What Gear Do You Need for Fastpacking?

Assemble the right kit for light-and-fast, multi-day trail missions

Photo by Rachid Dahnoun.


Before heading to the store and buying several hundred dollars’ worth of new equipment, research ultralight backpacking; the gear and lessons learned in that realm apply to fastpacking. A great online resource is A good print resource is Lightweight Backpacking and Camping: A Field Guide to Wilderness Equipment, Technique and Style, by Ryan Jordan.

Backpack ( 1.5 pounds )
25- to 30-liter pack with bladder or accessible bottle-carrying options.

Shelter ( 1.5 pounds )
Tent, hammock or tarp.

Sleeping System ( 1.5 pounds )
Sleeping bag
Torso-sized closed-cell-foam or inflatable pad. (Use your pack under your feet as a ground barrier.)

Cooking Gear ( 2 pounds )

Food ( 2 to 3 pounds per day )
instant oatmeal and coffee
Gels, bars, trail mix
Freeze-dried dinners, Top Ramen
Packaged tuna pouches

Clothing ( 2 pounds packed )
Assume you’ll be wearing a shortsleeve T-shirt, socks, shoes.
Shortsleeve T-shirt
Longsleeve T-shirt
Light down jacket or sweater
Rain jacket
Wind or rain pants
Hat, cap
Light gloves

Miscellaneous ( 2.5 pounds )
Be selective—every ounce counts
Water purification
Toilet paper
Insect repellent
Basic first-aid kit
Duct tape (wrapped around a pencil or trekking poles)
Wisp tooth cleaners
Headlamp with fresh batteries
Firestarters, lighters
Whistle, cell phone with extra-small mobile Charger
Beacon (DeLorme inReach allows two-way texting from anywhere on the planet.)
Maps (waterproof if possible) and compass
Collapsible trekking poles

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