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Backpacking Checklist

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Checklists are a good habit to get into when you prepare for an outing. Print this one out, make your own additions, and maybe you can avoid that, “Oh, no, I forgot…” scenario.


Whenever you head into the woods for longer than a few hours, you’ll need to gear up. Base your equipment selection on the season, region and length of your trip. And remember, in mountainous areas, weather can change quickly and dramatically. Regulatory agencies at your destination will be more than happy to answer your questions and provide advice.

Don’t hit the trail without these items.

  • Daypack
  • Compass and/or Portable GPS
  • Food: Snacks and/or Bag Lunch
  • Water bottle and water
  • First aid kit
  • Fire Starting Kit: Butane Lighter, Cotton Balls, Strike-A-Fire or Trioxane Tablets, Fire Starter and Waterproof Matches
  • Sunglasses & Sunscreen
  • Extra Clothing Layers
  • Flashlight, headlamp or lantern
  • A permit (if required)
  • Shovel
  • Rope, Cord, or Straps
  • Whistle and Signal Mirror


For extended stay backpacking adventures, add the following items to the above day hike list:

  • Quick-drying nylon pants or shorts
  • Short-sleeved T-shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Fleece or wool pants
  • Fleece or wool top
  • Fleece or wool vest
  • Two pair wicking long underwear (one light, one dark)
  • Underwear


  • Poncho or Other Rain Gear
  • Wide-brimmed sun hat
  • Stocking cap
  • Fleece gloves
  • Glove liners
  • Bandanna


  • Wool or synthetic socks
  • Synthetic or silk sock liners
  • Hiking boots
  • Extra laces
  • Gaiters

Camping Gear

  • Backpack
  • Pack cover
  • Tent and rainfly
  • Ground cloth
  • Sleeping bag
  • Compression sack
  • Sleeping pad
  • Stuff Sacks for clothes, food and other items
  • Stove and fuel
  • Cook set
  • Drinking cup
  • Plastic garbage bags and freezer bags
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Pot scrubber
  • Water filter or purification tablets

Personal Items

    • Toilet paper
    • Trowel or shovel
    • Toothbrush and paste
    • Small bath towel
    • Brush or comb
    • Lip balm
    • Insect repellent
    • Head net
    • Whistle or signal mirror
    • Pocketknife or multitool
    • 100 feet of parachute cord
    • Watch
    • Repair and spare-parts kit

Other Stuff

  • Field guide
  • Journal
  • Book
  • Camera (with extra battery)
  • Binoculars
  • Playing cards or other games
  • Fishing license and tackle
  • Large fixed-blade knife or Folding Saw

Originally posted 2012-05-03 16:18:41.


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