When it comes to preparing for a backpacking trip or even a day hike, there are always a few important things to consider. You want to consider the weight you are packing which means only packing necessary items and packing the lightest versions of that gear possible. One of the biggest mistakes that many first time backpackers make is usually packing more gear than they need.  At the same time you want to be safe and comfortable on your adventure, so you do not want to skimp of things like the warmth rating of your sleeping bag or the quality of your first aid kit.  When backpacking with multiple people in your group, you can consider sharing some items while at the same time having the insurance of having redundant critical items such as head lamps or water purification.  To make things easier, I have created this backpacking equipment check list.  Each time I am preparing for a trip I go through my check list and make sure that I have everything that I will need for a fun and safe excursion.

 

  • Backpack – with a sufficient capacity for my gear
  • Waterproof Backpack Cover – to protect my gear from rain, mud or snow
  • Sun glass or Eye Protection
  • Sunscreen
  • Compass – Make yourself familiar with the area if you will not be carrying a map or GPS
  • Map or GPS
  • Headlamp or Flashlight –  I prefer a headlamp to keep full use of my hands
  • Spare Batteries – I try to standardize all of my gear on AAA sized batteries so that they can be shared between items
  • Fire Starter (matches, lighter, flint and steel) – It is hard to go wrong with a good lighter
  • Knife – I tend to pack a medium sized lightweight yet durable knife unless the situation specifically calls for something larger
  • Multi Tool (Optional) – They can come in handy, but also add weight to your pack
  • First Aid Kit – Make sure it is sufficient to treat a variety of injuries or sickness
  • Stove \ Pot \ Eating Utensil
  • Water Purification \ Water Filter – Always bring the proper water purification for the location you will be heading to
  • Food – I usually pack 1 additional dehydrated camp meal in case my trip will last longer than expected
  • Water Container \ Hydration System – I usually bring at least a stainless steel water bottle since it can also be used to boil water
  • Rain Proof Clothing – This can mean the difference between life and death in some cases
  • Tent – I packed the smallest free standing tent possible.  A one person tent can range between 2 to 5+ lbs, something to consider
  • Sleeping Bag – Rated for the lowest temperature possible for the area you are backpacking in
  • Personal Hygiene Items
  • Spare Clothing – Make sure you always pack fresh socks and stay clean while not going overboard.  The lighter your back, the easier your trip!
  • Good Boots – A good pare of boots can make all of the difference on a trip.  I never skimp when it comes to purchasing boots
  • Emergency Blanket (Optional) –  Can be used as a rain tarp
  • Tarp (Optional) – I typically only bring one if I am expecting bad weather
  • Sleeping Pad (Optional) – I personally always bring one because a good nights sleep is priceless when backpacking
  • Compression Sack (Optional) – They save space and many ware water proof or water repellent
  • Trekking Poles (Optional) – I highly recommend them if you are carrying a heavy pack or making a trip with significant elevation changes
  • Solar Charger (Optional)
  • Whistle (Optional)
  • Mirror (Optional)
  • A Small Amount of Duct Tape For Backpack, Sleeping Bag or Tent Repair (Optional)

Everyone’s needs are a little different but the above list can be a great starting point to make sure that you are not missing some of the most important items. Please let me know if you have any suggestions on how to make the list better.

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