freestanding. Nuff said!
- Mainly used to insulate my feet when hammocking with a 3/4 underquilt or to augment a 3 season sleeping pad in winter weather.
- I’ve owned a bunch of top quilts but none have the versatility of the FF Flicker. I like its chameleon-like ability to be used in different ways and with different shelter systems.
Best altimeter watch: Casio Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Solar Watch (3 years –link to review)
- Best watch I’ve owned in years. The altimeter is invaluable. I use it on every hike in the mountains.
Best bushcraft/recreational knife: Morakniv Forest Stainless Steel (2 year – review forthcoming)
Stoves and Cookware
Hiking Shoes and Boots
Best Hiking Clothes: Pants, Shirts, Baselayers, Socks, Hats, etc
- Remarkably durable. I haven’t worn out a pair yet.
Best long underwear: Patagonia Capilene 1 long sleeve jersey and long underwear pants (10 years – link to review)
Best three-season hiking hat: Outdoor Research Sentinel Brim Hat w/ Insect Shield (3 years –link to review)
Best Water Filters/Water Purification/Reservoirs
Best Rain Gear/Hard Shells
- Truly waterproof. No DWR maintenance required, ever.
Best Winter Gear
- Bought a replacement pair last winter. Still love them.
- May need to replace these this year…starting to fall apart.
- Gossamer Gear Mariposa – Not an ideal pocket system for hammock backpacking. Not durable enough for my needs.
- Gossamer Gear Gorilla – Not durable enough for my needs.
- Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid – Sold. Too hard to use in heavily forested areas.
- Garmont Momentum Snow GTX Boots – Wore out. Beat to death. No longer available.
- Cold Cold World Choas (Winter) Backpack – Wore out. Beat to hell.
- Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket – Got sick of having to restore DWR coating.
- Montbell Tachyon Wind Shirt – Seams unravelled, wore out. No longer available.
Disclosure: Philip Werner has received free sample products for review at one time or another from the following manufacturers mentioned in this article: Gossamer Gear, Outdoor Research, Berghaus, RailRiders, Helly Hansen, MSR, CAMP, Forty Below, Kahtoola, Mora, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, JetBoil, Pacerpole. and Therm-a-Rest. This post contains affiliate links.
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