A number of you asked me to publish my top hiking and backpacking gear picks, so I’ve pulled together a list of my favorite gear. I’ve been using most of it for years and it’s the kind of stuff I’ll replace when it wears out.
While a lot of the gear listed below is ultralight or lightweight, the gear I bring on a day hike or backpacking trip is primarily determined by the conditions I expect to encounter and my trip objectives (see My Gear List Philosophy.) Those conditions vary because the type of hiking I do varies widely including backpacking trips and day hikes on established trails, winter backpacking in the mountains, and off-trail bushwhacking, which is especially tough on gear. Most of the hiking I do is in New Hampshire, Maine, or Vermont, with periodic trips to other states in the eastern US and Scotland.
With that in mind, I’ve tried to explain the conditions that the gear listed below performs best in, but please leave me a comment if you have any questions about my recommendations. If there are missing gear categories where I haven’t named any products, it’s because I’m still looking for the best ones for my needs.
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, RailRiders, Helly Hansen, MSR, JetBoil, Pacerpole. and Therm-a-Rest.