Hiking/Camping Part 5 – Packs and Tools

Two campers with gear hiking through Bear Moun...

Image via Wikipedia

If you are going to have an adventure in the great outdoors its not all about leisure or playtime, there will be some work but it should be fun work if you enjoy nature. To go hiking or camping you are going to need something to hold your stuff and you are going to need some tools to setup camp. I’ve given some thoughts on clothing, hygiene and shelter now lets talk about packs and common camp tools as well as some fun though non-essential gear to have while camping. (Note: I will cover tools for making a camp fire and compasses in the next article)


90L Backpack


85L Backpack


80L Backpack


55-60L / 3400-3600cu

55-60L / 3400cu

Backpacks come in many different shapes and sizes. One the main design differences is the backpack frame. Traditionally backpacks had external frames but more contemporary designs move the frame inside the pack to save material, space and weight. Most frames are adjustable in size and some can be adjusted somewhat to the curve of the back. The internal frame backpacks have become more popular in recent history. Back packs usually have a main compartment and many have a secondary lower compartment for a sleeping bag or a divider in the main compartment including some type of side access like the Kelty Coyote 4750. Other features may include side and back pockets, water bladder pockets and removable top covers that can convert into hip packs. Most backpacks will also include additional loops, D-rings on the bottom, sides and/or top and straps that may be used to lash walking polls, tents, sleeping pads or other gear to the the outside of the pack. Care must be taken when loading the pack and particularly when filling side pockets and lashing items to the outside to make sure the pack is balanced and will not pull to one side or the other. Backpack sizes are either listed in Liters or in Cubic inches and you can always convert from one to the other on google.com by typing convert X liters to cubic inches or visa versa in the search field. But as a rule of thumb 75L to 100L packs are for trips greater than a week (unless you are a minimalist) and packs smaller than 75L are good for a week or less. (Note: Pack size also depends upon the size of the back packer; a larger frame person will generally use larger items taking up more space in a pack.) For further research check out the reviews and guides on Trail Space at; http://www.trailspace.com/gear/backpacks/.

Knives and Multi-Tools

Survival KnifeGerber LMF 2Leatherman SurgeGerber MP600

The most basic tool that you will need is a knife, whether it is a folding knife or an infantry/survival knife. If you ever watch Man vs Wild you will see Bear Grylls use this knife with a baton to chop down small trees, to whittle tinder from dry branches, to start fires with a fire steel, and with lash points to tie it to a stick making a spear. Recently Bear Grylls has come out with his own line of gear including the survival knife which has its own built in fire steel, sharpener and pommel hammer. It is quite similar to the long time standard Gerber LMF II which is another good infantry knife. The KA-Bar utility/fighting or Tanto would be another good option. I recently received the Bear Grylls knife for my birthday and purchased a sharpening/honing stone set and I am very pleased with both. Another tool to consider is a multi-tool, which was the next evolution from the swiss army knife invented first by Leatherman. The number of tools available on some multi-tools can almost replace your tool box.

Camp Tools

Folding ShovelTomahawk or Camp AxeChain/Rope SawRope Bag

When you are setting up camp you will likely need a shovel and mallet or alternatively some shovels have built in hammer heads for driving in tent stakes. The shovel might need to be used to dig a trench around the camp site to redirect run-off water. If you are in back country the shovel will be useful to dig fire pits, toilets, post holes, or for making animal traps. Next you will want something to clear brush from the camp site, to cut fire wood or wood in general; your going to want a hatchet or tomahawk and possibly a rope/wire saw. The tomahawk might also be used for self-defense from animals if you are in back country. Finally you may want to consider a bag to hold your tools and some rope, oh I almost forgot the rope….

Tying Up Loose Ends

ParacordSewing KitCarabiner LockingRope

One of the most mistakenly overlooked tools is paracord and rope. Paracord is a must have multi-purpose tool which is a thin rope braided like climbing rope giving it high strength that can be used to tie down tents and flies, to suspend tarps for shelter, as a clothes line, replacement shoe lace, lashing to tie gear to a pack, emergency fishing line, webbing for a cot, tourniquet, trigger line for a trap, a suspension line to tie food up away from bears, and the list goes on and on as to what paracord can be used for. Next you will want a sewing kit so that you can repair failed seams and tears in fabric. Finally, you may want some carabiners and thicker >8mm climbing rope (or 5mm aramid fiber rope) if you have to climb up or down an obstacle or if someone or something falls into a gully you may need a rope to get them out. For information on paracord, climbing and knots check out the following websites:

How to Use Paracord

Well I hope you find this list of tools helpful as you plan to go on an adventure in the great out doors.


About Last Fiddle
I have always had many interests; technology, science, philosophy, theology, politics, history, etc... Currently, life for the past twelve years has placed me in the area of technology fulfilling roles in System Administration and Architecture. But I have always been involved in the local church and enjoy researching and discussing issues of theology, philosophy, history and politics...

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