Pack Like a Pro: The Ultimate Backpacking Packing List

Pack Like a Pro: The Ultimate Backpacking Packing List

Backpacking is a fantastic way to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature. Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate backpacker, having a proper packing list is crucial to a successful trip. Your packing list can make or break your backpacking experience, so make sure to adequately prepare.

In this article, we'll provide a comprehensive backpacking packing list for beginners and intermediate backpackers. We'll cover everything from clothing and accessories to shelter and sleeping gear, food and water to navigation and communication, as well as emergency and first aid supplies.

Clothing and Accessories

When it comes to clothing and accessories for backpacking, layering fabrics is key. Layering allows you to easily regulate your body temperature as you move through different environments. On a similar note, breathable fabrics, like those made from merino wool or synthetic materials, will keep you cool and dry while you're on the trail.

Here are some essential clothing items to include on your backpacking packing list:

  • Quick-dry shirts and pants: Look for lightweight, quick-drying materials that will keep you comfortable on the trail.
  • Socks: Bring a few pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks that fit well and wick away moisture.
  • Insulating layers: Fleece jackets, down vests, and other insulating layers will keep you warm on chilly nights.
  • Rain gear: A waterproof jacket and pants are essential for staying dry in wet weather.
  • Hats and sunglasses: Protect your head and eyes from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Watch: A reliable watch will help you stay on schedule and keep track of the time.

By packing the right clothing and accessories, you'll be prepared for a variety of weather conditions and environments on your backpacking trip.

Shelter and Sleeping Gear

Having the right shelter and sleeping gear is crucial for a comfortable and safe backpacking trip. There are various types of shelter options to choose from, including tents and hammocks. Tents are the most popular option and come in a variety of sizes and designs. Hammocks are lightweight and perfect for backpackers looking to travel light. Just make sure that you are prepared for the weather.

Here are some essential sleeping gear items to include on your backpacking packing list:

  • Sleeping bag: Choose a sleeping bag with the appropriate temperature rating for your destination.
  • Sleeping pad: A sleeping pad will provide insulation and cushioning for a comfortable night's sleep.
  • Pillow: A small, lightweight pillow will help you get a good night's rest.
  • Tent or hammock: Select a shelter option based on your preferences and the environment you'll be backpacking in.

When selecting your shelter and sleeping gear, it's important to consider the climate and terrain you'll be traveling in. For example, if you're backpacking in an area with a lot of bugs, a tent with a mesh interior may be a better option than a hammock.

Food and Water

Staying hydrated and properly fueled is essential for a successful backpacking trip. It's important to bring enough water and food to sustain yourself throughout the journey. Here are some essential food and water items to include on your backpacking packing list:

  • Water filtration system: Bring a water filtration system to purify water from streams and lakes.
  • Lightweight stove: A lightweight stove will allow you to cook hot meals and drinks on the trail.
  • Fuel: Bring enough fuel for your stove and plan for extra in case of emergency.
  • Food: Dehydrated meals, trail mix, and energy bars are all great options for backpacking trips.
  • Cooking utensils: Bring a lightweight pot, pan, and utensils for cooking and eating.

Navigation and Communication

Navigating and communicating in the wilderness can be challenging, but it's essential for a safe and successful backpacking trip. Navigation devices such as maps, GPS units, and compasses will help you stay on course. Communication devices such as walkie-talkies and satellite messengers will allow you to stay in touch with your group and call for help if necessary.

Here are some essential navigation and communication items to include on your backpacking packing list:

  • Maps: Bring detailed maps of the area you'll be backpacking in.
  • Compass: Always bring a compass.
  • GPS unit: Use a GPS unit to stay on course.
  • Walkie-talkies or satellite messenger: Use walkie-talkies or a satellite messenger to communicate with your group and call for help if necessary.
  • Headlamp or flashlight: Bring a headlamp or flashlight to navigate in the dark.

Emergency and First Aid

While we hope that nothing goes wrong on our backpacking trips, it's essential to be prepared for emergencies. Carrying emergency and first aid supplies can help you respond to unexpected situations and stay safe in the wilderness. Here are some essential emergency and first aid items to include on your backpacking packing list:

  • First aid kit: A basic first aid kit should include bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
  • Emergency shelter: A lightweight emergency shelter like a space blanket can provide protection from the elements.
  • Personal locator beacon: A personal locator beacon can help rescuers locate you in case of an emergency.
  • Whistle: A whistle can help you signal for help if you get lost or injured.
  • Bear Spray: When in bear country, bring bear spray.


A backpacking packing list is essential for a safe and successful trip in the great outdoors. By including essential items for clothing, shelter, food and water, navigation and communication, and emergency and first aid supplies, you'll be well-prepared for whatever challenges come your way.

We encourage you to use this backpacking packing list as a starting point for your own list, but do customize it based on your unique needs and preferences.


Back to blog