When we hit the trail, this is the equipment we carry in our packs. Unlike the CleverHiker Gear Guide, where we highlight a wide range of exceptional choices, this page is where we talk about our personal favorites.

For more of our favorite gear recommendations, have a look through these popular CleverHiker Gear Guide links:


Why Trust Us?

We fully understand how tough it is to find trustworthy gear advice, and that’s one of the main reasons we built CleverHiker. We live for outdoor adventure, and we take these guides very seriously. Here are some of the reasons you can trust us:

  • Our choices are completely independent and based on personal experience.

  • We’ve logged over 10,000 trail miles and test outdoor gear for a living.

  • We own and field test every product we recommend, which is sadly not the norm.

  • We travel to industry trade shows to learn about upcoming product innovations.

  • We constantly update our guides when new products launch.

  • We treat our recommendations as if they were for our family and friends.

  • We’re lifelong learners and we’re always open to constructive criticism. If you think we’ve missed a product or got something wrong, we’d love to hear your feedback.

CleverHiker Top Gear Picks 2019


  • Best All-Around Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 & UL3

    • Our top choice for all around value and ease of use. A very well balanced combination of weather protection, weight, comfort, and convenience. We like the UL3 size for a bit more room when backpacking in pairs, but the UL2 size is also excellent for solo adventures or if you don’t mind tighter quarters.

  • Best Ultralight Tent: ZPacks Duplex & Triplex

    • Our top choice for thru-hiking and long/difficult treks. Non-freestanding, single wall shelters like these always take a bit more time/practice to pitch, but the weight savings tents to be well worth it. We like the Duplex for solo trips and the Triplex when backpacking in pairs.

  • Best Budget Tent: REI Co-op Passage 2 & Half Dome 2 Plus

    • These are excellent choices for beginners and backpackers on a budget. They’re durable, well built, spacious, and very comfortable. The main downside with tents like these is they tend to be bulky and heavy for tough backpacking trips. That said, if you split the weight between two hikers they’re not too bad and it’s very tough to beat their price tags.

  • For more info, check out our Best Backpacking Tents List, Best Ultralight Tarps & Tents List, and our Best Budget Tents List.












If you enjoyed our Top Picks list, you'll probably like the CleverHiker Gear Guide as well. Here are a few links to some popular Gear Guide articles:

We hope this guide was helpful for finding the backpacking gear you were looking for. If you want to provide feedback or recommend an item we missed, please use our contact form to get in touch.

Thanks for reading and happy trails!


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if purchases are made through those links. This adds no cost to our readers and helps us keep our site up and running. Our reputation is our most important asset, which is why we only provide completely honest and unbiased recommendations.