Backpacking takes hiking and camping and turns them into one big adventure. Backpacking allows hikers to access more remote areas and get away from it all. To backpack you need a bit more gear to get you through the night. What gear you take can be highly personal, but this is a great place to start!
- Good Shoes – We recommend hiking boots or trail running shoes. Boots offer more stability, but trail running shoes offer more breath-ability and tend to dry faster.
- Sunscreen – Protection from the sun is key.
- Bug Repellent – Pick your favorite bug repellent. This will help make sure you have a good time without too many nasty mosquitos.
- Backpack – For a weekend backpacking trip, a 40L-50L backpack is usually enough. Remember, the bigger the pack, the more stuff you can convince yourself to cram into it.
- Water Storage – A water bladder is a great way to carry your water for drinking and cooking. Smart water bottles can be another option as they interface with common water filters such as the sawyer squeeze.
- Water Filter/Treatment – When backpacking you should always bring treatment options. We have enjoyed using both the Sawyer Squeeze and Katadyn BeFree water filters. Bring chemical treatment tablets as a backup. They are light and can get you out of a bad situation if your filter fails.
- Food- You obviously have to bring food, but what should you bring? Freeze dried meals from companies like Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry are convenient and light, but expensive. Couscous, tortillas, peanut butter, ramen noodles, and clif bars are some staples that we bring on many trips. Try out some recipes with light and nutritious foods before you go.
- Bear Spray & Bear Bell – If you are hiking in a bear area, it is always a good idea to bring bear spray and a bear bell.
- Paracord – If you’re in beer country, you also need to hang a bear bag. Paracord is a light and easy way to set up your bear bag.
- Map/GPS phone – Know where you are going. Without navigation a day hike can turn into a survival situation. If you are using maps on your phone, make sure to have it downloaded in case of missing cell service. Don’t forget a battery backup.
- Camera – When you get to the top of that mountain, you better have a camera!
- Hiking pants and jacket – Be prepared for the elements and dress appropriately. A good place to start is a hiking jacket.
- Camp Clothes – One set of clothes for camp is a must. We also recommend flip flops to let those toes breathe.
- Hiking clothes – One set of clothes for the daytime. These will be the dirty, smelly ones.
- Toiletry Kit – Biodegradable toilet paper, trowel for digging “cat” holes, hand sanitizer, a soap like Dr. Bronners, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. The essentials only.
- Cook Kit – A small backpacking stove and pot should be all you need for the weekend trip. Don’t forget your favorite spork! We also bring a pot scraper along to keep it clean.
- Tent – The big one. Keep it light, but don’t break the budget. We recommend that you buy a tent that is one size larger than your group. Sleeping 2? Buy a three person. its not much heavier and the extra space is heavenly.
- Head lamp – Necessary for nighttime camp living.
- Sleeping bag and pad – Get a sleeping bag and sleeping pad that are approriate for the season. If its cold, a heavier bag and pad with a higher R value is important. In the summer, you can be a little more lax with the insulation
Interested in the other types of hiking? Check out our article on the 6 different types of hikers!
Hi! David here. I hope you found this gear list helpful! Have other questions about hiking, backpacking, or other outdoor activities? You can ask me questions on the Sage Board through my profile.
If you want to follow along with the adventures of me, my wife Meredith, and our dog Blaze then please check out our blog I Chafed.
Interested in going on a backpacking, bikepacking, or bicycle touring trip? We are here to help. Blaze Adventure Tours offers a variety of trips and services to help you have your best adventure yet.