The Complete Backpacking Checklist

Trail Marker ShortWhether you’re getting ready for your first overnight backpacking trip or you’re a seasoned trailblazer preparing for a two-week trek, having a a backpacking checklist comes in handy. A good list helps you see what gear you still need to get and helps you remember to pack the gear that you already have. Here’s what you need to take backpacking.

  • Backpack
  • Stuff sacks
  • Dry bags
  • Pack cover

You will need some means of navigation:

  • Compass
  • Map
  • Topographic map
  • Trail guide

People often forget, or don’t even consider, to bring a first aid kit. You never hope to need one, but packing a first aid kit is essential in emergency situations. What you pack in your first aid kit will vary depending on the size of your group and the duration of your trip, but it could include:

  • Bandages
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • QuikClot
  • Asprin
  • Gauze
  • Tweezers
  • Splint
  • Moleskin

Sun protection is also key when you’re out on the trail:

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm

The clothing you need to bring depends on the season and weather conditions. Typically, you will want pack layers to accommodate temperature change and activity level:

  • Base layer
  • Mid layer insulation
  • Outer layer insulation
  • Rain gear

You don’t want to pack too many clothes as that will add unnecessary weight and take up space. Consider a compression sack if you’re carrying extra clothes. If you get cold easily pack accordingly:

  • Extra socks
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Neck gaiter

You will need to bring shelter. You’ve got some options here:

  • Bivy
  • Hammock
  • Tarp
  • Tent
  • Rain fly
  • Footprint

Bring bedding for when it’s time to hit the hay:

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Compression sack for your sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Travel pillow

Staying hydrated while hiking is extremely important:

  • Water reservoir
  • Water bottles
  • Water filter
  • Water purification

Of course, you’re going to need food, but make sure that you also have everything you need to properly prepare and eat your food. Don’t forget about the water that may be required for cooking your meals:

  • Meals
  • Snacks while hiking
  • Stove
  • Fuel
  • Matches or lighter
  • Cookset
  • Plate, bowl, and/or mug
  • Utensils
  • Towel for cleaning

Remember your toiletries:

  • Dr. Broner’s is a biodegradable soap that can be used for toothpaste, dishes, clothes, and everything in between.
  • Toothbrush
  • Washcloth
  • Toilet paper
  • Trowel

Other essential items:

  • Headlamp
  • Knife

If you have everything mentioned above, you should be good to go. However there are a few items that you might want to pack to make your trip more enjoyable:

  • Trekking poles
  • Emergency blanket
  • Emergency poncho
  • Bugspray
  • Cards
  • Repair kit
  • Sandals for river crossings

Have we forgotten anything? Let us know in the comments!

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