I’ve made a lot of changes to my backpacking gear list in recent years. Some of my favourite gear is still with me but certain changes were necessary to strike a better balance. That is, my backpack was often too big or heavy, and some of the more recent gear is just better than what I used on previous hiking trips.
My Backpacking Gear List in 2020
My Backpack – Osprey Farpoint 40
I still have my Osprey Exos 58 but I wanted to carry something smaller and lighter. Having a smaller size pack has forced me to cut back on what I carry. It’s more comfortable and the smaller size also means that it’s less obvious that I’m about to pitch a tent somewhere.
Osprey is a fantastic brand when it comes to backpacks. Many smaller/indie brands are starting to overtake them but those brands are most often very expensive next to Osprey. I should say at this point that an Osprey Exos 58 is far more suitable for multi-day hiking and the Farpoint is often small to carry a tent and everything you need on a longer hike.
My Shelter: Option 1 – Vango Banshee 200 Pro
I have one of the lightest tents on the market – the Big Agnes Coppur Spur 2. However, the colour of that tent stands out like a sore thumb. I don’t like people spotting my camp and that’s where the green and subtle nature of the banshee comes into play. That being said, I’ve camped in all sorts of weather in this tent and it never fails to amaze me. It’s reasonably light for this price range and performs well in heavy rain, and strong winds.
My Shelter: Option 2 – DD Hammocks Tarp + AlpKit Bivvy Bag
It’s got multiple straps and chords which makes this a very versatile tarp. With hiking poles, it makes an ideal shelter but obviously a tent offers far more shelter from the elements. I’ll talk about the bivvy bag in a moment.
Sleeping Bag – North Face Blue Kazoo
It’s a compact and warm sleeping bag. However, I used this sleeping bag in freezing temperatures on the Pacific Crest Trail and needed several layers of clothing to keep warm. For the summer months in Ireland, I would say this sleeping bag is ideal but for camping at any other time of year, you might want to look at investing in something warmer.
Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Sleeping Bag Liner
Rather than buy a new sleeping bag, I went out and picked up a sleeping bag liner. Believe it or not, this liner adds 13 degrees to the temperature rating of my sleeping bag.
Therma-Rest/ Sleeping Pad – Vango Trek 3 Compact
It took me a long time to switch from foam sleeping pads. I just hated the idea of inflating and deflating a mattress each day. What’s more, I liked the simplicity of a foam mattress – it just is what it is. However, sense has prevailed and an thermarest is the key to a good nights sleep. They are also more “packable” and save me from having to strap a mattress to my backpack – something that instantly tells people that you are off camping.
Bivvy Bag – Alpkit Hunka XL
At just 330g, I don’t every notice this bivvy bag in my backpack. In case you might not know, a bivvy bag is just a waterproof cover for a sleeping bag and an alternative to sleeping in a tent. They are cheap, lightweight and a lot of fun when the weather is dry – a totally different experience!
Hiking Poles – Black Diamond
I’ve used a few different pairs of hiking poles over the past three years. To be honest, none of them let me down and I’m convinced it’s not worth spending hundreds of euro on a set of hiking poles. However, my biggest mistake with long distance hiking was not using hiking poles at all – they make hiking easier and significantly reduce the risk of injuries.
Down Jacket – Regatta Whitehill Lightweight and Compressible Down Jacket
It’s the tiny size and fit that makes me love this jacket. There are warmer down jackets, of course, but I use this one as one of several layers. It’s just so small when packed away and super comfortable.
Rain Jacket – Outdoor Research Helium II
Shorts – Under Armour Launch SW Short
I always wear shorts. When it rains, I put on waterproof pants and when it stops, I take them off. When it’s extremely cold, I wear leggings underneath and then take them off when it warms up.
T-Shirt – Outdare T-Shirt
Some Outdare t-shirts are made of a poly/cotton mix (65/35%) which means that they are breathable, quick-drying and hold their shape. This makes them great for both active or casual wear and someone who likes to get outdoors as much as possible.
Trail Shoes – Altra Lone Peak
I tried several major brands before arriving at the door of Altra. Truth is, I suffered massive blisters and injuries as a result of having the wrong hiking shoes. If you plan to hike a long distance trail, you cannot skimp on this one. Some people swear by certain boots or shoes but there’s a reason almost every hiker on the Appalacian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail will wear them. By the way, Altra Lone Peak have a wide foot area which helps prevents the blisters.
Hiking Socks – Darn Tough
Another find from my long distance hikes in America. I’ve tried so many big brands and even those socks that guarantee a “specific number of miles” but nothing compared to Darn Tough. They were just so much stronger than anything I have worn on the trail and perfectly comfortable. At the same time, you only need to be picky about this one if you take long hikes on a regular basis. Otherwise, any pair of hiking socks should do just fine.
Underwear – Ex Officio
They’re easy and quick to dry, and very comfortable to wear. If you plan to hike in hot weather, these will be especially useful but I find them more comfortable than any other underwear when hiking in general.
Headwear – Outdare Hiking Hat (Coming Back Soon)
You might notice that I rarely take off my hiking hat. I choose to wear a trucker-style hiking hat for three reasons. Firstly, they are comfortable. Secondly, they are great for warm/sunny weather as the peak is large and the holes provide plenty of air. Thirdly, the large peak is great underneath my rain jacket for keeping the rain off my face. If you watch my videos in the rain, you will see that my face is always nice n’ dry.
Thermal Leggings, Waterproof Trousers and Gloves
I purchased all of these items at a well-known retailer in Dublin. It’s not necessary (in my opinion) to spend a fortune on this kind of gear so long as it works. You will find each item in any outdoor store in the country.
The Small Stuff
Headlamp | Petzl Actik Core
Water Treatment | Lifestraw Water Filter
Water Bottle | Any Disposable Water Bottle that Fits the Lifestraw
Camping Knife | Petzl Spatha Knife
Raincover | Osprey Pack Cover
Dry Bags | Sea to Summit (9L or 15L) for Electronics & Black Bin Liner for Clothes etc.
Emergency Foil Blanket
First Aid Kit
Credit/Debit Card & Cash
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Baby Wipes or Hand Sanitizer
Second Skin / Blister Cushions
Food, water, panadol and electrolyte sachets
Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review any of these products and I purchase this equipment myself. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for any product, I just know that this gear works for me and it is likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.