Hey friends, family, and friends I have yet to meet :) Just wanted to share the gear I used on my 2018 hike of the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park. Using my Amazon affiliate links will not cost you any more, and helps me finance further adventures and writing! I will NEVER link an item that I have not PERSONALLY tested and truly believe in; if you see a link below, it's got my stamp of approval :D Enjoy!
1. Backpack: I LOVED my Gregory Stout 65 liter backpack. It's simple, functional, and super comfortable. You can easily adjust the torso length AND the hipbelt. Less bells and whistles than other "traditional" packs make it a little lighter - which I love.
2. Tent: In my opinion, you can't go wrong with a Big Agnes tent. They're among the lightest on the market. I crammed the tent into the bottom of my pack and carried the poles in the side pocket with my water bottle, and it seemed like the tent took up almost ZERO room in my pack. The only drawback is it's pretty small...even for Mandy and I (who are 5' 5" and 5' 9"), there's not a lot of extra room and we're forced to leave packs in the [tiny] vestibule. I easily forgive these "shortcomings" because the tent is so darn light, but keep that in mind if you're a larger person... ;)
3. Sleeping Pad: I've been very pleased with my Thermarest ProLite Plus. It's actually thick enough for me to lay comfortably on my side, which is awesome. They're also surprisingly durable.
4. Bear Canister: We went with the BearVault BV500. We had enough space for 7-8 days worth of food (we finished the trail in 6 and both had extra food). The first two days I didn't have room in here for toiletries, but our campsites had bear boxes so it wasn't a big deal, but keep that in mind for planning. There's no coin or special tool required to open this canister, you just unscrew the lid and push on two little plastic tabs with your thumb. Mandy struggled a bit at the beginning but was able to open it after a couple days without any problems. Could be difficult to open with cold hands. IMPORTANT: THESE CANISTERS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE ADIRONDACKS!!! (ADK black bears have figured out how to smash into them!) Make sure you check the regulations wherever you're going when choosing a bear canister.
5. Stove: Backpacking stoves are pretty simple pieces of gear. I liked our Snow Peak Gigapower for a couple reasons: (1) the starter actually worked, (2) lightweight, (3) a little more rugged than some of it's counterparts. [also Japanese made, which is a plus!] On a related note, we heated about 3.0 liters of water per day for oatmeal, coffee, and dehydrated dinners. We used up an 8 oz. isobutane fuel canister on night five of the trip.
6. Boots: LOWA RENEGADES BABY!! These are military grade boots. I've owned two pairs and loved them both. I was skeptical because they're a little less stiff than some other "backpacking" boots, but I find them to be rugged and comfortable. MAKE SURE YOU GET GORETEX! (On Amazon, GTX means Goretex). I accidentally didn't get GTX on my second pair. They're still great boots, but I was disappointed when I realized they weren't waterproof while hiking to the Devil's Punchbowl in pouring rain in New Zealand :P
7. Water filter: I'm very pleased with the Sawyer Squeeze filter. You can attach it to most plastic water bottles and drink directly from your water bottle (we each carried two 1 liter Smartwater bottles and another 500 mL bottle) . It comes with a 32 oz. plastic bag that you can use to squeeze water into your bottles, but my bag got a hole in it day 4 of our trip. ALSO! Get the full sized filter. The Mini isn't that much lighter and it's harder to get enough volume of water through [Mandy carried the Mini - not worth it].
8. Sun hat: Finally, I wore this super stylish wide brimmed hat from Outdoor Research. It was cool and comfortable, and I didn't have to wear sunscreen and pollute the beautiful alpine lakes, so that's a plus ;)
Hope this helps you pick out gear for your next backpacking trip. Feel free to get in touch if you have questions or want further details. All the best folks, and adventure strong!