CleverHiker Gear Guide 2018

Trail-tested recommendations on the best lightweight backpacking gear for maximizing camp comfort, minimizing trail weight, and increasing smiles along the way.


Top Gear Picks 2018

The CleverHiker Top Picks page is reserved for our personal favorite backpacking gear. When we hit the trail, this is what we carry in our packs.

10 Best Tents 2018

Packing a top-notch tent is one of the best ways to increase comfort, safety, and enjoyment on backcountry trips. So when you're in the market for a new shelter, pick up one of the Best Backpacking Tents of 2018.

7 Best Sleeping Bags 2018

Looking for some deep trail sleep? Then snuggle up with one of the Best Sleeping Bags & Quilts of 2018.

10 Best Backpacks 2018

If you're planning to hit the trail this year, you’ll probably want one of these badboys on your back. Here's our list of the Best Backpacks of 2018.

8 Best Sleeping Pads 2018

Nobody likes waking up with numb hips. Get the restful trail sleep you’ve earned with one of the Best Sleeping Pads of 2018.

10 best Shoes & Boots 2018

Choosing your footwear will be one of the most important gear decisions you'll make. Check out the Best Hiking Shoes and Boots of 2018 to find the shoe for you. 

7 Best Stoves 2018

A steamy cup of java on a crisp, quiet morning is just about the perfect start to any day in the wilderness. So pick up one of the Best Backpacking Stoves of 2018 and make that morning moment happen. 


Staying hydrated and avoiding parasites in the backcountry is critical. We explain the key differences of each water treatment method and share our personal favorites in our list of the Best Water Filters of 2018


A reliable rain jacket and a warm down coat will help protect you against exposure, keeping you safe and warm in the wilderness. Check out our top picks in the Best Jackets of 2018 list. 

10 Best Hammocks 2018

Take your backcountry chillin' game to the next level with one of the Best Backpacking Hammocks of 2018.

Best Daypacks 2018

A solid daypack should be a staple of every outdoor enthusiast's gear collection. Ranging from minimalist to fully featured, we bring you our trail-tested Best Daypacks of 2018.


We explore several key differences in women-specific gear. Check out some of our favorite items in our guide to the Best Backpacking Gear for Women.

Best Backpacking Food

Your backcountry meal plan should balance weight, nutritional value, caloric density, and convenience. We outline critical considerations and our favorite food choices in our Best Lightweight Backpacking Food Guide.

7 Best Trekking Poles

Trekking poles can add a lot of stability and comfort to your hike.  We tested dozens of trekking poles to narrow the list down in terms of durability, comfort, weight and value to determine this year's Best Trekking Poles.

6 Best Budget Tents

We put together this list to showcase some solid budget tents that strike a good balance between cost, weight, weather protection, and durability. If you’re on a tight budget or new to backpacking, check out our Best Budget Tents of the year.


Outdoor adventure gifts are the best kind around. The gift ideas listed in the CleverHiker Gift Guide are can’t miss recommendations for anyone that enjoys backpacking, hiking, and camping. Give the gift of adventure!


We designed the CleverHiker Gear Guide to share our favorite backpacking tools and to simplify the often frustrating gear buying process. We've spent hundreds of hours testing and researching the equipment we recommend and we hope you find our suggestions helpful. 

We regularly update the CleverHiker gear guide to to add new products and make modifications. If you feel like we've missed a great tool or you'd like to provide feedback on an item, please use the form on our contact page to get in touch. 

Our main focus with the CleverHiker Gear Guide is recommending gear we trust from companies we believe in. The trust of our readers is our number one priority, so we work very hard to only promote the best of the best. Our gear recommendations are completely independent choices based on our personal experience and opinions. We never accept payments for reviewing an item, but we do occasionally get to keep free samples. We also include affiliate advertising links on our gear guide, which helps us keep CleverHiker up and running.

Just like our tutorial videos, this guide is all about spreading knowledge and helping raise the bar for future innovations. We focus on recommending only the best gear and that's why our audience keeps coming back for more.  

You'll also notice that a lot of the gear we recommend is made by small businesses that manufacture specialized products. Though this process can sometimes lead to longer wait times, it often results in increased customization, accountability, and innovation. 

It's also important to remember that great gear can really enhance a backpacking trip, but at the end of the day, it's more important to get out and hike than to spend weeks mulling over what gear to buy. So go have an adventure! You'll learn a lot about what gear you prefer by gaining experience in the backcountry.