Backpacking Checklist
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Backpacking Supply List
PackedChosen? (Y/N)TypeItemDescription & UseImportance
Y"Ten Essentials" - FireMatches or LighterIn case you need to start a fire in case of emergency OR if the ignitor on your stove failsEssential
Y"Ten Essentials" - FireWaterproof ContainerJust in case your pack gets soaked through, makes sure you have a waterproof container to store your matches/lighter & any small electronicsEssential
Y"Ten Essentials" - FireEmergency Fire StarterBackup for your matches/lighterEssential
Y"Ten Essentials" - First AidFirst Aid KitAccidents small and large happen, make sure you have an adequately stocked first aid kit to deal with backcountry injuriesEssential
Y"Ten Essentials" - Hydration
Water bottles or Hydration Reservoirs
You are going to need water, so make sure you have a recepticle (or two) to store it.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - HydrationWater filter or Treatment SystemIf you are 'filling up' from backcountry sources you will need a system to sterilize/filter your water supply.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - IlluminationHeadlamp or FlashlightMoving about in the dark isn't fun (or safe), so pack a headlamp (or flashlight) for moving around your campsite in the dark.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - IlluminationExtra batteriesBatteries die (especially in colder weather) so pack spares to keep your electronics running.Essential
"Ten Essentials" - IlluminationPackable lanternUseful if you want a "fixed source" light while carrying out tasks in the dark.Optional
Y"Ten Essentials" - NavigationMap (with protective sleeve)Always carry a topo map (with water proof sleeve) of the area & know how to use it.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - NavigationCompassAs with the map, this is a must. Again, make sure you know how to use one proficiently!Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - NavigationGPSA GPS system for navigation can be useful.Optional
Y"Ten Essentials" - NavigationAltimeterUseful for checking your elevationOptional
Y"Ten Essentials" - NutritionExtra days supply of foodIncidents can delay you, so make sure you have an extra days supply of food, just in case you don't make your next stop on schedule.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - Sun ProtectionSunscreenSpending all day outside, even on cloudy & cold days, can result in sun skin damage (especially at high elevation). Always pack some just in case.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - Sun ProtectionLip BalmTrust us. Your lips will thank you.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - Sun ProtectionSunglassesSave yourself squinting for the next trail marker and bring some 'shades'.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - Tools & Repair KitKnife or Multi-toolUseful for all manner of tasks from kit repair, to making kindling for an emergency fire to cutting rope. Having a sharp blade will come in useful more than once.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - Tools & Repair KitRepair Kits for Equipment Tent, bag or sleeping pad patch kits. Tent Pole repair kit. Stuff unfortunately breaks, so make sure you can fix something on the trail.Essential
Y"Ten Essentials" - Tools & Repair KitDuct tapeThere is an old joke that an engineer can fix anything with just duct tape and WD40. Thankfully, for most trail repairs WD40 isn't necessary, but a roll of duct tape is again, useful in many situations.Essential
YBackpacks & OrganizationBackpackYou are going to have a hard time carrying all your gear without some form of backpack to transport it. Find one that is an appropriate size for your gear.Essential
Backpacks & OrganizationDaypack (Summit Pack)If your trip will involve some side hikes from a basecamp, consider bringing a smaller day pack.Optional
Backpacks & OrganizationPack Rain CoverBackpacks aren't waterproof, so help protect your gear by using a pack rain cover.Recommended
Backpacks & OrganizationStuff sacksGet the volume of your sleeping bag, clothes down with stuffstacks. This helps you use a smaller pack (and possibly be more organised).Recommended
Clothing: Cool WeatherBalaclavaIn cold weather, a balaclava will save your face from taking the brunt of the elements.Essential
Clothing: Cool WeatherHatA cold weather essential, make sure it's cozy and quick drying (synthetic or wool).Essential
Clothing: Cool WeatherGlovesAnother cold weather essential, we don't need to tell you why.Essential
Clothing: Cool WeatherHardshell JacketIn colder weather, a hardshell jacket will help protect you from the elements better.Essential
Clothing: Cool WeatherRain PantsUnless you are hiking in the SW and chance of rain is once every 10 years, then we would recommend packing rainpants.Essential
Clothing: Cool WeatherFleece/down/wool mid layer jacket/vestA warm fleece/wool jacket or vest as your middle insulating layer.Essential
Clothing: Cool WeatherFleece/down/wool mid layer pantsA warm fleece/wool pair of mid layer pants for insulation.Essential
Clothing: Warm WeatherT-shirt (synthetic/wool)Make sure it's made of a wicking material to quickly transport sweat away from your body and dry quickly.Essential
Clothing: Warm WeatherWicking UnderwearUnderpants, sportsbras etc. These again should be made from a wicking material.Essential
Clothing: Warm WeatherPants/shortsTough but quick drying if you get caught in a shower.Essential
Clothing: Warm WeatherLong-sleeve shirtLong-sleeve shirt to protect you from the sun and/or bugs.Essential
Clothing: Warm WeatherHatSun protection for your neck, face and ears.Essential
Clothing: Warm WeatherBandana or BuffWorks two ways, either to help protect you from the sun, or on chillier evenings to give you a little extra warmth.Essential
Clothing: Warm WeatherLight Down or Insulated JacketEven during the summer it can get chilly in the evenings, so pack a lightweight jacket to keep you cozy if the mercury drops.Essential
Clothing: Warm WeatherRain JacketAgain, unless you are somewhere where it never rains, packing a rain jacket is a must. Yout chances of getting hypothermia increase significantly when wet.Essential
FootwearSocks (several pairs)Several good pairs of socks are a must if you are going keep your feet in good condition.Essential
Clothing: Warm WeatherGaitersIf there is a high chance of precipitation or you are hiking through snow then gaiters will help keep you feet, ankles and shins dry.Optional
Clothing: Warm WeatherLong UnderwearGood for sleeping in.Recommended
FootwearSandalsFor walking around camp.Recommended
Cooking SystemStoveAny form of cooking/boiling will require some type of fire. A small stove is more in keeping with LNT than building your own fire (if that is even legal in the area).Essential
Cooking SystemFuelAny stove will need fuel. Always check and bring extra.Essential
Cooking SystemCooksetThis can be very extravagent as multiple griddles/pots or as simple as the 0.5L pot that came with your stove, but you will need some form of cookware to carry out your cooking/boiling.Essential
Cooking SystemDishes or bowlsDependent on your level of luxury, could be multiple bowls/plates. You could also do without, and just eat out of your cookware pot.Optional
Cooking SystemEating UtensilsAt the minimum you will require a fork/spoon or spork to accompany your camping knife (unless you whittle your own on the trail).Recommended
Cooking SystemCupsIf you are prepared again, to just drink from your hydration bladder/bottle or coffee direct from your stoves pot, then you can do without. Otherwise, bring a cup.Optional
Cooking SystemBear Canister or Hang BagIf you are traveling through bear country this is a MUST.Optional/Essential
Food & DrinkMealsYour body needs fuel, planout and prepare a full meal plan for your trip.Essential
Food & DrinkEnergy snacksYou are still going to get hungry on the trail, so pack plenty of on the go, calorie dense snacks.Essential
Food & DrinkBeveragesCoffee, tea, energy drink powder, whisky nightcap? Possibly not essential as you can survive just on water, but most of the backpackers I know are coffee addicts.Recommended
FootwearHIking boots/shoesWhile possible to walk the AT barefoot, it is not recommended. Choose appropriate footwear whether your preference is for heavier, but more protective boots or more lightweight trail runners.Essential
HygieneCathole TrowelYour going to need to go at some point, and you don't want to dig a hole with your hands.Essential
HygieneToothbrush + Toiletry KitKeep smiling on the trail...don't forget your toothbrush.Essential
Biodegradable Soap + Shower Bag
While getting a bit dirty is par for the course...don't be the guy stinking out the overnight shelter and wash occasionally.Essential
HygieneTowelFind a quick drying towel to dry yourself off.Essential
HygieneCollapsible container/sinkTo help conserve water while washing your face/armpits/delicate areas and cookware (not all at the same time).Optional
HygieneToilet PaperMoss, dead leaves etc can be used but for most we recommend bringing TP.Recommended
HygieneFeminine Hygiene ProductsWe will leave this to your own discretion.Recommended
HygieneHand SanititzerGood for after those backcountry bathroom breaks.Recommended
HygieneWet wipesWe strongly recommend bringing wet wipes along.Recommended
OrganizationPermitsThis will vary dependent where on the globe you are, but always ensure that you have any relevant permits needed for your trip.Essential
OrganizationGuidebook/Route DescriptionAgain, highly recommended.Recommended
OrganizationCredit Card + CashIn case of emergencies or you decide you want some luxuries (candy) as you pass a trail town.Essential
OrganizationField Guides/PocketbooksLearning more about nature, the outdoors or the areas history/geology is easier with a few choice pocketbooks.Optional
OrganizationJournal + Pen/PencilIf you want relive your trip, consider writing a journal or just note thoughts along the way.Recommended
Personal ChoiceCamera99% of us will have a camera on our cell phone, but if you really want to bring home some awesome memories, consider taking a decent camera.Optional
Personal ChoiceBinocularsObserving nature without disturbing it (read, keeping a safe distance from that bear) is easier with a pair of binoculars.Optional
Personal ChoiceBackpacking ChairAfter a day on your feet, consider bringing a chair you can spend the evening at camp off them. Optional
Personal ChoiceDay HammockIf you plan on having a few no hike days, and just want to lounge/relax then consider bringing a lightweight day hammock to chill in.Optional
Personal ChoiceKindle/eBook ReaderIf books are your drug of choice then consider taking an ereader which is much lighter than your average paperback.Optional
SafetyWatchUnless you are adept at telling the time by the suns position, a watch is a must. It'll help you keep pace and arrive at camp well before dark. Modern multi-function watches may also incorporate other useful functions such as altimeters, GPS etc.Essential
SafetyCell PhoneWhile not everywhere in the wild will get a signal, carrying your phone should you run into to trouble is a good idea. Just make sure to have the local emergency services stored on it before leaving.Essential
Satellite Communicator/2 Way Radios
If you are traveling where there will be no cell phone coverage, consider investing in a satellite phone.Optional
SafetyPersonal Locator BeaconIf you will be off the beatern trail then a great alternative is to carry a PLB for emergencies.Optional
SafetyWhistleThis oldschool safety device should be carried by everyone as it is cheap, takes up no room and could potentially save your life.Recommended
SafetyInsect RepellentNo one like being bitten to death, so do yourself a favor and bring some even if you don't think it'll be buggy.Recommended
SafetyBear SprayIf in bear country, we highly, highly recommend bringing along bear spray.Recommended
SafetyExternal Battery (+ Solar Charger)Your phone (or other devices) will only hold a charge for so long (especially if you are taking 500 pictures a day). Bring along a spare external battery. Additional tip is to buy a solar charger.Recommended
ShelterTent, tarp, hammock/tarp or bivyYou will need some form of shelter for your trip. Some prefer a good tent, others enjoy hammock camping while others will pitch a lean-to with just a tarp. Decide what works best for you before you go on your trip.Essential
ShelterFootprintA tent footprint for protecting the floor of your tent is optiona. If you expect the ground to be somewhat rocky it could be a good idea.Optional
Sleeping SystemSleeping BagChoose a sleeping bag (or quilt) suitable for about 10F colder than the expected weather conditions.Essential
Sleeping SystemSleeping PadWhile you could forgo one, a good nights sleep is easier with a sleeping pad. Again, dependant on the weather and trail conditions choose your pad wisely.Essential
Sleeping SystemPillowRollup some clothes and place them under your head or purchase a lightweight backpacking pillow. Your choice, although, in our experience, we would recommend taking a pillow - your neck will thank you.Recommended
Sleeping SystemEarplugs + eye shadeIf you are a light-sleeper then earplugs and an eye-shade may help you get your quotent of 'z's especially in high summer and/or on a heavily trafficked trail.Recommended
Tools & AccessoriesIce AxeThis one is only if you expect to encounter snow/icey conditions. Don't pack one unless you are proficient in its use.Optional
Tools & AccessoriesTrekking polesTrekking poles can make your trek easier, more efficient and more painless.Recommended
Tools & AccessoriesNylon cordSetting extra guylines for your tent in high wind, setting up an extra rain tarp or lashing together some firewood. Having some cord in your bag can make your trip more comfortable or even help save your life.Recommended
The above list is a suggestion based on our experience. When assembling your own kit, please consider your needs, preferences and the likely conditions of your trip. We hold no responsiblity for your safety or health.