Under Construction

Backpack Equipment and Clothing Selection at the Sierra Club Knapsack web site.
Guides here: Boots | Backpacks (selection, size, features here, usage)
Products: Tents, Search & Rescue (SAR), Personal 2-way radio, Binoculars, Digital Cameras GPS, other gear (sleeping pads, eating utensils, hiking poles, ...), Group Gear (commissary, first aid, ...)

Outdoor Stores / Web Shopping

Some choices you need to make:

  • Packs: Internal vs External frame
  • Tents: standard double wall (bug proof inner plus water proof rain fly) or single wall floorless tarp which can use hiking poles for support and a ground cloth.
  • Sleeping bags -
    Insulation: down vs synthetic | Size: mummy vs rectangular | Temperature rating
  • Sleeping pads: Closed vs open cell foam or air matress or a combination.
Hiking poles:
Colin Fletcher's "Complete Walker" in 1968 recommended a hiking pole (he had a bamboo one). When fancy adjustable ski pole versions first came out in the 80's, some felt they were a yuppie toy pushed by the manufactures and "real mountaineers" didn't need them. That has changed now, not only do they provide stability and allow you to move faster but they decrease stress on feet, legs and knees.
When they first came out there was debate on whether you should use 1 or 2. Most people now use 2 (it may take a while to get use to them), but there are some who want to have one hand free.
They come with and without shock absorbers. You can disable the shock absorbing system but mine keep coming back on. They supposedly reduce stress on your wrists and elbows.
I like the ones with a screw off top, that you can use as a monopod for your camera. See:
Hiking Poles &Amp; Walking Sticks at Backpacking.net
Trekking Poles at BlackHillsAreaGeocaching.com
Trekking poles - origin, purpose and usage
Pole Selection in products
Ten Reasons for Trekking Poles - OutdoorGearLab.com
Ski-hiking Pole Strap Adjustment
Backpacker Magazine - Trekking Pole Reviews

Most lists recommend biodegradable soaps. Some popular ones are:

Hiker Body Odor | Backpacker Magazine
No Rinse Shampoo and Body Bath | HiningReviews.com

How to Choose Backpacking Socks: Expert Advice from REI

Saving money:
I like dual-purpose equipment and things you can get at a hardware store which are just as functional and less expensive than similar products at a camping supply outlet:

See dual purpose equipment in hiking-gadgets.

Alternative Equipment:
You can frequently get similar items less expensively at a hardware store or dollar store.
Item Camping Hardware Comment
Trowel $4-17 $1 Fiskars FiberComp Trowel has a hollow handle with a cap where you can store TP.
Gloves $25-40 $10 Atlas Therma Fit Gloves $8 at Ace. 3-season - Woven back is not warm enough for winter.
Cups1 $8-25 $1.50 Dollar Store: 16 oz. measuring cup with a lid which can double as a coffee cup. No plastic type rating.
Liner sock $6 $1.50 REI sock is 93% polyester/6% nylon/1% spandex; Dollar store is 95% nylon, 5% spandex
1. If you really want save. Reuse a plastic peanut butter jar.

Fingerless gloves are hand when working with stoves, GPS, ...

REI: http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/camping
Trailspace: www.trailspace.com/gear/hike-camp/
Sierra Club Knapsack committee: www.knapsack.org/basic_equipment.html
Backpacking-Guide: Wilderness Backpacking and Hiking - Tips, Gear, Resources
Brian's Backpacking Blog -
Backpacker Magazine:
  BackPacker Magazine Gear Finder
  Gear Guide 2012   Editors Choice 2012
  Gear Pro Top 5 Questions

last updated 3 July 2011