My FIRST Backpacking Trip & Reviews – Part 3!

So after my first backpacking trip, I wanted to give you an extra post to tell you about the “stuff” we used and what we liked and didn’t like!  If you are anything like me, you read reviews on just about everything you purchase.


#1 – JetBoil Personal Cooking System – $95 – This was a must-have in my opinion.  We used it multiple times a day.  We boiled water for our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, plus our coffee!!  It boils the water in 2 minutes!  For any backpackers, it only weighs .88 pounds.

#2 – Mountain House Freeze Dried Food – $4-8– Food is something that I was very nervous about before our trip.  David reassured me that the food was edible, but honestly, I didn’t believe him (don’t tell him).  So I read a lot of reviews before I picked what I wanted to eat. The only other thing we realized was that the pouches I purchased from a Big Box Store were only one serving.  They also come in two serving sizes.  I was full but David was not.  So depending on how much you eat, you may want to be sure to get the bigger size.

  • Beef Stroganoff with Noodles – All the reviews said this one was great, and it was.  I think I could probably serve it to the whole family and they’d never know I hadn’t been slaving in the kitchen all day long. So this will be a go-to for me in the future.  If you like Beef Stroganoff you’ll love this one.
  • Biscuits and Gravy – $4-8 – David liked this one.  I didn’t eat a freeze-dried meal for breakfast, I ate Cliff Bars (cool mint chocolate are my favorite), but I did take a bite and it was decent.  Not like momma makes it, but it certainly didn’t taste bad.  Some of the biscuits were still a little crunchy even after the water was added.
  • Chili Mac with Beef – $4-8 – We both really liked this one as well.  Noodles were cooked but not soggy, and overall it wasn’t spicy but it did have a nice flavor.  If you like Chili and Noodles you’ll like this one!  Only thing I would have added was some cheese and sour cream, but hey, we were camping.
  • Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice – $4-8 – David ate this one for breakfast one day!  It had a good flavor. He loved it and he loves this kind of food!  He said he would try it again!  Not too sweet, not too sour.  Rice wasn’t soggy.  A win-win in his book!
  • Rice and Chicken – $4-8 – David ate this one after his Chili Mac with Beef one night, that’s where the two serving size pouches come in.  It was delicious too!  Just what you’d hope for in a Rice and Chicken dish!
  • Neapolitan Ice Cream – $30/12 pack – We didn’t try this one, but it’s on my list, I just couldn’t get it in time.  But I have read a ton of reviews that it’s awesome! So if you like dessert, throw this in your backpack, it will be worth it!

#3 – Inflatable Backpacking Pad – $40 – This sleeping pad was great! It was comfortable, easy for David to blow up. It stayed inflated all night and meant I wasn’t sleeping on the ground!  It is perfect for a hammock tent.  I put mine in my sleeping bag to see if I would be warmer than it being on the floor of the tent.  It was really cold the night I used it so the jury is still out on that one.  On the plus side, its only 18 ounces for those packing it in a backpack.

#4 – Folding Camping Chairs – $26 – These chairs are great!  They pack up small, weight a little over 4 pounds and set up is quick and easy!   After a long day of hiking, these are a must have if you can spare the weight.  The chair I have has a bag that has a zipper the whole length of the bag, which makes packing it up super easy.  It also has clips so you can attach it to your backpack!  David has a different chair and while it is essentially the same, it came with a drawstring bag and I found it a little cumbersome to get it all back in the bag even when following the directions provided.  PS. I also use this chair when I’m gardening!

#5 – Camping Pillow – $15 –  This pillow weighs in a just under 3 ounces.  Comes with a little drawstring bag, easy to blow up!  My tip on this is to not blow it up completely.  I like my pillows softer, so with a little less air, it was more comfortable.  If you like a firm pillow, fill ‘er up!  They come in many different colors too!  I slip mine right in my sleeping bag and cozy on up!

#6 – Lightweight Women’s Backpack $150-270 – I have the Osprey Aura AG 65 Pack!  Prices vary on these. For me, since it was my first time to backpack I thought this was a great pack.  Lightweight and comfortable.  Has plenty of clips and places to put things that you’ll need on hand but don’t want to have to completely open your pack.  I don’t know if I’d use it if I were hiking for weeks on end, but for a few nights, it was perfect!

#7 – Big Agnes 2 Man Tent – $270 – This tent is a two man tent, but I’d tell you it was pretty snug for both me and David. We sleep in a King size bed at home, so maybe that is why it was a little too snug for my liking, but it certainly did the job. With both our sleeping mats, bags, and considering if you are in a place where your backpack is in the tent with you it will be tight.  It does come with a rain fly, opens with 2 doors, has little pockets on each side and one that clips to the top of the tent.  As far as tents go, it was easy enough that I was able to set it up by myself!  Some of the models come with LED lights. Weighs in at just over 6 pounds.

Have you tried any of these products?  What do you think of them?  Did I miss a must-have on your list?  Let me know in the comments.


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