Adventure Travel

Backpacking Essentials: Part 3

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Backpacking Essentials

If you are wanting to seek the adventure of backpacking, but don’t know where to start, then this is the backpacking essentials article series that you are looking for. It seems like backpacking is a simple enough idea, and that the gear is self explanatory. However, there are several items that may make your life and trip easier that you might not know about if you have not actually spent several days living out of a backpack. We hope that we can help. Here is a list of Backpacking essentials that you will need to keep your body going, and to ensure your health and safety out on the wild.

In this installment of the backpacking essentials series, we are looking at shelter, your pack, and navigation equipment. These items are called essentials for a reason. getting caught without them can turn a fun excursion into a survival situation really quick.



One of the best things about getting out into the wilderness is sleeping out under the stars. However, when it is cold, raining, or windy, it is much better to have a tent to keep you warm and dry. There are several different styles and sizes of tents, so when choosing your tent, it is important to do some research and read a few reviews. One important thing to consider is weight. With all of the things that you need, it is important to keep the pack weight manageable.

Rain Gear:

If you are days away from civilization needing to cover some ground, and it starts raining, then you are going to need lightweight rain gear to keep away the hypothermia. Other lightweight warm items of clothing are important to bring as well, but there is no substitute for rain gear. Hypothermia is a real killer, so this is not an item that you should skip.

Sleeping Bag:

This is an essential for wilderness survival. A good sleeping bag can make the difference between life and death. Temperatures in the wilderness can drop dangerously low at night, even when the day is hot and clear. Make sure that you know the temperature rating of the bag that you are buying, and check reviews to ensure that it is a good and reliable product. A good sleeping bag can be a substantial investment, and it’s not worth gambling your life on saving a few bucks.

Other gear:


If you are headed out for multiple days with everything you need to survive on your back, then it is important to make sure that your pack is quality. Some important backpack qualities to consider are weight, manageability, waterproofing, and capacity. If you have a pack that is waterproof, but it is not comfortable on your back, then you will not have a good experience. If you get a comfortable pack that cannot hold everything that you need to survive, then you are setting yourself up for failure. A backpack is another investment, so it’s important to do your research to ensure that you are getting the right one for the trekking that you plan to do. Backpack technology has come a long way, and ideally, you want a pack that is comfortable and spreads the weight evenly across your shoulders and hips. 


In the event that your equipment fails, and you find yourself trying to McGyver a solution out of the forest around you, then you will need a knife. This is one of the most essential pieces of survival equipment that you can have. There are several knives that have added survival tools and items built into them too. Whether you are taking a Rambo style survival bowie knife, or a tactical folder, a knife is not an optional piece of equipment.

Map and Compass:

It should go without saying that if you are headed into the wilderness without a map and a compass, then you have a death wish. Leaving the car without these two items is stupid. Don’t do it. You should have your route mapped out clearly before you leave, and you should know how your compass works. It may sound exciting to be spontaneous and try to figure out your bearings and headings with your own skill, but it is not so fun if you get lost and can’t figure out which way to go. Preparing for success instead of failure, in this instance, can be the difference between life and death.

This is the end of our backpacking essentials series. We hope that we have given you enough information so that you can get out and experience real wilderness on your own. There is nothing like being totally immersed in nature. Now you know how to go out on your own adventure, and how to return home safe and sound. for more information be sure to see the other articles in this series. If there are backpacking essentials that you use, please be sure to tell us in the comments.

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