Backpacking Gear Review

Everyone likes a gear review.  Doing a gear review is fun too. Backpacks, Stoves, Tents, Water Kits, Knives, and Sleeping Pads.   I’ve had many years to work on this, before I even knew what a gear review was.  Today I can give you a quick rundown of gear I’ve used.  Everyone is a beginner at something in their lives at some time.  Everyone is a first time purchaser of something they’ve never owned before.  How did you decide on your first car purchase? How did you know what features to look for? Likely someone gave you advice, or you figured it out on your own by trial and error.  I have always found advice and experienced opinions from others makes me more confident in those first time purchases.   Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section below, I will respond.  I have included active links to other pages within my site, Please feel free to click around.


I would think most everyone has used and become familiar with a basic school style backpack.  Most of these designs are simple enough, a few pockets, a few zippers, and two shoulder straps.  These packs are great for day trips, the afternoon on a loop trail, or what you expect to be a “three hour tour”.  Think of Gilligans Island, a Three hour tour became a several years long survival on a uncharted island.  This small pack would carry your first aid kit, some water and snacks, a knife, some fire starting tools, insect repellent, and sunscreen, as well as a cover, tarp, or rain gear of some kind.       Most of these style packs do not have a waist strap, or any framing, or additional adjustment straps.  Do yourself a favour and seriously consider investing in a decent pack for your hiking adventures.

An adjustable waist belt, a sternum strap, adjustable torso length, and then additional features you might like.  A 20160131_191857rain cover is nice, and included in some packs, but not all of them.  Compression straps, and external hooks, straps, and pockets can be nice, but that depends on your personal preference. My personal preference,  I don’t like to have a bunch of gear on the outside of my pack.  Where ever possible I prefer to have my gear tucked securely inside.

Don’t under estimate the value of great backpacks.  These packs I’ve used are simple and functional.  A review for these can be found here, Backpack reviews.

Obus Forme Plume 65:-

Neptune Explorer 75

Outbound Canyon 60


Stoves are a handy way to cook and boil your water when you can’t have a fire, or don’t want to take the time to do it over a fire.  Keep in mind that there are some areas where there just isn’t any wood for a fire, such as above the tree line on some mountain trails. As well as there will be times when a fire ban is in place even in the midst of lake

Optimus Nova Stove

Optimus Nova Stove

country because the season has just been too dry, and forest fire risk is too high.  There are wood fired stoves, single fuel stoves that attach to a fuel canister, multi fuel stoves that allow you to select the fuel you prefer, alcohol burner stoves you can make yourself from recycled soda cans, or purchased alcohol stoves.

Here I have given a review of the Stoves I’ve used can be found here.   Stove reviews.

Optimus Nova

D-I-Y Hobo Stove

Ultralight Backpacking Canister Stove


This is an area where a large portion of your weight in your gear comes from. If you can, get the lightest tent for the purposes you need.  Many backpackers have switched over to tarp shelters, or hammock set-ups.  My review here is for budget tents.

Ozark Trails 4 Person Sport Dome 9ft x 8ft. 48 in high, weighs 9lbs

Ventura 3 Person Dome 6ft x 7ft, 50in high, weighs 4.5lbs

Venture 2 Person Dome.  5 1/2 ft x 6 1/2 ft.,  42 in high, weighs 3.5lbs

Water Kits

Water quality is not something to mess with.  Read a bit before you head out.  It is imperative to have adequate water, and water treatment methods.  Water borne illnesses are real.  Parasites are real.  You do not want to mess with your water.  To be honest, I’ve only used one water filtration kit.  I love it so much I have 2 of them.  But in chatting with like minded friends, I have found the products they like, and you can find their preferences and mine here in Water Filtration Reviews


A decent knife is an invaluable tool.  You may be surprised how many things you might use it for. You don’t have to break the bank, but you could if you want to.  It has to cut food, rope, wood, and clean fish or game if your hunting. I hope you never have to use it to defend yourself.

In defense of Knife discussions, everyone is passionate about their knives. I can’t do a knife review true justice.  So many people, so many opinions. But the reality is, the best knife, is the knife you are comfortable with, practiced with, and have at your disposal.

Here are some styles of knives I’ve used.  What do you think is The Best Knife for Backpacking?  Please feel free to leave a comment and let me hear your thoughts on this.

Sleeping Pads

You could sleep on a pile of leaves or evergreen bows, or you could be a little more refined and sleep on a makeshift mattress, or even a hammock.    I have made a progression from each of these listed below to the next.  Here is my Sleeping Pad Review.

Yoga Mats

Therm-a-rest Z Lite

Therm-a-rest Trail Lite

Sea to Summit UltraLight Sleeping Pad


Chester · March 13, 2016 at 11:57 pm

Backpacking is a lot of work and not just in the physical trek. Obviously a lot of planning and gear to keep up with. Chester

    Mama Bear · March 14, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Thanks for your message. It seems to me that your amount of gear is in direct and opposing correlation to the amount of skills. As your skills develop you need less if the gear. But since these articles are aimed at the beginner, the gear ideas are plentiful.

    Planning is crucial.

Wilfried · March 14, 2016 at 12:20 am

Hi, Mama Bear, I like your site, in general, it is very well demonstrated easy to read and to overlook. The implementation of the gear is nice represented and explained.

    Mama Bear · March 14, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Thanks for your kind words. I want to help people. Beginners have so much to question and learn. Its healthful, and spiritually uplifting. I want to encourage those who are curious.

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