12 Gear Resources and Reviews for Long Distance Backpackers

Heading out on a long-distance backpacking trip in the near future?  Looking for some reliable gear advice?  Look no further.  The following 12 resources and reviews will help you hit the trail with a professional-caliber setup.

1) How to Choose a Sleeping Bag: Six Things to Consider

Preview:  Most outfitters and outdoor stores leave the average person reeling from all the information they are force fed in order to make an educated purchase. If you aren’t lucky enough to come across a seasoned employee who is willing to listen to your needs and slim down your options, it is all too easy to walk out with the incorrect product. If you are looking to arm yourself with the gift of warmth while in the woods, here is a guide to buying the right sleeping bag for your needs.

2) How to Choose the Perfect Headlamp: The Backpacker’s Guide

Preview:  Once I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, I delved into the many models of headlamps. I have gone the cheap route, the expensive route, the powerful, and the lightweight.  To determine what headlamps to choose for the trail, you must first evaluate how you want to hike and what options are important to you (weight, waterproof, run time, etc).  This post will help you decide which headlamp is the right fit for your hike.

3) Water Treatments for Backpacking & Hiking

Preview: Water is plentiful on the trail from springs, streams, rivers, and ponds… but not every clear water source should be trusted. Some hikers have survived without treating water, but that doesn’t mean dangerous impurities do not exist in these sources.  Water treatment methods have evolved past the days of iodine tablets (but that doesn’t discount iodine as a treatment!). Filters are more efficient and lightweight than ever before, and purifying droplets have proved worthy with barely altered taste, if any at all.  This post will help you wade through the plethora of water treatment options available and help you discover the best for your needs.

4) A Guide for Cheap and Affordable Hiking Gear

Preview: I decided to hike the trail only two months before leaving for Georgia. I got a second job and saved as much money as I could. I had no other choice but to buy used gear, discounted gear, and little known gear brands. Did I still make it to Katahdin? You bet I did! Gear is important but there have been many hikers to reach Katahdin without the most expensive pieces.  This post shows you where you can cut a few corners without compromising the safety or quality of your long-distance backpacking trip.

5) 14 Packing Tips for the Perfect Backpack

Preview: The first week of March has arrived. The first northbound thru-hikers begin their journey on the trail and many more will follow in the weeks and months to come. I can’t help but laugh when I think of my first weeks on the trail. Let’s face it, I was carrying too much weight. My pack weight in Georgia was 8 pounds heavier than in Maine. Ultimately, I learned to carry less stuff. Keep your pack simple. Buy gear with weight in mind. The weight of your pack impacts the quality of your trip. Below are packing tips to lighten your load and make your first miles easier and more enjoyable.

6) 10 Gear Tips for Couples (or Partners)

Preview: Hiking with a partner can be a trying experience.  It has the potential to either strengthen or dissolve your bond.  Don’t let your gear be the reason for a fight on the trail.  This post provides 10 tips for those who are hiking as partners, especially gear toward those in a relationship.

7) A Thorough List of Outfitters on the Appalachian Trail

Preview: This post provides a full list of the outfitters along the Appalachian Trail, including gear selection, mile marker, if they will hold mail drops, and more.

8) 4 Reasons Why Ultralight is NOT Worth the Hype

Preview:  Despite the trend for hikers to keep cutting more and more weight off their packs, this post shines a light on why lighter isn’t always better.

9) Gear Review: NeoAir & NeoAir Trekker Sleeping Pad

Preview:  While on my thru-hike, bedtime was my favorite time. Before living on the trail, I used a simple foam sleeping pad for my weekend camping trips. Once I decided to hike the AT, I invested in a two and a half inch blow up pad from ThermaRest, the NeoAir Trekker, and I am so glad I did.  This post is a review of my experience using the NeoAir Trekker sleeping pad.

10) Gear Review: ENO DoubleNest Hammock for Two

Preview: This review focuses on the ENO DoubleNest Hammock for couples. Only the hammock and straps will be reviewed, not additional items that might accompany a hammock (such as underquilt, topquilt, fly/tarp, bug net).

11) Gear Review: Gregory Sage 55 Backpack

Preview: The Gregory Sage 55 is a women’s internal frame pack made for the female body. I highly recommend this pack if you are a petite hiker because Gregory provides their packs in XS (do keep in mind you must order the XS online, retailers do not normally carry this size). The Sage comes in three different volumes: 35, 45, and 55 liters. I carried the 55 pack my entire thru-hike and intend to carry it on my future adventures.  This post is a review of my experience with the Sage during her 2013 AT thru-hike.

12) Gear Review: Salomon’s XA PRO 3D Ultra 2 & XA PRO 3D ULTRA 2 GTX Trail Runners

Preview: Salomon trail runners and boots have become extremely popular among thru-hikers. I happened to wear the Salomon’s XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 & XA PRO 3D Ultra 2 GTX (what a mouthful!) on my 2013 thru-hike.  This post reviews my experience with the trail runners.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?