Tarps: A tarpaulin, a length of good rope and pine-needle mattresses make for cheap wrap-’n-roll shelter that won’t gobble up your wallet. But if you want to surprise the sunbirds with spiffy-synthetic-domicile, your choices are backpacker tents (heavy but cheap), wind- and cold-resistant tents (pricey, light and cosy), family-size (one snorer disturbs all) and pop tents (instant housing for the lazy).
Backpacks: Forget about the internal vs external frame argument. What matters is how your kit sits on your spine after it’s loaded. Also, how well it is balanced. Carrying canned sarson-ka-saag is ok, but a left-leaning knapsack-ka-saag isn’t. Tape down all exposed hooks and loops—they get caught in the branches.