Let’s get up with the lingo. Or should the be down with the jargon? Okay, okay, we’ll admit I know nothing about how to chat like a cool kid but I do know a thing or two about the words we all use in the great outdoors. The important words that are required to lead a fun life, right?!

We’ll work our way through all the more detailed camping jargon in the weeks to come, but for right now let’s chat about all the variations of ‘packing’ you can do + which backpack you’ll need to make it happen.

There is backpacking, fast packing + day hiking. Each one has a handful of pros, a few less than stellar bits + a backpack that is created for it.

Backpacking

This is probably the most general way to describe a night sleeping in your tent some distance from your car. You can go on multi-day backpacking trips or just a single overnight. If you are stuffing your tent, sleeping bag, food + other overnight essentials into a backpack then hiking it into your campsite it’s backpacking.

Pros: Backpacking can get you far away from the chaos of the day-trippers trails. You get to spend the night outdoors which results in beautiful, silent mornings. This overnight in the woods also gives you access to more trails the following day.

Cons: Packing all of your gear into a bag can get quite heavy, making you pace a bit slower. This is especially true if you are planning a multi-day backpacking trip where you’re taking along a lot of food.

The Pack: With backpacking trips you’ll need to be able ot stash all of your gear into a single bag. To ensure you’ll have space for everything you will probably want to start with a 50-70 liter backpack. The TETON Sports Mountain Adventurer4000 tops out at 66 liters + is set to take all of your gear backpacking!

Fastpacking

If you love to concept of backpacking but aren’t really into lugging your life around on your back you may want to check out fastpacking. It is essentially the same thing as backpacking, but with less [or lighter, more compact] gear + at a faster pace. You’ll still be sleeping otuside under the stars, but you might not be quite as comfy cozy as you could be.

Pros: A night outside + a morning starting off with a sunrise all to yourself. As with backpacking, you’ll get away from the busy trails + have access to more remote trails. Your backpack will also be lighter as you’re packing more weight conscious.

Cons: You’ll need to do without a few comforts when you’re fast packing — that super comfy sleeping pad may take up too much space + your dinner may be less elaborate. Just remember to NOT skimp on your emergency kit!

The Pack: If you’re already a backpacking + you’re just looking to make the switch to fastpacking you may not need to get a new backpack. That 50L pack you have will work just fine…as long as you don’t fill it full! If you are looking to acquire a new pack then a 30-45 liter pack should fit the bill. Check out the TETON Sports Talus2700 if you’re looking to get your hands on a new bag for fastpacking adventures.

Day Hiking

So, what if you’re not ready to spend the night in the woods? Maybe it’s because you don’t have the time, or the gear, or the desire…whatever the reason don’t fret! There are other options. Such as the day hike. A day hike is basically just hiking, but longer distances + with all of the “10 Essentials”.

Pros: A day hike can be a quick adventure with minimal preparation or commitment. It’s easy to get outside for a long day hike when all you need to pack are the “10 Essentials” + a decent trail meal. You’ll also be able to move much faster with less gear.

Cons: You won’t get a night in the great outdoors [which may be a pro for you] + you may not get to discover as many remote areas.

The Pack: Again, your backpack or fastpack will get the job done, but you’ll end up carrying around far more pack than you need. For day hikes you may want to getting a backpack that is 10-20 liters. The TETON Sports Oasis1200 pack is our go-to day hiking bag.


That pretty much covers the basics of ‘packing’. It covers some of the jargon + explains exactly what each type of packing entails.