Spring Forward Gear Guide 2024

Spring is in the air!

If you find yourself itching to hit the trails and head out on adventures, you’ve found yourself in the right place. I’ve rounded up some exciting new gear that’ll help you have fun this season. From car camping to the most epic off-trail routes, these pieces have been curated to show off some of the best pieces of spring gear to support the way you play.

Spring Forward with Sparkly New Gear

Now is the time when you get to start bringing those plans you formulated in the throes of winter to life! It’s exciting, right? I know that feeling all too well and here at Backpackers, we believe a bit of new gear can really emphasize and underscore that excitement.

Jon looking for migrating birds. Courtney and Sarabi chasing waterfalls. And me (Deirdre) car camping in comfort!

When I set out to create this round-up, I knew I wanted to pull from the experience of our adventurous team! Checking in with gear-tester Jon, who loves hiking and birding, I knew a solid pair of binos had to make the list! And after chatting with adventure-pup-mama Courtney, I knew gear for our four-legged bffs had to hit this list. As for me, I’ve been doing some car camping this year in the desert southwest and was so impressed with some of the gear I was testing out, you’ll find it below!

No matter how you like to experience the great outdoors, there is sure to be some gear on this guide that will call to you and set you up for a great time! Let us know in the comments what epic plans you’ve got for spring 2024! Cheers to spring!

Luno Life Air Mattress 2.0

a happy camper using the luno life air mattress 2.0If car camping is your jam and you like to prioritize comfort and ease, Luno Life’s Air Mattress 2.0 is a real game changer! It’s constructed from durable puncture-proof materials and inflates in mere minutes. It’s easy to break down and packs up to about the size of a big cozy sleeping bag. Luno Life ensures it will fit right in your vehicle as well by creating different sizes. Just add your vehicle make and model before adding the Air Mattress 2.0 to your cart and you’ll be all set!

I recently used this air mattress on a car camping trip in the Sonoran Desert and found it to be a phenomenal change of pace from my dirt-bag ways. I was impressed it was so quick to set up, enjoyed the cushy comfort and was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t lose any air over the span of three nights! This mattress comes with a 1-year warranty and for a small fee you can bump it up to a lifetime warranty, which I think is a pretty solid quality guarantee.

See the Mission Mountain UltraPort Highback Camp Chair

Nocs Provisions Field Issue 8×32 Binoculars

A good pair of binoculars can make a massive difference in scouting routes, peeping birds and checking out conditions on a grand adventure. Nocs Provisions has become a well-known company over the years for creating solid binos that don’t completely break the bank. We are big fans of their Field Issue 8×32 Binoculars. This pair features a large focus wheel, water and fog proofing, and are lightweight for their focal power. They’re compact and have a rubber housing (Nocs famous Rugged Wave Grip) that makes them durable and burly to withstand whatever adventure you bring em on!

A feature all our gear testers enjoy is that the Field Issue Binoculars are made with smart phones in mind. This means you can line the eye cup up with your phone camera to snap photos through the binos. Pretty cool stuff! Especially if you like to share the things you’re seeing through them with others who might not be along for the fun. These come in a handful of nice colors perfect for spring, or the standard bino colors we’ve all seen and love.

See the Nocs Provisions Field Issue 8x32 Binoculars

Mystery Ranch Hip Monkey Waist Pack

Over the last couple years, hip packs and waist packs (a rebrand of the classic fanny-pack here in the states) have become all the rage and for good reason! Sometimes you don’t need a whole backpack full of gear for a dayhike or walk or whathave you. And sometimes a waist pack is simply the more comfortable option! Mystery Ranch has truly nailed the hip pack with their Hip Monkey Waist Pack. This spacious yet low-profile pack weighs less than a pound and is capable of carrying everything you’d need for a good old fashioned adventure. Of course, the Hip Monkey also has the build quality you’d expect from Mystery Ranch and can easily hold its own on summit-bids and more extreme adventures.

I have been using the Hip Monkey Waist Pack a lot over the past few months and this spring, finding it a phenomenal piece. I use it for walks around town, day hikes in the mountains and commuting around via bicycle. It holds everything I need without a ton of extra room for things I don’t need. It fits comfortably on my waist or worn sling style over my shoulder.

See the Mystery Ranch Hip Monkey Waist Pack

RuffWear Front Range Day Pack

Got a dog who loves adventure as much as you do? Be sure to have them looking stylish on trail this spring with RuffWear’s Front Range Day Pack! Your pooch can carry their own treats, water bowl and toys so you’re free to lighten your own load. RuffWear really cares about dogs and they’ve created this day pack with comfort and ease of use in mind, so your dog can hike all day and maintain its range of motion, while avoiding hot spots or chafe.

There are three leash attachment points on the Front Range Day Pack and five point of adjustment to get your dog the perfect fit. The Front Range Day Pack also comes in four sizes, so whether you’ve got a tiny pup, big old beast or a buddy that falls somewhere between on the size spectrum, there is a day pack perfect for them!

See the RuffWear Front Range Day Pack

lululemon Scuba Oversized Full-Zip Hoodie

a nice cozy sweatshirt for car camping this spring

A cozy, high quality hoodie can be the most amazing thing on this planet after a day full of adventures and that is why lululemon’s Scuba Oversized Full-Zip Hoodie has a spot on this guide. Not only is the cut of this hoodie spacious and stylish, the cotton its made from is thick and soft, like a blanket. But a hoodie. Whether you’re car camping or going out for beers and pizza after hitting the trail, this is the perfect piece to toss on and relax.

The Scuba Oversized Hoodie features a nice little stash pocket inside it’s larger pocket, perfect for cards. It’s also got comfortable thumb loops and a hood that can accommodate a helmet or big hair bun. lululemon is currently making this hoodie in a beautiful array of colors that illicit spring in the best ways!

See the lululemon Scuba Oversized Full-Zip Hoodie

Bajio Rigolets Sunglasses

No matter what you like to get up to during the spring months, eye protection keeps the adventures coming! Bajio has become a favorite sunglasses company for all kinds of activities over the years. They’re phenomenal for all water-based recreation and make great sunnies for the slopes. Recenly I’ve been using them on backpacking trips and appreciate the way they combat glare on quartz and granite rock faces. Offering some thoughtful customization and a comfortable fit, Bajio’s new Rigolets are a great option if you’re looking to upgrade your outdoor eye wear.

The Rigolets offer a small design for narrow faces. There are not a whole lot of narrow options for sunglasses of this style, so as a person with a narrow face, I really appreciate that! The Rigolets are also available with RX lenses, so if you aren’t big on contacts, these are a wonderful solution to premium outdoor shades that use your prescription. With seven lens colors to choose from, Bajio’s Rigolets are fit up to any adventure you can bring em on!

See the Bajio Rigolets Sunglasses

Vasque Re:Connect Here Lightweight Hiking Shoes

Vasque is a well-known and respected footwear company and we’re excited about their Re:Connect shoe launch this spring! These are wonderful shoes for long walks, town strolls and checking out easy trails. Made with comfort in mind, they are highly breathable and provide stability while having a streamlined and modern look.

Available in a classic style and a higher mid-fit, an array of nice colorways and made of recycled materials, this is the perfect shoe to replace your most loved pair that is about ready to retire. At Backpackers we are raving about the tongue design on these shoes, which fits seamlessly between shoe and foot. This means no rubbing or chafing, just comfort. These are sure to put a little extra spring in your step!

See the Vasque Here Lightweight Hiking Shoes

Black Diamond Distance 1500 Headlamp

good lighting for spring is a must!

A good headlamp has become a staple of type II fun and we are absolutely stoked on Black Diamond’s spring release of the Distance 1500 Headlamp. If you’re thinking all headlamps are the same, check out some of the stats on the Distance 1500! It boasts a spectacularly bright max of 1500-lumens, one full battery can last up to 8 hours, it’s submersible, it’s got a rear red-light flasher for safety and it is designed to reduce bounce. A thoughtful part of the battery design is that you can swap them out, so you don’t need a power brick to keep the battery charged.

This is a great headlamp for trail running, backpacking and of course all things camp life. It comes with Black Diamond’s 2-year warranty and has just launched this season!

See the Black Diamond Distance 1500 Headlamp

REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket

A great puffy jacket is the perfect spring layer and REI Co-op’s 650 Down Jacket is the perfect little puffy to keep you cozy on those chilly mornings and crisp evenings. This lightweight jacket is windproof and water repellent. It’s got two exterior zip pockets and two interior drop pockets, so you can bring your wallet, keys and whatever else along without worrying about where to stash em!

This is a nice, basic jacket that works well kicking around town or compressed in a backpack in case your day hike becomes a bigger adventure than planned! It’s available in a good array of colors and sizes. It’s also available for women, boasting all the same features as the men’s fit, including the nice selection of colors and sizes.

See the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket

Dovetail Ultra Light Shortall

Sometimes adventure requires specialized gear, super fancy materials or a lot of features. And sometimes adventure looks like play and all that’s required is quality and a beyond-thoughtful approach to design. Dovetail is a company making epic play (and work) clothing for women, designed by women. If your spring includes working outdoors, living a gorgeous camp life or climbing trees with the bliss of a kid you will absolutely need to check them out.

This spring I’ve been wearing their Ultra Light Shortall and let me tell you, they are excellent for an array of outdoor activities. I have loved them when I’m working on my bike in the garage, they’ve been awesome for meandering around the desert looking for wildflowers and critters. The range of motion they provide is great and the best part is that their sizing makes sense. I have very large, very muscular thighs that often look like they’re trying to hulk out of shorts. So much so that I don’t usually wear shorts. Thanks to these Ultra Light Shortalls and the roomy cut on the legs, I feel really confident to rock these shorts. Clearly, they’ve been designed for the various bodies us women have! Did I mention the 12 pockets? Be sure to check these out!

See the Dovetail Ultra Light Shortall

Paka Crew Socks

Before you head out for fun this spring, be sure to freshen up that sock collection! Paka’s Crew Socks are a high quality take on a classic design. Made from alpaca fibers, these are like a little fuzzy hug for your feet! Best yet, the natural wool means these socks wick sweat and keep odors away with natural microbial properties.

Paka is a company focused on quality and sustainable products. Their alpaca wool is fully traceable to the source and their alpaca wool is ethically harvested in the Andes Mountains.

See the Paka Crew Socks

All images courtesy of respective brands, All Rights Reserved.

Backpackers.com Affiliate Policy: This guide contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear, we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.

Deirdre Denali Rosenberg

Deirdre Denali is a wildlife conservation photographer and outdoor writer based in Tucson and the San Juan Mountains. She is a big fan of type II fun and loves gear! To check out some of Deirdre's work, check out her IG! Instagram.

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