Camping gear investigation

The wife and I have a small camping trailer for our excursions that we love. It’s comfortable and keeps us dry, and it’s easier to set up than a tent. We’ve managed a half dozen trips this summer, and love spending time outdoors. However, the downside is that it’s a trailer, and you can’t really take it into the backcountry.

Recently, I’ve been starting to think about doing some hiking/fastpacking that involves staying at campsites along trails. This means traveling light and carrying only what you need to survive. It’s a totally different experience than what you get with a camper, or even car-camping with a tent. In many ways it emphasizes the survival aspect more than just going out to relax. You have to think about how to live when you don’t have the creature comforts of a car.

I’ve only been on one backcountry camping trip, and I had zero gear. We weren’t hiking far to the campsite, so it wasn’t the end of the world, and my friend had enough gear to get us by. Knowing what I know now, I probably looked like an idiot carrying a duffle bag down the Superior Hiking Trail.

That brings me to the point of this blog. I’m thinking of doing a camping trip that involves hiking or running in, and testing myself if I can survive for a couple of days with just my gear and my wits. However, I have very little idea where to start when it comes to gear. Browsing through the REI website is all well and good, but what I really want is to hear from folks about what has worked personally for them.

The parameters are:

  • 2 night self-supported outing with hiking each day
  • Not looking at winter camping yet, just warm weather seasons
  • Might be solo, might be with the wife, so 1-2 people.

What gear have you found to be the best either in quality or value?

What are the essentials that I need to think about getting, that might get overlooked in a google search?

Where have you found you can skimp to lighten the load?

What other questions should I be asking?

Ok Internet, do your thing and educate me!


Beer, running, and geeky things.

One thought on “Camping gear investigation

  1. I have one of those thin air mattresses, and they work great. Not much air needed to inflate. Other people use a foam pad.
    Don’t over buy on tent size. You gotta carry it. I went backpacking with my son and grandson, and had a 4 man tent in my pack. Not many tent pads on the SHT that are really big enough for that. We should have used 2 smaller tents or hammocks. I now have a hammock, but I haven’t tried it yet. Kelty and Big Agnes are good tent brands. Down sleeping bags compress better than fiber fill. Weight matters. Pack fit matters. People at REI can fit a pack to your body.

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