5 Most Important Pieces of Backpacking Gear

There are five items that can make or break your backpacking trip. While you, of course, need more than five pieces of gear to stay comfortable and safe on the trail, some items are more important than others. These are the five most important pieces of backpacking gear regardless of climate, conditions, terrain, and forecast. Upgrade and invest in these items first.


Cranky feet make a cranky hiker. Don’t skimp on hiking footwear. Find a good pair of  hiking boots or hiking shoes that meet your needs and preferences. Some people are even backpacking in lightweight trail running shoes these days, but keep in mind that most trail runners don’t provide enough support for heavy packs over 25+ pounds.

Also, don’t forget about hiking socks and sock liners. Like choosing the right footwear, your socks can help increase comfort and prevent blisters.


Your backpack and your footwear are tied at the number one spot for most important pieces of backpacking gear. There’s a lot that goes into choosing the right backpack; it’s not a simple matter of picking a color.

Your hiking backpack determines how much gear you can carry, and also plays a big role in your comfort on the trail.

Sleep system

Your sleep system includes a sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, and sleeping pad. Your mood and performance on the trail hinge upon a good night’s sleep. The best way to ensure that you sleep well while backpacking is by hiking hard and having an adequate sleep system.

Make sure that you choose the right sleeping bag and sleeping pad, and add a liner to your sleep system for versatility and to protect your sleeping bag from wear and tear.


Whether you prefer a tent, tarp, bivy, or hammock, you need a good quality shelter for backpacking. There are pros and cons to each type of shelter, but utlimately the choice boils down to style and preference.

Durability, size, weight, and setup are some of the key things to look at when choosing a shelter for backpacking.


The clothing you wear while backpacking dictates comfort and performance, but it can also keep you safe. Rain or cold temperatures can be dangerous – and in some cases lethal – if you’re not wearing the right clothing.

Backpacking clothing, of course, includes everything from your base layer to your midlayer to your outer shell. Check the forecast and always be sure to pack appropriate clothing.

Looking for backpacking clothes, outdoor apparel, or backpacking gear in Northwest Arkansas? Stop by and see us at Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters!

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