Hiking Gear

Thoughtful packing lists, detailed gear reviews, gift guides, and other helpful advice about hiking and backpacking gear.

Helpful Hiking Resources

Day Hiking Checklist

Ultralight Backpacking Gear List

How to Meal Plan for Backpacking

2023’s Best Gifts for Hikers

Complete Hiking & Backpacking Resources Guide

Four types of backpack material: Dyneema, Gridtstop, Leather, and Cotton Canvas side by side

Backpack Fabrics: Understanding Nylon, Canvas, DCF & More

Today, we’ll take a deep dive into the different backpack fabrics and materials that make up modern-day bags. We’ll start by looking at the most popular synthetic fabrics on the market: nylon (Ripstop, Ballistic, Cordura, and Robic), polyester, neoprene, Dyneema/DCF, ULTRA, X-Pac, and ECOPAK. After that, we’ll look at tried-and-true traditional fabrics, like cotton canvas … Read more
Man wearing a red hoodie holding up a black backpack full of hiking gear in front of signage for the Colorado Trail

Colorado Trail Gear List: Checklist + Tips for CT Thru-Hikers

Hiking the Colorado Trail is no easy feat, so you must assemble a lightweight and functional gear list for your 2024 thru-hike, backpacking trip, or section hike. Dialing in your ideal setup is essential, so get prepared well before arriving at the trailhead. In this post, I’ll give you an easy-to-follow checklist and share some … Read more

Zpacks 8.5’ x 10’ Tarp Review: The Ultralight Tarp to Carry?

My favorite hammock tarp is the Zpacks 8.5′ x 10′ Flat Tarp, a top choice for ultralight enthusiasts in search of single-digit base pack weights. It’s light and versatile enough that I take it everywhere, including day hikes and car camping trips. I mostly use tarps as hammock rain covers, but they’re also popular for … Read more

Zpacks Offset Trio Review: A Stellar 3-Person UL Shelter?

Zpacks’ ultralight tents have long reigned supreme in the backpacking shelter world. But rather than resting on their laurels, the good folks at Zpacks have continued to raise the bar with their recently released Offset Duo and, now, the three-person Offset Trio, which I was recently able to test out and review. The Duo already … Read more
Man sitting inside a backpacking tent with his arms stretched out wide

Zpacks Triplex Review: A Formidable 3-Person Backpacking Tent?

I welcomed the chance to review the Zpacks Triplex ultralight backpacking tent. Its versatile trekking pole setup and Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) make it one of the lightest, thinnest, and most reliable tents for staying dry and out of the elements. Here’s my in-depth look at its features, specifications, setup, and its upsides and downsides. … Read more
Five pairs of hiking underwear, men's and women's over a backdrop of a foggy forest

Our Favorite Hiking Underwear for Men & Women

Upon walking into an REI, it’s easy to get dazzled by all the big, shiny items on display, such as packs, trekking poles, and tents. But don’t overlook that humble but crucial piece of gear — your hiking underwear. Sure, your favorite cotton undies will do for a short jaunt or two. But for longer … Read more

59 Unique Gift Ideas for Hikers & Backpackers

It isn’t easy to buy gifts for hikers and backpackers. I get it. We’re a gear-hungry bunch who spend far too much of our free time searching for products that’ll take our trail game to the next level. Buying something for an avid hiker that’s unique and worthwhile can get overwhelming because we don’t just … Read more
Camo Zpacks Duplex ultralight tent pitched in a high-alpine field in front of a mountain range

11 Best Ultralight Tents for Backpacking & Thru-Hiking

Gone are the days of toting bulky six-pound Eureka tents around the woods — backpacking shelters today save hikers every possible ounce. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to decide on the best ultralight tent for your next backpacking or thru-hiking trip. Your tent is one of your most … Read more
Six waterproof backpacks, Breakwater Supply, Zpacks, Patagonia, Matador, EarthPak, and Osprey with drops of water on them in the forest

13 Waterproof Backpacks to Keep Your Gear Dry in 2024

Ever hiked in the pouring rain, eager to change into the dry clothes inside your pack, only to find out they were soaking wet when you finished? We sure have, which is why we created this list of the 13 best waterproof backpacks of 2024. These weatherproof packs will keep you and your gear dry … Read more
Three ultralight ditty bags on a wooden desk

Our 8 Favorite Ditty Bags for Backpacking & Travel Gear

The last thing you need when taking a trip is to stress over completely preventable inconveniences. Careful packing and storage planning is a big part of that, so do yourself a favor and check out the best ditty bags to organize your travel and backpacking gear. What’s a ditty bag used for in the context … Read more
Black NEMO Helio XL foot pump camp shower with a camper van and solar panels in the background

11 Best Camping Showers to Stay Fresh & Clean Outdoors

Sure, there’s a rugged charm to that all-natural, musky scent after a long day’s hike. More power to you if that’s your thing, but take it from a seasoned outdoorsman – you’ll have a much more comfortable time out in nature with one of the best camp showers. Life can get a little itchy after … Read more

16 Stellar Hiking Hats for Men, Women & Hikers of All Stripes

If you hit the trail without a proper hiking hat, what’s your plan? Will you trudge through the wilderness like a masochist as the sun beats down on your face without mercy? Are you going to squint, grimace, and shield your eyes from the harsh UV rays as you pray for the next stretch of … Read more
German Shepherd dog wearing a red hiking backpack with mountains in the background

8 Best Dog Backpacks [Hiking Harnesses & Carriers]

“This dog needs to get a job,” I think as I look down at my lazy puppy curled up in a puddle of fur. She gets to go with me to all the places and do all the things. Yet, here she lays without a care in the world as I write this piece about the … Read more

9 Best 0-Degree Sleeping Bags for Winter’s Cold Weather

Going camping this winter? If so, seriously consider packing a sleeping bag rated down to 0° Fahrenheit. Why? Two good reasons: 1) Plummeting temperatures often catch people off guard, with 500 Americans dying every year of hypothermia; and 2) Many thousands more survive freezing temperatures but shiver miserably through the night! Here are our picks … Read more
Three sets of minimalist barefoot trail running sandals on pieces of wood

12 Best Minimalist Barefoot Sandals for Running & Hiking

I’ve been searching for a more minimalist approach to footwear for years since I bought my first Vibram Five Finger style back in 2005. From my years of research, I’ve put together my list of the best minimalist barefoot running sandals for men and women. What are minimalist barefoot sandals? They’re typically lightweight, highly flexible, … Read more
Gray Zpacks brand backpack leaned up against a rock covered in Lichen

8.2 lb Ultralight Backpacking Gear List | 2024 Optimal Setup

I’ve spent several years and thousands of miles on the trail earning my stripes as a backpacker, and I’m here to share my 2024 ultralight backpacking gear list with you. Because the gear you bring along can decide the fate of your backpacking trip. Believe me, I’ve overpacked and returned home a broken man enough … Read more
Three pairs of wool hiking socks propped of up logs with mountains in the distance

The Top Wool Hiking Socks for All-Season Comfort

As a former REI employee with three-and-a-half years of experience in the footwear department, customers have approached me countless times to ask which hiking socks are best for their next adventure. I’m a gear nerd and know that small details make all the difference in creating the best experience outdoors. Various types of hiking require … Read more

11 Best Backpacking Tents for All Budgets

Picking out one of the best backpacking tents for your gear list is no small task. Because, in the wild and unforgiving backcountry, your shelter is the only thing protecting you from the wind, rain, and critters that await outside. That’s why we’ve carefully chosen the eleven best backpacking tents on the market and given … Read more
Hiker wearing a green pullover fleece balaclava style hoodie

Patagonia R1 Regulator Fleece Pullover Hoody Review

Price: $159 MSRP – Check Price on REI | Backcountry | Patagonia Connor’s Rating:  4.2 out of 5 stars Pros: Comfortable, versatile, easy to layer with Cons: Not very weather-resistant, not super packable Weight: 11 oz | 312 grams Women’s Model: R1 Pullover Lighter Option: Patagonia R1 Air Crew – 9.7 oz | 275 grams … Read more

14 Essential Backpacking Gear Items I Won’t Hike Without

If you’re on a quest for essential backpacking gear — the top-notch items that’ll enrich your life on the trail — you’ve come to the right place. Why? Because I’m a hopeless ultralight backpacking junkie, and I’m itching to nerd out over my 15 all-time favorite pieces of gear. Health, happiness, and comfort in the … Read more