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Walk in the Woods: 13 Backpacking Essentials

Gregory Amber 44L Backpack, $169.95, and Therm-A-Rest Women's Prolite Plus, $99.95, at BlueZone Sports, 392 Roseville Square, Roseville, 916-516-1095,

Gregory Amber 44L Backpack


Therm-A-Rest Women's Prolite Plus


Ultra Lite Chair, $69.99 at Kamp-Rite, 8615 23rd Avenue, Sacramento, 916-383-9460,

Ultra Lite Chair


Gentlemen's Hardware 9-in-1 Wilderness Multi-Tool, $22 at Strapping, 3405 Broadway, Sacramento, 916-476-3376,

Gentlemen's Hardware 9-in-1 Wilderness Multi-Tool


Marmot Sawtooth 15° Sleeping Bag, $257 at Sierra Mountain Outdoors, 465 Main Street, Placerville, 530-985-4431

Marmot Sawtooth 15° Sleeping Bag


Bamboo Home Collapsible Water Bowl, $9.99+ at sBarkles, 850 E Bidwell Sreet, Suite 150, Folsom, 916-984-0102,

Bamboo Home Collapsible Water Bowl


Perky Jerky Turkey Jerky, $5.25 at Sunrise Nature Foods, 1950 Douglas Boulevard, Roseville, 916-789-8591; 2160 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn, 530-888-8973,

Perky Jerky Turkey Jerky


Steeped Coffee 5 Pack, $10 at Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, 25055 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 100, Folsom, 916-358-9950,

Steeped Coffee 5 Pack


Women’s Corsica Hiking Shoe, $49.99 at Rack Room Shoes, 13000 Folsom Boulevard, Suite 1002, Folsom, 916-985-4431,

Women’s Corsica Hiking Shoe


Eureka! Spitfire 2 Tent, $153 at Sierra Outdoor Center, 440 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-885-1844

Eureka! Spitfire 2 Tent


How to Survive Your First Trip in the Wild: Backpacking for Beginners by Paul Magnanti, $12.99 at Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 113, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9401,

How to Survive Your First Trip in the Wild: Backpacking for Beginners by Paul Magnanti


Garmin Instinct Solar GPS Watch, $324.99 at Gold Country Run + Sport, 4370 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 150, El Dorado Hills, 916-303-4786; 7610 Folsom-Auburn Road, Suite 160, Folsom, 916-817-1151,

Garmin Instinct Solar GPS Watch


Jetboil Flash Cooking System, $109.95 at The Supply Sergeant, 469 Main Street, Placerville, 530-622-3414,

Jetboil Flash Cooking System


Beginner Backpacking Spots

Coast Camp

GETTING THERE: Located in Point Reyes National Seashore; drive 5.9 miles along Limantour Road until you reach the Laguna Road junction (look for the “Hostel and Education Center” sign); turn left and drive .5 miles to the Laguna Trailhead.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: 3.6 miles out and back; nestled within a small coastal grassy valley with beach access; potable water and pit toilets; each site (14 total) must be reserved at and includes a charcoal BBQ grill, picnic table, and food locker.

Loon Lake

GETTING THERE: From Highway 50 East, take Ice House Road exit; continue on Ice House Road for 29 miles to Loon Lake Campground.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: 7.6 miles out and back; easy, well-maintained trail through forests and open areas surrounded by granite; vaulted toilets at the trailhead parking lot.

Island Lake

GETTING THERE: From Highway 80 East, take the Highway 20 exit and continue for approximately 4.2 miles. Turn right on Bowman Lake Road for approximately 7 miles and turn right on Forest Route 17 for 3 miles (note: this road is unpaved) until reaching the Carr Lake Trailhead.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: 2.5 miles out and back; multiple lakes, marshy meadows, and beautiful views along the way; easy, well-marked trail.

Wrights Lake to Grouse Lake

GETTING THERE: From Highway 50 East, take the Wrights Lake Road turnoff (just past Kyburz); continue for 8 miles and park at the trailhead.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: 4 miles out and back; moderately trafficked trail features granite slabs, lush forests, and an amazing alpine lake; 1,200-feet elevation gain; parking fee is $8.

Loch Leven Lakes

GETTING THERE: From Highway 80 East, take the Big Bend exit; turn left on Hampshire Rocks Road and park 1/8 mile east of the Big Bend Visitor Center.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: 7 miles out and back to the top lake (the middle lake is just under 3 miles one way); moderate hike (1,800-feet elevation gain) through meadows, old growth forest, and 1860s Central Pacific railroad tracks.

Items subject to availability and prices subject to change.

by Megan Wiskus

Coast Camp photo by Megan Wiskus. Loon Lake photo by Josiah Velasquez. Island Lake photo by Navigating The Wild LLC. Grouse Lake photo by Nicole Montoya @nicole_fit_74. Loch Leven Lakes photo by Suzie Dundas. Other photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations.