Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Backpacking Gear of 2022

Our backpacking experts pick the best backpacking gear available from tents to stoves, and packs to pads
Best Backpacking Gear of 2022
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
By Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Thursday June 23, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

We've taken the time to list all of our favorite backpacking gear in one place. This dream list has options for any type of trail treader. Whether you love to go fast with the lightest gear on the market or prefer a more leisurely hiking adventure with lavish, comfortable gear, we've got options. We also consider the best value options to help you save money. Links are provided below to each review if you want more info on any product or category.

Editor's Note: We updated this list of our favorite picks on June 23, 2022, to incorporate our latest picks for Backpacking Pack for Women.


backpacking gear - exploring colorado's rocky mountain wilderness with the aura ag 50.
Exploring Colorado's Rocky Mountain wilderness with the Aura AG 50.
Credit: Briana Valorosi

Backpacking Backpacks


Finding the right backpack is one of the most essential backpacking trip decisions. Getting the right balance in weight, storage, cost, and comfort is key, but needs to fit with your intended use and budget. We've tested more than 200 backpacks, putting each through an intensive evaluation and rating process. Below are our picks for men's, women's, and those who want to ultimate in ultralight packs. You might also want to consider a hydration bladder that most backpacks can accomodate, to help you keep hydrated on the trail.

Backpacking Packs - Men's

Granite Gear Blaze 60


The Granite Gear Blaze 60 is one awesome pack. Almost everything about this pack was perfectly designed, earning it our top spot as Editors' Choice. It's rare to find a backpack this light-weight, that can also comfortably tote heavy loads as this pack…

REI Co-op Flash 55


The REI Flash 55 is a comfortable backpack that carries a medium load well but is not intended for loads much over 30 pounds. Even with a ton of pockets and features, the pack is super lightweight due to thin fabrics and a lighter-duty suspension. The hip…


Backpacking Packs - Women's

Gregory Deva 60


The Gregory Deva's strong suit is its ability to carry substantial loads in complete comfort. You can easily fit a box of wine and some s'mores supplies in the Deva without feeling like you've added a box of wine and s'mores. It's durable and stable…

Osprey Renn 65


The Osprey Renn 65 is the best pack we tested for the lowest price. This Best Buy winner is large and comfortable, allowing you to do anything from a week-long backpacking epic to a quick night out in the backcountry. The Renn 65 offers the comfort and…


Ultralight Backpacks

Gossamer Gear Mariposa


With a larger carrying capacity and a lower overall weight than many other packs in this review, plus unparalleled comfort, it was a no brainer to give the Mariposa our Editors' Choice Award. It's hard to compete with a pack that is this lightweight and…

Osprey Exos 48


The Osprey Exos 48 continues to be our favorite reasonably priced pack, which scores highly in all metrics. Affordable, versatile, and widely available, the feature set is extensive and allows you to pick and choose which features are best suited for your…


Hydration Bladders

Gregory 3D Hydro


The Gregory 3D Hydro surprised us with its dominating performance, combining durability and ease of use better than any other model we've come across. The thick walls of the bladder can be squeezed into packs for nearly any adventure. It features a narrow…

Platypus Hoser


The Platypus Hoser is a lightweight and packable bladder offered at a great price. Earning our Best Buy Award, it has a simple design that'll keep you hydrated, whatever the adventure you embark upon. We tested this bladder while running trails, climbing…


backpacking gear - this lightweight wonder is comfortable and durable.
This lightweight wonder is comfortable and durable.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Tents for Backpacking


Our experts have put hundreds of tents to the test, and can help you find just the right balance between weight, comfort, packed size, and cost. Whether you are looking for a traditional backpacking tent, or the lightest possible shelter you can find, we've got you covered. It is worth nothing that some ultralight backpacking enthusiasts skip a tent entirely and use a bivy sack or an innovative backpacking hammock instead.

Backpacking Tents

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2


The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is a high-performance two-door backpacking tent for people that want more space and comfort than lighter models offer. It wins our Editors' Choice Award because of its excellent execution on a solid design, creating a…

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+


The REI Half Dome SL 2+ is an excellent tent for those who like to split their time between car camping and short backpacking trips. Its dimensions are roomy, but if you wanted to split the weight and take it out for a weekend with a partner, it is…


Ultralight Shelters

ZPacks Duplex Flex Upgrade


The ZPacks Duplex Flex Upgrade crushes the competition when looking for the creature comforts of a regular tent packed into an ultralight construction. With a sewn-in bug protector and waterproof bathtub floor, this tarp tent offers the lowest possible…

Durston X-Mid 1P


The Durston X-Mid 1P combines the luxuries of a double-wall tent and the simplicity of a traditional tarp, making it one of our favorite shelters that we've tested to date. With just four minimum required stakes for set-up, this shelter is simple to pitch…


Bivy Sacks

Outdoor Research Helium Bivy


The Outdoor Research Helium Bivy ticks all of the boxes when it comes to a bivy sack. It provides superior weather protection in a surprisingly lightweight package and is relatively durable considering its weight. The Helium is easy to set up even when…

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy


We love this bivy sack. Amazingly, the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy offers a generous full zipper for entry and exit, a separate zippered bug screen, ample space for any sleeping pad, and an attachment point so the bivy can be suspended above your…


Hammocks

Warbonnet Original Blackbird


The Warbonnet Original Blackbird earns its Editors' Choice for Backcountry Shelter award by being the model we want to spend every night in and for having all the features needed for an all-weather shelter. The Blackbird is spacious, has a huge pocket…

Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip


The Hennessy Expedition is the winner of one of our Best Buy awards. It is a fully-featured hammock shelter in a budget-friendly package. This innovative expedition hammock comes fully equipped with an integrated bug net, suspension, and a rain fly. If…


backpacking gear
Credit: ian McEleney

Sleeping Bags and Pads


The perfect night's sleep on the trail can be elusive, especially when trying to minimize the weight of your pack. Our backcountry experts spent thousands of nights, sleeping in the top models on the market, to help you choose the right now. Whether you need a traditional bag for men or women or an ultralight quilt, our team can recommend the right bag or pad for you.

Backpacking Sleeping Bags - Men's

Western Mountaineering MegaLite


In the extraordinarily close contest for the best backpacking sleeping bag, the Western Mountaineering MegaLite once again takes home our Editors' Choice Award. Like most of the ultra-premium down bags we tested, it is extremely lightweight and packable….

Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30


Life is complicated enough. Keep your sleeping bag decision simple with the Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30. This affordable bag comes filled with 15 oz of 650FP duck down. Ordinarily, you could spend a hundred dollars more to obtain similarly light and…


Backpacking Sleeping Bags - Women's

Feathered Friends Egret UL 20 - Women's


The highest quality bag in this review, the Feathered Friends Egret UL 20, knocks its competitors off their pedestals easily and wins our Editors' Choice Award. It has an unmatched down fill of 950+, creating a toasty and lofty bag for all three…

Sierra Designs Cloud 800 - Women's


The Sierra Designs Cloud 800 - Women's is well named for its lightweight and comfortable construction, making it feel like you're sleeping on a cloud. The 800 fill power down bag takes our Best Buy Award because of its great performance at a reasonable…


Ultralight Sleeping Bags

Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL


The Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL is the highest scoring ultralight sleeping bag in our review and an easy choice for our Editors' Choice Award. Versatility is a large part of what makes a summer bag great, and this one proved to be an optimal choice…

Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20


For years now, the Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 is the reigning champion of the Best Buy Award. We love the versatility of the quilt, and that it's the warmest quilt among the competition. It isn't the absolute lightest, but it is lightweight for a…


Sleeping Pads - Men's

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm


If there's one thing to be thankful for in 2020, it's the updated valve system on one of our favorite sleeping pads of all time. Despite the previously dated and frustrating valve system, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm was still our Editors' Choice…

Klymit Static V2


The Klymit Static V2 sleeping pad previously represented the best value of any sleeping pad we had tested and had a lot to live up to. This year's testing revealed an even more impressive pad. If you're currently in the market for a sleeping pad, you no…


Sleeping Pads - Women's

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's


With new developments in R-value testing and an updated valve, the Therm-A-Rest's NeoAir XLite lands at the top of the pack. The NeoAir has asserted its dominance once again. In the categories of weight and packed size, the NeoAir XLite can't topped, and…

REI Co-op AirRail Plus - Women's


The REI Co-op AirRail has been upgraded to the Plus model, and it continues to be a great product. It's super comfortable, right up there at the top of our scoring because of its hugging bumpers that cradle you while you sleep. REI has cut down the weight…


backpacking gear - this stove is less stable than the competition. our testers...
This stove is less stable than the competition. Our testers recommend using smaller volume (less than 1L) cookware.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Backpacking Stoves and Kitchen


Our backcountry culinary crew compares the best stove and backcountry cooking setups so you can create your ultimate kitchen away from home.

Backpacking Stoves

Soto Windmaster


The Soto WindMaster wins our Editors' Choice Award year after year, acing nearly every one of our metrics. It is relatively lightweight and compact, and we are impressed by the reliability of the piezoelectric igniter. The generous pot supports work great…

Soto Amicus


Since 2010 Soto has become an industry leader for backpacking stoves that produce high-octane blue flames even in inclement weather. The Soto Amicus is no exception. It scores favorably across every metric in our review and does for less money than other…


Camping Cookware

GSI Pinnacle Camper


The GSI Pinnacle Camper is the best cook set we have tested, sharing our Editors' Choice award with a product that performs very well but does not include as many components. As a "one-stop-shop" product, made up of high-quality components, this award…

Stanley Adventure Base Camp


The Stanley Adventure Base Camp has designed, integrated, and is selling a set of cookware that basically matches the performance and function of your home pot and pan while nesting it all together with functional but small plates, bowls, and sporks. This…


Backpacking Chairs

Big Agnes Skyline UL


After months of testing backpacking chairs in a wide range of environments, the Big Agnes Skyline UL stands out as the best blend of comfort, stability, and weight, making it a clear choice for our Editor's Choice award. It sits higher off the ground than…

Moon Lence Camp Chair


The Moon Lence chair swipes our Best Buy Award this year for its low weight and comfort at an extremely nice price. The relaxation factor is on par with most similar chairs and could only be slightly improved with a more upright sitting position. Mesh…


Pocket Knives

Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585


Our testing team loves almost everything about the Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585. Its dimensions and features strike a balance that we all could appreciate. It slides virtually unnoticed in the owner's pocket but provides ergonomic support for the user to…

Kershaw Leek


In our extensive testing of a select grouping of the world's best pocket knives, we found the Kershaw Leek to represent the cream of the crop at a reasonable price. Our test included less expensive knives and knives ready for more aggressive usage, but…


Sporks

Snow Peak Titanium Spork


The Snow Peak Titanium provides top-notch comfort alongside quality construction. It handles like a normal piece of cutlery but comes with the desired versatility of a hybrid utensil. It's also lightweight and easy to clean, making it great for…

humangear GoBites Uno


The idea of a plastic utensil may bring to mind the flimsy white sporks found at places like Taco Bell, but the humangear GoBites Uno couldn't be further from its chintzy fast-food cousins. This on-the-go utensil consists of thick, durable nylon that the…


Energy Bars

Kate's Real Food


Packed full of flavor and quality ingredients, Kate’s bars will help you get it done

Justin's Maple Almond Butter


Portable, creamy goodness that provides the highest caloric density of any bar or snack we have tested


backpacking gear
Credit: Amber King

Backpacking Water Filters


Carrying water (and making sure it's safe to drink) is the most basic and essential backpacking need. We look at everything from high-volume water filters to options that weigh less than a cell phone and can be used in seconds. Be sure to also check out our reviews of water bottles and hydration bladders too.

Backpacking Water Treatment

Platypus GravityWorks


The Platypus GravityWorks filtration system is fast and straightforward to use. We tested the four-liter version of this product. It wins our Editors' Choice Award because it's one of the most versatile and reliable systems tested. Designed for base camp…

Sawyer Squeeze


If a lightweight personal filtration system is next on your wishlist this season, consider the Sawyer Squeeze as your next favorite piece of gear! This durable filtration system proves to be lightweight with unmatched versatility in a crowded market. It…

Aquamira Water Treatment Drops


If you're seeking a bare-bones water treatment approach, the Aquamira Water Treatment Drops is the best out there. It's lightweight, user-friendly, inexpensive, and super reliable. Unlike iodine or other treatments, the Chlorine Dioxide is not harmful to…


backpacking gear - a good pair of hiking boots will give you the confidence to hike in...
A good pair of hiking boots will give you the confidence to hike in all kinds of conditions.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Footwear and Trekking


Happy feet make for a happy hike. We do side-by-side comparisons of the best backpacking footwear whether you are going 10 miles or 1000+. From the best traditional hiking boots to lighter hiking shoes and trail running options, we've got your feet covered. We also go deep on top trekking pole options.

Hiking Boots - Men's

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex


By our assessment, the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex is the best hiking boot available. This model builds on the success of the earlier Quest models, with the addition of some notable new technologies that increase stability and comfort, as well as a weight…

Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof


The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof is one of the rare comfortable-out-of-the-box boots that makes us wonder why they can't all be this way. This mid-ankle boot is more affordable than many of its competitors, but it still offers quite a bit in terms of…


Hiking Boots - Women's

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX - Women's


If you’re looking for a comfortable hiking boot that offers protection from the elements while moving quickly through technical terrain, then look no further than the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX. This was a favorite of our testing crew, thanks…

Salomon OUTline Mid GTX - Women's


The Salomon OUTline Mid GTX is a sleek and agile hiking boot that sheds bulk and weight without sacrificing the stability and performance of a traditional hiking boot. The high-performing EVA midsole cushions sharp objects encountered on the trail, while…


Trekking Poles

MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon


The newest version of the MSR Dynalock Ascent Carbon is simple, elegant, and perfect for most users. The foam grip and rounded handle are comfortable to grasp, and the locking mechanism is easy to use and secure. The pair comes at an average weight but…

Black Diamond Distance Z


The Black Diamond Distance Z is a lightweight and durable pole that packs down to a small size. It also is the most affordable of the lightweight poles in our review, earning it an esteemed Best Buy Award. Other affordable options are more adjustable, but…


backpacking gear
Credit: Bligh Gillies

Backpacking Clothing Essentials


Finding the right layers for men and women can make bad weather a mere nuisance and not a morale crusher. Check out our Introduction to Layered Clothing Systems article to help develop a strategy to stay warm. Our experts test and rate each layering component to help you find the perfect lightweight down jacket, as well as jackets for rain, windbreakers and sun shirts too.

Down Jackets - Men's

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2


The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody claimed the coveted Editors' Choice award for the best overall down jacket. What makes this jacket such a standout is its high versatility and warmth in such a lightweight package. It weighs only 8.5 ounces…

MontBell Superior Down


The MontBell Superior Down has all the features you'd expect to find in a premium brand name jacket but is being offered at a seriously reduced price point. This jacket comes complete with two zippered handwarmer pockets, two internal drop pockets, an…


Down Jackets - Women's

Feathered Friends Eos - Women's


The Feathered Friends Eos, named for the goddess of the dawn, brings the warmth of those first rays of sunlight every time you put it on. We loved wearing this jacket after the sunset in the mountains, on the short cold days of fall in the desert, and…

Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket - Women's


The Rab Microlight Alpine is one of the more durable and well-rounded jackets in this review. It performs solidly across all metrics and is very comfortable. It also allows for an excellent range of movement and resists abrasion. It also earns a lot of…


Base Layers - Men's

SmartWool Merino 250 Crew


Once again, the SmartWool Merino 250 Crew earns its spot at the top of the pile of contenders. Across the board, this well-designed crew continues to impress in terms of thermoregulation, with an uncanny ability to balance warmth and breathability…

Meriwool Midweight Thermal


In many ways, tops like the Meriwool Midweight Thermal are helping re-define stereotypes about fine, 100% merino wool base layers. Mainly, this thermal offers the same top-quality at a fraction of the cost. The extra-fine spun wool favors breathability…


Base Layers - Women's

Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip - Women's


The Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino is for the person seeking value in return for their investment. This lightweight layer excels in its warmth to weight ratio offering exceptional thermoregulation and breathability thanks to the Nuyarn Merino stretch…

Carhartt Base Force Heavyweight 1/4 Zip - Women's


We can't help but gush about the Carhartt Base Force Heavyweight 1/4 Zip for women. Not only is this polyester-merino wool blend as soft and cozy as a 100% merino wool top, but it also comes at just a fraction of the price. We wore it while multi-pitch…


Long Underwear - Men's

Ortovox 185 Rock'N'Wool Pant


Warm, dry, breathable, durable, and super soft — the Ortovox 185 Rock'N'Wool Pant rose through the ranks to earn our preference overall. For their weight, this pair of all-natural long underwear provides a level of warmth only topped by significantly…

REI Co-op Midweight Bottoms


REI Co-op has certainly been investing in its research and development. Seemingly every new product they release brings with it a good balance of performance, features, and price. The REI Co-op Midweight Bottoms are no exception. These synthetic pants…


Long Underwear - Women's

Icebreaker Merino 260 Zone Leggings - Women's


For those looking for the ultimate long underwear bottoms, the Icebreaker Merino 260 Zone Leggings are worth the investment. This pair provides a balance between warmth and ventilation that is unmatched, while also being comfortable and well-fitting. The…

Kari Traa Rulle High-Waist


The Kari Traa Rulle High Waist is for the consumer looking for a functional and stylish pair of long underwear bottoms that will take them from the yoga studio to the chair lift to the apres happy hour — all at an affordable price. Constructed from 70%…


backpacking gear

Backpacking Electronics


The right trail tech can offer piece of mind and aid navigation, especially in bad weather. Our experts test top satellite messengers as well as mini solar panels and GPS navigation aids.

Personal Locator Beacons

Garmin inReach Mini 2


With the upgrades made on the inReach Mini 2, Garmin has cemented its position at the top of the heap for two-way, global satellite messaging devices and services. The previous version earned our top honor, and the latest version makes notable, albeit…

ACR Bivy Stick


The ACR Bivy Stick is small but with high performance. It isn't perfect, but no currently available device is. We grant it one of our esteemed awards because, on top of high performance, this product's value for those who only want occasional use is…


Solar Chargers

BigBlue 3


Charging efficiency and dependability are just two important metrics we've focused on when crafting our metrics. As we began testing our new fleet, the updated BigBlue 3 stood out as one of our top contenders. This 28-watt model excelled in charging…

Goertek 25,000mAh


The Goertek 25,000mAh is our latest edition in the realm of battery packs with solar capabilities. This wording is key; the Goertek is first and foremost a battery pack. The solar component, though fully functional, isn't nearly as reliable or powerful as…


Get Out There!


We hope this summary of our favorite backpacking gear has been helpful. We have a number of other gear lists in key outdoor categories from hiking to climbing coming soon. In addition, be sure to see our Buying Advice articles for most major categories where our experts guide you through selecting the perfect type of backpacking gear for your needs. See you on the trails!

Chris McNamara


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