Enos and Backpacks and Maps, Oh My!

I’ve had quite a few people ask me about what typically goes into our packs on our backpacking trips. Depending on what region we are in, the time of year, the length we will be gone, etc. it tends to vary, however I thought I’d share the essentials that we have with us when are doing any kind of back country hiking and camping. Most of the stuff shown is available at REI. If you aren’t a Co-Op member with them, I would highly suggest becoming one. Just $20 and you are a member for life. Amazing perks and an amazing company. You can learn more here.



Everything in the picture above are essentials (not pictured; clothes, toiletries, food). Obviously things that we find to be essential and what others find to be essential are completely different, but I feel like this a good starting point for anyone looking to grow their gear collection or are just getting into backpacking. There is also a flask full of bourbon and Uno shoved in there somewhere, because who doesn’t love bourbon and card games?


The pack I use and love is an Osprey Ariel 65 L pack. I love Osprey for their great customer service and warranty. They repair any damage to your pack, no matter how long you’ve had it. This pack is great for longer trips, I’ve never had any issues with not being able to  get everything I need inside of it. I love the removable hipbelt on this bag. It can be removed and molded to fit your body, giving you the most comfort out of any other bag out there. Most REI stores as well as many independent stores can mold them for you in house.

Weight: 4 lbs 8 oz

Average Price: $290


No one, and I mean no one should ever leave home without their Eno. This was the best wedding gift we received and we have put these bad boys to good use. I can’t think of a time or place where a hammock isn’t enjoyed. Need somewhere to sit? Eno. Need somewhere to sleep? Eno. Need something to fill the space between two giant trees? Eno.

Weight: 1 lb

Average Price: $60


The Marmot Aspen 3 is the first tent we bough together, and so far we’ve never had any problems with it. From experience there isn’t enough room to have a dance party inside, but you can comfortably sleep two adults and a 65 lb dog.

Weight: 6 lbs 1oz

Average Price: $130


I need to take a moment and praise the people at Mountain Hardwear for making a sleeping bag that stands up to freezing cold temps. The Laminina Z is a god send. I am someone that can be in the middle of the desert in July and somehow get cold. The first time I used this bag was a night that dropped down to 18 degrees F and I was ripping layers of clothes off half way through the night from being so hot. The only downfall is since it is rated for 21 degree F and has quite a bit of insulation (that is synthetic) it can be a little trickier to pack down, but it isn’t really a huge issue to me.

Weight: 2 lbs 7 oz

Average Price: $160


My Platypus water reservoir fits nicely into my pack, and keeps me hydrated on long mile days. This particular one is 3 liters, but they do make different sizes. They also have some cool water filtration systems that are worth checking out.

Weight: 6 oz

Average Price: $36


I can promise you that you want a sleeping pad of some kind. We’ve made the mistake of going on a 2 week trip without them and it got to be a little miserable to say the least. This ThermaRest Prolite Plus is a self inflating pad that packs down very nicely. It definitley makes a huge difference keeping the cold off of you and gives just a little extra cushion.

Weight: 14 oz

Average Price: $90


First Aid kit is self explanatory. Get one. Keep it stocked. Throw an extra lighter and/or fire starter in there and you’re set.

Weight: 9.5 oz

Average Price: $25


Last, but not least is our trusty bear canister. If you are in an area where bears are prevalent you will more than likely be asked to use one of these bad boys. Throw all of your food, drink packets, and anything scented in the canister and you’re good to go. Do they fit nicely in your pack? Not so much. Do Matt and I argue over who has to carry it? Every time. Does it potentially keep bears from eating all your foods, drinking all your tea, and using all your toothpaste? Absolutely.

Weight: 2 lbs 9 oz

Average Price: $80

Hopefully this helps some of you out. I would be more than happy to go into more detail about any of the gear listed above. Feel free to comment below and make sure to subscribe!