First Time Gear for Beginner Backpackers: What to Invest In

First Time Gear for Beginner Backpackers: What to Invest In

First Time Gear for Beginner Backpackers: What to Invest In


If it’s your first time backpacking, it’s easy to get lost in all of the gear for beginner backpackers. Don’t get carried away with new gear. Necessary items can be difficult to decide on, especially when it comes to the price tag. You might find yourself saying, “I’ll get this for now, and I can always get a new one later”. Avoid that practice. Be sure of what gear is worth investing in now.

gear for beginner backpackers

Gear for Beginner Backpackers: A Good Backpack (Obviously)

Whether you go backpacking one time or a thousand times, you’re going to need a reliable backpack. Don’t waste your money on something cheap; get one that’s going to last. Don’t go overboard on price, but don’t only shop the clearance rack, either. If your backpack falls apart after just one trip, you certainly won’t be motivated to backpack again so soon.

Beginner Tips: Always go bigger so you’ll have room for everything you need. Make sure it’s comfortable on your back, with supportive straps and structure. Get one that comes with all the goodies, like a waterproof covering, a whistle, multiple pockets, secret compartments, and a way to carry a tent and a sleeping bag. Don’t settle. Make sure it’s perfect, right down to the color.

Gear for Beginner Backpackers: Good Hiking Shoes

When it comes to gear for beginner backpackers, you must have shoes that are solely for hiking. This will eliminate a ton of stress when it comes to preparing for your trip. Now, before you drop a couple hundred on a fancy shmancy pair of outdoor shoes, know what you’re comfortable in. If you think it’s boots, get boots. If you think it’s more of a sneaker, then go for that instead. Only you’ll know what’s best for you.

Beginner Tips: Ask for help at hiking stores and do research before shopping. If shoes feel ‘a little tight’, ‘a little big’, or they’re scraping against the back of your foot, don’t get them. Shoes can make or break a hiking trip, and you don’t want to spend your first time in the outdoors with terrible blisters or discomfort. Spend time finding the right ones, and break them in before your trip.

Outdoor Clothes, gear for beginner backpackers

Gear for Beginner Backpackers: Outdoor Clothes

Even if apparel isn’t your thing, you might want to consider getting a new outfit or two for the trail. Investing in a few outfits along with the other gear for beginner backpackers you like will mentally motivate you to hike. Have you ever felt more confident at an event just because you were wearing a suit or a nice dress? Hiking clothes work the same way. That being said, don’t get just any hiking pants just because you think you need them; if you don’t like the feel of a certain material, you’ll regret it.

Beginner Tips: Layers are great. If you’re getting outdoor clothes, get two outfits or pieces you can layer depending on the weather. Make sure they’re comfortable, and wear them around the house a few times (with the tags still on), to test out if they really feel good or not. After all, you will be wearing those clothes for days on end.

Tent and Sleeping Bag, gear for beginner backpackers

Gear for Beginner Backpackers: Tent/Sleeping Bag

Tents are unfortunately one of those items that really depend on your trip. Experienced backpackers may have several tents for different kinds of hikes, but if you’re buying gear for beginner backpackers, just worry about this trip. Chances are you’ll use it again in the future. As far as sleeping bags go, that again depends on where you’re going. Consider getting a down one you can use for colder occasions, but that’s still lightweight for when you hike during the warmer seasons. Invest in one that can roll up easily, without hassle or frustrating zippers.

Beginner Tips: If you’re going to spend more time carrying your tent than sleeping in it, get a lightweight one. There are tons of tents out there; ones you put together and ones that put themselves together. Know how much patience you have and how much you’re willing to carry. For sleeping bags, make sure you won’t feel too constricted by the shape or size.

Gear for Beginner Backpackers: Food and Water

Without a doubt, water is the most important thing when backpacking. Get yourself a solid water bottle that you like, with a tight top and strong, chemical-free material. Depending on the circumstances of your trip, you may also need a means of purifying water, too. For food, you will need to have a way of pre-packing supplies, and a reliable and lightweight cooking stove. Don’t ‘consider’ getting a stove. If you think you’ll want to use it, you will, even if you don’t mind eating raw for the duration of your trip.

Beginning Tips: Getting a cooking stove means you can eat better meals along the way. This will enhance your trip overall. Have fun exploring different recipes you can cook while on the trail.

Investing in good gear from the get go will make your first time backpacking that much more enjoyable, and knowing the gear will last longer will encourage you to get out more often that not.

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.