Backpacking Checklist: Gear and Tips

By KÜHL Editor on September 13, 2023

Backpacking checklists are essential to every successful trip. Combining hiking, camping, and traveling, backpacking truly allows you to experience the wilderness in a rugged, pure, and untamed manner, leaving only footprints, taking photos, and making memories.

Breathing the fresh mountain air and treading challenging terrain to reach dazzling vistas comes with its challenges. Adventures like these are unforgiving if you forget something essential to the trip - it's either going to cut your exploration short or make it less enjoyable. The other side of the same coin is carrying too many unnecessary items on your back.

Overall, it's simple: you can set yourself up for success on a backpacking trip even before you leave the house. Read on to explore our backpacking checklist and to learn more about what to pack to make your next backpacking trip your best one yet.

Backpacking Checklist

The backpacking checklist below features all the essential items, based on recommendations from seasoned backpackers. It considers shelter, food, hygiene, and some emergency items to counter any possible on-trail problems.

Backpacking Checklist

Backpacking Essentials:

Comfortable, 40-60L backpack
Backpacking tent
Tent poles
Tent stakes
Ground cloth
Inflatable pillow or pillow stuff sack
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Optional: Rolled blanket
Optional: Rain cover or liner for backpack
Optional: Rain tent tarp
Optional: Strap camera pocket

Tip: You can use trash compactor bag to waterproof the gear inside your backpack.

Backpacking Health And Hygiene:

First aid kit
Antibacterial wipes
Biodegradable wipes
Hand sanitizer
Paper tissues
Toilet Paper
Bug repellant
Optional: Menstrual products
Optional: Sunscreen
Optional: Lip balm
Optional: Comb
Optional: Nail clip

Backpacking Clothing:

Like any other outdoor activity, the backpack clothing checklist depends on weather and trail conditions, as well as trip length and duration. However, it's standard practice to bring moisture-wicking, quick-drying, lightweight backpacking clothing, no matter the conditions. Cotton is frowned upon as it absorbs moisture and takes too long to dry. This may not be an issue for one- or maybe even two-day backpacking trips, but give the fabric more time and it will cause blisters and chafing.

Plenty of socks
1-2 hiking socks
1-2 wool or synthetic socks
Comfortable underwear
Hiking boots or shoes
Lightweight hiking pants for men / Hiking pants for women
Quick-dry, active shorts for men / Hiking shorts for women
Comfortable short sleeve shirts for men / short sleeve shirts for women
Breathable long sleeve shirts for sun and insect protection for men / long sleeve shirts for women
Wide-brimmed sun hat
Optional: Rain jacket for possible downpours for men / rain jackets for women
Optional: Water-resistant pants for rainy adventure
Optional: Fleece jacket for cold weather
Optional: Merino wool cap
Optional: Warm gloves
Optional: Rain mittens
Optional: Gaiters
Optional: Mosquito head net
Optional: Bandana

Backpacking Cooking:

Cooking utensils
Dishwashing kit
Salt and pepper
Quick-dry towel
Optional: Spork
Optional: Bear bag
Optional: Coffee maker

Backpacking Food And Water:

Plenty of food (approximately 2.500 kcal per person per day)
Energy snacks
Energy drinks
Backpacking meals
Two 1L water bottles
Water purification drops
Optional: Extra day's worth of food and water

Tip: Keep in mind that caffeinated drinks are mild diuretics, making your body excrete more liquid, and in some people, it might have a laxative effect.

Backpacking Miscellaneous:

Trekking poles
Bear spray
Trash bags
Ziploc bags
Packable lantern
Tent repair kit
Optional: Rope (for hanging bear bag)

Be sure to check out our other outdoor checklist as well!

KÜHL Editor
KÜHL Editor


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