Jot Down This Backpacking Checklist Before You Go!

Jot Down This Backpacking Checklist Before You Go!

If you’re here from our breakdown of the difference between backpacking and hiking, welcome! If you’re here because you want to know what backpacking supplies you need for your backpacking trip, then you’re in the right place!

After explaining the difference between backpacking and hiking, we have created this backpacking checklist so that when you are getting ready to go backpacking, you’ll have everything you need to make the trip enjoyable!

Essential Backpacking Gear

  • Hiking Boots: The type of shoes you wear will have a big impact on how long you can hike at a time before your feet (and back) begin to feel the miles. The hiking boots you wear should have a thick sole with ample arch support. People like high top boots because they provide support for your ankles, as well. Also, make sure your boots are waterproof, as you’ll surely encounter some kind of water during the hike.
  • Backpack:  The whole point of backpacking is to carry all of your gear in a backpack. You’ll want a backpack that is large enough to handle all the equipment you’ll need for the length of your trip.
  • Tent: A tent is an important piece of equipment because it’ll protect you from bugs and the elements. The tent should be durable, lightweight, easy to set up, and it should be small enough to carry on your back when it is packed up.
  • Sleeping Bag and Pillow: The sleeping bag will help keep you warm when the nights get colder. Even if you decide to go backpacking during the summer, the nights may get chilly. For extra comfort, we recommend using the Kamui sleeping pad to put under the sleeping bag.
  • Water Supplies: Hydration is crucial, especially as you sweat. Depending on how long you will be backpacking, you will want to bring a few bottles of water, a water bladder, and a water filter. There are some water bottles that come with a filter, so that would be one less item to think about. Water purification tablets are another option if you don’t want to bring a filter.
  • Head Lamp and Batteries: The headlamp will help you see where you are going when you’re backpacking at night. It’s also a good idea to bring a few sets of backup batteries just in case!
  • Camp Shoes: After hiking all day, you’re going to want to take off your shoes and slip into something more comfortable. These shoes could be sandals, crocs, lightweight sneakers, or even slippers with a rubber sole.
  • Fishing/Camping Chair: A folding fishing or camping chair will be a welcome item when it comes time to sit down and relax. The KAMUI portable camping chair is a lightweight unit that folds up nice and compact so that it isn’t uncomfortable to carry on your back.
  • Cooking Gear: While you’re backpacking, you’re going to want to stop and eat a hot meal. Your cooking gear should consist of a stove and fuel, cooking utensils, a pot or pan, plates or bowls, a cups and utensils (You can omit cooking gear if you are trying to minimize your pack and you know how to cook on an open fire).
  • Food: This can include MREs, protein shakes/bars, dried fruit, jerky and the like. Check out our guide to camping food for more ideas of what you could bring.
Hiking gear.


  • Extra shirts: We recommend bringing shirts that will wick away moisture. Also, bring an assortment of short sleeve and long sleeve shirts. 
  • Extra Socks and Underwear: Avoid cotton socks because they will absorb moisture. Instead, opt for wool or synthetic socks. Also, bring one or two pair more than you actually need.
  • Pants/Shorts: The pants/shorts you bring should be lightweight and quick-drying.
  • Clothing for Camp: After a long day of hiking, you’ll want to change into comfortable clothing.
  • Fleece Jacket/Winter Coat: Depending on the weather, you will want an outer layer that will keep you warm.


  • Tarp: You can use a tarp like the Kamui pocket blanket tarp to lay on the ground so that you are comfortable and dry while sitting on the ground. You can also use this as protection over your camp site if it begins to rain.
  • Toilet Paper: When nature calls!
  • Bug Spray: Avoid becoming the next meal for mosquitos, green-heads, and other pests with some kind of bug spray.
  • Sunblock: Sunblock is important so the sun’s harmful UV and UVB rays do not harm your skin. This is especially important if you are prone to sunburns.


  • Matches/Lighter: We recommend strike-anywhere matches so that you will always be able to start a fire, even if your matches get wet.
  • First Aid Kit: Accidents happen and you will want to be prepared. Your kit should include Band-Aids, neosporin, rubbing alcohol, tylenol, excedrine, calamine lotion, lip balm, medical tape, and gauze.
  • Identification and Health Insurance Card: It’s always smart to be on the safe side.
  • Camping Knife: These knives have a multitude of uses while backpacking. If you’re trying to minimize weight, a razor blade can be substituted.
  • Rope and Duct Tape: These will always come in handy when you’re camping. Rope should be at least 50 feet in length.

Misc. Backpacking Supplies

  • Camera
  • Journal/Pen/Pencil
  • Couple Books
  • Extra Battery Chargers
  • Small Lanterns
  • Binoculars
  • Playing Cards
  • Trekking Poles
  • Communication Device


When you’re preparing for a backpacking trip, there are a lot of supplies that you will want to bring. This is just the basic backpacking gear list. Before you do anything, you always want to have a detailed trip plan ready to give to loved ones just in case something happens. You also want to monitor the weather prior to leaving so that you can pack accordingly.

Hiking gear.

Leave us a comment below if you think there is a piece of gear that we missed!

Monthly Giveaway! Free Camping Gears to Our Readers! Join the Raffle!