The following is a list of gear that I use and recommend for backpacking, hiking, and camping. If the exact item I use is no longer available I include the most similar gear I could find and noted that. Each entry is a link to REI or Amazon where you can quickly purchase or review the item. I include the cost of the item (rounded up to nearest dollar) although it may have changed or gone on sale since the time of writing.
Major items used for backpacking, hiking, and camping trips.
Multi-day Backpack (Women's): Osprey Ariel 65
A robust, comfortable, and highly adjustable pack that is perfect for multi-day trips. Features moisture-wicking materials, hydration pocket and pass-throughs, plenty of external pockets and attachments, a removable lumbar pack, and a heat-molded hip-belt for a custom fit.
Backpack Rain Cover: Osprey Ultralight Large
Custom fit and sized for 50-75 Liter Osprey pack. Packs very small and easy to install.
Day Hike Backpack (Women's): Osprey Sirrus 24
Perfect for a more intense day hike to carry gear, food, and water comfortably. Includes a hydration pack pocket and pass-throughs, breathable back panel, and it's own rain cover.
Day Hike Backpack (Women's): REI Flash 18
I chose this pack for side excursions during longer backpacking trips, mainly because it weighs only 10oz. It was one main compartment with a hydration pocket and detachable straps.
Trekking Poles (Women's): Black Diamond Trail
I got a ton of flak for using trekking poles but they have saved my knees on trips with huge elevation changes and a heavy pack. These poles are the latest version of the ones I use, and both feature a 3-piece design with super easy mechanical locks. I haven't had any trouble with the locks or poles themselves and these have seen hundreds of miles.
Tent: Sierra Designs Flash 2 FL
We use the Lightning XT version of this tent but it is no longer available. The tent above is a newer version with the same specs: 3 season, 2 person, 2 door, 2 pole, lightweight (under 4lb), peak height around 41", but with slightly larger floor dimensions.
Sleeping Bag: REI Joule
No joke... I have been using the same sleeping back since I went camping as a kid. I am 5'5" so my child size bag fits me snug but that also means it's lightweight. It's a down mummy bag that has kept me warm on every trip, so it's good down to atleast 30 degrees. The bag above matches this criteria and has good reviews.
Sleeping Pad (Women's): Therm-a-rest ProLite Plus
This pad is lightweight, easy to inflate, and tailored to women. This is a backpacking essential and keeps me warm as a layer of insulation on the ground. Other sleeping pads I tested were noisier or larger than I needed.
Pillow: Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight
I used to ball up clean clothes to make a pillow and seriously underestimated how much a legitimate pillow can improve your sleep quality while camping. This pillow is ligthweight and packs small. It features a nice nook to keep your head from sliding off, much more so than other backpacking pillows I've tried.
Necessities for cooking, staying hydrated, and keeping food safe from bears!
Water Reservoir: Camelbak 3L
This is another piece of gear that I once considered a "nice to have" but what a difference it makes to have water ready on the go. I chose a 3L reservoir to avoid filtering and refilling water frequently. This is a newer model than the one I have and includes a valve and quick disconnect.
Water Bottle: REI Nalgene Narrow Mouth 1L
For backpacking trips I always carry a separate bottle in case my reservoir leaks, or I unexpectedly drink it all before I get to my next water source. It's also convenient to have a separate bottle for drink mixes.
Water Filter (Pump): Katadyn Hiker
My original hand pump water filter. This gets the job done quickly and reliably but it is quite tiring on the arms after a long day of hiking. I have never had problems with clogs, or any pieces breaking aside from the carrying bag, which I replaced with a stuff sack. Includes macro pre-filter as well as adapters for common bottles and reservoirs.
Spare Filter Element (Pump): Katadyn Hiker Pro Element
I never needed a spare filter element for this pump after several trips, but this is nice to have around just in case.
Water Filter (Gravity): Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L
I recently upgraded to this gravity filter which is especially useful in larger groups (3+). It is much less labor intensive than the hand pump since you just fill it, hang it from a tree, and let it quickly drain filtered water. It is great in camp at the end of they day since it has a large volume and can supply everyone with drinking, cooking, and cleaning water. We rigged up a trekking pole tripod for areas above the treeline.
Spare Filter Element (Gravity): Katadyn Camp Series
I ran into issues with the gravity filter clogging when we were on the JMT. Fortunately I carried a spare filter and it was an easy swap. I think the macro filter with the pump makes a big difference in the life of the filter.
Stove: MSR PocketRocket
This is the only stove I've ever needed. It packs tiny and is very easy to assemble on a standard fuel canister. At first I was worried that it would be a little top heavy with a pot, but that's never been a problem.
Cookset: GSI Pinnacle Dualist
This is the perfect cookset if you are camping with a friend or significant other. Everything packs up tight inside the pot, including the PocketRocket stove. It includes one bowl, cup, and lid each. On longer trips I ditch the "kitchen sink" bag to save a bit of weight. We also replaced our plastic sporks with the aluminum ones shown next - the plastic ones broke over time.
Utensils: Sea to Summit Alpha Light
This hard anodized aluminum knife and spork combo is lighter than many of the spork-only options out there. They are robust and durable with a handy carabiner. Perfect utensils to stand up to a jar of peanut butter or block of aged cheese!
Bear Canister: Garcia
After renting the Garcia over and over I finally convinced myself to buy one. It's volume (614 cubic in) falls between the comparable BearVault BV450 (440) and BV500 (700) so it's a good option for short and long trips alike. The locks are easy to latch using the Sea to Summit spork/knife handles.
Bear Sack: Ursack
Great lightweight alternative to standard rigid canisters. Takes up very little space when not in use. Easy to tie to a tree. Not yet approved for all national parks.
Critical items for safety and sanitation at camp and on the trail.
First Aid: REI Day Hiker
I carry one of these small first aid kits stuffed with extra refills depending on the trip length. This kit will address a variety of ailments including wounds, blisters, stomach troubles, and pains. Everyone has different needs and REI has a wide variety of first aid options.
Venom Extractor: Sawyer Pump
When my boyfriend packed one of these in the Sierras I gave him a really hard time. Then I nearly stepped on a rattlesnake! On another trip I stepped on a hornet nest and used the extractor to remove venom. This simple pump can be a real difference maker!
Head Lamp: Black Diamond Spot
Don't leave home without a good head lamp (and maybe some spare batteries)! This is a relatively inexpensive and lightweight lamp. It is dimmable and includes a red-mode setting to help keep your night vision.
Camp Towel: PackTowl Personal - Large
This lightweight, fast-drying towel is perfect for washing up at the end of a long day of hiking. There's a small snap loop to easily hang it out to dry at camp. It also comes with a small mesh bag that can hang conveniently on the outside of your pack.
Sanitation Trowel: GSI Cathole
My first time backpacking I did not realize the importance of a little old trowel! This is an essential item for backcountry bathroom breaks. Similar to the item I use, this trowel is cost effective and lightweight.
An essential list to remember great momements on the trail
Camera/Lens: Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm
The D3100 is a great beginner DSLR. Since this camera was discontinued and replaced with the Nikon D3300, you can get a great deal. It's a relatively lightweight camera and lens combination and easy to learn on.
Extra Memory: Sandisk Pro 32MB
I always carry at least one extra memory card in case the first one is lost or damaged. It's not a huge weight penalty either.
Spare Batteries: Nikon EN-EL14
On longer trips I carry multiple spare batteries, and sometimes even the charger as well. These are official Nikon replacement batteries but Amazon carries cheapear options, such as Wasabi Power.
Notebook: Moleskine Chapters, Ruled 3" x 5.5"
I recently started writing quick journal entries at the end of each day while backpacking. I can't express enough how well this enhances my memories and gives me joy to look back on. These moleskin notebooks are super small and lightweight.