Adventure awaited!

Adventure awaited!

## Choosing the Right Backpack

When selecting a backpack for hiking and camping, one of the most important considerations is whether you need a pack for day trips or overnight excursions. Daypacks are smaller and lighter, ideal for short hikes or everyday use. Overnight backpacks have a larger capacity and extra features for multi-day adventures.


A daypack is a small backpack, usually around 20-30 liters, designed for single day outings. Look for the following features in a daypack:

- Lightweight and compact to avoid weighing you down
- Breathable back panel and shoulder straps for comfort
- Hydration reservoir sleeve and ports for water accessibility
- Attachment points for trekking poles, helmet, and other gear
- Dedicated pocket for essentials you need quick access to

The streamlined design of a daypack lets you move fast and pack light. Daypacks work well for hikes, bike rides, travel, and everyday use.

**Overnight Backpack**

For backpacking trips and multi-day hikes, choose a backpack with 40-60+ liter capacity. Key features of an overnight pack include:

- Adjustable torso length and hip belt for a customized, comfortable fit
- Lightweight internal frame for support with heavy loads
- Spacious main compartment with divider for organizing gear
- Sleeping bag compartment at bottom of pack
- Multiple exterior pockets for quickly accessing items
- Attachment points for securing gear like tents or trekking poles
- Rain cover included for protection from the elements

Carefully measuring your torso and selecting the right size overnight pack ensures you have room for all your camping gear and a comfortable fit for long days on the trail.

## Essential Gear for Overnight Hiking Trips

Overnight hiking trips allow you to go further into nature and experience sights that day hikers rarely get to see. However, you'll need to pack smart and light to cover long distances while carrying everything on your back. Here are some of the essential items for multi-day treks:

### Tents
Your tent is your home away from home on the trail, so it's crucial to choose one that balances weight, space, and durability. For overnight trips, look for lightweight backpacking tents that weigh around 5 pounds or less. Dome-style tents provide more headroom while tunnel/hoop tents are better in high winds. Make sure to get a tent with enough space for you and your gear. Waterproof ratings of 1,500mm or more will keep you dry if rain strikes.

### Sleeping Bags
Warmth is key for a good night's sleep on the trail. Choose a sleeping bag rated for the coldest overnight temps you expect. Synthetic and down insulation both work well, with down being more compressible but ineffective when wet. Look for a mummy-style bag for weight savings. Consider features like hoods, draft collars, zipper draft tubes, and water-resistant shells. Aim for the lightest weight that still provides enough warmth.

### Sleeping Pads
Sleeping pads provide a cushion between your bag and the hard ground. They also insulate you from the cold ground. Inflatable pads are the most comfortable and pack down small. Foam pads are cheaper but bulkier. Look for pads with an R-value of at least 3 for adequate insulation. Mummy-shaped pads save weight. Self-inflating pads offer a hybrid option.

## Hit the Trail in Hiking Boots

When hitting the trail, one of the most important pieces of gear is a sturdy and supportive pair of hiking boots. Hiking boots are designed to tackle rugged terrain, protect your feet, and keep you stable over long distances. Unlike regular shoes or sneakers, hiking boots have special features that make them ideal for the outdoors.

### Look for Waterproof Materials

For hiking in wet or muddy conditions, choose boots made with waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex. Waterproof boots will keep your feet dry by preventing water from seeping in while also allowing sweat to escape. The best waterproof hiking boots will keep your feet comfortable in rain, snow, or when hiking through streams.

### Prioritize Ankle Support

Hiking on uneven ground means you need boots that stabilize and support your ankles. Look for boots that rise above your ankles with adequate padding. Ankle support helps prevent rolling or injuries. The cut of hiking boots varies, so select the option that fits your hiking style - low-cut for lightweight trails or high-cut for backpacking.

### Break Them In

Brand new hiking boots need to be broken in before hitting the trail to prevent blisters. Wear them around the house for short periods to start stretching them. As they become more flexible, take short local hikes. Give your new boots 10-15 miles of use before embarking on longer treks to fully break them in.

### Care Tips

With proper care, hiking boots can last 500-1000 miles. After each use, remove debris and dirt then let them air dry. Use leather cleaner and conditioner to maintain waterproofing. Replace worn laces and insoles regularly. Store boots with cedar shoe trees to absorb moisture and retain shape. With regular cleaning and inspection, your hiking boots will deliver miles of comfortable trail time.

## Stay Hydrated on the Trail

Staying hydrated is crucial when hiking for extended periods. Dehydration can ruin your trip and cause serious health issues. Carrying enough water and drinking frequently is key.

**Water Bottles**

Water bottles are a versatile option for hiking hydration. Look for durable bottles made from BPA-free plastic or stainless steel. Wide-mouth bottles are easier to fill up and clean. Choose a bottle with a secure lid that won't leak. Look for useful features like insulation to keep liquids cool and measurement markers to track your intake. Popular bottle sizes for hiking range from 20-32 oz. Carry at least one bottle per person.

**Hydration Bladders**

Hydration bladders or reservoirs allow you to drink hands-free through a tube and bite valve. They store inside your backpack with the drinking tube routed through a shoulder strap. Bladders hold 1-3 liters of water. Look for durable, leak-proof models with an easy-access opening for filling and cleaning. Insulated bladders help keep your water cool. Hydration bladders are convenient but can be tricky to refill on the trail. Consider pairing with a bottle.

Stay hydrated by frequently sipping water throughout your hike. Know the signs of dehydration like excessive thirst, fatigue, headache, and dark urine. Hydrating properly will keep you feeling great on the trail. Consider water purification methods if drinking from natural sources. With the right hydration gear, you can adventure confidently into the backcountry.

## Cook Up a Feast at the Campsite

After a long day on the trail, few things satisfy more than a hot meal under the stars. Outdoor Outfitters offers the best camping cookware and stoves to fuel your outdoor culinary adventures.

Start with a reliable camp stove that can boil water and cook meals with adjustable flame control. Canister stoves like the MSR PocketRocket are ultra-lightweight and packable yet put out enough BTUs to simmer or sauté. Liquid fuel stoves from Primus provide adjustable heat output for more serious cooking capabilities.

Choose cookware designed for the rigors of camping. Hard anodized aluminum pots like the GSI Outdoors Glacier Stacking Pots distribute heat evenly and are much lighter than stainless steel. Non-stick frying pans allow you to cook eggs or pancakes with less mess. Make sure to include a kettle or pot with a pouring spout for quickly boiling drinking water.

Utensils like the Sea to Summit Alpha Light utensil set nest together in a compact case, so you can bring a fork, spoon, and knife without taking up much pack space. Opt for BPA-free plastic or lightweight titanium utensils over heavier metal options. A folding spatula and tongs come in handy for flipping pancakes and turning steaks.

With the right stoves, cookware, and utensils, you can prepare tasty backcountry meals like scrambled eggs, fajitas, pasta alfredo, and more. After dinner, clean up with biodegradable Campsuds soap. Outdoor Outfitters has all the camping cookware you need to satisfy your appetite no matter how deep into the wilderness you venture.

## Sleep Soundly Under the Stars

A good night's sleep is essential on any camping trip, and the right gear can help you rest comfortably no matter where you lay your head. When it comes to sleeping, two of the most important pieces of gear are your sleeping pad and camping pillow.

Sleeping pads provide cushioning and insulation between your body and the hard, cold ground. Options range from lightweight foam pads for backpacking to deluxe air mattresses for car camping that feel like your bed at home. Inflatable pads offer more comfort, but foam pads are inexpensive and nearly indestructible. Look for a sleeping pad that fits your height and sleeping style. Mummy-shaped pads are best for backpacking, while rectangular pads offer more room to spread out.

Don't forget about pillows - a good camping pillow can make a huge difference in how well you sleep! Inflatable pillows pack down small but let you adjust the loft and firmness. Memory foam camping pillows cradle your head comfortably and retain their shape. If you want to travel lighter, a stuffable pillow that fills with clothes works too. Some sleeping pads even come with built-in pillows for added convenience.

With a sleeping pad for cushioning and insulation and a pillow that perfectly supports your head, you'll sleep soundly under the stars after a long day on the trail. Wake up refreshed and ready for adventure!

## Trekking Poles for Stability

Trekking poles are an essential piece of gear for hikers looking to add stability on rough terrain. These lightweight poles transfer pressure from your knees and ankles, reducing strain and fatigue over long distances. They also provide balance when crossing streams or hiking downhill. When choosing trekking poles, look for adjustable length and shock absorbing features.

Adjustable trekking poles allow you to adapt the length for uphill and downhill sections of the trail. Shorter pole lengths let you maintain an upright posture on ascents, while longer lengths provide stability on descents. High-quality adjustable poles have lever locks that securely fix the length. Make sure to adjust for your height and arm length so your elbow is at a 90-degree angle when gripping the handle.

Shock absorbing poles cushion each step, reducing impact on your joints. Look for trekking poles with internal springs or fluid cartridges near the tip to absorb terrain vibrations. Anti-shock systems allow for a smoother, more comfortable hike across rugged landscapes. Test the bounce by pressing the tip to the ground to ensure the shock system works properly.

Look for trekking poles with comfortable, ergonomic grips to reduce hand fatigue. Sturdy tips provide traction even on slick surfaces. Carbide flex tips maintain grip over changing terrain. While basic aluminum poles are lightweight and affordable, carbon fiber offers superior strength for heavy loads. Use trekking poles to enhance your stability and comfort on the trail.

## Keep Your Food Safe from Critters

When camping and hiking in bear country, protecting your food from wildlife is crucial. Bears have an extraordinary sense of smell and can detect food odors from miles away. To keep bears and other animals from raiding your campsite, invest in a bear-resistant food canister. These high-strength canisters are made of solid plastic and feature locking lids that prevent bears from prying them open. Look for an IGBC-certified bear canister that has passed rigorous testing against bear attacks.

For shorter hikes, pack all food, trash, and scented items like toothpaste in certified odor-proof bags. The thick plastic barrier blocks smells from escaping. Make sure to store the bag far away from your tent at night. You can also use a bear bag to hang food between trees about 15 feet off the ground and 6 feet from the tree trunks. This makes it harder for bears to reach your supplies. Keeping a clean camp, washing dishes after meals, and properly disposing of all trash and food waste is also key to deterring curious bears. With the right precautions, you can safely enjoy the backcountry without unwanted wildlife encounters.

## Stay on Course with Navigation Tools

Having the right navigation gear is crucial for staying on track and avoiding getting lost on your hiking and camping adventures. Outdoor Outfitters recommends always carrying at least one navigation tool, such as a compass, map, or GPS device.

### Compass
A compass is a must-have item to help you orient yourself and stay on course. Make sure to get one that is durable and waterproof. Learn how to use your compass properly before hitting the trail. Take readings frequently and sight landmarks to confirm you are heading the right direction.

### Maps
Carry up-to-date topographic maps of any areas you plan to hike and camp in. Study the map before your trip and identify key landmarks. Bring it with you on the trail and use it together with your compass to pinpoint your location. Always have a backup paper map even if you plan to primarily use a GPS device.

### GPS Devices
GPS devices utilize satellite navigation to show and track your real-time location. They are useful for monitoring your route, marking waypoints, and getting back on track if you become lost. Look for a lightweight, rugged, and waterproof model with long battery life. Make sure to preload it with digital maps of the area you are visiting. Bring extra batteries or a backup charging method.

With the right navigation gear, you can venture into the backcountry with confidence you'll stay on course and find your way. Outdoor Outfitters has top-rated options from brands like Garmin, Suunto, and DeLorme. Visit your local store or shop online to get equipped for your next adventure.

## Gear Checklists for Your Next Adventure

Having the proper gear for your hiking or camping adventure is essential to an enjoyable and safe experience. Outdoor Outfitters offers customizable downloadable checklists to help you pack like a pro for any excursion.

Our handy checklists allow you to select the activities and conditions for your trip, such as backpacking, car camping, winter camping, paddling, climbing, mountain biking, and more. Simply check the boxes for the gear you need based on the details of your adventure. The checklist will auto-populate with our recommendations to create a custom packing list.

We provide detailed checklists for essential camping gear, safety items, hiking equipment, food and water, first aid, clothing and footwear, navigation and communication tools, and more. You can also add your own items to our lists.

Before your next adventure, be sure to download the relevant Outdoor Outfitters checklists. Having a complete gear list will give you confidence that you have everything you need, while minimizing excess weight in your pack. Our checklists help remove the guesswork so you can focus on exploration, fun, and making new memories in the great outdoors. With proper preparation, you’ll be ready to conquer the trails and campsites in comfort and style.
Back to blog