Backpacking Gear: Sleeping Bag and Tent

Extreme backpackers are also minimalist when it comes to gear

Helpful Tips for Choosing the Right Backpacking Gear

Car camping and backpacking are two entirely different endeavors. While campers still need to pack light when car camping, backpacking gear requires even more minimized packing.  Toting all of your supplies on your back and walking for miles can be a strenuous act, so every ounce of weight counts. Hiking and backpacking in the back country or forest requires organization and careful selection of camping gear. Specialized, lightweight backpacking gear will make your hiking and camping experience much more enjoyable and less tiring.

When you reach your campsite, the thing you will want most is a good night’s sleep. Thus, two of the most important pieces of backpacking gear are a sleeping bag and a tent. These are also, consequently, the two biggest pieces of equipment you’ll be carrying. There are a wide variety of sleeping bags and tents to choose from. Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction and help you balance convenience with comfort.

Light to carry, a sleeping pad packs a lot of punch when it comes to sleep comfort
This lightweight sleeping pad is great for adding comfort to your backpacking gear.

Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Obviously, your first consideration for a backpacking sleeping bag is weight. If you decide to hike a long distance into your remote camping site, you won’t want a large, heavy bag weighing you down and tiring you out. If you think you will brave camping in extremely cold temperatures, select a sleeping bag with a temperature rating that will keep you toasty. It could mean your survival. For additional warmth and comfort, you can combine your sleeping bag with a lightweight sleeping pad.

Backpacking Tent

To shield you from the elements (as well as wild animals), a backpacking tent is a must. Keep in mind that backpacking tents are lighter in weight and are compact, designed to travel with you on your body. If a multi-person tent rather than a personal tent is being used, the parts of the tent can be split among backpackers.

Also important is the time of year you camp. Most people opt for a three-season, more lightweight tent. These tents are rated for milder temperatures that occur in spring, summer, fall. Camping in a colder region requires an extended-season (also known 4-season) tent will provide the extra warmth you need to be comfortable and, in some cases, survive frigid temperatures. A 4-season mountaineering tent is used for mountain camping where it gets very cold at night. Alternatively, for bare bones camping, the best backpacking tent is an ultra-light one.

As with all backpacking gear, the weight of your tent is a big consideration. You must weigh (no pun intended) the benefit/drawbacks of increased size/insulation of your tent versus the additional weight. Find more in-depth information on tent selection here.

If youre camping in the summer, consider a hammock as your only backpacking gear.
Sleeping in a hammock prevents carrying of a tent and sleeping bag

Backpacking Gear Hack

Considering the conditions, hammocks are a great choice for backpackers. They eliminate the need for a sleeping bag and a tent.

Backpacking Gear Wrap Up

Whatever decisions you make regarding the backpacking gear you will carry to your campsite, make an educated choice on each and every piece of equipment. Read reviews, find items that have multi-use and don’t underestimate the elements when selecting a sleeping bag and tent for your backpacking adventure.