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Ultimate backpacking checklist for your overnight adventure

Backpacking is a great way to spend the time outdoors, let us help you plan

If this is your first backpacking trip, welcome, your life is about to change. I'm glad you made the decision to adventure overnight in the woods.

It surely can get overwhelming while having to plan a backpacking trip, figuring out what to bring can be a daunting task, specially when you know you will be miles away from civilization. Outdoorsy tribe has enjoyed many trips and came up with this very handy list of essentials you don't want to forget that can be useful as you plan your trips.

But before we get into the list, here are a few forgotten tips but extremely essential for the adventure thats ahead.

  1. Wilderness permits - required in most places for overnight camping and backpacking. Check the permit requirements of your destination and have those printed/picked up at ranger station day prior or on the day you are looking to start.

  2. Route planning & conditions - another important part of planning the backpacking experience is to ensure you have laid down the plan. Here are some planning reminders:

    1. Trailhead Access and how to get there

    2. Is there a closest town to spend the night before so driving does not take away from the hike day

    3. How many miles hike/day - usually 5-6 miles is a good estimate, but depending on fitness and speed this could vary. It also various on elevation gain and altitude the hike may be at

    4. Expected weather, good idea to check prior to departure, that way appropriate gear can be packed

    5. Camping location - rough idea on the campsites for when you are in wilderness

    6. Arrival time - map your arrival time to camp and keep sometime to set up camp before nightfall

  3. Download Maps - there is most often no connectivity (isn't that the purpose of backpacking, we call it the '#DigitalDetox its always a good idea to download offline maps or keep paper maps of the region

  4. Leave no trace behind - if you are not aware of this principle in the woods check out various resources online or at Leave No Trace website, it takes all of us to make a difference

  5. Emergency Alert - always ensure someone outside of your backpacking group knows your plan and can assist if required. Keep their contact information on you in case of need

  6. Backpacking checklist - Here is an essentials checklist for quick reference:

Food Essentials - There is always a question on how much or how little to carry, a good estimate is to consume anywhere close to 2200 - 2800 calories per day. Depending on size and weight this could be on either side of the band. Also grab the foods you like rather than picking anything from the shelf. Here is what to carry - essentials

  • Tea/Coffee

  • Snack/Bar

  • Dehydrated Food (lunch/dinner/breakfast)

  • One day additional food for emergency situations

  • Energy gels/chews

  • Trail mix

  • Candy

Hydration/ Water - Being well hydrated is crucial in backcountry, 3-5 Liters/day of water while out in the open is a good estimate to consume. Also remember to replenish salts in your body as you hike

  • Filteration System & Tablets

  • 2 bottles that carry enough water 1L minimum

  • Numm Tablets (helps replenish essential salts)

Camp Kitchen - While its possible to carry cooked food for the first day, the subsequent days meals will require you to prep.

  • Camp Stove and gas

  • Lighter

  • Fire Starter (also useful to start a campfire)

  • Utensils - lightweight spoon, cup/mug, plate

  • Biodegradable soap scrub

Backpack & Storage - carry the correct backpack fitted to your body weight and height

  • Backpack - typically a 60L should suffice a 2-3 days wilderness trip

  • Daypack - in case you plan to venture to additional hikes from your camp, this is lightweight and easy to carry

  • Bear canister - a MUST for anyone venturing into the bear country. All scented stuff and food must be secured in the bear can at all times

  • Garbage Bag & Ziploc Bags (anytime waterproofing is required these are handdly)

Shelter & Sleeping - Know the weather in the region of hike and carry this equipment accordingly to conditions

  • Backpacking tent - 3 season tent usually works well, but specific weather conditions may warrant specific tent types

  • Sleeping Bag & Sleeping mat - mat provides insulation from the ground. Temperatures drop in night, so a good sleeping that can hold low temperatures for your region is essential for a good night sleep

  • Pillow (optional) - if that is something you must have feel free to carry

Clothing & Personal Toilettes - Again this needs some weather depended planning

  • Layers - always carry base, mid and outer layer when in the mountains. Weather tends to change rapidly

  • Socks, undergarments - extra pairs and changes are a good idea to stay fresh

  • Beanies, sun hat, buff - all these plan a critical role in protecting against the elements

  • Sunglasses - again an essential not to be missed

  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss

  • Sunscreen, lip balm, comb, mirror, face cream

  • Unscented wipes, toilet paper, wag bag

  • Hand soap, sanitizer

  • Hiking pants, shirt and extra pair

  • Camp Shoes

First Aid - Its another of those items that are easily forgotten but should always be on you given medical attention can be hours away

  • Prescription medication

  • Mole Skin, bandages, super glue

  • Anti-diarrheal, anti-histamines

  • Antiseptic ointment

  • High altitude medication (diamox)

Other Accessories and Tools - prepare yourself for the unknown and keep the most essential handy

  • Swiss Knife - multi use tool that can assist in various situations

  • Powerbank, extra batteries

  • Compass

  • Hiking Poles (optional but recommended)

  • Headlamps, camp light (solar recommended)

  • Camera - capturing memories is such an amazing thing

Here is an easy downloadable checklist to follow: .

Backpacking Checklist
Download XLSX • 52KB

Learning's from the tribe - Less is more in the wilderness, make each ounce you carry be useful.

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