Backpacking gear involves far more than hiking on a trail in the park for the day. Enthusiasts will tell you that you need more than a daypack to carry your equipment. The market for specialized backpacking gear varies widely these days and depends very much on the type of tour you'll be going on. There are still four basics that you'll need for your trip: Something to sleep in, something to sleep under, something to carry your gear, and safety equipment.
Backpacking sleeping bags vary in comfort and weight. If you'll be doing your hiking in areas where humidity is a factor, choosing synthetic sleeping bags is a must. Polarguard 3D can be an excellent choice of backpacking gear, as the material compresses better than other materials and is also softer and lighter than other fabrics on the market. Goose down can be a fine choice, but you'll have to watch out to not get your sleeping bag wet, as the down will lose its insulation factor rapidly.
Backpacking gear should include a tarp or two. Waterproof backpacking tarps can be tied to trees with rope and used as a shelter. You'll avoid carrying poles and the heavier weight of some four-season tents as well. For an ultra light trip, you're better off choosing a bivy sack as a shelter and leaving the tarps at home. Keep in mind that while being lightweight backpacking gear, bivy sacks are also cramped and some people don't enjoy using them for sleeping shelters. You may feel that the best way to shop is to compare price ranges. If you are travelling to a big city, you can also consider staying in budget hostel accommodation. Backpacker’s hostels are often the cheapest accommodation and they provide lockers for your backpacks to keep your valuables safe.
When trying to find the perfect backpack, price doesn't always reflect better construction. Test seams and the strength of shoulder straps on different backpacks, and you may find that backpacks in the lower price range offer more in durability than their higher priced counterparts.
One piece of backpacking gear you can't hold in your hand while out on the trail is backpacking travel insurance. Before you head out on an expedition, make sure that your insurance coverage includes protection for you while you're on the trail backpacking, especially if you are in another country. Travel insurance is available and is a smart choice for all your out-of-country expeditions. Your backpacking gear budget should include safety equipment and basic survival tools. Some tour guides are well prepared to deal with situations gone wrong, but if you're heading out on your own, having survival gear is critical. It's best to carry your own emergency equipment even when going on a tour, just in case of accident. Better safe than sorry.