Backpacking Packing List
A backpacking list will help you pack properly and avoid mistakes and forgetting items that you are going to need on the trail. This list will have to be modified due to the length of your trip, weather conditions and the terrain you intend to travel.
Your tent is not only where you sleep, but it also serves as a protection from outside elements. Tents come in variety of shapes, sizes, weights and insulation, Tents vary from 20 oz to several pounds. Most everyone won’t need a 4 season tent, and a 3 season tent will suffice.
We recommend lightweight to ultra-light tents to keep the weight of your pack down. Trailtogo has wide selection of lightweight tents for rent for one or 2 person.
Like tents, backpacks come in all sorts of sizes and weights. Again, we recommend lightweight to ultra-light backpacks to keep the weight of your pack down. Most backpacks will also need a cover in case you encounter rain or wet condition. One option is to insert a big contractor’s bag, or a large trash bag inside your pack, and put all of your personal belongings in the bag inside your backpack. This will keep your belongings dry, but your backpack will get wet and may be heaving from the moisture.
Also, when deciding on a backpack, you also need to decide on the size and volume of your pack. You can get backpacks from 40liters to 75 liters, and depending on the length of your trip, you may need a bigger pack to store your clothing, additional food, and extra items that you won’t generally need on a shorter trip.
Generally, we recommend anywhere from 60 to 70-liter backpack. This is a good size to store personal belongings, including food for short trip from one day to several days.
Here, at Trialtogo we have chosen a selection of lightweight down sleeping bags that you can rent for your next trip.
For sleeping bags, we recommend down bags due to its light weight, smaller size, and most importantly warmth factor. Staying warm after a long hike will help you get a better sleep. Sleeping bags come in both down and synthetic builds , but here at Trailtogo, we only carry down sleeping bags.
We recommend either 20 degrees or 30 degrees sleeping bags for most conditions. If you are planning a trip, you don't need to invest in new gear. Just rent them from Traitogo.
Once you’ve chosen your sleeping bag, you need to then pick your sleeping pad. There are several factors to consider in picking your sleeping pad. Sleeping pads come in different size and weight, and many have insulation to help you keep your body warm in colder climate. The insulation is most commonly referred to as R Value, and higher R Value the warmer the sleeping pad is. If you need to rent a sleeping pad for your next trip, you don't have to buy one. Just rent sleeping pads from Trailtogo.
At Trailtogo, you can rent a vert of of Pads for your next trip. For Ultra Light Insulated pad, we rent Sea to Summit. For 4 season backpacking, we rent Klymit insulated Static Lite 4- season pad. For a simple backpacking trip, we also carry Klymit Static V pad.
A stove is necessary for you cook your meals, and to boil water for hot coffee, hot tea or hot coco.
The backpacking stoves range from inexpensive simple pots, to more advanced cooking systems like Jetboil.
Factors to consider are weight, system design, size, and fuel type.
Deciding on your backpacking food can be anything from simple items to m
Backpacking food is very personal, and everyone has their favorites. You can take lightweight and easy to make food, like tortillas, peanut butter and jam, or tuna packs, or you can take dehydrated gourmet meals from Mountain House.
Mountain House carries a long list of meals, and desserts. All you have to do is boil water, and pour into the pouch and let it rest for a few minutes. This also avoids cleaning pots and pans.
Trailtogo carried a wide variety of Mountain House dehydrated meals at discounted prices. Like always, shipping is always free for orders over $50 in contiguous United States.
- Cookware and Utensils
Given the increase in the quality of dehydrated backpacking meals, many people use an all-in-one stove system to boil water and eat their meals straight out of the bag. For these folks, a separate pot isn’t necessary and all you need is a spork for eating and possibly a lightweight cup for coffee, tea, or other beverages. If you use a simple screw-on stove, you will need a separate pot for cooking and a dish to eat your food out of. Trailtogo rents Camping Cookware, popular GSI Cookware, and GSI Outdoors Gourmet Kitchen Set.
The choices for backcountry water treatment are numerous: there are gravity filters, pumps, UV and chemical options, and emergency straws. Although we don't rent water filters, we do carry Sawyer water filters that are very lightweight, and popular.
In addition, some filter water while others offer full-on purification, which is best in high-use areas where animal or human waste is a concern.
Here at Trailtogo, we do rent SteriPEN Ultra Purifier which purifies water.
- Ultra features an internal battery that's recharged from any USB power source;
- Low-power indicator lets you know when battery needs recharging; when fully charged you can treat 50 L
- Ultraviolet (UV-C) light rays safely sterilize clear water by destroying 99.99% of protozoa (including Giardia and Cryptosporidia), bacteria and even viruses
- SteriPEN protects you from risks that cause botulism, cholera, dysentery and typhoid, just to name a few
- To purify your water, just press a button and gently agitate the water with a quick stir
- Purifies 16 fl.oz. of water (cold or warm) in less than a minute or treat 32 fl. oz. in 90 seconds
- Ultra is designed to fit perfectly into store-bought bottles of water; just insert the Ultra into the bottle, flip the bottle upside down and start treating the water
- Small size fits most containers—use it in cups, mugs, water bottles and canteens
- SteriPEN turns itself off once ultraviolet treatment is complete; can be used up to 8,000 times!
- Watertight seals keep water away from the electronics; rubberized inset grips for secure handling in wet conditions
- Long used by municipal water districts and bottling companies, low-level UV-C light treats water safely, and unit's light will not damage eyes or skin
- Use only on clear water, as cloudy, sediment-laden water hinders effectiveness; FitsAll prefilter (sold separately) clears particulates and debris from water
- Water Bottles or a Reservoir
Water storage is essential for hydration on the trail. Some people prefer standard bottles, while others carry a reservoir in their pack with a hose for convenient drinking while on the go. Water bottles come in a variety of styles, from BPA-free plastic and stainless steel to soft-sided collapsible bottles. If you’re looking for a lightweight and affordable option, the classic Wide Mouth Nalgene remains one of our favorites, year after year.
A headlamp is a small yet vital piece of gear (if you ever forget one, you probably won’t do it a second time). Some folks require a high-performance headlamp for climbing or other nighttime adventures. At Trailtogo, we rent Petzl Tikkina lightweight headlamp that are lightweight, and bright.
- Navigation: Map, App, or GPS
Although most everyone has a cell phone with GPS, a paper map remains a must have for a backpacking trip. Phones as in other electronic devices may run out of battery, die due to elements like water, rain, or other malfunction. Therefore, having a classic paper map is essential for safety.
You may also consider a dedicated GPS device preloaded with Maps of trails. Benefits include much longer battery life, more durable and rugged, and preloaded maps.
You can rent a Garmin GPS from Trailtogo for your next trip.
- First Aid Kit
Regardless of the length of your backpacking trip, bringing some kind of First Aid is a essential. At a minimum, your first aid kit should include basic medications, band aids and/or bandages, duct tape, anti-diarrhea medications, ibuprofen, and moleskin to help you with blisters. For a more complete list of First Aid items we recommend as your First Aid kit.
Footwear and Clothing
- Hiking Boots or Hiking Shoes or Trailrunners
Shoes are very personal, and there are a wide selection of shoes for everyone. Although there are a number of available options, it is important that whatever shoe you decide to get, try them on, and break them in before your next trip.
- Hiking Socks
It doesn’t matter what hiking boot or shoe you choose if you don’t have a good pair of socks to accompany it. Our favorite socks all are made of merino wool, an extremely comfortably material that offers premium temperature regulation, moisture wicking, and odor resistance. We also recommend liners, because they help keep your feet dry, and avoid blisters.
- Hiking Pants
Hiking pants should be light, quick to dry, and comfortable. We recommend weather resistant pants, and perhaps convertible pants, that you can turn into shorts in hot weather.
- Hiking Shirt(s)
Similar to hiking pants above, your shirt choice largely is a matter of personal preference. There are plenty of options, and you can also go short or long sleeve, the latter of which is nice for sun and bug protection or in cooler conditions.
- Rain Jacket
Even if there’s no rain in the forecast, it’s always a good idea to carry a waterproof shell on a backpacking trip. Depending on your trip, you may get a full-on hardshell jacket, which are built for extended forays in tough conditions, or a lightweight rain jacket
- Down Jacket or Synthetic Jacket
For early mornings or when you’re finished backpacking for the day, your insulation piece is critical (and we often sleep in ours for extra warmth). A lightweight down jacket is the ultimate in terms of warmth-to-weight ratio and packability
Baselayers often get overlooked, but they are an easy and compact way to add warmth while hiking or in your tent.
Trekking poles are helpful because they help take pressure off your knees and feet, and they make hiking easier. Trekking poles also help you cross creeks, and some rough terrain. If you don’t want to use them, most backpacks have straps that you can use to attach the poles to your backpack while you hike, freeing up your hands.
Also, some ultra. Light tents do require the use of trekking poles, because the tents don’t come with tent poles to save weight.
Trekking poles come with folding and telescoping options, aluminum and carbon, and foam and cork grips.
There are many choices in the type of camera you can take on your backpacking trip. You can use your cell phone, or move up to point and shoot cameras for better lens options, and more creative control, to large full frame digital SLRs with full range of lens options, with amazing results. It all depends on your needs, and what you intend to do with your photographs. Keep in mind that the more complex cameras you plan on taking, they weigh more, and take up more space in your backpack.
No matter your camera choice, have fun and take lots of photos.
Virtually everyone I know uses a pair of sunglasses outdoors, especially in summer time or on in sunny conditions. Sunglasses protect your eyes from glare, and strong light from the sun. They also protect your eyes in windy conditions, and they keep dirt away from direct contact with your eyes.
- Beanie and/or Gloves
In colder climates, a beanie and a pair of gloves can make your backpacking trip a lot more comfortable. I strongly recommend a beanie if you are not planning on using a hooded insulation, or if you are going to use a quilt, instead of a sleeping bag.
- Backpacking Chair
Although you may think a backpacking chair is not necessary, you will soon envy watching anyone in your group that has one at your camp. They provide great back support, and they down small enough to fit in the water bottle holster of your pack.
Here at Trailtogo, we carry Helinox Chair Zero Backpacking chairs that weigh only 1 lb. They make a great selection for an ultra-light chair to carry on your next backpacking trip.
- Camp Shoes
When a long day of backpacking is over, nothing feels better than taking your sweaty hiking shoes or boots off for some fresh camp footwear. We’ve seen just about every type of camp shoes you can imagine, from Crocs and outdoor sandals to minimalist trail runners. It’s true that bringing extra shoes adds weight to your pack and you can survive without them, but they sure make a nice luxury item to bring along for the trip.
Personal Extras and Items
Our list above covers the big essentials, but forgetting matches or sunscreen could be just as much of a trip-ender as leaving behind your sleeping bag. Here are a few more bits and pieces to make sure you have in your pack before you take to the hills. Happy trails!
- Gas or propane tank for your backpacking stove
- Lighter or/matches
- Knife or multi-tool
- Extra batteries for your headlamp
- Hygiene items (toilet paper, body wipes, etc.)
- Lip balm
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Insect repellent
- Garbage bag
- Book or Kindle
- Bear canister (if required or necessary)
- Garmin GPS Device with preloaded US Topo Maps
- Satellite communicator or SOS device
- Battery Bank