Heading into the backcountry on foot is a more adventurous type of camping, and having the right backpacking gear can make your journey as exciting as the destination. The staff at Bill Jackson’s is dedicated to providing you with expert advice about backpacking and sharing its knowledge about quality backpacking gear and products.

There are, of course, many options when selecting backpacking gear, and what you choose will likely depend on your philosophy. Some backpackers count every gram; the ultralighters are the ones who trim the handle on their toothbrush and drill holes in it. They like it light and compact so they can travel quickly and with ease. Then there are the mountaineering types who tackle summits with bulky and stout gear able to handle extreme conditions. Of course, most people fall somewhere in-between, whether it’s a weekend loop hike, a weeklong section hike or an extensive thru-hike. Like the journeys themselves, you may evolve from an overburdened newbie into a fleet-footed gram-counter. Check out our blog on Backpacking Essentials.

Gear selection

Gear selection can seem daunting, but here are some tips to get you off on the right foot:

– Visit a reputable retailer to get properly fitted with quality hiking boots. Your feet are the mode of transportation, treat them well.

– Pack the essentials for survival and safety.

– Gear selection is a balancing act to achieve your level of comfort but not find yourself overburdened. It’s how much do you need versus how much you don’t need. It’s not “roughing it,” you’re actually trying to “smooth it” out there on the trail.

– Take into consideration durability. Trail-hardened veterans will tell you that there’s nothing like having gear fail you in the field. Do your research and talk to reputable retailers who can steer you through the many options and help you navigate the many reviews that exist in our digital world.


Consider the many other activities that require backpacking gear:

Day hiking • Mountain climbing • Camping • Wilderness survival • Adventure tourism • Bicycle touring • Canoe/kayak camping

The associates at Bill Jackson’s want to hear about your upcoming adventures and are ready to assist you in determining what will best fit your needs. Brands that we recommend and carry in our store include:

Backpacks made by:
Deuter • Eagle Creek • Gregory • Osprey

Footwear that fits from:
Astral • Chaco • Keen • Oboz • Olukaí • Salewa • Salomon • Vasque

Performance socks made by:
Darn Tough • SmartWool • Wigwam

Camping gear from:
Big Agnes • Eagle Nest Outfitters • Eureka • Grand Trunk • Hennessy Hammocks • LEKI • Marmot • Mountain Hardwear • MSR • Nemo Equipment

Water treatments made by:
Aquamira • Grayl • Katadyn • MSR • Sawyer • Steripen

Cookware accessories from:
GSI • Jet Boil  • MSR • Nalgene • Snow Peak • Stanley • Primus

We even have a wide selection of outdoor books and maps, including Appalachian Trail Guides and illustrated trail maps.