The Tetons are a backpacker's paradise. Meg Matheson photo.
Visiting Jackson Hole should be high on any road tripper's list. Summer in the Tetons is beautiful, and the region's attractions are many. Whether you like boating, hiking, fishing, biking, or just sightseeing, Northwestern Wyoming is hard to beat. That said, those seeking true alpine solitude will need to look further afield than the classic tourist attractions for their fix.
Backpacking might be more strenuous than driving through Yellowstone, but those masochistic enough to hump loads into the wilderness are rewarded in spades. Maybe you've never been backpacking before. Maybe you're just curious about what's new and exciting in the world of backpacking gear. Either way, we've assembled a list of five types of gear which anyone backpacking in the Tetons should consider bringing:
The holster is essential for quick and safe access. Counter Assault photo.
Counter Assault Bear Deterrent with Belt Holster - $49.95
This one is an absolute essential for anyone heading into the woods around Jackson. Bears are around, and while they aren't actively searching for tourists to maul, they will do so vigorously if given the chance. Not only should would-be Teton backpackers buy/rent some bear spray, they should also devote some time to learning how to use it without getting a face-full of industrial-strength pepper spray.
It sucks to pack, but you still gotta bring it. Garcia photo.
Garcia Bear-Resistant Container - $74.95
In the same vein as bear spray, anyone expecting to spend the night in bear habitat should have enough of these to fit all of their group's food, toiletries, plants, and anything else with a fragrance. Being attacked by an angry grizzly is a great way to ruin a weekend.
Trusted by outdoor professionals around the world, there's a reason WhisperLites are so popular. MSR photo.
MSR WhisperLite - $89.95
While some might be happy eating exclusively granola bars and nuts on a backpacking trip, the ability to cook hot meals and prepare hot drinks makes a camping trip a far more enjoyable experience (in our opinion). The WhisperLite is a tried-and-true stove known for its reliability and versatility, and available at a reasonable price point.
Look at that nesting! MSR photo.
MSR Quick 2 System - $99.95
A stove is useless without cookware. MSR makes a plethora of nesting cookware/diningware for groups of many sizes, all conveniently optimized for weight and size. It's pricy, but worth a premium in exchange for the aforementioned optimization.
You can even use the cap for easy mixing. Aquamira photo.
Aquamira Water Purification (1 oz.) - $14.99
Backpacking is a thirsty endeavor. While boiling water is always an option for purification, it's nice to be able to purify water without breaking out the stove. Aquamira liquid purification is light, simple, cheap, and quick.
What a pleasant shade of yellow! TNF photo.
The North Face O2 Tent - $299.00
Sleeping after a long, hard day of humping loads is one of the great joys of backpacking. Getting wet during a midnight downpour because your tent sucks is one of the great tragedies of backpacking. Avoid a tragic midnight scramble by investing in a solid tent, such as the TNF O2 tent, which is both lightweight and weatherproof.
Prepare for peak comfort. Sea to Summit photo.
Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Mat (Regular) - $129.95
You can get away without a sleeping mat if you're one of those people who can sleep soundly atop a cactus, but most people need a sleeping mat for a good night's sleep. These days, mats are cushy, light, and durable, so there's no excuse for not bringing one.
Now THAT is a cozy looking sleeping bag. Patagonia photo.
Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag (30°F) - $399.00
Sleeping cold sucks. It can be done, but not without a few painful hours of tossing and turning. Avoid such misery by investing in a solid bag, such as Patagonia's 850 Down series. Depending on where you're planning on camping, it might even be worth picking up a 15-degree bag.
This bad boy packs down to virtually nothing. Sea to Summit photo.
Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow (Regular) - $39.95
While we're also fans of the clothes-stuffed-into-a-drybag strategy, having an inflatable pillow takes sleeping in the woods to a new level of comfort. Inspire copious amounts of jealousy with your cushy sleep system, and drift off into dreamland with your head comfortably suspended atop a cloud.
Also available in dozens of other colors. ENO photo.
Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock - $69.95 + Atlas Suspension System - $29.95
While ultralight backpackers should probably pass on this one, a hammock is a major boon for campsite chilling. Whether you're reading, napping, or chatting, it'll be better in a hammock. The Atlas Suspension System (also known as hammock straps) ensures that you'll be able to set up your hammock safely regardless of how far apart the trees are (within reason).
Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel - $99.95
If you're going to be taking photos or videos on your backpacking trip and don't want to lug numerous spare batteries around, a lightweight solar panel is a must-bring. Versatile and durable, Goal Zero's offerings won't break the bank either. You can throw it on the back of your bag, plug it in, and forget about it until it's time to change batteries. TGR's production crews have relied upon Goal Zero panels to power entire shoots, and haven't been let down yet.
Heal up soon, Johnny! Nic Alegre photo.
High West Whiskey - ~$65
Distilled and bottled in Park City, UT, High West's Whiskey is the perfect beverage for of-age backpackers to enjoy responsibly around the fire. It also is Johnny Collinson's beverage of choice after a long day of slaying Alaskan spines. It's more weight-efficient than beer, and is critically acclaimed on virtue of its "well-balanced flavors of sweet bourbon, roasted nuts and fresh corn with notes of spicy rye, oak and baking spices," according to Caskers.com.
Don't forget the med-kit. REI photo.
Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7 Medical Kit - $28.95
Ideally, this wouldn't be necessary. However, things can go south despite the best-laid plans, so it's always good to be prepared for scrapes, cuts, and blisters. This kit is a good compromise between weight and comprehensiveness, and is recommended for one or two people on trips up to four days.
It's pricey, but worth it. Garmin photo.
Garmin inReach Mini - $349.99 + Variable monthly subscription
When things go really far south, it's important to be able to call for help regardless of cell service. The Garmin inReach Mini utilizes Iridium's satellite network to ensure connectivity wherever you are on the Earth's surface. It's expensive, and requires a monthly subscription, but that's a small price to pay for safety.
There's no excuse not to have BC SOS downloaded...unless you have a flip phone. JH News and Guide photo.
Backcountry SOS App - Free
BackcountrySOS is a simple-to-use smartphone app that allows you to quickly get your status and location information to emergency personnel. The app is free, easy to use, requires no setup, and only requires enough data and battery to send your GPS coordinates to emergency services. Started in the Tetons, the app is now operable in over 1,500 U.S. counties, with more added monthly.
As you may have noticed, this is NOT an exhaustive list of everything you need to bring while camping in the Tetons, just a roundup of some things which you should consider bringing. We would advise also bringing things like, for example, clothing, a headlamp, and hiking boots, among many others.
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