Are you heading on a backpacking trek this summer? Gear up right with these six essentials:

Big Agnes MtnGlo Rattlesnake 2 

Big AgnesBig Agnes


Even before the sun set, we loved this tent. Colour-coded poles make setup easy and vertical walls create plenty of room for two, each with his or her own door and vestibule. Then it got dark, so we switched on the 32 LED lights stitched into the canopy of the tent. Powered by three AAA batteries, the highest of three setting shines enough light to read by. The whole system only adds a few ounces, and playing cards without headlamps is well worth the weight.

Osprey Atmos AG 50



At first glance, the Atmos (Aura for women) looks heavily vented. But the soft mesh from shoulder straps to hip belt does more than encourage airflow. It spreads out the contact points between pack and body, reducing the chances of pressure points or hot spots. Rather than ride on the hips, the belt seems to hug our entire waist. It’s different and awesome. Ditto for the shoulder straps. To further dial in the fit, the waist and torso adjust by up to 10 cm. The rest of the 50-litre pack has just enough room for light packers to lug up to a week’s worth of gear.

Sea to Summit X-Pot

Sea to SummitSea to Summit


Cooking pots hog pack space. The three-litre X-Pot is the exception—it collapses into a disc. The secret: soft but heat-resistant silicone sides that fold together into a four centimetre disc for packing, then pop up for cooking. Keep the flames to the aluminum base and it can handle any camp stove cook-off. The added advantage of the silicone is that it doesn’t conduct heat. Grab the pot from the two flaps that lock-on its clear lid—with drain ports—and pour without gloves or a pot gripper. 

The North Face Superlight

 The North FaceThe North Face


In places like the Rockies, it could snow at just about any time, which means you want a bag worthy of a plunge in temperature, but without the bulk or volume of a typical three-season bag. The less than one-kilogram Superlight lives up to its name, weighing less than many summer bags and packing down to the size of a melon. How? By shrinking the zipper to a half-zip down the front, using 800-fill down and slimming the cut. (With a small hood, it almost feels like clothing.)

Hydrapak Soft Flask 750



In the Rockies, and a lot of other mountain ranges, water is usually never far off and sources tend to be pristine, so there’s no need to pack a full three-litre bladder and its three kilograms of weight. Instead, fill one of these soft-sided water bottles. The 750 ml capacity is enough for a couple hours of trekking and it shrinks as you drink it. 

Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies: An Opinionated Guidebook

Hiking & CampingHiking & Camping


The seventh edition of this essential guide for finding the best day and overnight hikes in the Canadian Rockies just got more valuable. Rather than print another chunky book, Craig and Kathy Copeland separated each category and slotted them in a hard case. Leave the 677-page book in your car and pack along only the relevant section (with map), cutting trail weight to a mere 67 grams.