Backpacking Checklist

Backpacking Checklist

 Our backpacking checklist is your tried-and-true guide to packing smart for overnight hiking trips. The list is intentionally comprehensive so you don’t forget anything important.

The Ten Essentials
The must-haves for safety, survival, and basic comfort:

1. Navigation

Map (with protective case)
GPS (optional)
Altimeter (optional)
2. Sun protection

Lip balm
3. Insulation

Jacket, vest, pants, gloves, hat (see Clothing, below)
4. Illumination

Headlamp or flashlight
Extra batteries
5. First-aid supplies

First-aid kit (see our First-Aid Checklist)
6. Fire

Matches or lighter
Waterproof container
Fire starter (for emergency survival fire)
7. Repair kit and tools

Knife or multi-tool
Repair kits for stove, mattress; duct tape strips
8. Nutrition

Extra day's supply of food
9. Hydration

Water bottles or hydration reservoirs
Water filter or other treatment system
10. Emergency shelter

Tent, tarp, bivy or reflective blanket
Beyond the Ten Essentials
Daypack or summit pack
Pack cover
Tent, tarp or bivy sack (with stakes, guylines)
Tent-pole repair sleeve
Footprint (if desired for tent)
Sleeping bag
Stuff sack or compression sack
Sleeping pad
Pillow or stuffable pillow case
Whistle (plus signaling mirror)
Multifunction watch with altimeter
Trekking poles
Ice axe
Energy food (bars, gels, chews, trail mix)
Energy beverages or drink mixes
Cookset (with pot grabber)
Dishes or bowls
Cups (measuring cups)
Bear canister (or hang bags for food)
Nylon cord (50' for hanging food)
Backup water treatment
Collapsible sink or container
Packable lantern
Clothing: Warm Weather
Wicking T-shirt (synthetic or wool)
Wicking underwear
Quick-drying pants or shorts
Long-sleeve shirt (for sun, bugs)
Sun-shielding hat
Bandana or Buff
Clothing: Cool Weather
Wicking long-sleeve T-shirt
Wicking long underwear (good sleepwear)
Hat, cap, skullcap, balaclava or headband
Gloves or mittens
Rainwear (jacket, pants)
Fleece jacket or vest, and pants
Footwear; Assorted Personal Items
Hiking Boots or hiking shoes suited to terrain
Socks (synthetic or wool) plus spares
Sandals (for fording, in camp)
Camera or helmet cam
Extra memory cards
Route description or guidebook
Field guide(s); star identifier
Outdoor journal and pen or pencil
Credit card; small amount of cash
Earplugs and eye shade
Toilet paper
Sanitation trowel
Hand sanitizer
Insect repellent
Bear spray
Toothbrush and/or toiletry kit
Biodegradable soap (and shower bag)
Quick-dry towel
Cell phone / satellite communicator / 2-way radios
Personal locator beacon
Post-hike snacks, water, towel, clothing change
Trip itinerary left with friend and under car seat