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What to Pack When you go Backpacking

Author Ray Chong
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When you’re thinking of going backpacking, you need to make sure you have all of the necessary tools and equipment with you. When you know what to take, you’re much more likely to be prepared for your time away.

In this article, we give you a few suggestions on what you should take with you when backpacking, and there might be a few surprises!

Backpacking Equipment

  • Backpack with a rain cover
  • Tent with guylines and stakes
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or a
  • Headlamp with extra batteries

Optional extras include a pillow, bear spray, trekking poles, and a small lantern that fits in your backpack.

Kitchen Equipment

  • Stove and fuel
  • Bowls and dishes
  • Spork or cutlery
  • A mug or a cup these can also be used for cooking
  • Soap
  • A quick-dry towel
  • Food sack or a bear canister for food storage
  • A water container, preferably a collapsible one

Navigation Equipment

You might need to take some navigation tools with you depending on where you’re going. You might not be able to use GPS in your chosen location, so you should also take the following with you:

  • A map inside a waterproof cover
  • A compass
  • Optional extras include a guidebook, watch, personal locator beacon or a satellite messenger.


  • Multi-tool
  • Superglue as it’s the little helper that can come in handy when things break
  • Strips of duct tape that can help to patch up holes in your tent
  • Repair kit for your stove and mattress

Footwear and clothing

Please make sure you always check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. Always be prepared for a surprise change in the weather and pack one extra layer just in case

  • Breathable/moisture-wicking t-shirt
  • Breathable/moisture-wicking underwear
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Quick-drying shorts or pants
  • Wool or synthetic socks
  • Shoes or boots that are ideal for the terrain you’ll be walking/climbing on
  • A lightweight jacket or fleece
  • Extra clothes in case of a sudden rainstorm or drop in temperature

Optional extras include long underwear, a warm hat, mittens or gloves, fleece pants, an insulated and heated vest or jacket, waterproof pants and jacket, gaiters, a buff or bandana, and sandals or camp shoes.

Backpacking Hygiene and Health

You will need to stay as healthy and clean as possible while you’re backpacking, so you get more enjoyment out of your time away.

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sanitation trowel
  • Toilet wipes and paper
  • A sealable bag to place used wipes/paper and garbage
  • Prescription glasses
  • Prescription medication
  • Sun hat and sunglasses plus a retainer leash
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm that has SPF protection
  • Small first-aid kit

Optional extras include blister treatment kit, insect repellent.

A Few Little Extras when Backpacking

  • Camera with memory cards. Save your cell phone for emergencies.
  • Field guides
  • Compact binoculars
  • A book or other material to read
  • Two-way radios
  • A small backpack or day pack
  • Night sky identifier
  • Permits if required
  • Car keys
  • Cellphone and back-up charger
  • Cash, credit card, and identification

While this might seem like a lot of equipment, it can help you to stay safe and healthy, prevent you from getting lost and ensure a fun, enjoyable time backpacking.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.

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