Recommended Backpacking Gear & Reviews

As a trail hiker and pilgrim backpacker, I’ve had the opportunity to test backpacking gear in different climates and conditions for several years. I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way!) what works well for me in various circumstances. I’m glad to share my perspectives, reviews, and recommendations with the following caveats:

  • I have not received nor accept compensation in exchange for reviews or recommendations.
  • I do not republish gear reviews written by others; all opinions are mine alone.

Please keep in mind that all reviews, opinions, and recommendations are mine alone and specific to the circumstances in the review. Whenever possible, I will provide links so that you can also research hiking gear and make decisions for backpacking gear that best meets your needs and circumstances.

 

HIKING BACKPACK REVIEWS

Review: Osprey Exos 58L Backpack

If I could only buy one backpack for all my varied hiking needs, it would be the Osprey Exos. Dollar-for-dollar ...
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Review: Osprey Manta 34L Backpack

I carried the 2019 version of the Osprey Manta 34L backpack through Portugal and Spain on the Camino de Santiago ...
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CAMINO DE SANTIAGO RECOMMENDATIONS

The Best Hiking Poles for the Camino de Santiago

Hiking poles (or trekking poles, as they are known throughout much of the world) are one of the most hotly debated items for pilgrims on the Camino. Some peregrinos swear by them; others swear at ...
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Review: Sea to Summit Coolmax Adaptor Traveller Liner with Insect Shield

Whether I'm walking the Camino de Santiago or hiking the Via Francigena, one of my essential pieces fo backpacking gear is the Sea to Summit Coolmax Adaptor Traveller Liner with Insect Shield. Designed as a ...
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Recommended Apps and Maps for Camino de Santiago

Looking for the best iPhone and Android apps to assist in walking the Camino de Santiago? These Apple and Android apps can help make The Way a little easier to understand, along with maps to ...
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How To: Select a Backpack for the Camino de Santiago

The most frequent question for those planning to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain is: What is the best backpack for the Camino?  From size to fit to how you will carry your pack, ...
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GPS & NAVIGATION ESSENTIALS

Review: Garmin inReach Explorer 2-Way Satellite Communicator

Of all the gear I own, the only one item I will NEVER leave home without is the Garmin Inreach Explorer 2-Way Satellite Communicator. Why? Because - quite simply - the Garmin inReach is an essential life-safety device that keeps me connected anywhere in the ...
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The Top Hiking GPS Apps for iPhone and Android

Looking for the best GPS apps for your iPhone or Android smartphone for your next hike? As a solo hiker and pilgrim, I never leave home without a GPS map and guidebook. Since your phone contains a GPS chip that does not require cellular or ...
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How To Read and Follow Trail Blazes in North America

For many beginning hikers, the excitement of exploring a great trail is often tempered by anxiety about becoming lost along the way. However, you don't have to be intimidated by the National Scenic Trail system or worried that you'll be lost. Nearly every public trail ...
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HOW TO: Follow Trail Markers and Trail Blazes in Europe

As an experienced backpacker in the United States, I'm well-acquainted with how to read and follow trail blazes in North America. However, when I started hiking distance routes and trails in Europe, I quickly found that the system of trail markers was vastly different and ...
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RECOMMENDED ONLINE RETAILERS

            

RECOMMENDED PACKING LISTS

Packing List: My Recommended Gear for Walking the Camino de Santiago

In the summer of 2019, I set out on my first Camino de Santiago pilgrimage along the ancient route from ...
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Packing List: Backpacking Gear for England’s Pilgrims’ Way

I was first drawn to England's ancient pilgrimage route to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket following my 2019 Camino ...
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The Ultimate Backpacking Gear List for Hiking the Florida Trail

Since 2018, I have been section hiking the Florida Trail, one of eleven congressionally-designated National Scenic Trails in the United ...
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PACKING LIST: First-Aid Kit for Blisters and Foot Care

One of the questions I get from both experienced and newer backpackers alike is: what first aid and foot care ...
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ALL BACKPACKING GEAR REVIEWS

HOW TO: Follow Trail Markers and Trail Blazes in Europe

As an experienced backpacker in the United States, I'm well-acquainted with how to read and follow trail blazes in North America. However, when I started hiking distance routes and trails in Europe, I quickly found ...
Read More

Packing List: Backpacking Gear for England’s Pilgrims’ Way

I was first drawn to England's ancient pilgrimage route to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket following my 2019 Camino de Santiago. With my eyes set towards Europe's Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, I ...
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Review: Osprey Exos 58L Backpack

If I could only buy one backpack for all my varied hiking needs, it would be the Osprey Exos. Dollar-for-dollar and pound-for-pound, this go-anywhere, carry-anything pack remains one of the best (if not the singular ...
Read More

How To Read and Follow Trail Blazes in North America

For many beginning hikers, the excitement of exploring a great trail is often tempered by anxiety about becoming lost along the way. However, you don't have to be intimidated by the National Scenic Trail system ...
Read More

The Ultimate Backpacking Gear List for Hiking the Florida Trail

Since 2018, I have been section hiking the Florida Trail, one of eleven congressionally-designated National Scenic Trails in the United States. At more than 1,300 miles, the FT has been called the “toughest hike you’ve ...
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PACKING LIST: First-Aid Kit for Blisters and Foot Care

One of the questions I get from both experienced and newer backpackers alike is: what first aid and foot care items should I carry in my backpack in case I get blisters or have foot ...
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HOW TO: Five Tips for Urban Hiking

Nearly all of my pilgrimage trips have included some amount of urban hiking through modern cities, including the Camino de Santiago as you arrive at the Cathedral and the California Mission Trail through the major ...
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PACKING LIST: Backpacking First-Aid Kit

As a lifelong Scout and Scout Leader, I've probably created and carried more than 30 unique first-aid kits over the years. I say "created" because - more often than not - retail first aid kits ...
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The Top Hiking GPS Apps for iPhone and Android

Looking for the best GPS apps for your iPhone or Android smartphone for your next hike? As a solo hiker and pilgrim, I never leave home without a GPS map and guidebook. Since your phone ...
Read More

Packing List: My Recommended Gear for Walking the Camino de Santiago

In the summer of 2019, I set out on my first Camino de Santiago pilgrimage along the ancient route from Portugal into Spain to Santiago de Compostela. As an experienced hiker, I spent a lot ...
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Gear Hack: Refill Your Backpack Hydration Reservoir from Water Bottles or Filters

As I've explained before, I use hydration reservoirs almost exclusively over water bottles when I'm hiking. For me, I drink more, stay hydrated, and make better time along the trail when I can easily drink ...
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The Best Hiking Poles for the Camino de Santiago

Hiking poles (or trekking poles, as they are known throughout much of the world) are one of the most hotly debated items for pilgrims on the Camino. Some peregrinos swear by them; others swear at ...
Read More

Review: Sea to Summit Coolmax Adaptor Traveller Liner with Insect Shield

Whether I'm walking the Camino de Santiago or hiking the Via Francigena, one of my essential pieces fo backpacking gear is the Sea to Summit Coolmax Adaptor Traveller Liner with Insect Shield. Designed as a ...
Read More

PACKING LIST: Trekking The World

By far the most frequent question I receive relates to how to pack for an international hiking trip. With that in mind, I'm sharing my packing list for anyone who is considering a distance hike ...
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Review: Garmin inReach Explorer 2-Way Satellite Communicator

Of all the gear I own, the only one item I will NEVER leave home without is the Garmin Inreach Explorer 2-Way Satellite Communicator. Why? Because - quite simply - the Garmin inReach is an ...
Read More

Review: Osprey Manta 34L Backpack

I carried the 2019 version of the Osprey Manta 34L backpack through Portugal and Spain on the Camino de Santiago and recommend it most highly. In fact, I believe this is one of the best ...
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How To: Select a Backpack for the Camino de Santiago

The most frequent question for those planning to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain is: What is the best backpack for the Camino?  From size to fit to how you will carry your pack, ...
Read More

 

The views expressed regarding products on this site are mine alone based on my own experiences. I do not accept any compensation in exchange for a review or recommendation. If you purchase an item linked from this site, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.