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Backpacking Packing List

Backpacking Packing List

To have a good Packing List can be essential to have a great and stressfree Backpacking Trip.

Nothings worse than being out and about and then recognizing that you forgot something important.

This list is a recommendation of essential things and also optional things.

Depending on where you go, the list can or even should  look a little bit different. You can always take less or more if needed.
Like if you backpack in Europe you won’t need a Bearspray, but if backpacking in some parts of Canada and the USA you should research if it is in a Bear-Area or not.

On a busy pilgrims path in Europe you don’t need to think about GPS or SOS satellite device. In an Area with no cell phone reception this could be a good idea.

So you get the idea where we are going here. There is no such list that fits for every miltiple day hike/backpacking trip.

So always know where you are going, what weather you can expect, what kind of terrain, chances to resupply or not, water sources, etc. and then you can start your packing list.

You might have heard about the 10 Essentials for hiking.

This list has basically the most important things covered. Just that you might need a bit more when out backpacking for multiple days.

The Essentials for a Backpacking Trip

Backpack

For a Backpacking Trip you would need a good fitting Backpack* with a raincover. Size 30-50Liter depending on for how long you will be out there. Make sure to get one that fits perfectly to prevent chafing and pain in your shoulders and neck.

Hiking Boots

Besides the best Backpack, you also want to have the best Hiking Boots/Trail Shoes for your trip. Depending on how the terrain and weather is, you want to choose the rigth pair.
Get some tipps on how to find the best boots in our Guide on how to find the right Hiking Boots.

Sleeping Bag

Get yourself a lightweight sleeping bag*. You can find outdoor waterproof ones, sleeping bags for cold or warm temperatures, etc. Choose a sleeping bag depending on how cold it might get at night.

Sleeping Pad

Nowadays, you can choose between lightweight self inflating sleeping pads* or the “old fashioned” 😉 non inflatable sleeping pads*. Whatever gets you a better nights rest.

Tent

If you don’t want to sleep directly under the stars, you need a Tent.
A Backpacking tent should be Lightweight and waterproof*, and choose one with enough space for your backpack and yourself or more (if you go with a friend or partner).

Stove and fuel

Get a lightweight Stove* for your backpacking trip. And know what kind of fuel you need. Calculate how much fuel you might need for your trip and check if you can resupply on your trip if needed. And remember a refillable lighter*.

You can even find whole sets of Backpacking Cooking Gear* if you really need anything at once.

Cooking supplies

Too cook in the wild you will need (besides the stove):

  • A pot (and maybe a pan)*
  • Eating utensils – Spork*
  • A lightweight cup* for coffee or tea
  • A collapsible bowl* if you share the food. If you are alone you can just eat out of your pot. The lightweight collapsible bowls are also great to carry food wth you if you like to use reusables rather than single use bags.
  • Stasher bag* for snacks or dry foods.
  • Small kitchen towel.
  • And bring some biodegradable soap* to wash your dishes. I love Dr.Bronners because you can use this soap for everything!! But remember, even if a soap is labelled “biodegradable”: no soap into wild waters! Always disperse of the soap water at least 200 feet from wild water sources. (Learn more about Leave No Trace Principles)
  • And sure, don’t forget to bring enough food!!
nut mix hiking snack
Selfmade Trail Mix
Refilling my water bottle

Water treatment supplies, water bottle/reservoir

Water is the most important thing you need to care about. Mark refill stations and wild streams on your map. Carry enough water for the day (use a water reservoir* and bring a reusable bottle*).

Depending on where you are backpacking, you might need to refill from wild water sources or unsafe water taps. So do your research and always have a water treatment supply or filter with you for safety.

Check out our Post about Water Treatment*, our favorite water filter bottle* and learn more about how much water you need dayhiking*.

Emergency supplies

Hygiene and health products

Coffee with a view
Zero Waste Hygiene Products for Backpacking

Personal Items

  • ID
  • Credit Card and some Cash
  • Cellphone and or GPS device
  • Permits if needed
  • Printed Tickets if needed

Clothing

  • Woolen socks
  • Upper base layer
  • Upper mid layer
  • Upper heavier layer
  • Upper wind and water proof layer
  • Hiking pants or leggings
  • Beanie and/or sunhat – a beanie can be nice to have to get cozy and warm in the evening or early morning if it is still chilly.
  • Gloves (not needed everywhere and anytime, but if it gets cold at night or in the early morning and you know you`ll have cold hands easily they are nice to have) –best gloves for winter hiking
  • Extra pair of undies (depending on how long you are backpacking, you don’t need to bring one pair for each day. Depending on the weather, bring 2-3 and wash directly after each use. If it is not drying at night, hang it on your backpack during your hike the next day.)
Hiking in Bulgaria

Optional gear: depending on what you love and don't want to miss and where you are hiking

You won’t need to carry bear spray and a bearproof container when hiking through the common European Countries. But if you backpack in parts or Canada and the US this is something you might need.

So always do your research and know the potential local danger and get the gear you need.

Small extra batteries, power bank, Solar charger, etc.
Headlamp* so you can safely walk and cook in the dark
Trekking Poles
Camera / Action cam
Night sky identifier
Journal
book
Games, Cards
Binoculars
Daypack if you camp and do daytrips from there
If you need: printed out Permit - other tickets

Second hand gear - rental gear

Outdoor equipment can be really expensive. So first of all look around if you might just have some gear in your closet already. Ask around if friends or family might got some gear they can rent out to you.

You still need most of it, and you don’t have the money to spend?
Or you just want to try backpacking and you don’t know if you will stick to it?
Or do you rather buy some used gear than new to save ressources?

Then try to look online thfor second hand gear, repair gear, or see if you can rent gear in an Outdoor shop.

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