Gear I Use, Trust, and Love On Trail

Written By:

Last Updated:

Josh Koop

I live with my wife and daughter in Katy, Texas and my local trail is the Lone Star Hiking Trail which is an amazing way to experience the Sam Houston National Park!

My backpack wall in my office is where I keep all my packs at arms reach

I always see hikers list their gear online, but I felt it would be far more fun to show my backpack and overall gear progression over time, and this would show how a typical backpack builds over time and is frequently not a single big purchase.

I have continued to buy, test, and pass or fail my gear each year while trying to optimize for comfort, weight, and cost. As a father and husband, I can’t just decide to bust the bank-wide open on a whim and have to be able to justify the purchase before I make it.

This makes me need to research a lot more than many others may. This leads me to skip some purchases and note expected upgrades I plan to make once I can free up the funds, with my upgrade focusing on the big three for the most weight benefit.

Lighterpack Lists


  • Zpacks NERO (10.9 oz, 308 g) – I love the MILE and needed to find something that would work between the MILE and bigger packs.
  • Waymark EVLV (xx.xx oz, xxx g) – I found the NERO too small for me when I needed something between pure summer.
  • Palante Desert – White Ultra400 (xx.xx oz, xxx g) –
  • PilgrimUL Roan (xx.xx oz, xxx g) –
  • Outdoor Vitals CS40 Ultra (27 oz, 765.4 g) –
  • Waymark THRU (31.35 oz, 889 g) – I found a deal from someone who couldn’t be passed up getting this for nearly 1/2 the new cost, and it pairs amazingly with my existing MILE.
  • Dan Durston DD40 (32.6 oz, 925 g) – Has uses and fits exceedingly comfortably but still adjusting to the no-mesh outer pocket, which means re-organizing my gear into stuff sacks or re-organizing what I like to keep outside.
  • Dan Durston Kakwa 40 (xx.xx oz, xxx g) –
  • Dan Durston Kakwa 55 (xx.xx oz, xxx g) –
  • Zpacks Air 50L (19.6 oz, 556 g) – I didn’t have a backpack with a frame I was comfortable with for 3-5 day range treks. I found a super deal on Zpacks Bargain Bin and pulled the trigger.
  • MatSix Custom 55L Backpack (22.75 oz, 645 g) – Ultra 200 Dyneema Weave, built by MatSix on Etsy, has the Dyneema weave mesh and an underneath joey pocket for storage or trash; amazingly crafted.
  • Outdoor Vitals ShadowLight 60L (xx.xx oz, xxx g) –
  • 3F UL Gear 60L Backpack (xx.xx oz, xxx g) – My original backpack that started me off for my first extended hikes was inexpensive and still holds up years later for loaning out for friends and family.
  • Fastpack Trips
    • Skyline Fastpack (20.6 oz, 584 g) – Absolutely love this pack and have been starting training to learn as this is easier to do on weekend trips to get more miles and more cool terrain.
  • Daypack Trips
  • Fanny Packs

Backpacking Quilts

Sleeping Pads




Hummingbird Hammock Setup (1.92 lbs, 30.69 oz, 870 g)

Banshee UL Hammock Setup (x.xx lbs, xx.xx oz, xxxg)

  • Banshee UL Hammock (11.5 oz, 326 g) – Bought to simplify my Hammock Setup
  • Beetle Buckle Suspension with 15ft Straps (6.13 oz, 173.7 g) –

Dutchware Half-Zipped Hammock Setup (x.xx lbs, xx.xx oz, xxxg)

Hammock Tarps


Additional Gear

  • Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles (xx.xx oz, xxx g) –
  • Cascade Mountain Trekking Poles (xx.xx oz, xxx g) –
  • Zpacks Bear Bagging Kit – Super strong, simple, and effective.
  • First Aid – Leukotape (perfect for so many odds and ends); ibuprofen; Gold Bond Powder (chafing is real); Pepto Bismol Tablets; Carmex; chewable melatonin.
  • Hygiene – Dr. Bronners, Picaridin, toothbrush, toothpaste, man wipes, toilet paper, and a Deuce of Spades trowel


I carry either a Sawyer Squeeze system with a CNOC 2L dirty water bag Smartwater bottles or my Katadyn BeFree system with a 2L Hydrapak bag for dirty water with 2 Smartwater bottles for long carries.


I cold soak nearly all the time, so I upgraded to a Vargo Bottle Pot and a titanium spork. This allows me to bring along my titanium wing and a few Esbit tablets if I really need something warm.