Overnight Backpacking In The Cascades

These are my go-to items for some of my most frequent overnights.

Curated by Scott Kranz

This is my kit for a typical overnight backpacking trip or similar alpine outing in the Pacific Northwest. The listed items below make up my current kit. My gear kit can change from trip to trip and season to season, as I am constantly testing out new gear to meet the needs of the next adventure.

Garmin fenix 3 Sapphire


This is my go-to, good for every occasion watch. It's extremely durable, waterproof, and includes everything I need: GPS, altimeter, compass, alarm, etc. Also, the battery life is outstanding.

Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe


When the trip involves more challenging terrain, potential rock fall, or any climbing, or if any travel over snow or ice is possible, I often bring my Black Diamond Vapor Helmet and my Black Diamond Raven Pro ice ax, to ensure I get from A to B both safe and sound.

Black Diamond Vapor Helmet


When the trip involves more challenging terrain, potential rock fall, or any climbing, or if any travel over snow or ice is possible, I often bring my Black Diamond Vapor Helmet and my Black Diamond Raven Pro ice ax, to ensure I get from A to B both safe and sound.

Eddie Bauer Kara Koram 20-Degree StormDown Sleeping Bag


I have a variety of sleeping bags of varying materials and temperature ratings. In the summer and fall in the Cascades, I’m often bringing my Eddie Bauer Kara Koram 20-Degree StormDown Sleeping Bag, which is sufficiently warm and lofty, but also packs down into a small pouch when I need to store it in my pack.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad


I generally use the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm, especially if the trip involves colder weather or snow. This inflatable air mattress has a solid R-Value of 5.7, which works wonders in frigid night temps.

Black Diamond Speed 55 Pack


I own a variety of packs, of varying sizes and uses. I often use my Black Diamond Speed 55 Pack, which is lightweight and streamlined.

Sony α7R II Full-Frame Camera


Although I own several cameras, I often go with this full-frame 42-megapixel mirrorless camera. It’s a more lightweight option (about 22 ounces with a battery) than my DSLR, a plus for trips covering greater mileage and elevation gain. The camera’s functionality and features work for me, whether I’m shooting for a commercial client or gathering content for a personal project.

Sony Vario-Tessar T 24-70mm f/4 lens


I often bring multiple camera lenses on any outing, covering a range of speeds and focal lengths. I often shoot with my Sony Vario-Tessar T 24-70mm f/4 lens, a versatile, all-purpose focal range.

EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II


When I need to shoot wider, in low light, or during the night, I often use my Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens, paired with a Metabones T Smart Adapter Mark IV.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS


For compressed landscape imagery or wildlife shots, I often use my Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens, a very lightweight telephoto lens option.

Peak Design CapturePRO


Having my camera accessible and ready to use is essential for my outdoor photography. As a result, I use this pro-grade camera carrying clip with quick-release locking action. It’s on my backpack strap every single trip I take.

Peak Design Clutch


This camera wrist strap never leaves my camera. It’s ergonomic and quick to cinch, ensuring my camera and my hand don’t accidentally part ways when I’m hiking or climbing.

Peak Design Camera Shell


My camera gear has been a significant investment, so why not protect that gear from the elements? I use this lightweight protective cover which shields my camera from rain, dust, snow, and dings.

MeFOTO Carbon Fiber Globetrotter Tripod


This is my go-to tripod for most outings. It’s very light, weighing in at 3.7 pounds. It’s tall enough when fully extended that I am not hunching over to look through my camera’s viewfinder or screen (I’m 6-feet tall for reference), but collapses down small to fit well inside my pack. Most importantly, it’s plenty sturdy to stand up against strong winds and other elements.

B+W Circular Polarizer


This is a great all-purpose polarizing filter, which reduces unwanted glare and reflections and produces finer colors and tones. I also often bring a 10-stop neutral density filter.

Eddie Bauer Sandstone Shield Hooded Jacket


Because my outings are often in the Pacific Northwest, bringing a solid rain jacket or shell is imperative on any trip. I often pack the Eddie Bauer Sandstone Shield Hooded Jacket, a hybrid soft shell that is both waterproof and breathable, while allowing mobility.

Eddie Bauer MicroTherm StormDown Jacket


It’s all about layers in the mountains, and a rain shell pairs well with more insulated layers. A great puffy I often use is the Eddie Bauer Microtherm StormDown Jacket.

KEEN Aphlex Mid WP Hiking Boot - Men's


At the end of the day, it’s your feet that hit the trail and bring you where you want to go. I’m often hiking in my KEEN Aphlex Hiking Boots, which are supportive above the ankle, and also waterproof (which is key in the Pacific Northwest).

La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX Mountaineering Boot - Men's


For more technical missions, I’m often using my La Sportiva Trango S EVO GORE-TEX Mountaineering Boots, a waterproof, alpine climbing boot that is very sturdy and ready for a semi-automatic crampon.

Feathered Friends Down Booties


Whether moseying around camp or jumping in your sleeping bag on a cold night, these down booties are often clutch. One of the few “luxuries” I lug into the backcountry.

Outdoor Research Crocodiles Gaiter - Men's


I didn’t know what gaitors were before I moved from the Midwest to the PNW in 2013, but they’ve since become an integral part of my kit when any snow travel is possible. I use Outdoor Research’s Crocodiles, a durable gaitor option that keeps snow and trail debris out of the ol’ boots.

BioLite PowerLight Mini Lantern


I often bring my BioLite PowerLight into the backcountry, an off-the-grid energy source for charging my cell phone and other small electronics. And it doubles as a warm light around camp and a great light source when composing night shots.

MSR Dromedary Bags


In addition to a basic water bottle, I often bring my MSR 4-Liter Dromedary, a durable hydration bag that has not yet burst or leaked even when stuffed in my pack among everything else.