What's In My Backpack?

What’s In My Backpack?

I often get asked about what I prefer and what gear I use. First I’d like to say that what I like may not work for you. It took time for me to find what works for me. My advice when looking for gear is to know yourself, research, and test out.

I’m going to share some of what I use. Please note that I’m not saying what I use is the best out there or that it will work for you. I can only share how it works for me and what I like about it. Some of my gear I’ve had for years so there are new and exciting things out there. But why change what isn’t broke!


It took me several tries before finding the pack that was perfect for me. I can’t stress enough the importance of trying on packs weighted and test out.

I use my Gregory Deva 60 for backpacking and I use my Osprey Escapist 18 for day hikes. I love both of them. The Gregory Deva 60 is a heavier pack but I like the sturdy feel on my back.


I have had my Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 for many years. I love it and have no complaints. It’s a 3-season, 2-person, 2 door, and weighs about 3 pounds. It has been through heavy rains, hail, and very high winds. It has never leaked and it has never ripped.

Sleeping Bag

I have had my Marmot 850 Down Goose 25 degree sleeping bag for years and I have no complaints. It’s lightweight, comfortable and I’ve never been cold. I’ve always taken care not to let it get wet so I’ve never had to deal with that. It’s a mummy shape and that took some getting use to. I move around a lot and sleep on my side with one leg raised. So I had to learn to turn with my bag instead of inside of it.

Trekking Poles

The first and only poles I’ve bought was Leki Lhasa Lite AS. They have lasted years and I’ve never had any issues. The handles are cork, which I preferred over the rubber but new technology has come along and there are other good options.

Other stuff

Marmot Jacket: I’ve had it for years and I love it. It keeps my body temperature just right and has held up over the years. It’s also very light weight and comfortable.

Base Layer: I use Cuddl Duds and have no complaints. I prefer the Cuddle Silks but I also have Climate Right Cuddl Duds.

I have a pair of Smartwool gloves that I love. They keep my hands warm and I’m able to still perform tasks with them on. They are not water proof but they dry quickly.

My favorite pants are my Columbia Omni-Shields. They have an elastic waistband and they are very comfortable. They have two deep pockets but I wish they had more.

My rain jacket is a NorthFace. It’s so old I don’t know anything other than that, but it still works. It has always kept me dry. Even thought it has side zippers to help keep you cool, I prefer a good old poncho. It’s so much easier, for me, to just throw it on over me and my pack quick.

I only carry a JetBoil. I’ve never had any issues regardless of elevation or weather conditions. My favorite freeze dried meal is Chili Mac but I usually pack my own meals.

I have used self-inflating, foam, and air pads. Foam pads are out for me but I’ve had a valve bust on day 1 of a 9 day trip on an air pad. Don’t rule out foam pads if you can sleep comfortably on it. I currently use a self-inflating one for no other reason than it’s comfortable and wide. Down side for mine is it’s bulky, heavier than others, and I have to carry it on the outside of my pack. But it works for me and keeps my old hips from hurting.

I prefer to use trail running shoes but I have pretty strong ankles. I don’t recommend it for everyone. My favorite shoe for me is the Topo Athletic Hydroventure trail running shoe. I need a wide toe box and these are perfect for me.