Previously I’ve shared some of my wisdom concerning the cheap backpacking essentials. Well, not all backpacking gear is cheap but then again you’re not rich enough to buy cheap stuff, aren’t you? The Crocs, buffs and earplugs mentioned in the previous post you can get from just about anywhere, and they will do the job. However, I strongly advise to invest in getting the next 3 items from a proper brand. This is where investing in good gear repays itself multiple times, in weight, multipurposeness and durability. Here’s the gear that will make you a bit poorer but your backpacking so much richer:
- Get the right backpack for you. No one can tell you which backpack you should get. I can, however, tell you which one you shouldn’t get. One that’s too small. All too often I see backpackers with all kinds of things dangling from their backpack, because they don’t have enough space in it to store them. When choosing a backpack, think of what you want to do with it. And then think of all the things you will want to put in it. If you find yourself hanging your sleeping bag, cooking gear, bags with food or any other stuff that does not respond well to getting banged around, wet, dirty or torn – you should get a bigger backpack. Spend some time on choosing your backpack (like these guys do)- its called “backpacking” for a reason!
- Swiss Army knife – an obvious must have. The exact choice is personal and a difficult one since there’s a zillion models. Mine has to contain a corcscrew and scissors – nothing more annoying than a bottle that won’t open or a broken nail.
- Zip pants. I never had zip pants, ‘cos I couldn’t find a pair that would sit well without annoying me on every step with that bloody zipper. However, since I’ve found ones that do fit without rubbing on my nerves, I swear by them. Gets you through sticky situations, too. Like that time in Church of the Nativity in Beit Lehem, when they wouldn’t let me into the cave to see The Spot Where Jesus Was Born, because I was wearing shorts. “Shorts? What shorts? Let me zip up my sleeves… Voilà!” Not that there’s much to see down there, but I believe I made my point clear.
Coming up – last but not least – the more pricey stuff you won’t regret spending an extra buck on.