When buying gear to take on long wilderness treks, simple and dependable is the way to go. Oftentimes, backpacks and other containers are so extravagant and bulky that they become difficult to carry — making the hiking experience miserable. You’ll want to move with freedom and ease, so choosing the right gear is essential for planning an enjoyable trek.
If you’re buying top-quality gear, it should last at least as long as you’re in Scouting. It’s almost always cheaper to buy a great item once and enjoy it for years, than to choose the cheapest option, only to have a miserable time having it break over and over. I’ve researched the best, most dependable gear for any Scouting trek, and can say with confidence that these picks will last for years yet can be purchased at an affordable price.
A comfortable backpack that lasts through your entire Scouting career doesn’t need to break the bank. Personally, I’ve used a backpack that’s almost identical to the High Sierra Appalachian 75L for around 10 years now, and have had no complaints. The High Sierra is a larger bag designed for multi-day treks but is only 6 lbs when empty, allowing it to be used for day hikes as well.
Although this bag is on the pricier end ($140), its high storage capacity and durability definitely make up for it! Personally, I love the bag’s 75L carrying capacity. This pack provides a great fit to your back and allows you to distribute weight very effectively, leading to less soreness the next day. I’d say this bag is well worth its cost.
Another great option is the Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack. This is an inexpensive and practical option for 98% of all Scouting activities. I must say that while I’ve never used this backpack personally, many friends of mine in Scouting used Teton backpacks and found them to be reliable. The backpack that I link to is the 55L model and will be ideal for most 2-4 day treks and camps.
Teton has other backpacks that you may find more suitable, so I’d encourage you to check out their other options if you decide to purchase one of their bags. Remember that you can always try on and return unsuitable Amazon items, so make an effort to find the bag that’s right for you. This is a pack that you’ll be using for years, so make sure it’s the right choice.
Both backpacks that I’ve recommended to you have room for hydration bladders, and for good reason: it’s crucial to drink plenty of water throughout any trek. Duh. What most people don’t realize though, is that if drinking water is inconvenient, you’ll be less likely to do it. Having a trusty water blatter eliminates that problem, allowing you to stay hydrated, even on the go.
I wasn’t able to find the bladder that I use, but if I had to buy another one it would be the WACOOL 3L Bladder with cleaning kit. This product has the highest ratings, and for a 3-liter water blatter that comes with cleaning supplies, the price is unbeatable. For how little it costs, I’d definitely recommend you invest in a water bladder to ensure that you’re hydrated on every trek.
Hiking poles are a must-have for any scout planning on trekking over 5 miles, especially with a loaded backpack. By relieving your knees and back of unnecessary strain, you’ll prevent injury and feel better the next morning. Hiking poles also improve stability on hazardous terrain, greatly reducing your chances of falling and needing a medical evacuation. The backpacks that I’ve recommended have sections made for storing hiking poles.
Although there are cheap options for hiking poles, I would recommend you consider quality first and foremost. It’s much better to pay the extra $20 than to find yourself having fallen in the wilderness because of a broken pole. The TrailBuddy Trekking Poles are highly rated, sturdy and dependable. You can easily adjust them to suit your terrain and height. I’m confident that these poles will be perfect for any scout embarking on a trek.
When leaving for a trek, the last thing you’ll want to worry about is your gear. While it can be tempting to visit Walmart and buy the cheapest options possible, poorly made gear will break quickly and may even endanger your life. That’s why it’s much better to buy something reliable once, then have it last through your entire Scouting career.
Great gear can make difficult hikes more fun. I’ve taken my own backpack on at least 100 hikes and camps, yet it’s still almost like new! Hopefully, you’ll consider picking up some of my gear recommendations, because I’m confident that what I’ve selected will make all of your future treks easier, safer, and more fun.