Backpacking Light Gear List

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All Troop 990 campouts are backpacking campouts. Troop 990 practices a lightweight backpacking philosophy, based on our troop experience that lightweight gear is easier on both adult and Scout bodies, extends distance and endurance, and makes activities more fun.

The selection of backpacking gear is very personal, based on body type, level of physical fitness, preferred activities, budget, and personal preference. Listed below are suggestions of some of the gear popular with Troop 990 adults and Scouts. This list is should be treated as suggestions, a guide as to characteristics and models to consider when selecting gear.

Lightweight backpacking does not have to be expensive. Many of the items listed here are in the lower end of the cost range in their categories. There are many other fine brands and models other than those listed here, the key philosophy is to consider weight in selecting your gear.

At the bottom of this list are links to additional resources, including Alan Graham’s popular Scouting lighter videos.



Backpack should be less than 3.5 lbs, including hip strap

REI Flash 62, internal frame, (2.9 lb to 3.1 lb)

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Ultralight Backpack., no frame, (1.5 lb to 1.8 lb)

Osprey Atmos 65 (3.4 lb to 3.6 lb)


There are variety of shelter systems, ranging from tarps up to double wall tents like those below. Shelter should be less than 3 lbs. Popular REI Half Dome is over 5 lbs. Skip buying a separate footprint to save weight.

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Tent, two person (3.1 lb)

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 Tent, one person (2.4 lb)

Hyperlite Mountain Gear ECHO II Ultralight Shelter System, two person, very expensive (1.8 lb)

Hyperlite Mountain Gear ECHO I Ultralight Shelter System, one person, very expensive (1.4 lb)

Sleeping Pad

Choose between inflatable and foam pad, less than 1 lb.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite, inflatable (0.5lb to 1.0lb)

Gossamer Gear Nightlight Sleeping Pad, foam pad (0.3 lb)

Sleeping Bag

32 degree bag will work year round for most adults and Scouts. Many adults have purchased 0, 10, or 20 degree, and then found themselves so warm they can’t use it. A 32 degree can be used in colder temperatures with a liner and/or long underwear.

REI Flash Sleeping Bag, inflatable (1.7 lb)

Sea to Summit Trek TkI Sleeping Bag (2.2 lb)


Lightweight backpackers say you can sleep without a pillow, just roll up clothing. However, the comfort of an inflatable pillow can lead to better sleep for some people.

Cocoon Hyperlite Pillow (.15 lb)

Exped Air Pillow (.18 lb)


Shoes are the most personal decision. Many believe that trail hikers are best for Scout activities, rather than boots. 1 lb on your feet is the same as 4 lbs in your pack. Good trail hikers should be less than 1 lb per pair. Good lightweight boots should be less than 2 lbs per pair.


There are lots of great headlamps, most importantly headlamps must have a red light mode for activities in the dark without ruining night vision. Petzl Tikka Plus 2 is the most popular.

Petzl Tikka Plus Headlamp (.2 lb)

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp (.25 lb)


There are two schools of thought on raingear, rain suits versus a rain jacket and quick drying nylon pants. A rain suit keeps your legs dry, but must be taken on and off. A rain jacket and nylon pants requires less changing, but legs get wet until the rain stops and the pants dry.

Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite 2

REI Sahara Convertible Pant

Links for many of these recommendations are to REI and Gossamer gear. There are many great outfitters in Austin and online. REI is popular due to their extensive selection and generous warranty, many REI items are warrantied for life. The REI annual sale, typically in the third week of May, has some of the best prices of the year. Gossamer Gear is an Austin-based company that sells some of the lightest weight gear found anywhere.

More lightweight backpacking resources

Alan Graham’s Scouting lighter videos

Alan Graham's presentation Backpacking Lighter to Develop Character and Leadership in Scouting

Ultralight Gear List (total base weight only 11.2 lbs)

Troop 990 Backpacking checklist


Gossamer Gear