This backpacking checklist includes everything you need to bring on your wilderness excursion. In addition to The 10 Essentials (and 10 Baby Essentials if brining baby), there are a number of important items you should bring to make your trip enjoyable and avoiding disaster.
Shelter & Sleeping
- Tent (with stakes, poles, and guylines)
- Tent Footprint (optional)
- Sleeping pad
- Sleeping bag
- Pillow case (optional)
- Water bladder or bottle
- Water filter (don’t assume you will always have access to fresh water)
- Headlamp or flashlight + Extra batteries
- Backpack + rain cover
- Food sack (preferably waterproof): store all food in bag at all times, hang food in tree overnight to avoid critters (or worse!).
- Paracord: multi-use item, but needed to hang food sack in tree overnight.
- Camera (recommended)
- Hiking poles (optional)
- Head bug net (optional)
- Pen & paper
- Burner or cooking system + Fuel/Propane
- Cooking utensils: Spork and Spatula.
- Grill rack (optional)
- Empty bag for garbage: leave no trace behind.
- Soap (biodegradable)
- Small dish brush or sponge
- Salt/Pepper + other spices as desired (bullion, seasoning, etc.)
- Food: see our Food/Cooking section for backpacking food ideas.
- Tooth brush + Tooth paste
- Soap/shampoo (biodegradable)
- Packable/camp towel
- Hiking boots
- Sandals (optional): to wear in camp after hiking.
- 2 pair of wool socks
- Shirts: all about personal preference. I usually bring 2 shirts; one for hiking and another to wear in camp while washing/drying my hiking shirt.
- Hat: sun hat and warm hat for cold evenings.
- Insulation: fleece in summer, down in spring/fall/winter.
- Rain jacket: for blocking rain and wind.
- Sun glasses
- Bandana: multi-use item.
- Gaiters (optional): prevent annoying dirt and little rocks from getting into my boots while hiking.
Additionally, you may need to consider a number of location- and season-specific items, such as: snow shoes, skis, 4-season tent, pulk-sled, etc. And with kids, you may want to bring some “entertainment” items, such as: card games, magazines & books, iPod, etc. Whatever you think will make your trip most enjoyable for everyone!