Backpacking Gear List for Beginners

I love backpacking. I love the feeling of being with nature away from the hustle and bustle of normal life. To deeply appreciate the wonder of the Philippines, you must be able to backpack. Some places where this is a necessity is Mt. Pulag, the highest peak in the island of Luzon, Anawangin Cove born out of the ashes from the explosion of Mt. Pinatubo, among others. In this article, we are going to discuss what you should bring to a backpack.

There are various kinds of backpacking, but it is for another article for advanced backpackers.

Big Three

The big three refers to the three biggest and heaviest items in your backpacking gear.

First is you need a backpack. Backpacks carry the weight of your gear on both of your shoulders, dispersing the weight. I once saw in one of my backpacking trips someone carrying a tote bag. After a while, in the middle of the hike I saw him look very tired, tote bags carry all the weight on one side of the body and it is not located near the center of your gravity making it feel heavier. The lesson to be learned is to not try to carry other bags such as a handbag or a tote bag.

Second, is your tent. It provides cover from the elements. They keep you dry in the rain and prevents mosquitoes and other insects outside. Your tent should be large enough to comfortably fit you, your companion, and your gears. There are specific tents for backpacking, these can withstand high winds and are ideal for use in the mountains. However, beach tents are called such for a reason, you should not backpack with a beach tent or else you would risk it being blown away or collapsing in high wind.

Third of the big three is your sleep system or your sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Most are familiar with sleeping bags, the only consideration when selecting a sleeping bag is that it should be thick enough to be able to prevent you from getting cold. Therefore, bring a thicker sleeping bag if you are backing in a cold place such as the Cordilleras. Many are confused with a sleeping pad and if it is necessary. A sleeping pads purpose is to insulate you from the cold ground and to provide you a soft cushion. It is always a beginner’s mistake to forget bringing a sleeping pad. I once saw backpackers blaming each other because they were unable to sleep properly because they failed to bring a sleeping pad.

Clothing and Footwear

For clothing, it is ideal to wear quick-dry shirt and pants. Materials, such as cotton is a no-no because it retains water and wet clothes get cold as you hike. It also sucks the heat from your body making you feel uncomfortably cold. Also always check the weather forecast. If it is going to be cold, bring a jacket or a fleece. If it is going to rain, bring a waterproof raincoat. As for footwear, bring hiking or running shoe. Bringing the right type of clothing and footwear goes a long way to backpacking comfortably.


You do not need to buy all the stuff brand new. I suggest that you use what you already have. You should not buy things specifically for backpacking because they are only tools you bring along with you. The beauty of backpacking is the experiences that bring home with you. The appreciation of wonder and awe that mother nature with little human intervention gives.