Backpacking Gear Checklist: Your Ultimate Guide

red backpack

Are you preparing for your first backpacking trip? Perhaps you have gone backpacking a couple times but ended up feeling like you left vital gear at home. Bringing the right backpacking gear is essential to ensure you are adequately prepared for the experience and can focus on the grand adventure ahead. To make your life infinitely easier, we have put together the ultimate backpacking gear checklist. This article will make preparation for your next trip a breeze.

Backpacking Basics

back pack

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Primary Gear

Before we delve into each of the backpack gear items you will need while away and where you can buy them, it is important to cover some backpacking basics. The first thing you will need to focus on when preparing for your trip is primary gear. Primary gear includes items like your backpack, tent, and a sleeping bag or pad.

Food and Water

Even if you are brand new to packing backpacking gear, you know you need to bring enough clothing along to last you for the trip. The question is, how much and what types of clothing should you bring? To be well-stocked for your backpacking trip, you always need hiking boots, socks, plenty of underwear, hiking pants or shorts, a t-shirt, and layering tops. A fleece jacket and a rain jacket will serve you well for the duration for your trip. Always remember a hat and gloves to keep you warm and dry.

Clothing 

Even if you are brand new to packing backpacking gear, you know you need to bring enough clothing along to last you for the trip. The question is, how much and what types of clothing should you bring? To be well-stocked for your backpacking trip, you always need hiking boots, socks, plenty of underwear, hiking pants or shorts, a t-shirt, and layering tops. A fleece jacket and a rain jacket will serve you well for the duration for your trip. Always remember a hat and gloves to keep you warm and dry.

Skin Protection 

Your gear would not be complete without the proper skin protection products. Things like sunscreen, lip balm, bug repellant, and sunglasses are always good to have on hand.

Emergency Gear

While you hope you will never have to use it, you always need to have emergency gear like a first aid kit along just in case. A whistle, compass, watch, and headlamp are worth considering too.  

Bathroom Essentials

When you are on the road and unable to find facilities, having bathroom essentials in your gear will ensure you are prepared for any situation that comes your way. It is always a good idea to have toilet paper, a trowel for waste, and hand sanitizer with you for those moments.

Tools and Extra Supplies 

You may need to include tools and extra supplies in your backpacking gear. Things like permits, if you need them, your keys, ID, cash, and credit cards, will be missed if left at home. Remember to pack your smartphone and charger too.

Pro Tips And Tricks

The Beginner’s Guide to Picking Your Destination 

woman standing on cliff

Image via pexels

If you are brand new to backpacking and preparing the associated gear, the first thing running through your mind is probably where you should go on your trip. When you are new to life on the open trail, you should pick a trip that is short and easy. Try not to stray too far from home. Even a day hike that does not require an overnight stay is perfectly fine. Keep your elevation to only a few hundred feet more than what you are used to. Choose a well-beaten trail and populated camp if you spend the night.

Choose the Right Clothes 

Clothes

Image via pexels

If you do not feel like spending much money on clothing for your backpacking gear, see if your outdoorsy friends might consider lending you theirs. Otherwise, stick to the essentials like layering pieces, nylon shorts or pants, a light jacket, a rain jacket, a hat, and quality hiking boots.

Gather Essential Gear 

black pullover beside laptop on table

Image via pexels

If you can borrow part or all your essential gear from friends while you test out your backpacking chops, go for it. You can always invest in your own gear down the road. If you would prefer to stock up now, you can stick to the absolute basics. You will always need a tent, backpack, sleeping bag, stove, water purifier, and kitchen supplies, so budget for those accordingly.

Don’t Forget Food 

 

group of people sitting on ground while cooking egg

Image via pexels

Chances are you will need plenty of snacks to supplement your meals while on the road. Be sure to pack enough food in your backpacking gear to keep you going for the duration of your trip. Stick with freeze-dried meals, packaged snacks, or selections that take little time to cook. Ramen noodles, energy bars, and instant oatmeal will be your new best friends.

Pro Tip 1: Prepare Yourself Physically 

Besides selecting the right backpacking gear, here are a few pro tips to help you prepare for your trip. If you are brand new to backpacking, take the time beforehand to prepare yourself physically for the trip ahead. Do day hikes. Try different trails to get used to terrain with varying degrees of difficulty.

Pro Tip 2: Prepare Yourself Mentally 

Prepare yourself mentally for your trip. Get to know your gear, practice pitching your tent, making a fire in the stove, and filtering your water. Learn how to use the first aid kit, just in case.

Pro Tip 3: Plan Ahead 

Always plan out your trip. If you need permits, have those rolled out and ready to go. Make an itinerary and stick to it. As a precaution, give a copy of your itinerary to a family member or friend in case of emergency.

Pro Tip 4: Pack Ahead 

Finally, pack your gear ahead of time. Never wait until the last minute, or you will find yourself overwhelmed and probably leave something important behind. Also, packing early will help you figure out if your backpack is too heavy and something needs to be adjusted. Your backpack should never weigh over 20 percent of your total body weight.

The Ultimate Backpacking Gear Checklist

Tent

Coleman 4-Person Dome Tent for Camping | Sundome Tent with Easy Setup
  • WEATHERPROOF: Welded corners and inverted seams keep water from getting in; included...
  • WIND AND RAIN TESTED: Strong frame withstands 35+ mph winds
  • GREAT VENTILATION: Large windows and ground vent for enhanced airflow

No ultimate backpacking gear checklist would be complete with a trusty tent to keep you warm and dry on your trip. Choose a tent that is large enough to house you and any travel companions that come along. Always pick one that has plenty of space inside, adequate storage capacity, is weather-resistant, and waterproof.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Sleeping Bag

FARLAND adult Sleeping Bag lightweight Portable Waterproof Mummy...
  • 1.FEEL THE DIFFERENCE - Farland Super Comfortable Sleeping Bags are designed to ensure...
  • 2.DESIGNED FOR COOL/COLD WEATHER – Our sleeping bags are designed for -5~5 Degrees...
  • 3.SIZE - Envelope-Shape Sleeping Bag measures 33 by 75 inches (W x D), Mummy-Shape...

Your backpacking gear needs to include a sleeping bag that will afford you a warm and cozy night’s rest. Opt for a sleeping bag that is made to withstand harsh weather and water, is easily portable, and offers insulation to keep you warm for those cool nights on the trail.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Air Mattress

SoundAsleep Raised Twin Size Premium Air Mattress - Best Inflatable...
  • Patented 1-Click Internal Pump ensures quick and easy inflation / deflation. Designed for...
  • Double-height raised air bed with inflated dimensions of 73” x 38” x 18”, this...
  • Comfort plush flocked top with ComfortCoil technology makes for an extra comfortable...

If you would like some extra cushion while you sleep, consider bringing an inflatable air mattress along for your backpacking trip. It will take up extra space in your gear, however, so keep that in mind when packing everything up.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Earplugs

Mpow Foam Earplugs 60 Pairs with Aluminum Carry Case, 34Db SNR Ear...
  • ONE PAIR IN PER PILLOW PACK: Unlike some ear plugs packed all together in a jar, our one...
  • NRR 32 DECIBELS: The high noise reduction rating of these soft ear plugs reach up to 32dB...
  • ULTRA-SOFT AND TAPERED: These ultra-soft ear plugs noise reduction provide unmatched...

If you have snoring travel mates, you will want earplugs in your gear. They take up almost no room but might make all the difference between a night spent tossing and turning or a restful sleep.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Air Pillow

Tillak Bubo Ultralight Inflatable Air Pillow – Comfortable,...
  • SLEEP COMFORTABLY IN THE BACKCOUNTRY (OR ANYWHERE): Our unique design utilizes an original...
  • ULTRALIGHT AND COMPACT: Only 2.4 ounces and packs down smaller than a tennis ball!...
  • INFLATION AND DEFLATION IS A BREEZE: Our patented Zephyr Valve system is simple, durable,...

Did you know you can bring a soft, cushy pillow on the road with you? While it may be different from your favorite pillow back home, a blow-up air pillow will take up almost no room in your backpacking gear. Air pillows are also lightweight and adjustable to fit your ergonomic needs.  

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Hammock

Bear Butt Double Parachute Camping Hammock, Sky Blue / Pink / White
  • LUXURIOUS & DURABLE - This big 10 ft long 6 ft wide original Bear Butt Hammock is made...
  • EVERYTHING YOU NEED - Our outdoor hammock and tree hammock comes with all the hardware: 2x...
  • FOR ALL LIFE'S ADVENTURES - Perfect for men women and kids who love backpacking traveling...

Your backpacking gear needs to include a sleeping bag that will afford you a warm and cozy night’s rest. Opt for a sleeping bag that is made to withstand harsh weather and water, is easily portable, and offers insulation to keep you warm for those cool nights on the trail.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Backpack

WolfWarriorX Backpack Military Backpacks for Men Tactical 3 Day...
  • 【Large Capacity Tactical Backpack and Multi Compartments Military Backpack】Regular...
  • 【Disperse the Pressure, More comfortable, Perfect Hiking Backpack】The adjustable chest...
  • 【Multipurpose and Casual Laptop Backpack for Men Women Students】 This sog backpack is...

What would an ultimate backpacking gear checklist be without a backpack?  You need to pick a backpack designed for camping and hiking trips specifically. It needs to be weather resistant and have plenty of space for all your backpacking essentials.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Water Bottle

Takeya Black Originals Vacuum-Insulated Stainless-Steel Water Bottle,...
  • Originals insulated water bottle: Takeya originals stainless steel water bottle keeps...
  • Leak-proof spout lid: this insulated stainless steel water bottle comes with an...
  • PREMIUM BOTTLES AND LIDS: Our innovative line of insulated hydration solutions come in a...

What would an ultimate backpacking gear checklist be without a backpack?  You need to pick a backpack designed for camping and hiking trips specifically. It needs to be weather resistant and have plenty of space for all your backpacking essentials.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Water Purifier

Survivor Filter Pro - Hand Pump Camping Water Filter - Emergency Water...
  • Independently Tested in the USA to show 99.999 percent filtration removal of tested Virus,...
  • Proven protection against any unwanted objects in your drinking water; Reduces Heavy...
  • Shell is ABS Material (Same Material Used on Car Bumpers), Polysulfone Medical Grade Ultra...

What would an ultimate backpacking gear checklist be without a backpack?  You need to pick a backpack designed for camping and hiking trips specifically. It needs to be weather resistant and have plenty of space for all your backpacking essentials.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Stove with Fuel

Gas ONE GS-4000P - Camp Stove - Premium Propane or Butane Stove with...
  • ✓ DUEL FUEL PORTABLE GAS STOVE – Compatible with both butane (8 oz) and propane (16.4...
  • ✓ PREMIUM GOLD DESIGN – The GS-4000P has a sleek gold-colored aluminum body with a...
  • ✓ SAFETY FEATURES – Gas One’s Deluxe Camping Stove has a Pressure Sensor Cartridge...

If you are going to backpack for a few days or more, you need to have a stove with fuel too. Quite a few parks and wilderness areas forbid open fires, so bringing a stove to cook on will serve you well.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Cooking Pot

MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit Gear – Camp Accessories Equipment...
  • ✅ Built to Last! Highest Quality Non-Toxic Anodized Aluminum Camping Cookset conducts...
  • ✅ All-in-one Cookware Mega Bundle: The 10 Piece Camping Campfire Cookware Mess Kit...
  • ✅ Easy Cleaning & Storage: The entire 10-piece mess kit collapses into small bundle for...

Always have a cooking pot with you to heat those freeze-dried meals and instant food items you packed. Plus, if you want to get creative on the road, you will have the cookware to do it with.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Long Spoon

Tapirus Long Handle Spoon and Spork Set - Deep Reach Stainless Steel...
  • DEEP REACH EASY ACCESS TO BOTTOM OF THE BAG - Long handled spoon and spork reach every...
  • POLISHED BOWL & TEXTURED HANDLE FOR PLEASURABLE EATING AND SOLID GRIP - Eye-catching shiny...
  • SMOOTH STAINLESS STEEL IS A BREEZE TO CLEAN - Made of premium quality, durable stainless...

Remember to bring a long spoon in your backpacking gear to dig your freeze-dried meals out of their tall, foil containers. A long spoon works well to keep your hands safe from burns while stirring, too.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Caffeine

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals, 8 Ounces
  • Contains 1 - 8 ounce easy-open flip-top Jar of Folgers classic roast instant coffee...
  • Delicious, 100% pure Folgers medium roast coffee
  • Ready in seconds, no coffee maker required

Chances are, you will want some caffeine to give you an extra boost of energy on your trip. Pack instant coffee in your backpacking gear for when that caffeine urge hits.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Freeze Dried Meals

Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce #10 Can
  • Pasta with cheese in a rich tomato meat sauce makes this a favorite Italian entrée.
  • Just Add Water. Quick Prep: Less Than 10 Minutes. No Cleanup.
  • Ten 1-Cup Servings

Freeze dried meals will be your faithful companion while on the trail. They take up little space in your backpacking gear and are ready to eat in less than 10 minutes.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Instant Oatmeal

Quaker Instant Oatmeal, 4 Flavor Variety Pack, Individual Packets, 48...
  • Good Source of Fiber: Quaker Oats provide a good source of fiber to support a healthy...
  • Quaker Oats help support a healthy heart; Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant...
  • Contains 48 packets: 23 maple and brown sugar, 13 apples and cinnamon, 7 cinnamon and...

Instant oatmeal is always a fan favorite for backpacking trips. Eat it for breakfast, a snack, or dessert. It will never fail you. Bring a multi-pack along so you have plenty of flavors to choose from.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Ramen

Maruchan Instant Lunch Chicken Flavor, 2.25 Ounce (Pack of 12)
  • Convenient cup allows you to quickly prepare hot soup virtually anywhere
  • chicken flavor with hearty vegetables creates great-tasting balance
  • Instant recipe prepares in just 3 minutes

Another great food item to have in your backpacking gear is ramen. It is so easy to make, is ready in a jiffy, and will give you warm nourishment when you need energy after a long hike.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Protein Bars

CLIF Nut Butter Bar - Organic Snack Bars - Variety Pack - Organic -...
  • SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: Our 12-bar variety pack comes with two of each flavor. Each CLIF...
  • CLIF NUT BUTTER BARS: Looking for a quick, easy snack that satisfies your hunger, and your...
  • DELICIOUS FLAVORS: Organic snack bars with wholesome oats and fillings made with real...

Always have protein bars in your backpacking gear to give you energy and fuel you throughout your day. Choose options high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats and low in added sugars.

Where to Buy

Buy on Amazon

Trail Mix

PLANTERS Nuts and Chocolate Trail Mix, 1.25 oz. Bags (6 Pack) - Trail...
  • Six 1.25 oz. packs of Planters Nuts and Chocolate Trail Mix
  • Planters Nuts and Chocolate Trail Mix contains roasted peanuts, MandM milk chocolate...
  • Helps you stay energized while letting you indulge your sweet tooth

Trail mix is another essential backpacking gear food. You will want snacks while on the road, so having a tasty trail mix on hand to give you some quick protein and energy is an easy decision.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Bagels

Thomas' Plain Bagels, 6 ct, 20 oz
  • 6 Pre-Sliced Bagels
  • No High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Good Source of Vitamins and Minerals

For long days spent hiking and camping, you need to be sure you give your body enough carbohydrates to keep your mind sharp and active. Bagels are an easy food to add to your backpacking gear that pairs well with a variety of other foods. Eat them as a snack, with your breakfast, or bring along some peanut butter packets to whip up a tasty sandwich.

Where to Buy 

Buy on Amazon

Rain Jacket

Marmot Men's PreCip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket, Black, x Large
  • Excellent weather protection: Waterproof/breathable 2.5-layer performance Nanopro fabric...
  • Full-length side zippers with bonded storm flap for easy layering and complete rain...
  • Elastic waist for a secure, comfortable fit
Marmot Men's PreCip Lightweight Waterproof Rain Jacket, Black, x Large
  • Excellent weather protection: Waterproof/breathable 2.5-layer performance Nanopro fabric...
  • Full-length side zippers with bonded storm flap for easy layering and complete rain...
  • Elastic waist for a secure, comfortable fit

You never know when the weather might take a stormy turn on your trip. Be prepared and choose a lightweight rain jacket that will keep you warm and dry.

Where to Buy 

Light Jacket

No products found.

For cool nights and changing climates, a lightweight polar fleece jacket is best. It will not take up much room in your gear but it will be invaluable if the weather turns cold suddenly.

Where to Buy 

Wool Layers

MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer - 100% Merino Wool Midweight Long Sleeve...
  • Package Includes: 1 - Men’s 250g/m² merino wool thermal crewneck top
  • SUPER SOFT: 100% all natural superfine 18.5-micron Merino wool ensures comfort all day –...
  • BREATHABLE: Keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter, 250g/m2 weight interlock-knit...

You always want to have plenty of layers with you on your backpacking trip. Merino wool is cozy to sleep in and will keep you warm on the road.

Where to Buy 

Pants 

If you will be in changing weather or cooler climates, choose pants instead. Convertible pants meant for outdoor use are a great choice.

Where to Buy 

Hat

Camo Coll Outdoor UPF 50+ Boonie Hat Summer Sun Caps (One Size, Gray)
  • 100% polyester and the material is soft
  • Diameter(inch): 7.5 inner, 13.5 outer
  • UPF 50+ excellent sun protection, Anti-UV and vented

Be sure to bring a hat along on your trip to shield your eyes from the sun and give you some extra shade in balmy weather. For cool climates, a stocking cap is best.

Where to Buy 

Wool Socks

Merino Wool Hiking & Walking Socks 1 pack (Wine Red, US Women 5-7 //...
  • MERINO WOOL FOR COMFORTABLE & DRY FEET: The natural thermoregulation of the merino wool...
  • IDEAL FOR HIKING & OUTDOOR: Our unisex socks are great for hiking, trekking, outdoor...
  • DESIGNED IN DENMARK - MADE IN EUROPE: Our Danish Endurance design team develops these...

Wool socks are the best way to keep your feet from getting too warm or stinky after a long, sweaty day on the trail. They are also highly durable and will last you for many trips to come.

Where to Buy 

Hiking Boots

Make things easier on your feet and invest in a quality pair of hiking boots. If your backpacking gear is heavy and the terrain is particularly difficult, hiking boots will protect your feet and give you extra stability.

Where to Buy 

Headlamp

Brightest Rechargeable LED Headlamp Flashlight: Titan Super Bright...
  • ADJUSTABLE LED HEAD LAMP: Bright, high powered, headlight with powerful 3 bulb CREE LED...
  • RECHARGEABLE BATTERY PACK: 2 hour long lasting 18650 & 1800mah batteries with USB home &...
  • DURABLE AIRCRAFT ALUMINIUM BODY: Waterproof military grade flashlights stand up to rain,...

Make things easier on your feet and invest in a quality pair of hiking boots. If your backpacking gear is heavy and the terrain is particularly difficult, hiking boots will protect your feet and give you extra stability.

Where to Buy 

Toilet Paper

Cottonelle Ultra ComfortCare Toilet Paper, Soft Biodegradable Bath...
  • Wavy CleanRipple texture provides softness and removes more at once for a Superior Clean...
  • 3x thicker, 3x stronger, 3x more absorbent vs Leading National Value Brand
  • Exceptionally soft 2-ply premium bathroom tissue designed with plush microfibers to...

It may seem obvious, but always bring toilet paper in your backpacking gear. You can smash a roll flat and pack it in your gear so it does not take up too much room.

Where to Buy 

Backpacking Trowel

New Improved Deuce(R) Ultralight Backpacking Potty Trowel - Now in 3...
  • First, save yourself a ton of time and use the Deuce UPSIDE-DOWN to probe the top 3-4”...
  • Three models; #1 is the lightest at .45oz (the weight of just 2 1/2 teaspoon of water) for...
  • Made in the US and S. Korea of aerospace grade, US-produced 7075-T6 aluminum that meets...

Along the same lines, when bathrooms are few on the road, bring a backpacking trowel to keep you covered. If you need to do your business but there are no facilities in sight, a trowel is perfect to dig a hole and cover it up when you are finished.

Where to Buy 

Hand Sanitizer

Purell - 3081-02-ECIN PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer Soothing Gel,...
  • Show you care about the well-being of your team and visitors with PURELL Advanced Hand...
  • Place PURELL hand sanitizer at desks, in common areas, and in restrooms
  • Perfect for frequent use. The mild formula with aloe and vitamin E is free of parabens,...

After your wilderness bathroom experience, you will want to have hand sanitizer with you. Sanitizer is also great to remove bacteria or dirt if you need to clean your hands before cooking. 

Where to Buy 

First-Aid Kit

Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit (120 Piece) + Bonus 32-Piece Mini...
  • ★ NEW & UPGRADED FOR 2021: 2-in-1 Premium First Aid Emergency Kit with 120 medical grade...
  • FULLY STOCKED: Organized interior compartments provides quick access. Rugged, sturdy, high...
  • INCLUDES MINI-FIRST AID KIT: Amazingly small, lightweight Mini Kit with additional 32...

Be safe and always bring a comprehensive first-aid kit. You may never use it, but it is best to be prepared for the unexpected. Even if you scrape your knee or get a splinter, having band-aids on hand will make your life way easier.

Where to Buy 

Sunscreen

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy...
  • 3-fluid ounce bottle of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Non-Greasy Sunscreen with SPF 100...
  • This lightweight & sheer sunscreen is fast-absorbing with Dry-Touch technology for a...
  • Packaging and formulation may vary. This sunscreen lotion helps prevent sunburn and when...

For sunny hikes, bring sunscreen along to protect your skin and keep you from getting burnt on the trail.

Where to Buy 

Chapstick 

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm, Multipack - Original...
  • LIP CARE: Bursting with all natural flavors, refresh and nourish your lips with Burt's...
  • TOTAL HYDRATION: Hydrate and smooth dry lips with Beeswax and fruit extracts packed into...
  • MOISTURIZING: Just one swipe of this conditioning lip balm leaves your lips smooth and...

No matter what kind of weather you backpack in, always throw chapstick into your backpacking gear. Your lips will get chapped easily on the trail, so trust us, you will be glad you packed it.

Where to Buy 

Conclusion

Are you ready for your grand backpacking adventure? A few final thoughts. Plan out your trip, no matter how long or short it is. Pack ahead of time so you can decide if you need anything extra or if there is something you can leave at home. Finally, use this list and tailor it to your backpacking needs, so you have the gear you require while on the road.c

Last update on 2021-06-20 at 05:50 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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