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Beginning Backpacking: What Gear to Buy First?

I'm new to backpacking, should I buy all my gear then buy my pack? Or, should I buy my pack first? I will be doing some long distant hikes and some weekend hikes too.

Question:

I’m new to backpacking, should I buy all my gear then buy my pack? Or, should I buy my pack first? I will be doing some long distant hikes and some weekend hikes too.

Submitted by - Greg - Newblaine, AR

Answer:

Hi Greg,
As a newbie, it really doesn’t matter which you buy first, as long as you’re realistic about capacities and don’t buy a gigantic pack, then fill it up with unnecessary stuff that will just weigh you down. It sounds like you need a mid- to large-size pack, somewhere in the 50- to 65-liter range, but with a good compression system so you can shrink it up for shorter trips. Two good options from our recent Gear Guide: the REI Flash 62 and the Mountainsmith Ghost 50. Both received rave reviews for comfort and organization, and both are $190 or less, which is a good deal.

You’ll find tons of beginner tips on our website to get you started. Check out http://www.backpacker.com/backpacking101

1 Comment

  1. Luke

    Contact your local REI and find out when their next used gear sale is. Also ask how long before the store opens up people show up. It’s worth the wait. You can get a lot of top notch gear at very low prices. Some of it is slightly damaged but might be easy to fix. Other gear may have been returned simply because the buyer didn’t like the color or it was the wrong size.

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