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Have you taken the first step into the world of hiking? Let us be your guide.our Backpacking 101 Course on Learn outside Expert hikers and backcountry guides Siena Fly will explain everything from kit assembly to campsite selection to backcountry cooking.

A backpacking trip can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as long as you are properly equipped. Using a backpacking checklist is the best way to stock your kit before you go out. Our handy list covers everything you need from overnight to a week in the wilderness. This list is for backpacking for 3 seasons only. Special situations such as snow camps, desert camps and thru hikes will require additional or additional gear. It’s time to pack! Click here for a printable PDF checklist.. Do you have a short trip?our Day hiking checklist Did you cover?

Details: Learn the basics of hiking and camping with us Backpacking 101 Course on Learn outside


-Normal, 50-80 liter backpack

– Rain cover or waterproof pack liner

– Waterproof compression sack or storage sack (optional)

For a three-season backpacking trip that takes more than a weekend, you need to carry a pack of 50-80 liters in size. If you’re just traveling overnight, or if you have an ultra-lightweight kit, you can do it with a smaller pack.There is lots of Things to consider when choosing a backpack, including features such as carrying capacity, sleeping bag compartment and ice ax fasteners, pockets, materials and overall fit. Learn more about proper backpack selection and packaging..

Tents are the most beginner-friendly option for backpackers.
(Photo: panaramka / iStock via Getty)


– – tentTarpaulin, or hammock

– Rain fly


– Stakes

– – Trekking pole (Optional, can be used to market specific shelters)

– Ground sheet (optional)

Tents are the most beginner-friendly option and offer the best combination of livable space and protection. Hammock is a comfortable choice in warm weather below tree limits, but with additional equipment such as tarpaulins to protect against rain and underquilts to protect against the cold, extra time to set up and select trees. May be required. The tarpaulin itself is an option that saves weight and space, but it lacks protection against bugs and requires time and consideration to pitch properly. Be sure to stock all poles and stakes before you leave. Learn more about choosing the right tent.

A sleeping bag person looking out of the tent
A properly evaluated sleeping bag and pad are both essential.
(Jordan Siemens / Stone via Getty Images)

Sleep system

– – Sleeping bag or quilt (Comfort evaluation from 15 ° F to 30 ° F)

– – Sleeping pad (Foam, self-inflating, or inflatable with an R value of 2 or greater)

– Camping pillow (optional)

While traditional mummy bags have more coverage than quilts, they offer a better warmth and weight ratio than rectangular sleeping bags. Quilts can achieve significant weight savings as long as you bring a beanie or removable hood for warmth, but it can take some getting used to. All sleeping bags have a temperature rating, which indicates the range in which the bag is designed to handle. In warmer climates, such as parts of the Southwestern United States, you can escape with a higher comfort rating. The bag is as good as the pad, so make sure you have the right insulation R value for the expected minimum temperature. (Usually 2-5 R values ​​for 3-season pads, 5 or more in winter). Learn more about choosing a sleeping bag..

Water storage and filtration

– Water bottle and / or reservoir

– Purification system (squeeze, pump, gravity, or press filter, or UV refiner)

– Backup filtration system (chemical purification tab, drop, or small secondary filter)

All filters or purifiers, regardless of style, will eventually clog. Always bring the tools you need to clean the filter. If you are using a UV purifier and expect something other than pure mountain water, bring a mesh prefilter for sediment. If the temperature can freeze, put the filter in a leak-proof bag and leave it in a sleeping bag overnight. If it freezes, it cannot be used safely. Read about some of our favorite water purifiers here..

Canister stove
Boiling canister stove (Sage Friedman)

Stoves and utensils

– Stove (canister, liquid fuel, or alternative style)

– Fuel (isobutane-propane canister, liquid fuel, or alternative fuel)

– Lightweight or waterproof match

– Pot if not integrated into the stove system


– Cleaning cloth or mini sponge

– Mug (optional)

– Biodegradable soap (optional)

Canister stoves are great for quickly boiling water to hydrate food, purify water, and make hot drinks. Choosing a stove with a wider burner head and a pot that is not integrated makes cooking in the backcountry easier. While many backpackers choose canisters for ease of use, liquid fuel stoves are more efficient at low temperatures and high altitudes and can easily accept multiple types of fuel. Read about some of our favorite camping kitchen equipment here.

Refrigerated food
Backcountry breakfast
(Jordan Siemens / Getty Images)

Food and snacks

– – Enough food An extra day’s worth of food in case of an emergency, in addition to every day of your trip based on your calorie needs

– Snacks to stop hunger and increase calorie intake while hiking

– Hydration / electrolyte powder or tab (optional)

– Bear canister (if needed), Ursack-type bag, or 50-foot nylon cord and carabiner for hanging if you’re in bare country

Determining how much food to bring depends on the individual’s physiology, pace, and trail conditions, but for most people, 2,000 to 5,000 calories per day is a rough range. Packing with high-calorie foods such as nut butter, cheese, and olive oil can help you lose weight. If in doubt, pack more food than you think you need.

Hiker wearing a puffy jacket
Keep warm with an insulating layer.
(Photo: Dave G Kelly via Getty)


– At least two pairs socks

– At least 2 pairs of underwear

– Shorts, pants, or other bottoms such as skirts and quilts

– T-shirt

– Long-sleeved shirt (to prevent insects and sunburn)

– Insulated interlayer, such as fleece or lightly puffed

– Storable down jacket

– – Hard shell jacket Or rain poncho

– Warm beanie

–Sun hat

– – sunglasses

– Top and bottom base layers (optional)

– Light gloves or liner (optional)

– Rain pants (optional)

The word “kill cotton” is popular among hikers. The reason is that the material retains moisture and does not insulate when wet. This is the perfect recipe for hypothermia. Wear only wool or synthetic layers for best temperature control. Base layers and gloves can save lives in cold and high altitude climates, but overkill in warm, low altitude climates. Bring proper rain gear and always hide at least two pairs of socks, even if precipitation is not predicted (wet feet mean a disastrous trip). Learn more about dialing in layering systems.

Stream hiking boots
Footwear is a very personal decision.
(Digital Vision via Jason Todd / Getty Images)


– – Hiking bootsHiking shoes, trail running shoes, or hiking sandals

– Camping shoes or sandals (optional)

– Snow / Scree Gaiters (optional)

The choice of hiking shoes is one of the most subjective decisions a hiker can make. There are options suitable for all hikers and hiking styles. Mid-cut or high-top boots are a safer choice for heavy loads, rugged terrain, and stability under better durability. Trail running shoes tend to move faster (1 pound on the foot equals 5 pounds on the back) and breathe better. Lighter shoes are generally more comfortable over long distances, depending on the weight you carry. Some backpackers prefer to hike in sandals because of their breathability, weight and easy water crossing, but they have to fight the possibility of cold feet and toe toes. Learn more about choosing the perfect shoe.

Backcountry personal hygiene (Anastasiia Shavshyna / Getty)

Personal hygiene

– Trowel

– toilet paper

–Hand sanitizer

– Sunscreen and SPF lip balm

– Insect repellent

– Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss

– WAG bag (if needed)

– – Sanitary items Packout bag (if not using a menstrual cup)

– – Female urination device (option)

– Pee rag (optional)

How you do business in the backcountry depends on your environment. The simplest scenario is to travel 200 feet from a water source, trail, or campsite, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep, clearly mark spots, and thoroughly clean your hands. WAG bags may be required in certain environments such as deserts and tundra, or in popular protected parks. And keep in mind: tampons are always a packout item. Learn more about backcountry hygiene.

gps device
Use a satellite communicator in the backcountry.
(Photo: Image of a cavan via Getty)


– Power bank with charging cable and / or solar charger (optional)

– – head lamp With additional set of lithium batteries

– Satellite messenger or personal locator beacon (optional)

Most hikers can escape with a small power bank to charge their phones and headlamps on backpacking trips. For long trips without replenishment, solar chargers are the (slower) best solution. Remember to keep batteries (always lithium, not temperature sensitive alkaloids) in your sleeping bag at night. When the mercury drops, the battery is quickly lost. Read more about some of our favorite backcountry electronics here.

Hiker reading a map with a compass
There is no substitute for maps and compasses.
(Photo: Jacob Helwig via Getty Images)


– – Knowledge to use maps, compasses, and both

– GPS device (optional)

– Navigation app, Gaia GPS (option)

Always carry topographic maps and compasses and know how to use them. GPS devices and smartphone apps are great tools, but they can run out of battery or malfunction. To use it with confidence, just add a few ounces and run a quick navigation course. Learn more about backcountry navigation.

First aid kit
Purchase a first aid kit or create your own.
(Photo: Tascha Rassadornyindee / EyeEm via Getty)

Repairs and emergencies

– – First aid kit

-Prescription drugs

– Moleskin

– – Knife or multi-tool

– Bear spray (Grizzly country)

–Gum tape

– Sleeping Pad Patch Kit

– Waterproof match / fire starter

You can easily buy a first aid kit with everything you need (and more), or pick up a dry bag and attack your pharmacy or pharmacy as a low-cost alternative. Duct tape is one of the versatile tools that is convenient to carry and is useful for emergency medical care and gear repair. Sleeping pad patch kits are especially important if you’re sleeping on rough ground. Learn more about creating an emergency kit.