The Important Backpacking Checklist

Backpacking Checklist

A backpacking checklist is a great tool that saves us time and frustration as we plan our backpacking trips. Unlike your typical vacation, you don’t have the luxury of being able to stop by the store and grab that one piece of gear you forgot. You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere about to start dinner when you realize you forgot one of your backpacking essentials!

The backpacking gear on our checklist is suited for 3-season trips. Many items on our checklist are optional. In the end, what stays on your list depends on what type of trip you are taking and how much you are willing to carry.

3 Season Backpacking Checklist


__ Backpack__ Bungee cords
__ D-rings__ Stuff sack
__ Waterproof pack cover 


__ Pillow__ Sleeping bag/bivy sack
__ Sleeping pad/ground cloth__ Space blanket/bag
__ Tent/Tarp 


__ Compass__ Cord/rope
__ Fire starter__ Fishing license/gear
__ GPS (optional)__ Head lamp
__ Lantern__ Map
__ Pocket knife__ Signal mirror
__ Small flashlight__ Sun glasses/goggles
__ Trekking pole__ Trowel
__ Waterproof matches/lighters__ Whistle


__ Batteries__ Camera/accessories
__ Cards/games__ Clothes Pens
__ Garbage bags__ Guidebook/notes
__ Paper/pencil/pen__ Reading material
__ Ziplock bags 


__ Bear bag__ Breakfast x____
__ Condiments__ Cookware
__ Dinner x______ Drinking cup
__ Eating utensils__ Electrolytes
__ Emergency food__ Lunch x____
__ Pot holder__ Pot scrubber
__ Snacks__ Stove/fuel
__ Tea/coffee/cocoa__ Water bottle/canteen
__ Water purifying agent 


__ Boots__ Camp shoes
__ Fleece Cap__ Gloves
__ Jacket__ Long underwear
__ Long-sleeve shirt x_____ Pants x____
__ Rain gear (poncho, pants, etc.)__ Shorts x____
__ Short-sleeve shirt x______ Sock liners x____
__ Socks x______ Sun Hat
__ Swimming shorts/suit__ Underwear x____

Personal Items

__ Backpacking towel__ Brush/comb
__ Deodorant__ Feminine hygiene products
__ Glasses/contacts/contact solution__ Hair accessories
__ Hand sanitizer__ Insect repellent
__ Lip balm (with sun protection)__ Lotion (non-scented)
__ Soap__ Sun block
__ Toilet paper__ Toothbrush/paste/powder
__ Watch 

First Aid

__ Antibiotic ointment__ Antihistamine
__ Anti-itch ointment__ Antiseptic wipes
__ Assorted adhesive bandages__ Assorted gauze pads
__ Blister treatment__ Butterfly bandages
__ Fine point tweezers__ Medical tape
__ Pain relief medicine__ Safety pin/needle

* Visit our Backpacking First Aid Kit page for a more extensive first aid kit list.


Additional Tips

  • When going over the backpacking checklist for your trip, make sure your equipment works and you aren't low on consumable items such as sunscreen, insect repellant, etc.
  • If you are unsure about what to include from the list, do a test run. Pack your backpack with all the things you think you might need. Take a hike to see how you feel. If the pack is cumbersome or too heavy, reevaluate the items you packed.

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