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If you’re new to backpacking, it can be hard to know what gear you need for days on the trail. Backpacking and outdoor sports are more popular than ever, and you’ve probably seen a huge number of companies advertising their hiking backpacks and touting all the spectacular features they have. While these backpacks are great, and they are necessary for some things like backpacking, you won’t always need to choose best, shiniest product on the market.

In some cases, yes, you can use a regular backpack for backpacking. If you aren’t doing any serious trips, won’t be in poor weather conditions, or just need to carry some extra things on an impromptu trek in the woods, a regular backpack is more than sufficient. However, if you are going for multiple days, carrying a lot of weight, or in bad weather, you may be thinking about choosing from the different types of backpacking packs.

Like always, that answer will vary based on your plans, distance traveled, and needs on your trip. A good rule of thumb is that under 5 miles, your regular backpacks will work relatively well. Beyond that, you’ll begin to notice discomfort, and may start wishing for the features of a proper backpacking packs. 

How Do I Know If I Need a Backpacking Pack?

How Do I Know If I Need a Hiking Backpack?

You may want to consider upgrading from a regular backpack if you’re taking longer backpacking trips and need more capacity, or you’re noticing discomfort due to the style of backpack you have chosen. Most types of backpacking packs have extra padding, straps, and a more ergonomic construction compared to a backpack you may just use for school books.

This means you can carry your gear for longer periods, and higher amounts of weight will be more comfortable to carry. If you’re backpacking for more than a day, or your pack is getting to be on the heavier side, you should probably start looking into a more suitable option than a regular backpack.

What features should I look for in a backpacking pack?

The most imperative thing is to simply plan for the trip you are taking. If you’re on a day hike, you need a much different pack than you would for backpacking. If you’re carrying heavy weight or traveling great distances in a day, a school backpack will likely become uncomfortable or challenging to use effectively. If your regular backpack is lacking in technical features or isn’t cutting it on your longer hikes, look out for backpacks with features like those listed below:

  • Top loading design
  • Extra pockets
  • Additional padding
  • Waist and/or sternum straps
  • Adjustability 
  • Water-bladder pocket/Hydration reservoir
  • Sleeping bag stash
  • Attachment points and/or tool loops
  • Raincover
  • Ventilation features
  • Greater variability of sizes
  • More comfortable weight distribution
  • Removable daypack

I also recommend a waterproof option if you expect a trip in less than perfect conditions. One positive is that many backpacks made for general use have hiking features, and there’s a good chance you may have a North Face or Osprey bag you use already around the house. If that’s the case, you’ve already got a great tool that will hold up to a lot of your needs.

What different types of backpacking packs are there?

Generally, backpacking packs are defined by their size and style. The 3 different types of backpacking packs are the external frame, internal frame, and frameless backpacks. As far as size, they are measured in liters and you will often see different sizes listed as Daypacks, weekend backpacks, multi-day backpacks, and extended trip/expedition packs.

The different styles of the frame can be confusing, especially if you don’t have experience backpacking or rucking. Frameless backpacks are very light with flexible construction and are designed to carry light loads. A frameless backpacking pack lacks any rods or frame sheets to distribute weight.

Yes! You can use a regular backpack for hiking

They generally don’t hold more than 40 liters and are not meant to carry a heavy load. Internal frame backpacks are the most popular type of backpacking pack available, and feature a more rigid construction that distributes weight more, and keeps the backpacking pack from collapsing. They’re often made with a frame-sheet on the inside. External frame packs feature a frame often made of aluminum on the outside, with a harness attached to it.

They’re used for carrying very heavy loads. They are not as commonly available in modern times, but some companies still offer this style due to their highly adjustable style, and customizable nature.

Sizes are often defined as follows: daypacks (1 day or less) are what you use for very short adventures, and often hold under 30 liters. A weekend pack (1-3 days) measures about 30-50 liters. Multi-day backpacks (3-5 days) hold 50-80 liters, and extended trip backpacks (5+ days) hold 70+ liters.

Depending on your needs and what outdoor sport you perform, you obviously may need a larger or smaller pack. For instance, if you’re a climber and need to carry ropes, shoes, harnesses, protection, and so on, a bigger backpacking pack may be necessary.

Many people also prefer small packs in which they carry very little gear so they can travel faster. You can choose a smaller pack if you’re disciplined about what you pack and comfortable with a lack of supplies. The reverse also works, if you want a more comfortable experience and you’re alright with the extra weight. 

Each option has its advantages, but the average hiker will be perfectly fine with a mid-sized, internal frame backpack. This is what makes up the vast majority of the market, and most people won’t need anything beyond that. 

What brands to look at for a backpacking pack?

I can’t give you a fully comprehensive list of brands that will suit every need you may have backpacking, but generally, you’ll see excellent products in outdoor stores, or from the companies, you commonly associate with outdoor products. Ideally, I would recommend going to a local outdoor store and seeing what packs fit you comfortably and suit your needs, but researching products online is a great option. You should choose your backpack based on your specific needs.

With all the different types of backpacking packs, there are a massive number of brands, and I’m just going to list a few. If you choose a backpacking pack from a brand that isn’t listed, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad option. I still recommend looking for reviews online or checking forums for information. Another great method is to see what type of pack people in your area or sport use. A few brands to check out are below:

  • Osprey
  • REI
  • North Face
  • Patagonia
  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear
  • Granite Gear
  • Mountainsmith
  • Deuter
  • Mystery Ranch
  • ULA Equipment

One thing you may have noticed is that many of these companies make “regular” backpacks that you may see daily. For me, seeing North Face, Osprey, Patagonia, and REI packs on a school campus was never uncommon. I even use a North Face backpack when going on short hikes or to carry gear when bouldering. My North Face pack is just a mid-sized backpack with hiking features, and it works great if I’m not on a longer trip.

A “regular” backpack from an outdoor gear company generally has several hiking features like waist straps, extra pockets, and so on. If you’re just going on some moderate hikes where you need to carry a bit of gear, you probably already have a backpack in this style that you can use. 

Should I choose an internal or external frame pack?

Generally, most hiking backpacks these days are internal frames, but there are still some models featuring an external frame. If you aren’t aware, external frame packs are a style of a backpack that features a frame on the outside of the pack, generally constructed out of aluminum or composite material.

There’s also often space on the frame above or below the pack itself so you can attach larger gear like backpacking tents or sleeping bags. They were once the standard for backpacking, and they’re generally meant to be used for heavier loads. You can sometimes find external frame packs for a cheaper price compared to internal frame packs, but since internal frames are so common now that isn’t as true as it once was. 

If you’re in the market for a hiking backpack and aren’t sure if you should get an external frame model, just consider what activities you will be performing, and how much weight you will carry. This type of backpacking pack is spectacular for long trips and heavy loads, but for an average hike, they are completely unnecessary.

There’s a good chance you’ve never even seen an external frame backpacking pack in a store. If you happen to try one and find it comfortable, there’s no problem using it, just keep in mind they’re generally for more serious adventures. Another thing to note, there are frameless backpacks as well, but they are generally designed for very light loads. 

Are there any alternatives to backpacking packs?

If you’re on a short trip but you don’t want to carry a traditional backpack, you may be wondering what alternatives are available. While backpacks are the best option for most scenarios, there are some alternatives. Shoulder/sling bags are a smaller option that can be easier to carry than a two-strap backpack, and they’re excellent if you don’t have much you want to carry.

Lumbar packs are another alternative. They sit in the lumbar area of the back and are smaller capacity options that may be more comfortable for you. Fanny packs are another good choice if you don’t have many pockets but you want to carry some essentials on the trail. Each of these options comes in several sizes from reputable outdoor companies, but it’s important to note that most of these products hold under 20 liters. 

Conclusion

It can be difficult to know if your backpack will work on the trail, or if you need to invest in a new type of backpacking pack to hike in. With outdoor sports being so popular, and more options available than ever, it may be tempting to choose a fancy hiking backpack for your next trek in the woods. Personally, I think that you’ll know when your pack isn’t working. For most of my days outside, a simple North Face backpack with fairly basic features is more than sufficient.

I can fit most of my hiking gear on or in it, and it’s comfortable for day hikes. Once you get into the range of multi-day trips, backpacking adventures, or have a lot of gear, it becomes apparent that a hiking backpack is necessary. Without the extra features, you’ll likely become uncomfortable, or leave out a necessary piece of gear. I always recommend further research, and it’s imperative to choose a backpack that is comfortable for you. If your bag isn’t comfortable, then there’s little chance you’re going to enjoy a great day in nature.

After the year we’ve had, it’s clear that the world is changing. As companies are starting to realize that remote work is a real possibility, more and more people are looking to become digital nomads. If you or someone you know is thinking about embracing life on the road, take a look through the best gifts for digital nomads and help make the dream of working from anywhere come true.

Universal all in one power adapter


A universal power adapter is a must-have travel gadget for anyone who travels regularly. Unless you have a way to charge them, it makes no difference how many phones, tablets, or laptops you own.

The power outlets in different countries vary in shape and size, so making sure you can use your favorite travel gadgets has to be one of your top priorities. A multi-country adapter is a game-changer and removes the worry of having your electronics, run out of battery, no matter where you are in the world.

Universal Sim Card for portable Wi-Fi

The struggle of having to use the poor Wi-Fi at a budget hostel is well known to anyone who has traveled abroad. Make sure to always stay connected wherever you are by bringing along a universal Sim Card that will serve as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot.

It’s high on the list of gifts for digital nomads or anyone who spends time away from the beaten track.

Google Fi is one of the best internet options for digital nomads, plans start at just $16 a month. This powerful device connects to networks in more than 200 countries with up to 22GB of data a month.

Rather than buying a new SIM card in every country, you can use this universal SIM card. You can then use your phone as a hotspot for other devices like your computer or WiFi-connected camera.

Moment Photo Lenses

Transform your smartphone photos into DSLR quality with one of the many snap-on lenses from Moment. With Smartphone cameras getting more and more advanced, it’s no longer necessary to lug around bulky photography equipment as a digital nomad.

You can capture amazing shots with their wide-angle lenses, macro lenses, and more. And since they’re so small, it’s easy to carry them around even when you’re a constant traveler, making it an essential gift for digital nomads.

Noise Cancelling Ear Buds

You’ll be happy to have a set of noise-cancellling earbuds if you get stuck behind a crying baby, or need to take a loud and rattly mode of transport. And the compact size makes it a practical gift for digital nomads on the go.

A Digital Luggage Scale

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve wanted to weigh my luggage on the road. Knowing exactly how heavy my bags were before reaching the airport could have saved stressful packing, repacking, as well as some unavoidable baggage fees.

Since you can’t always be sure to find a scale when you’re on the road, bring along a compact digital luggage scale so that you will never be surprised.

Smartphone Gimbal

If you’re looking to document your travels as a digital nomad, you can take your videos to the next level with a sophisticated travel gimbal. Gimbals are used to stabilize and remove shake from moving or shifting footage.

Whether you’re cruising along in a Tuk Tuk in Thailand or zipping through Hai Van pass in Vietnam, the gimbal can help avoid a shaky and choppy video. Many gimbals come with zoom capabilities, slow motion, and time lapse functions.

Digital nomads who use a smartphone as their primary video content source should definitely consider gimbals since they are small, portable, and are a must-have gadget for traveling.

Phone and wallet waterproof case

A waterproof case for your valuables is a simple, but valuable gift for digital nomads, particularly for those heading to a beach location. Keep your phone with you even when taking a dip, and have it on hand to capture amazing shots from the water.

An inexpensive waterproof case you can wear around your neck will eliminate all your worries. It’s a lifesaver, and it holds your phone, wallet, keys, etc.

Travel drone

Use a drone to capture amazing photos of your travels as a digital nomad

Use a drone to capture amazing photos of your travels

Travel drones have gotten a lot more affordable in the past few years, and their cool factor is hard to match. With everyone taking the same photos on social media these days, it’s amazing to be able to capture shots and footage that not many others can.

With drone photography, your video will have an amazing cinematic effect that will impress your viewers. Due to technological advances, drones have become cheaper and foldable, making them easier to travel with. A drone is a great tool for anyone who plans to travel, whether for work or for leisure.

Lightweight Laptop

A Macbook Air is the laptop of choice for digital nomads

A Macbook Air is the laptop of choice for digital nomads

When every ounce counts, you want a durable, lightweight laptop to accompany you on your travels. The most popular laptop on a digital nomad packing list is the MacBook Air. It’s got great processing power, that will allow you to edit photos and videos while being compact enough to slip inside your backpack or suitcase.

Power Bank

Unlike the travelers of yesteryear, today’s digital nomad requires electronic devices to navigate. Therefore, it becomes even more crucial to make sure you always have a backup power source.

In cases of power outages, hours on the road, give them the gift of a power bank so that your compass, map, lifeline (i.e., your smartphone!) are always charged and ready.

Conclusion

Picking the right gift for a digital nomad can be a challenge with so many options available. Start with some practical gadgets like a waterproof phone case and universal power adapter, and then move on to more fun stuff like drones and gimbals.

If hiking through the wilderness is at the top of your bucket list, you’re not alone. The beautiful scenery, epic trails, and campsites, and experiences of a lifetime make backcountry backpacking a major goal for any outdoor enthusiast. 

But, there’s a reason the idea stays on bucket lists and doesn’t get crossed off as often as other items. 

Backcountry backpacking can be dangerous, especially if you don’t take the proper precautions. If you’re a frequent backpacker, you already know some of the common injuries that can occur while hiking. But, you’re putting yourself at risk for things greater than blisters and scrapes when you’re exploring mostly-uncharted terrain. 

Still, if heading into the backcountry is a goal of yours, there’s no reason you can’t reach it with a little preparedness. Use the following safety tips and ideas as your ultimate guide to backpacking safely while in the backcountry. 

Plan Ahead

Perhaps the most important safety tip before you head out on your backcountry backpacking trip is to plan ahead as much as possible. That starts by making sure you pack the right essentials, including: 

You don’t want to overload your bag so it weighs you down. But, you’ll be happy to have these essentials on hand in case of an emergency, or just at the end of a long day on the trail. 

In addition to packing for your trip, you can also plan ahead by telling someone where you’re going. This should be typical standard practice even on shorter trips. But, it’s an especially important safety tip for more dangerous backpacking treks in the backcountry.

Let someone know exactly where you’ll be and when you’ll be there. If anything were to happen and people needed to look for you, they would have a better idea of where to find you quickly. 

Finally, prepare yourself by researching the weather and local terrain. What does the forecast look like for your trip? Knowing ahead of time will make it easier to make efficient packing decisions. 

Have Support

Bring your dog along when Backcountry Backpacking

Your dog can be a welcome companion when backcountry backpacking

Backpacking is a great way to find yourself and take advantage of some peace and quiet in an overly busy world. But, when you’re tackling rough terrain, having some kind of support system is important.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel with family or friends. But, you might consider bringing your canine companion along with you. 

Dogs should always be trained if you’re considering taking them along for your trek. You can train them yourself, hire a trainer, or go for a really thorough option by signing them up for a board-and-train program.

Once they learn to listen and obey basic commands on the trail, going backcountry backpacking with your dog can actually benefit your experience. They will offer a source of companionship and motivation as well as protection. 

Keep in mind that there are extra things you’ll need to bring if you backpack with your dog. You might even consider getting them their own little harness pack to keep things like food, treats, water, and waste bags. 

Another safety tip for backcountry backpacking is to keep your phone with you to make sure you have support on your adventure. It might go against any “off the grid” ideas you have.

But, keeping your phone charged and with you at all times will give you a way to call for help, if needed. It will also give you a way to connect with people back home if you’re struggling to stay motivated or you’re dealing with loneliness.

Having a support system, whether they’re right next to you in the form of a furry friend, or a thousand miles away, can make a big difference. 

Expect the Unexpected

Planning and preparing will always be important when you’re heading out on a backpacking excursion. But, no matter how well-prepared you are, you can’t predict everything that will happen on the trail. You might run into things like: 

  • Unexpected bad weather
  • Changes to the land due to erosion 
  • Wild animals that could be threatening
  • Malfunctioning equipment

There are things you can do to better prepare yourself for some of these situations. For example, one important safety tip for backcountry backpacking is to prepare to protect yourself from the threat of dangerous animals by carrying a firearm.

Whether you’re by yourself or hiking with your kids, make sure you know how to properly store your gun, and that you’ve received firearm training before using it. 

For other unexpected situations, you have to be willing to think on your feet. Backpacking in the backcountry takes more than strength and stamina – it takes a sharp mind.

Some of the best survivalists in the world are only able to do what they do because of their outdoor knowledge and willingness to think outside the box. 

If you’re ready to cross backcountry backpacking off your bucket list, there’s no better time to do it. But, keep these safety tips in mind to make sure it’s a positive experience that you’ll feel confident about every step of the way. 

If you are interested in fishing and backpacking, why not combine your two passions? Since backpacking requires you to keep your pack weight low, there is some basic lightweight equipment you’ll need if you want to go fishing this season. Check out the details about backpacking fishing rods and then make a perfect lightweight backpacking fishing kit for yourself.

What Is Lightweight Backpacking Fishing Gear?

If you’re going backpacking near a lake or river, you may want the option to go fishing along the way. Whether you want to go fishing out of sheer enjoyment, or you want the opportunity to catch your dinner as you go, you will want to bring along some lightweight backpacking fishing gear.

In your backpacking fishing kit, there is a lot of different gear that you can find, making fishing while backpacking on the trail easier than before.

Especially when backpacking, you’ll want gear that is lightweight or ultralight, as it is easy to carry and versatile too. If you’re just getting started in your research about gear, check out the details about lightweight backpacking fishing rods.

Types of Lightweight Backpacking Fishing Rods

Nowadays, there is a large variety of lightweight backpacking fishing rods available. There are various different styles of fishing rods that you can choose for your backpacking trip. You just need to know about the types of gear so that you can buy according to your need. So, let’s see what the types are.

Backpacking Tenkara Rods

Brook trout caught on a Tenkara fishing rod

Brook trout caught on a Tenkara fishing rod

The Tenkara fishing rod is the most popular option for a backpacking fishing rod because of its simplicity and minimal weight. This relatively new style of fishing has its roots in ancient Japanese fishing techniques, and it is a quick set up with minimal practice or specialized skills required.

The rod is completely collapsible and the line has a fixed length. There is not an expensive and tricky reel to deal with. The best Tenkara rod that we have come across is the DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod.

The best Tenkara backpacking rods are useful because they are so lightweight and compact, making it easy to pack and carry the rod. That said, there are several pros and cons to the Tenkara rods.

Pros

  • Lightweight product
  • Simple design
  • Protective rod

Cons

  • Similar Technique as the fly rods
  • Location and target of fish species are limited

Pocket Fishing Rods

Pocket sized fishing rods

A pocket fishing rod is similar to a traditional fishing rod and reel

A pocket fishing rod is similar in style to a traditional fishing rod and reel. The main difference is that it is a collapsible pocket fishing rod is compact and lightweight, so that you can carry it easily in your backpack.

You also have the option of attaching higher end reels to the collapsible rod, if you are used to more traditional and sophisticated fishing techniques.

As the size is small, it’s easy and comfortable to use while backpacking. However, there are a lot of variants available. You can find it in different sizes, qualities and even in price so, do some research to choose the best fishing rod for backpacking. This option comes with a convenient carrying case to protect it even when it’s buried in your backpack.

Pros

  • As it is small in size, you can pack it easily
  • The casting technique with a traditional rod and reel is easier to master than fly fishing techniques

Cons

  • Pocket rods are heavier than Tenkara fly fishing rods

Travel Fly Fishing Rods

A collapsible fly fishing rod is perhaps the most popular option for a backpacking fishing rod. Like the Tenkara rods, fly fishing rods are a lightweight option to carry in your pack.

The rods are like simple long fishing rods that can be used easily for fishing. This option comes with a travel pack, as well as bait, line, and small tools you might need when fly fishing.

You need a little bit of practice to make fly fishing work for you. Your goal should be to make the bait look like a fly or insect as it lands on the surface of the water. Once you master the technique, you can catch fish quite easily.

Pros

  • The tackle and fly fishing gear is lightweight
  • The rod is small in size
  • Most backpacking areas are great as a target for fly fishing
  • You can use the fly rods in both lakes and streams

Cons

  • It takes a lot of effort to master the technique
  • Fly fishing needs to have an open space to cast

Where do you catch fish while backpacking?

The beauty of backpacking is that you are often able to find remote spots to catch fish. Small lakes or ponds are the most popular place that people go fishing. Besides that, rivers or creeks are also good places for fishing. Be sure to research whether a fishing license is required for your location.

What are the things you need to make a lightweight backpacking fishing kit?

Assembling your fishing kit is the hardest part of all. You need to get all the backpacking fishing gear together and place it in the right place within your pack.

Also, you must know what things you will need in your lightweight backpacking fishing kit. If you are a beginner, the advice we would like to give you is to think about what elements you will need while fishing.

Let’s talk about the basic things.

Choosing Fishing Line: First thing you need to do is to match your fly line to the rod that you are going to cast. Fly fishing line is very different from the fishing line used on a reel.

Choose your Rod and Reel: You must take a good quality rod and reel so that you can make a good setup. And to select the proper ones, you should check what type of fish you want to catch and what the location would be. Weight is also a matter here.

Choosing Lures: You must choose a few lures so that you can make them simple and easy to understand. Again, lures for fly fishing are different than lures used on a fishing reel. There is also some other equipment that you can add as bait:

Fly Fishing Lures for Trout

  • Adams flies
    • Fishing Technique: Fly fishing
    • Ecosystem: Lakes, streams, rivers
    • Species: Best for Rainbow Trout
    • Rated 5/5 on Amazon
  • Nymphs
    • Fishing Technique: Fly fishing
    • Ecosystem: Lakes, streams, rivers
    • Species: Brown or Rainbow Trout
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon
  • Caddis flies
    • Fishing Technique: Fly fishing
    • Ecosystem: Lakes, streams, rivers
    • Species: Brown or Rainbow Trout
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon

Rod and Reel Lures for other species like Bass, Pike, and more

  • Wooly buggers
    • Fishing Technique: Rod and reel
    • Ecosystem: Ponds, lakes, rivers, streams
    • Species: Bass love them
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon
  • Senko worms
    • Fishing Technique: Rod and reel
    • Ecosystem: Ponds, lakes, used in shallow areas with targets like docks, brush, etc.
    • Species: Bass, Pike, Walleye
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon

What Is The Best Ultralight Backpacking Fishing Gear?

The best backpacking fishing gear

If you are just getting started, you can try getting a fishing kit which, will come with the rod, reel, line, and any lures you might need. Here are two good options:

If you are looking to assemble your own backpacking fishing kit, you can explore a wealth of options, which we’ve outlined below.

The Best Collapsible Backpacking Fishing Rods

  1. Goture Travel Fishing Rods 4Pcs – Casting/Spinning Rod with a case
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon
    • $50
  2. CAPACI Portable Travel Casting Spinning Bass Fishing Rods
    • 4.8 oz.
    • Rated 4/5 on Amazon
    • $30
  3. Sougayilang Speed Bass Fishing Rods
    • 6.38 oz.
    • Rated 3.5/5 on Amazon
    • $25

The Best Lightweight Backpacking Fishing Rods

Some companies are focused on making the lightest-weight fishing rods. Here are some options:

  1. OKUMA Celilo Ultralight Graphite Lightweight Trout Rods
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon
    • $27
  2. Berkley Lightning Trout Rod – Ultralight
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon
    • $38
  3. Fenwicks Eagle Spinning Rod
    • 4.8 oz.
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon
    • $50-100
  4. Shakespeare Micro Ultralight Spinning Rod
    • 3.88 oz.
    • Rated 4/5 on Amazon
    • $17-35

The best fishing reels for backpacking

There are some good fishing gear companies such as:

  1. Penn Battle III Spinning Reel
  2. Zebco Platinum Spincast 33 Reel
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon
    • $41
  3. 13 Fishing Concept Z Slide Baitcast Reels
  4. Shimano Vanford F Spinning Reel
    • Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon
    • $230

The summer is upon us, which means fun in the sun and amazing hiking and backpacking adventures across gorgeous landscapes. While we love to enjoy the warmer months, caution is of absolute importance.

Currently, heat waves are occurring across the globe, with record-breaking temperatures of over 100 degrees becoming the norm.

Excessive heat can be one of the most dangerous elements you can face, and prolonged exposure may lead to many dangerous conditions that could make you very ill.

That is why you need to be smart about summer backpacking and pack the right items before going out on long treks. Here are some pointers to stay cool while backpacking in hot weather.

Heat Concerns for Summer Backpacking

The first step to staying safe when backpacking during summer is to understand the potential risks of being out in the heat so you know when you need to take a break or hydrate.

Heat exhaustion is the main concern that you want to avoid because, if not properly handled, it can quickly turn to heatstroke, which could create disorientation, confusion, and a high fever that could lead to further sickness.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, excessive sweating, and a headache that gets progressively worse. If you feel these symptoms, it is important to find shade, then sit down and relax and drink water until you are feeling better.

On that note, you also want to watch for the signs of dehydration, which also include fatigue along with a dry mouth and dark-colored urine. If you don’t drink water when these issues begin, it could start to affect your blood pressure and you could become too tired to continue.

Along with the issues associated with activity on a hot day, you also want to avoid a sunburn whenever possible. More than just giving you a little color, an excessive sunburn can cause blisters and swelling and can even lead to chills and nausea.

To avoid sunburn, apply sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 before you leave to protect against the sun and dangerous UVB rays.

What to Bring To Stay Cool While Backpacking in Summer

When preparing for your adventure, it is essential that you take the time to create a packing list of everything you need, with an emphasis on first aid supplies and tools that will keep you cool while hiking or backpacking in summer.

The most important items involve hydration and that means bringing plenty of water you should drink during the course of your adventure. Moderation is key, as drinking too much can actually lead to over hydration, which can result in fatigue and cramps as your blood cells are so inundated that they lose functionality.

If water is too plain for you, then at least bring hydration packets that contain electrolytes as they replenish some of the fluid and minerals in your body that you lose when you sweat.

There are smart ways you can ensure that you have the water supply required for the hottest days. One idea is to get a hydration pack which is either part of your backpack or a separate entity that houses an extra water supply.

That way, you won’t have to hold it in your hands and it can balance your weight as you walk. If you want the water to remain cold, then freeze a water bottle the night before and it will last longer during your hike.

If you plan to camp during your summer backpacking adventure, then you will want to find a tent that will keep you as cool as possible. That means finding one that is a light color as it will reflect the heat.

Dark fabric will absorb the heat and make the interior warmer. A lightweight model like this heat-blocking tent has a mesh interior so you can allow a nice breeze to enter. Set the tent up in the shade and open the vents so the air can flow through.

Backpacking in Hot Weather? Plan Accordingly

In addition to packing the right equipment, you will also want to take the time to plan your hike accordingly, so you can avoid the warmest parts of the day.

Generally, it is hottest between the hours of noon and three in the afternoon, so you either want to return home by that time or wait to take a night hike as the sun is setting.

Early morning hikes are ideal because the sun will be rising, it won’t be too warm, and you will generally have the trail to yourself. If you are planning on an early morning hike then you will want to ensure that you get enough sleep, so you can have the energy required to climb those peaks and observe the beauty of nature.

One way to make sure you get enough rest is to use a sleep calculator, which will tell you when to lay down so you can get the 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye that the doctors recommend.

It is also a smart idea to plan the clothes you will wear during the hike, as what you choose could drastically change how warm you get during your adventure. Just like with your tent, you want to choose lighter-colored clothing that will reflect the light instead of absorbing it.

Also, opt for loose-fitting clothing, and if you can find hiking apparel with vents, then that is the best option. If you have especially sensitive skin, then make sure to wear pants and long-sleeved shirts so your arms and legs aren’t hit with those harmful UV rays.


There is nothing more exciting than celebrating the bright summer months with an exciting hike, but caution must always be present. Try the tips above to stay cool while hiking and enjoy your summer backpacking adventure without worry.