Backpacking Gear

This is your basic gear you'll need for most outings. Most of this gear will also be used for Hiking, Snow, Bike and Canoe outings. The trick is to pack what is necessary, while limiting weight and bulk. In backpacking, LESS is often MORE.

10 Essentials

  • These are needed on all outings


  • A backpack is obviously required for a Backpacking Trip.

  • 50-65 Liter Backpack

    • Used on most trips that involve camping

    • Most important consideration - it fits

    • Second consideration - cost

    • Third consideration - lighter weight is better

    • Fourth consideration - looks cool

      • Anything that meets the first three requirements will meet the fourth one also

    • Teton Scout 3400 Backpack (55L 4.2 lbs / 1.92kg)

      • Just the right size if you know what to pack

      • Economical Backpack ~$60-80

      • Adjustable suspension (adjusts as scout grows with minimum hip of 28")

      • New and used ones at

      • youtube review

      • NOTE: Teton also makes a Scout 45L, which is small for conventional backpacking

    • Teton Explorer 4000 Backpack (65L 5.1lbs / 2.3kg)

      • Very similar to the Scout 3400, but bigger and with better pockets

      • Allows you to carry more than the Scout 3400 - which isn't always a good thing

      • Economical Backpack ~$85 (sometimes less on

      • Adjustable suspension (adjusts as scout grows with minimum hip of 28")

      • This pack is a little big and a little heavy

      • Review

    • Higher End Backpacks

      • These packs generally need to be fitted (your scout may grow out of these quickly)

      • Recommend that you take scout to REI and spend 1-2+ hours trying on different packs loaded with weight and walking around store

      • Gregory Baltoro 65 (65L and 4.84lbs / 2.20kg)

      • Osprey Atomos AG 65 (65L 4.5lbs / 2.04kg)

      • Ultralight weight options are available, but tend to be expensive, sometimes delicate and spartan

  • Winter Outing Backpack

    • With ingenuity, scouts can strap gear on the outside of their summer packs

    • A larger Backpack such as the Teton Grand 5500 (90L 6lbs / 2.7kg)

      • This pack is really too big for 4 season use

    • If you are getting a pack just for the winter, consider making an equipment sled (Pulk)

      • It is often easier to drag a Pulk filled with gear than to carry a stripped down winter pack

      • A Pulk is cheaper to put together than a winter pack

      • Many scouts can't carry a 90 Liter Pack full of gear


  • Avoid Cotton

  • Adventure Shirt

    • Synthetic microfiber - drys quickly

  • Adventure Pants

    • Nylon - dries quickly

    • Convertible pants are popular with scouts



Sleeping System

  • Sleeping Bag

    • 20-35° EN Rating

    • Fill: Synthetic or Down

      • Synthetic - less expensive; more forgiving if becomes wet; better option for Pacific Northwest

      • Down - lightest and most compact option, expensive, loses insulation ability if wet; requires special care

      • Cotton - NOT acceptable; loses insulation ability if wet, soaks up water like a sponge

    • Note: a sleeping bag designed for woman may be lighter and a better fit for smaller scouts

  • Synthetic Sleeping Bag Examples:

  • Sleeping Pad

    • Type: Air or foam

  • Sleeping Pad Examples:


  • Our troop has tents, but if you want a personal tent...

  • Type: Backpacking (dome or hybrid)

    • NOTE: Most tents are designed for Car Camping and are too large and heavy for backpacking

  • Size: 2-3 person

  • Weight: Aim for around 2 Pounds per person

  • Fly: Full-length (not toupee rainfly)

  • Examples:


  • Isobutane Stove

    • MSR Pocket Rocket 2

      • Simple over-canister stove

    • Jetboil Zip

      • Cook System - comes with pot

      • Great for boiling water for dehydrated meals and hot drinks

    • Many other stove options are available which may be less expensive, lighter, or more stable

  • Small Pot

    • 750-1600 mL

    • Use for boiling water

    • May be used as a bowl if not eating out of bag

    • MSR Alpine 775 mL Stowaway Pot

      • Stainless Steel is durable and easy to clean

      • Price is reasonable

      • Heavier than titanium counterparts

Water Purification

Other Gear