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There are lots of different things you need to keep in mind when it comes to gear for camping. Though there are many different ways to prepare for camping I will be talking about preparing for a trek in the mountains. I will start with the essentials list: (Go to the sources page in order to find all the sites where to find the gear).

1. Backpack-In order to tote around your equipment you will need one of these, for your food, tent, sleeping bag, clothes, cooking equipment water, and all the other equipment you need the bag will be carrying this gear. For a trip lasting more than a day or two your bag can get quite heavy, you must master the way to pack in order to complete a long term hike. For my hikes I have done day hikes to week long hikes and the bag can get to around 50 lbs. or so, which is a very large amount of weight. There are many ways to pack and many packs to choose from. The correct way to pack is to put all heavy equipment in the center and low in the pack closer to your body. So this provides better support to your back then placing the heavier items on the outside where it pulls your back in all directions. Placing the heavy things in the bottom center and near your back allows for your back to support the pack better, this allows for the smaller gear and light weight stuff to be on the outside where it is okay for the small stuff to be because it won't be hurting your back as much. Also the other key tip to packing is access. You should pack keeping use in mind. You should always have at least one water bottle in your pack that can be accessed immediately and all the time along the trail. You must also have a first aid kit and other things necesary for immediate use at an easy to reach position. Water goes at around 3-4 liters per day, so make sure you have enough with you. There are two different kinds of packs for heavy hiking the inner frame, which is becoming more popular, and the external frame. Along with these packs if you are intending on just a day hike consider using a water pack or Platypus.

Inner frame

External Frame

2. Sleeping Bag and Pad-There are so many different types of sleeping bags and pads out there how are you supposed to choose. Well keep temperature in mind, the one major thing in choosing a sleeping bag is temperature. Where are you going and at what temperature is it going to drop to at night. Be prepared for the worst as well. All sleeping bags have the temperature rating on their box when you buy them and some have it labeled right on the bag somewhere, check out the temperature rating and make sure it is adequate. If it is not warm enough for the occasion think about getting a fleece liner to stuff inside the bag. If it is warm enough you can even just use a fleece liner as your bag. When using a sleeping bag keep in mind that your breath will moisten the bag and keep it colder then normal so make sure you are breathing out into the air and not into your bag. Sleeping pads are also a very wise decision becuase you never know what terrain you are going to get stuck on. The pads are all great choices and just make sure you look at length, price and weight. You can get lightweight pads which weigh less then a couple pounds which are great for long lasting hikes.

This Therma Rest weighs only 20 oz. perfect for hiking

0 degree mummy bag

3. Water (Carrying and purification)- In order to go on any lenght hike you need to have water with you. For a day length hike you should carry at least a minimum of 3 liters of water. There are some trails where you will not need much water at all but you need to carry it to make sure in case of emergencies or unforeseeable events. For long hikes the best way is in nalgene bottles. These bottles are virtually indestructable, are reuseable and are unaffected by change in temperature and can last in almost any condition. Where a normal plastic bottle, like a poland springs, can get destroyed easily, crushed or ruined the nalgene bottles can last forever and pose no problems. If you are planning on a short hike or day hike think about using a platypus. The platypus allow for easy access to water because you can have the hose with drinkable nozzel reach right up to your mouth while carrying it on your back. Most platypus also allow for some storage in the small packs they usually come in as well. The only downside to a platypus is that if it breaks then your capability to pote water is gone. Most platypus' are 3 liters and that could be the equivalent of 3 bottles but if it springs a leek you have no water container as opposed to if a bottle breaks you still have two spares. The other major problem for the platypus is that in a long hike it can get dirty and it will be hard to clean it and keep it fresh. The only other thing to keep in mind when hiking is getting water. If you are hiking for multiple days then you might have to take water from a brook or stream, which isn't exactly clean. So using iodine tablets, which add a unique taste, or using a water purifier may be necesarry.

Nalgene Bottles

Platypus

Water Purifier

4. Clothing- There are many different ways to dress for hiking and camping in general, some are better than others. One thing to keep in mind is that cotton is the death cloth. It absorbs the sweat and keeps it right on you not giving you much more air and keeping you wet. This will especially be bad for you if you are hiking and when you reach the top you will become much colder from the colder air and the cotton holds it all in. When you are hiking keep in mind that when you reach the top of mountain that it is much colder and that you will need more clothing then you are wearing. You should dress in layers so as you get higher, work harder, and get hotter you can start to pull off layers but still have the necessary clothing to put it back on as you get cold again. Clothing like polypropylene, and other clothes that use wicking technology are perfect for hiking. They grab the sweat off of you and it quickly gets absorbed off of you and they are extremely breathable. Wool or fleece socks are also great choices for footwear as well as hiking boots because the trails are not flat and the boots provide more support and protection. The socks also provide more safety to your feet and help prevent blisters. You need to also have a protective shell on you which can protect you from the weather conditions be they wind, rain or snow. The key to keeping warm is to protect your core where all the heat is and make sure that it can get to your extremeties. Keeping your core warm allows your body to start giving heat to the rest of the body. One key to remember is to keep C-O-L-D. That is keep Clean, avoid Overheating, use Layers, and Drink plenty of water. Other good tools for hiking are using trekking poles which help you to keep balance or a walking stick to aid you in navigating tricky places.

Hiking Clothing

Outer Shell

Hiking Boots

5. Cooking-There are plenty of stoves out there for cooking and for many different purposes. You need to be sure to choose the one that is right for you and what kind of hiking you will be doing. The major ones that I have used and liked are the whisperlite and the jetboil. These stoves are tiny and can easily fit into your smallest pocket on your pack they are easy to use and easy to set up and still allow for great meals that are easily prepared. The idea is to try to keep things in one pot and to avoid nasty clean-up but to never sacrifice great food for any of those reasons. These stoves run on different gases like white gas, propane or an isobutane mix. These canisters you attach directly to the stove and from my experience can last a while. For my group of 4 people one canister could last around weekend for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and clean-up for all those meals. I am no professional so you could probly stretch the fuel for even longer and can conserve it better. Another thing that affects the use of the fuel is the temperature and weather conditions which can make it take longer for things to cook. If you plan on going into the woods away from your car where you can just use a camp stove these small lightweight stoves will probly be a necesity as well as the cooking gear needed for them.

JetBoil

Whisper Lite

Whisper Lite