Backpacking Equipment Checklist

Embarking on an overnight or a multi-day backpacking trip can be a thrilling experience. However, packing for it can be daunting, especially if you’re a beginner backpacker. To make the packing process easier for you, here’s our complete backpacking checklist that covers everything you need to ensure a safe and successful trip. It includes obvious essential items and some optional items which just make your experience more comfortable. We’ve also included our suggestions so you can see the features your lightweight backpacking equipment should have.

What do I really need for backpacking?

Backpack & shelter

Backpack with rain cover
Tent (with stakes, guylines)
Sleeping bag/backpacking quilt
Sleeping pad

Tent footprint

Cooking System

Stove fuel
Cookset / pot
Eating utensils
Water filter
Water bottle/reservoir
Bear canister/food bag
Plenty of food

Soap + sponge


Hiking top non-cotton
Hiking pants or shorts
Underwear/sports bra
Hiking socks
Hiking boots or shoes
Warm base layer top
Warm base layer pants
Insulating jacket
Rain jacket + pants

Sun hat
Bandana or buff
Camp clothes/shoes
Extra hair ties
Mosquito heat net

Safety & navigation

Headlamp or flashlight w/ extra batteries
First aid kit
Gear repair kit
Signal mirror
Emergency fire starter
Backup water treatment
Compass / GPS device
Printed maps
Itinerary left w/ friend or family member


Toothbrush + toothpaste
Lip balm
Hand sanitizer
TP + waste bag
Wet wipes

Quick dry towel

Misc & Extras

Permit if required
Photo ID, cash, credit card
Hiking poles
Cell phone
Battery bank & charger cord
Extra trash bags & ziptop baggies

Camera, battery, memory card
Solar panel
Ear plugs/eye mask
Journal + pen/pencil
Lightweight chair / sit pad optional

Breakdown of most essential items

Let’s take a closer look at the most important items mentioned in the checklist. If you have these with you, you’ll most probably have a great experience no matter what nature throws at you. We’ll also provide some sources for choosing the best equipment for your needs so you could get out in the wild ASAP.

Choosing the most essential equipment for a multi-day backpacking trip is crucial to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience in the great outdoors. Proper planning and preparation can make a big difference in your comfort and safety on the trail, and having the right gear can help you tackle any challenge that comes your way. In this guide, we’ll explore the most important equipment for multi-day backpacking trips, from backpacks and tents to food and navigation tools. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or embarking on your first overnight trip, this guide will help you choose the best equipment to make the most of your time in the wilderness.


Look for backpacks that are lightweight and have a volume of around 30-50 liters to hold all of your gear. Consider the suspension system and padding, as well as the fit, to ensure the backpack is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Look for backpacks with plenty of pockets and compartments for easy organization and access to your gear. Finally, consider the material and durability of the backpack, as well as any special features such as hydration compatibility or external attachment points for gear.

All around the best backpack – Osprey Aether 55 (women’s option)
Great budget backpack – Kelty Coyote 65


Look for tents that are lightweight and packable, with a suitable size for your needs. Consider the weather conditions you may encounter and choose a tent with appropriate ventilation and waterproof features. Look for tents with durable materials and sturdy poles, as well as easy and quick setup. Consider the number of doors and vestibules, as well as the interior space, to ensure you have enough room for yourself and your gear. Finally, check the weight and packed size of the tent to make sure it is suitable for backpacking.

All around the best backpacking tent – Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
Great budget backpacking tent – Near Zero 2


First, make sure that you need a stove. If you plan on eating foods that don’t require cooking and you won’t need to boil water then a stove might be an unnecessary burden. If you do need a stove, think about the size and weight of the stove, as well as its stability and durability. Look for a stove that is easy to set up and use, with a reliable ignition system. Also, consider the type of meals you plan to cook and the cooking time required. If you happen to hike in an area with fire restrictions, make sure you bring a stove that you’re allowed to use. Finally, take into account the climate and terrain of your trip, as some stoves are better suited for certain environments than others. By carefully weighing these factors, you can choose a stove that meets your needs and enhances your backpacking experience. Check out the best backpacking stoves.

All around the best backpacking stove – MSR PocketRocket2
Great budget backpacking stove – BRS3000T


Look for foods that are lightweight and easy to pack, with high calorie-to-weight ratios. Consider foods that are easy to prepare and don’t require refrigeration, such as dehydrated meals, instant oatmeal, and trail mix. Bring a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to fuel your body and aid in recovery. Don’t forget to pack snacks for quick and easy energy boosts throughout the day. Consider any dietary restrictions or preferences you may have and plan accordingly. Finally, pack out all food scraps and packaging and follow Leave No Trace principles.


Look for clothes made from moisture-wicking and breathable materials to keep you cool and dry, such as synthetic fabrics or merino wool. Consider layering options for warmth and temperature regulation, such as a base layer, mid-layer, and outer layer. Bring a rain jacket and pants for wet conditions and a warm hat and gloves for cold weather. Look for clothes with UPF protection for sun exposure and choose muted or earth-tone colors to blend in with your surroundings. Don’t forget to pack extra socks and underwear and consider bringing a set of camp clothes for lounging in camp.


A map and compass are essential for navigation, as well as a GPS device or phone with downloaded maps and a backup battery. Bring a first aid kit with basic supplies, including blister treatment, pain relief, and medication for allergies or other medical conditions. Carry a whistle and mirror for signaling for help, as well as a headlamp with extra batteries for lighting in low-light conditions. Bring a multi-tool or knife for emergency repairs and gear adjustments. Consider carrying a personal locator beacon or satellite messenger for added safety and emergency communication. Finally, make sure you know how to use all safety and navigation equipment, and always let someone know your itinerary and expected return time.


Choosing the best toiletry items for a multi-day backpacking trip is essential for maintaining hygiene and staying comfortable on the trail. Look for lightweight and compact options that are easy to pack and won’t leak or spill, such as travel-sized toothpaste and deodorant. Biodegradable soap and hand sanitizer are essential for cleaning hands and the body. Baby wipes can serve as a shower alternative. Bring a small towel for drying off and a trowel for burying waste. Consider menstrual products or a pee funnel for women and pack any necessary prescription medication. Don’t forget to pack a small repair kit for any gear issues and a small trash bag to pack out all waste.


Packing for a backpacking trip can be overwhelming, but with the right gear and equipment, you can ensure a safe and successful trip. Use this checklist as a guide to make sure you pack everything you need for your solo beginner backpacking trip. Remember to keep costs in mind and only pack what you need to keep your

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