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Backpacker Magazine – April 2009

Get This Gear: Essentials From A to Z

We tested more than 500 products–stoves, clothes, cameras, filters, tech tools, knives, and meals–to find these proven performers.

by: The Backpacker Editors, Courtesy Photos

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L
M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ

F
Firestarter AMK sparklight firestarter Trust us, rubbing two sticks together ain't gonna cut it in an emergency. AMK's Sparklite Fire Starter is a tiny rolling flint that's easy to spark with one hand and comes with a four-pack of tinder. $11; 0.2 oz.; adventuremedicalkits.com

First-aid kits
Ultralight Here's one for the hiker who's good with duct tape but wants a tiny bit more. Helenbac's Pocket Ultralight is pared down to just the essentials for wound care (bandages and ointment) and a couple of doses of ibuprofen. Supplies come in a sturdy zip-top bag. $8; 1.8 oz.; helenbacfirstaid.com

WEEKEND Get the perfect compromise between weight and supplies with AMK's Ultralight .9. It includes bandages, meds, blister treatment, and wound care essentials (including duct tape), all packed neatly in waterproof pouches inside a zippered silnylon sack. $35; 10 oz.; adventuremedicalkits.com

WEEKLONG For large groups or longer trips, nothing beats the REI Backpacker First Aid Kit for value and user-friendly organization. Fold-out panels display all the contents for easy access, and small vials let you personalize the kit (they come empty). Bonus items: a compact first-aid manual and aloe gel for burns. Missing item: a triangular bandage. $42; 1 lb. 7 oz.; rei.com

EXPEDITION Designed for remote trips and long-term wound care, Helenbac's Basecamp First Aid Kit has plenty of commonly used items (like bandages), plus tools to handle more serious injuries, like EMT shears and a Sam Splint. $96; 1 lb. 9 oz.

Fleece jacket Patagonia R2 A midweight fleece is to hikers what a wetsuit is to surfers: indispensable. Make yours Patagonia's R2 Jacket. The latest rendition of the classic Regulator fleece is still tops for warmth, breathability, and weight. The secret: variable length fibers that trap warm air and make this jacket lighter and more compressible than equally warm competitors. $150; 13 oz. (w's M); patagonia.com

Footbed
Give any boot or trail runner a custom-fit feel with Sole's Softec Ultra heat-moldable inserts (requires warming the footbeds in an oven). The moldable EVA layer is topped with soft foam and wicking polyester. Try the Regular for most boots, or the Slim Sport for lower-volume shoes. $45; 5.2 oz.; yoursole.com


PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

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Reader Rating: Star Star Star Star

READERS COMMENTS

Jun
Dec 28, 2010

What an excellent list you've put together. Honestly, this is by far the best essential gear list I have seen online so far. I am going to be buying several things off this list as both presents for others and treats for myself. So thank you for sharing this!<a href="http://www.bladehq.com/cat--Kershaw-Scallion-Knives--402">.</a>

Shane
Nov 13, 2009

Are you kidding me with the $30 chopsticks?? I thought this magazine was about appreciating outdoors, not marketing a bunch of needless crap.

Lost Keys
May 27, 2009

I use the nite ize s biner as a key chaine. I hook it to my belt loop. Numeros times my keys have fallen off. I usually can hear the sound of keys hitting the ground. On a recent end of Fly fishing adventure. I turned the car around to do a final check for any forgoten equipment. The metalic reflection came from the ground. I got out and there was the nite Ize S-biner. BackPacker Editors award and all. Spring not strong enough!

dropkick
May 16, 2009

How many backpackers do you know that carry $600 binoculars? Get real.

AN
May 14, 2009

I'm really surprised to see MSR's quick 2 system at the same time that GSI's dualist system is not mentioned yet it has the 2008 editor's choice and lighter than MSR's. This really makes me question the credibility of the whole backpacker's site that I have always had it as a flagship.

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