Since I started backpacking a few years ago I've dropped some pieces of gear I didn't like (looking at you Sawyer filter that was always clogged up) and I've upgraded some pieces to reduce my overall weight. After my real world experience and reading tons of reviews, this is all of the gear I'd choose from Day 1 if I was starting from scratch.
This list isn't the best for everyone! I only go backpacking during the summer/early fall so if you're looking for gear that will get you through the winter, this isn't it.
GearSignal Top Picks of 2018
- Best budget backpack: REI Flash 65L
- Best all around backpack: Osprey Atmos 65L
- Best ultralight backpack: HMG 2400
Disclaimer: Backpacks are highly subjective and there's no "1 size fits all" backpack. I'd recommend finding a local store and trying them on in person. I bought my first pack from REI and quickly changed to an Osprey pack after trying several on in person.
- Best squeeze filtration system: Sawyer Squeeze (make sure you get the Squeeze, NOT the Mini)
- Best gravity filtration system: Platypus Gravity Works 4L
- Best pump system: MSR Guardian Purifier