Backpacking Packing List

This is a basic backpacking list; it lists almost everything that I put in my pack (and on my person) for a 2+ night trip.  It’s largely adapted from Ian’s list which is available here.  I leave out the food guidance, because that’s the thing I tend to over-pack the most of.

General guidance:

  • Cotton clothing is evil; avoid at all costs (this includes underwear).  Good synthetics are well worth their cost, particularly the moisture wicking variety.
  • Layers are the key to regulating your temperature; pack just enough to stay dry & warm.  I prefer my rain-jacket + fleece + lightweight shirt as the ultimate top combo, and hiking pants + synthetic long-underwear for my legs.
  • The “group gear” can be shared across at least two/three people.
  • I’m an over-packer: my packed weighed in at 55lbs on my last trip which was about 10lbs too heavy. :/  This list is my attempt in trying to trim that down.
  • Italicized items are things I consider optional, but nice to have.


Group Gear

Item Description
Tent Tent, Rain Fly, Ground Steaks, Poles
Water Filter
Water Purification Tablets Iodine Tablets, useful as a backup or your primary water cleaning solution
Camp Stove
Fuel for Camp Stove
Cook Gear Mainly you need a good pot.
Rope For hanging bags and other misc. things; I like parachute cord
Compass … and the ability to use it.
Duct Tape
Maps Topographical & ‘guide’ maps
Toilet Paper
Matches & Lighter Waterproof
Dromedary Bag Useful to carry clean, filtered water back and forth to camp.
GPS/Altimeter For those geeky campers.
Field Guide Ian swears by his; I’ve never used one but it’s not a bad idea.
Playing Cards, Books Boredom avoidance on rainy trips.
Flask To be filled with motivation.
Saw If camp fires are available.
Bug net For those really buggy trips.



Item Description
Underwear 2 pair, synthetic
Pants 1-2 pair, zip-off short preferred
Short-sleeve Shirts 2 shirts, I pack 3 because of my hydration efficiency
Long-sleeve Shirts 1-2 shirts, base layer
Fleece Shirt Essential to stay dry/warm
Fleece Pants I like to have these to stay warm/comfy at night
Warm Hat It gets cold at night, yo
Gloves Depending on the weather.
Rain Jacket & Pants Gore-Tex is my friend.  I need a good breathable fabric to remain dry inside.
Belt A strong utility.
Socks 2-3 pairs, wool or wool synthetic.  I like SmartWool brand.
Sock Liners Silk preferred. Helps save your feet from blisters.
Sandals For water crossings & camp.
Hat Keep the sun off your neck/face.
Watch I use the clock on my camera.
Swimming Suit If your hike affords a lake or two.


Toiletries & Miscellaneous

Item Description
Deodorant Stinky people find this optional.
Insect Repellant Deet preferred.
Glasses & Case
Contacts & Case
Contact Solution Re-wetting drops are nice to have.
Wet Wipes Great for quick clean up.
Contact Solution Re-wetting drops are nice to have.


Personal Gear

Item Description
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Pack-cover To keep the rain off your pack.
Knife Or MultiTool.
Water Bottle(s) At least one, for pumping water.
Platypus/CamelBac Water Sack This plus your water bottle should carry at least 100oz
Head Lamp / Flashlight
Small Tripod Useful for those group shots.
Trekking Poles
Camp (Pack) Towel Synthetic, quick dry shammy
Handkerchiefs Useful for handling hot pots, cleanup, etc.
Stuff Sacs I’m a big fan of waterproof stuff sacs: they help compress clothing and keep gear separated.  You need at least one for cloths and one for food.  I like “Sea to Summit” evacdry Sacks for my cloths.
Zip Lock Baggies 2-4 Large, 2-4 Small
Large Garbage Bags Work to hold food, as pack covers, etc.
Prescriptions/Vitamins Or other personal pills.
Glasses cord To keep them on your face, from dropping them.
Feminine Hygiene Products For the ladies out there.


First-Aid Gear

Item Description
Ibuprofen Do not leave without it.
Antiseptic Pads
Alcohol Pads
Antibiotic Ointment
Ace Bandage
Ankle Braces For the weak-ankled set.
Inhalers For the asthmatic set.
Mole Skin
Band Aids
Small Scissors Useful for dressing wounds.
Gauze Roll
Wound Dressing
Small First-Aid book A good field guide should cover first-aid