Backpacking Checklist


  • Backpack
  • Backpack Rain Cover (or pancho)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Bag Liner
  • Therma Rest
  • 2 Quart water bottles
  • 2 Trash bags
  • Flashlight
  • Tent
  • Ziplock bags (2-3 of each large and small)
  • Water Filter
  • Compass
  • Map of area
  • Lightweight Rope
  • GPS
  • Utility knife/tool (like leatherman)
  • Cathole trowel/shovel


  • 1 Pair lightweight pants (these can be very lightweight, in the event your main pants get wet and you need to let them dry)
  • 1 Pair shorts
  • 1 lightweight T-shirt
  • 2 Pair underwear
  • 1 cotton undershirts
  • 2 Pair wool socks (or whatever your pleasure)
  • Light weight water shoes (I use these to forge deep rivers and for swimming)
  • Hat (keep out of the sun)
  • lightweight rain jacket
  • fleece or down sweater or similar to help keep warm (think layers)
  • lightweight polyester/spandex hoodie (nothing thick, its just a thin layer with a hoodie to help trap heat)
  • Long Underwear
  • 1 UV protecting lighweight long sleeve base shirts (helps protect from sun, and insects. In addition its a warming layer if needs be)
  • Beanie Cap
  • Light weight gloves (helps with stuffing on cold mornings)
  • Belt (this is a must, trying to pull your pants up when your pack pulls them down sucks)

layering and weight

The point of the above layering, is with the 5 items (long underwear, UV base layer, T-shirt, hoodie, and fleece) I keep warm to freezing temperatures. I hike with the UV base layer and the shirt in temperatures from 40 dgrs to 100 dgrs and feel fine. If it rains I throw on my rain cover and stay dry. The total weight of the clothes for me comes to 5 pounds and keeps me comfortable for 3 season backpacking which could include freezing temperatures.

Eating Gear

  • Drinking cup
  • Plate or bowl (or both)
  • Fork and spoon (or spork!)

Self Maintenence

  • Tooth brush
  • Towel (medium size towl, but keep it light!)
  • Toilete paper (aka mountain money)
  • First aid kit
  • Chap stick
  • Mole skin
  • Bug repellent
  • Hand lotion
  • Sun block SPF (30 or better)
  • Dental Floss
  • Tooth Paste
  • Soap
  • Deodorant (I guess this is optional, although your fellow hikers may object!)
  • Children’s Motrin (If you got kids with you)

Cooking Gear

All of the following can be minimized if you’re just boiling water, this tends to be a more complete set of gear needed to actually cook on the trail.

  • Stove
  • Fuel
  • Pot Set
  • Spatula (if you’re doing things like pancakes)
  • Skillet (once again, things like pancakes)
  • Matches
  • Dish Soap
  • Dish Towel
  • Sponge


I have an MSR feather light, and a coleman peak1 dual fuel. I like my MSR as its super light but it sucks for simmering. The Peak-1 however weighs one point but has awesome flame control. I prefer my Peak-1 for main use, but I have someone else carry the MSR as an lightweight emergency backup. If all you’re ever doing is boiling water for fast meals, a jetboil might be a better way to go. I tend to dehydrate meat and server hamburger helper which requires simmering and more cleanup after.


I have found that what works best for me is for white gas is 3oz of fuel per person, per day. I then throw on an extra 10% for over usages and spills. This presumes mild simmering on dinners and lightweight breakfasts (coffee, chocolate, oatmeal)

If you are using iso-butane, and are just boiling water, then 1oz of fuel per person, per day seems to be appropriate.


This is the part that can make or break your weight. Recently I have gone away from cooked meals to dehydrated meals (IE Mountain House), cold breakfast and trail snacks. Jerkey, Granola bars, cold cereal and dehydrated  milk, peanut butter, etc. My ultimate goal is to not exceed 2 pounds of food per day per person.

Misc and possibly optional

  • Snacks!
    • Granola Bars
    • Beef Jerky
    • Top Ramen
  • Camera
  • small sewing kit
  • lightweight camp stool (nice to have if your weight permits)
  • satellite phone (for extended or foul weather trips, trips with children, etc)
  • small pillow (another nice to have, if you don’t mind the weight)
  • Lightweight fish grill (Sometimes I find these in the backcountry, but its rare)
  • Lightweight fishing pole and accessories
  • Batteries
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