Gear lists

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A backpacking gear list is extraordinarily useful, and developing one is time well spent. It:

Helps in assembling a gear kit, without commandeering floor space;
Calculates pack weight;
Creates a budget and shopping list;
Serves as a checklist during final pack-up; and,
Is a reference for future trips, especially if post-trip comments were added to the gear list after returning home.

If you have never created a gear list before, start with my Three-season gear checklist & template, which is user-friendly, comprehensive, and neutral to location, season, gender, and experience level. For gear lists and posts with more specific recommendations, follow its links or look elsewhere in this category.

Gear List: Yosemite High Route || High Sierra in August

By Andrew Skurka / September 5, 2018 /

Last month I went on a 9-day/8-night backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park. My route was more ambitious than the norm: I was scouting the Yosemite High Route, which has monstrous vertical change and extensive off-trail and alpine travel. I tried to avoid popular trails like the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail and the High Sierra Camp…

Gear List: Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) || Personal & obligatory gear

By Andrew Skurka / August 29, 2017 /

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) and its growing race series (CCC, TDS, OCC, and PTL) are held in the last week of August in the Savoy Alps, an extreme mountain environment. Since the first race in 2001, racers have experienced a wild range of weather: snow, cold rain and snow, fierce winds, relentless sun,…

Recommended clothing systems: Backpacking in the Mountain West

By Andrew Skurka / August 23, 2017 /

What clothing is necessary for backpacking in the Mountain West in 3-season conditions? Let’s discuss. I define the Mountain West as the semi-arid ranges of the Sierra Nevada, Intermountain West, and Rockies. Examples: Pacific Crest Trail in California and southern Oregon High Sierra, including the John Muir Trail and multiple high routes, e.g. Sierra High…

Gear List: Pfiffner Traverse || Colorado Rockies in July

By Andrew Skurka / July 25, 2017 /

It’s been years since I posted a complete backpacking gear list for a trip. Instead, I’ve been doing in-depth dives on specific categories (e.g. shelter systems, stove systems, first aid kits) that I believe are more instructive and universally relevant than lengthy gear lists that are specific to a single location, season, and group size.…

If cost were no object: My go-to backpacking shelter systems, gone ultralight

By Andrew Skurka / November 23, 2016 /

The backpacking shelters that I presented in this series — a modular tent, tarp & bivy, and hammock — are middle-of-the-road systems. They are not ultralight or excessively heavy, not cheap or prohibitively expensive, and not benchmark-setting or under-performers. This was intentional on my part. While they reflect what I personally use (in most cases,…

Gear List || Backpacking Hammock: Forest & high-use zone specialist

By Andrew Skurka / November 21, 2016 /

A night of quality sleep in the backcountry depends on multiple factors. A shelter and sleep system that defend against precipitation, wind, insects, groundwater, and cold are the most obvious prerequisites. But equally important is campsite selection, or the art of finding a comfortable location where you can hang your hat. When using ground-based shelters…

Gear List || Backpacking Tarp & Bivy: Ultralight minimalism

By Andrew Skurka / November 20, 2016 /

In a normal winter, the Sierra Nevada, Pacific Northwest, and Rocky Mountains get hammered by systems that roll off the Pacific Ocean and drop hundreds of inches of snow. The summers, however, are sunny and dry, with only occasional precipitation related to the North American monsoon. Storms can be violent, but they are normally short-lived and…

Gear List || One-shelter quiver: Modular double-wall backpacking tent

By Andrew Skurka / November 15, 2016 /

What is a backpacking tent? I’ll define it as a full-sided, fixed-shaped, and holistically designed portable shelter that protects its occupants from precipitation, wind, groundwater, and insects. A few models do not fulfill this entire description, but it generally works. Tents grossly outsell tarps, hammocks, and bivy sacks. This is partly due to deeply embedded mindsets (“I…

Gear List || Fast & light backpacking stove for soloists & couples

By Andrew Skurka / October 31, 2016 /

While preparing for a backpacking trip in the Colorado Rockies this coming weekend (early-November), I had to consider the appropriateness of my ultralight alcohol stove and my powerful remote canister stove systems. I concluded that both would be functional, but that with an extra $50 purchase I could have a perfectly optimized kit. Intended applications This “Fast & Light” setup is suitable for solo backpackers and…

Download instructions: Backpack hunt gear lists for elk & deer

By Andrew Skurka / October 30, 2016 /

In a recent series I shared my backpack hunting gear lists for big game like elk and deer. Each post contains a detailed list and an in-depth discussion of my selections: Introduction Before the Shot The Shot After the Shot For reader convenience, I have made these lists available for download as a set of PDF’s and…