Top 8 Must Have Backpack Camping Gear for Novices

If you’re a novice in the world of backpacking, everything related to it can seem daunting. It’s not only hard to know where to begin, but also difficult to identify what gear you need. But don’t let that scare you; you don’t have to pack everything you can get your hands on or pay someone for guidance. We have compiled a list of 8 essential items to help give you some ideas on getting started with your backpack camping experience.

General Rules to Follow When Purchasing Backpacking Gear

Opt for high-quality products. Your life could be at stake, after all. Also, look for things that’d pack nicely, and avoid items with sharp, exposed edges. When it comes to choosing between two items, lighter is always better unless you’re forgoing a necessity. You should end up purchasing new gear if you have a passion for backpacking, so don’t fret if you aren’t able to stock everything at the beginning.

Where to Buy
Patagonia Ascensionist 30L
Marmot Limelight 2 Person Camping Tent w/Footprint
Sierra Designs Cloud 800 Sleeping Bag: 20 Degree Down
MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
Darn Tough Hiker Boot Full Cushion Sock
Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Stove
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket

Best Backpacking Camping Gear for Novices

1. Patagonia Ascensionist 30L

A high-quality backpacking pack is essential as it distributes the weight on your hips, in contrast to hanging off the shoulders. These come in multiple shapes and sizes. A 30 to 40-liter pack like the Patagonia Ascensionist 30L should be essential for beginner backpackers. This versatile pack comes with a foam back panel that gives the backpack its structure and can be removed for lighter trips. It also features daisy chains on the side and front panel to offer lashing choices; the lid’s zippered pocket makes it easy to access smaller gear. Also, its load-shifting, ergonomic shoulder strap match the buyer’s contours of the torso, making the entire thing easy to carry for longer journeys.

What makes it stand out?

The pack also features a low-profile strap for the sternum and a hip belt for added comfort.

2. Marmot Limelight 2 Person Camping Tent w/Footprint

This is a modern-day variant of the decade-old tents created by Marmot (that are still a decent buy). What you’ll love about Marmot Limelight is how quick and easy it is to put together. Due to its simple design (and color coded poles), it can be set up in under 5 minutes, even if you go at it alone. Its body zone pre-bends allows for a more spacious area by creating body bends, and strategic placement of a clip offers bigger internal volume. It’s quite durable, roomy, and does a great job of keeping people dry in downpours. It’s a bit heavy to carry on extended journeys, but if you’ve just started backpacking, this is a great tend that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

What makes it stand out?

It comes with nylon zipper pulls that are jingle-free and interior pockets for organization of small gear (Footprints included!).

3. Sierra Designs Cloud 800 Sleeping Bag: 20 Degree Down

It’s there anything that’s worthy of a buy and is a bare minimum, it’s a high-quality sleeping bag. One cold night near the beach or in a backcountry can ruin the trip if you go unprepared. Top-quality sleeping bags like Sierra Designs Cloud 800 feature either down or synthetic insulation. Plus, their foam pads help you stay warm in cold weather and secures you from rough ground. Sierra Designs Cloud 800 itself provides supreme warmth-capturing and hyper-compressing capabilities while being breathable and ventilated. It’s also lightweight and comes in a zipperless design that makes you feel like you’re in your own bedroom (with a cozy comforter on tap) without sacrificing its inferno-like heat.

What makes it stand out?

The underside of the sleeping bag features half-sleep to offer an integrated unit that offers comfort and warmth. Also, the bag includes a foot vent that’s self-sealing and enables users to simply raise their knees and poke out the toes when they get stuffy, so that they can be cooled without any interference from pesky zippers.

4. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

This isn’t the most affordable water filter on the market, but it offers great value. That’s because being able to clean water reliably is one of the most crucial parts of backpacking. Physical pumping filters like MSR MiniWorks are user-friendly and put an end to the movement of water if the filter stops functioning – factors that mitigate any room for errors. This particular filter can pump one liter of water each minute and is compatible with several varieties of hydration bladders and mouth water bottles. Also, it meets the P231 NSF protocol so you can be sure that it’ll remove all the organic compounds, protozoa, bacteria, and particulate to deliver clean-tasting water. As there aren’t any solid laws to regulate water filters’ capabilities to purify water (anyone could place a sock inside a pipe and tell you it’s a water purifier), it’s super important to buy from trusted brands rather opt for a bargain.

What makes it stand out?

It comes with a replaceable ceramic and carbon filter. One replaceable cartridge can filter up to 2,000 liters.

5. Darn Tough Hiker Boot Full Cushion Sock

Shoes receive a lot of attention in the backpacking world, but as a novice, you can get away with any pair as long as you have comfortable socks in your closet. A good pair of stink-mitigating, long-lasting, and moisture-wicking socks such as Hiker Boot from Darn Tough can become a solid linchpin for users’ feet. They’re made from 27% Nylon, 4% Lycra Spandex and 69% Merino Wool. Plus, the Vermont varieties come with a lifetime guarantee. You can buy both men’s and women’s sizes under this brand. Choices like these will offer good heat to your foot, allowing you to cope with foot funk. Plus, they’re stylish and ensure your tent mates don’t hate on you if you’re wearing them during sleep.

What makes it stand out?

The Merino Wool makes the Darn Tough Hiker Boot an “all-season” sock that gives warmth during winters and stays cool during summer season.

6. Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Stove

Stoves are a must for beginner backpackers. The two most popular ones are alcohol stoves and canister stoves. Beginner backpackers are advised to get the latter as they boil water much quicker than their alcohol counterparts and function on white gas. The Etekcity Ultralight is made of stainless steel and aluminum so it can withstand high weight and pressure. It’s also collapsible and compact, which makes it ideal for backpacking. Also, it is compatible with any type of 7/16 thread butane or butane-propane mixed canisters. In addition, the manufacturer offers an adjustable control valve for maximum output of heat all the way to simmers efficiently and quickly. Lastly, the stove’s adheres to leaving no trace, which is a rule put in place by the National Park Service and the US Forest Service.

What makes it stand out?

Of course, its control valve does. It’s adjustable and allows for the optimal output of heat all the way to the simmer with extreme efficiency.

7. Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

If your backpacking journey is expected to include a lot of overnight trips, it’s a must for you to invest in some kind of light so you’re able to navigate all the way from your room to the designated camping spot. And no, the light on your smartphone won’t be enough. Plus, it’s inconvenient if there’s cell phone reception as you can get a call at any moment. Instead, go for a headlamp like the Black Diamond Spot. It features One QuadPower LED, HDO Sport Cooling Towel, and a white LED (DoublePower), all of which give 300 lumens. Also, its brightness memory allows you to switch between on and off at a custom brightness without going back to complete power.

What makes it stand out?

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp comes with a night vision mode that provides strobe settings and proximity. Also, its Power Tap technology enables users to quickly change modes and settings for brightness. Lastly, its water-resistant courtesy of IPX 4.

8. Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket

Any beginner backpacker can make it to their hostel safely with a waterproof jacket mixed with a rain skirt template hanging in their closet. But specialized rain jackets offer a lot more. The Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket weighs only 12 ounces. Its rain shell offers all the protection users need in temperate weathers. Also, its constructed 2.5-layer shell (offering H2No performance) is made with ripstop nylon 100 percent fabric to keep users dry no matter what the conditions. Plus, its pit zippers provide ample breathability and comfort in case the weather goes south.

What makes it stand out?

The jacket features venting pit zips and two zippered pockets for warming of hands, all with durable water repellent-treated zippers and storm

Final Verdict

Before you become a backpacking camping geek, chances are you won’t have all the equipment and gear by your side, and buying things quickly can put a strain on your pocket. To keep expenses low, buy the essentials such as the ones mentioned on this list, then slowly make additional purchases as you gain more experience down the road.