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Trekking Item Lists

Backpacks

The best contemporary backpacks are virtually bespoke garments compared to the off-the-rack, one-size-fits-most models of yesteryear. Of utmost importance here is torso length, so the pack rests just right on your hips without doing a potato-sack number on your shoulders. It shouldn't sag, nor rest so high it squeezes your kidneys.

Besides overall pack sizes, the best packs offer different sizes of hipbelts and shoulder straps.

Walk around carrying the pack, loaded with the full amount of weight you intend to carry on the trail. You'll feel the best pack grab onto your back like a pet monkey, with no discernible hot spots, and the load will feel so perfectly distributed that you'll wonder if you forgot something. You should be able to sashay your hips freely, swing your shoulders fully, and raise your legs without ever feeling drawn off balance.

Hipbelt, Straps & Back Panel

Boots

Cared for properly, good boots will last a long time - often five to ten years, depending on how hard you and the terrain are on them.

Knowing boot anatomy and available boot features area big part of the boot buying process.

Consider the following when your're in the market for hiking boots:

Life Jackets

Civilians call them life jackets; the Coast Guard calls them Personal Flotation Devices, or PFDs. However you refer to them, they should be worn at all times while on the water, and should probably be the first piece of equipment you buy as you start to get serious about paddle sports.

Things to Consider

Outerwear

Consider your activity menu. If you're going to be climbing, remember that you need a coat that won't interfere with your harness. Select one with a high waist, or one that rides low on the hips. Bring your harness along when you are shopping, just to make sure they work together. Second, you'll need articulated sleeves that are cut to accommodate a bent-arm position. If the coat is built correctly, the bottom hem stays down around your hips when your arms are raised, and your wrists stay covered, no matter how you position your arms.

Things to Consider

Every day, there seems to be a new miracle fabric available to keep you warmer, dryer, cooler, or just more comfortable. Here are some of the ones you are likely to see while shopping for backcountry clothing.

Backpacking Details
 

# Items
01 Backpack (approximately 4,000 cubic inches)
02 Sleeping Bag & Sleeping Pad
03 Tent
04 Water Bottles
05 Water purification (filter or iodine)
06 Stove and fuel
07 Cook kit
08 Matches and Lighter
09 Insulated mug
10 Lightweight bowl and spoon
11 Utility knife (e.g. Swiss Army-type)

Sleeping Bags

Getting cold in the middle of the night, or so hot and sweaty that you can't sleep, doesn't necessarily mean you didn't buy a good sleeping bag. More likely, you just bought the wrong sleeping bag. Since there are literally hundreds of models of sleeping bags available, perhaps even thousands, this happens more often than you would think.

While it is always important to consider how you plan to use equipment, sleeping bags tend to be more of a general-purpose general purchase. However, if you are planning on serious winter camping (in very cold weather) or mountaineering, you may well want to invest in a winter bag that is rated to twenty or thirty degrees below zero, in addition to a lighter bag for three-season use. Alternatively, some bags offer zip-out linings, so you have a double bag for cold weather, and your choice of the lining or outer bag for warmer conditions.

In general, three-season bags are rated to about 20 degrees above zero, which will work for warm conditions and usually be sufficient for brisk spring and fall nights. However, remember that there is no universal standard for bag rating. Also, people sleep at different temperatures, so while a 20-degree bag might keep your companion warm on a cold night, you might freeze in the same bag.

When you buy a bag, a good rule of thumb is to think about the coldest condition you might experience, and then drop down ten or twenty degrees. Keep in mind that it is more difficult to stay warm in an insufficiently insulated bag than it is to vent a bag designed for cooler temperatures. A bag rated to zero is usually a good choice, since it will keep you warm on unexpectedly cold nights, but can be zipped open for venting.

Additional Tips

Tents

Selecting a tent can be confusing. Get the right tent, and you can expect years of leakless shelter from any storm you might encounter. Get a tent that isn't durable enough for your needs, or one that is so overbuilt you could use it on K2, and you'd probably be financially better off if you had opted for expensive hotels instead of camping.

The tent you buy depends on where, when, and with how many people you'll camp.

Additional Hints

Caring for Your Tent