The Best Lightweight & Compact Hiking Gear (2018) – Product Picks


May 5, 2018

The Best Lightweight & Compact Hiking Gear

We love learning about the latest doggy stuff out there because we all want the best for our furry friends! Each week we cover the fun, novel, essential, and new products for dogs in our Pawtivity Picks Series.

This week we are covering the most lightweight and compact gear for hiking, backpacking, outdoor travel, camping, running, and biking for you and your dog. We love finding the best all-season and multi-use items because it just means carrying less. We also always keep a dog owner’s perspective when choosing gear. Love to our furry friends!

Products Covered: Trekking Poles, Coats, Survival Gear, Trowel, Dog Bowl, Towel, Pet Tool, Pen, Notebook

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services marked with an *. The main purpose of this article is to provide you with hiking and safety tips. We will only provide links to truly great products we think our visitors would appreciate learning more about.




We looked at lightweight poles for a moderate 3 season hiker. If you are going hiking in rough terrain or mountainous regions, we suggest getting a pole that is stronger and heavier.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Pole

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Pole* is a lightweight (10 ounces per pair!) trekking pole made of aluminum and has a very comfortable, non-slip foam grip.

There’s a new Z-Pole rapid deployment system that makes it easy to collapse into 3 folds and extend the pole. The pole stays durable with stiffer joints. The rubber tip at the end can be removed or changed.

The pole comes in 4 different sizes (100cm, 110cm, 120cm, and 130cm). Most hikers should be able to find a size that works for them.

WHY WE LOVE: These are ultra-light, compact poles suitable for the typical hiker. It’s a great all-around use for daily hikes.

Take me to the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Trekking Pole* now.


Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

Montem is a pretty new manufacturer, but they’ve put out some darn good poles! The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Pole* is one of their most popular products.

The trekking pole is made of an aluminum shaft that is adjustable (24” – 53” or 60.96 cm – 134.62 cm) and collapsible. A flick-lock system keeps your poles from sliding when open. Mud baskets and rubber tips are interchangeable.

These aren’t the most lightweight at 19.2 ounces per pair, but it’s a great buy at about $50 for a solid and sturdy trekking pole.

WHY WE LOVE: We really love the comfortable cork grips – you won’t want to let go. The poles are similar to more expensive versions but at a great price.

Take me to the Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Pole* now.


High Trek Premium Ultralight Trekking Poles


The High Trek Ultralight Trekking Poles* is another solid buy considering it’s value price at about $30 and durability. Poles are made from aluminum and weigh 17.4 ounces.

Poles are fully adjustable to 26” – 53” or 66cm – 135cm using an easy twist-lock mechanism that won’t slip while in use.

Mud / snow feet are included on the poles. Grips are made of EVA so can absorb sweat.

WHY WE LOVE: This is a great pole for the beginner, casual hiker. You can’t really beat the price vs value on this.

Take me to the High Trek Premium Ultralight Trekking Poles* now.




There are a lot of coats out there for different seasons. We looked at some all-in-one or all-season coats that could be used as a great layering piece for colder weather.

Baubax Travel Jacket

The Baubax Travel Jacket was featured on Kickstarter The World’s Best TRAVEL JACKET with 25 Features | BAUBAX 2.0 as the world’s best travel jacket with 15-25 features and raising over $11.5 million!

This coat is at least worth a look! There are different versions of the jacket from a sweatshirt, windbreaker, bomber jacket, to blazer. Some of the more popular versions of Baubax 1.0 are the sweatshirt for men* and the bomber jacket for women*.

The 15 features on Baubax 1.0 include a drinking pocket, sunglass pocket, microfiber cloth, telescopic pen, gloves, eye mask, neck pillow, earphone holders, phone pocket, passport pocket, stylus, blanket pocket, charger pocket, hand warming pockets, and a tablet pocket. Our favorite feature by far is the neck pillow. It’s integrated into the jacket and can be taken out and inflated in 2 seconds! We also love all the different pockets where you can organize and store all your small hiking items easily and without taking off your backpack.
Now on Indiegogo is Baubax 2.0 with 25 different features! Preorder this now on Indiegogo.

These jackets come with these additional features: bottle pocket, apple pencil pocket, whistle, keychain, bottle opener, secret pocket, footrest (yes!), earplugs, airpod pocket, and airpod straps. Those are even better features for hiking trip! You may not even need to carry a backpack! Make your dog carry the rest of the stuff while you go without a backpack.

WHY WE LOVE: It’s hard not to love this jacket! You can really hold so much stuff without the need to carry an extra backpack weighing down on your shoulders. This is perfect for a day hike. We definitely recommend the Baubax 2.0 jackets.

Take me to the Baubax 2.0* now.

RC Packable Dog Rain Poncho

This simple jacket packs down into a little pouch making it one of the most portable dog raincoats available. The company stands by their products and will repair or replace the coat for the life of your pet.

The RC Packable Dog Rain Poncho* comes in a variety of colors and patterns. There’s also a hood and D-ring hole. Sizes range from XXS to XXXL so it’s hard to find a coat that won’t fit your dog! An adjustable velcro waist band gives your dog a more custom fit.

The coat is not the most durable around, nor the warmest, but it’s a great buy for any rainy emergency given it’s low price and versatility. It may not work as well in the wind as other coats. If you have an off-leash or active dog who likes to go in the brush, you may need a more snug, secure fit.

WHY WE LOVE: Ultra-ultra portable. It fits in your pocket. The cutest “Rubber Ducky” print around that screams rainy weather. You always need a backup emergency solution without the added bulk.

Take me to the RC Packable Dog Rain Poncho* now.



When it comes to a weekend backpacking trip, small items that might seem light add up considerably to weigh down your pack. We found some ultra-light necessities for the trail that can help lessen your load.

VSSL Units

There are several varieties of VSSL units, but the one that caught our eye was the VSSL Supplies Essential Camping Gear* version. The VSSL unit is a flashlight canister that holds smaller boxes of survival gear and gadgets.

The VSSL unit is compact at only 9 inches by 2 inches and only 1 lb and 4 ounces. The unit itself has a flashlight and compass. Items within include: fishing gear, quick start fire, wire hand saw, water purification tablets, mirror, trail markers, whistle, open cans, rope, first aid, razor blade, and candle.

Purchase the VSSL Supplies* can also customize your own VSSL Unit with other components. The company does come out with other versions of the VSSL unit, including a glass lined flask.

WHY WE LOVE: It’s such a great combination of survival gear in a compact and easy to store canister.

Take me to the VSSL Supplies Essential Camping Gear* now.

Vargo Titanium Dig Dig Tool


The Vargo Tool* can be used as trowel and tent stake. It’s perfect for areas that have a leave not trace policy for you and your dog!

At a thin 8 inches long and mere 1.25 ounces you’ll barely even notice it in your bag.

This titanium trowel has serrated edges that can cut through hard dirt and roots as well as the strength to last through some heavy digging. This won’t bend under pressure. Rolled edges at the top make it comfortable to dig.

WHY WE LOVE: No need to bring doggy poop bags on the trail. Be more economical by getting an ultra-light trowel to hide away his and your business.

Take me to the Vargo Titanium Dig Dig Tool* now.

Packtowel Personal

The Packtowel Personal* is a light, durable, and body size. I’s made of microfiber and can absorb 4 times it’s weight in water. It dries 70% faster than cotton towel. The towel has polygeine odor control so stays fresh longer.


While we do like the large size of the Packtowel Personal, there is a PackTowel Nano*available but at a smaller size of 19″x19″. It’s the lightest camp towel at 0.9 ounces.

The PackTowel Nano can absorb up to 2 times it’s weight in water and dry 90% faster than cotton towel. There’s even an included carabiner clip and storage bag.

WHY WE LOVE: Sometimes it just helps to dip your towel in the stream and cool off your neck. These towel are so minimal and quick-drying so won’t weigh down your pack. We like both the Personal and Nano sizes and would consider getting both.

Take me to the Packtowel Personal* or Packtowel Nano* now.



Rad Dog Collapsible Pocket Bowl

Rad Dog’s Collapsible Pocket Bowl* is probably the smallest, foldable dog bowl we have seen on the market – it fits in the palm of your hand! The bowl is also waterproof and extremely lightweight at less than 1 ounce. The bowl can carry up to 16 ounces of water. We think backpackers, runners, and bikers would love this bowl for their dogs!

While super small, it doesn’t have the most stable base. It’s also pretty easy to lose and not visible for evening or night camping use. You may just have to hold it up for your dog to drink or eat.

WHY WE LOVE: It’s so minimal and best for those that want to carry as little as possible. Who wants to run or bike with a bulky bowl in their pocket or flapping against their bag?

Take me to the Rad Dog’s Collapsible Pocket Bowl* now.

Tuff Mutt Canvas Dog Bowl

Tuff Mutt’s Canvas Dog Bowl* is another great pocket bowl. It’s folds into the size of a cell phone and can hold up to 48 ounces of water.

The bowl is ultra-durable and made out of canvas with a waterproof lining. It also dries and wipes up for easy cleaning. There’s a reflective trim for evening use of the bowl. A portable carrying case comes with the dog bowl for easy storage in your bag or your dog’s backpack.

Tuff Mutt covers this bowl with their lifetime warranty.

WHY WE LOVE: This is the perfect portable option for large dogs or multiple dogs. We also love it for camping.

Take me to the Tuff Mutt Canvas Dog Bowl* now.




Sometimes we just need pen and paper with us while we are outdoors. It’s a great way to jot down trail map details, daily journal, and other useful travel information. Use it to play a game of hangman or tic-tac-toe with your friend while you are taking a break!

Fisher 400B Space Pen

The Fisher Space Pen* is a ball point pen works at any angle, under water, under zero gravity, and in temperatures from -30F to 250F. You can even write with it upside down if you wish!

The design of the pen is one to marvel about. The casing is made of chrome and brass which make the pen very, very strong.

It’s also tiny to store into any little pocket, but not too tiny that it’s too hard to write with.

WHY WE LOVE: We can now lay in our hammocks, kick up our feet, and write something!! No more need to make circles on paper to get your pen to work.

Take me to the Fisher Space Pen* now.

Rite in the Rain Notebook

The Rite In the Rain* top-spiral 3″ x 5″ notebook does what it says – allows you to write in the rain! What a great item to take with you on a backpacking trip!

Pages repel water, sweat, grease, and mud. No more journal notes lost to the rain.

The notebook works with either a normal #2 pencil or the all-weather Fisher Space Pen*. The top-spiral won’t get smashed like other notebooks. It’s made of an impact-resistant Wire-O binding.

WHY WE LOVE: Never lose your travel notes again! It’s a small, portable notebook that’s perfect for your backpacking and hiking needs.


Take me to the Rite In the Rain Notebook* now.


Leave a comment if there are any other products you think are worth letting everyone know about! Please let us know why you like it, how you use the product, and how long you have been using it for.


Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

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Activities: Shopping, Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Great Outdoors

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: The owner of Pawtivity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.  

About the Author

Life is an endless journey with a dog at your side. Find your next dog friendly adventure on Pawtivity!  We are a community that inspires and captures the stories of our dogs.

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