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August 31, 2005

Backpacking Checklist

I've spent a few days out backpacking and have updated my backpacking and/or camping checklist:

Backpacking List

Not everything on this list will necessarily be taken, nor is the list necessarily exhaustive. Before using the list, one should use one's own creativity to prepare for packing whatever seems necessary, and then to go through this list to check for forgotten items. One's own list, combined with this list, will hopefully leave nothing important behind. This list is based upon a low nighttime temperature of 32_F (0_C) and expected warm temps of at least 50_F (10_C) during the day.

Clothing: Stay away from cotton. Use high-quality "wicking" or "hydrophobic" (pulls moisture away from your skin) base-layer wear. Layering is the key to proper camping attire; have a base layer, a mid-layer (insulator such as fleece) and a shell (rain jacket) as a minimum for the upper body. Similar should occur for the legs (underwear, long johns, pants, and wind breaking material) and feet (protective "blister proof" socks as a base, thicker heavy socks for warmth, shoes or boots). The combined use of all layers together should be adequate for all temperature conditions. If you don't think that they'll be enough to keep you warm, choose your layers more wisely.

I. Basics
  A. Backpack
  B. Day pack
  C. Tent
  D. Groundcover
  E. Pillow
  F. Sleeping Bag
  G. Mattress
     1. Insulite pad
     2. Therma rest
     3. Foam Rubber
  H. Towels
     1. Dish
     2. Hand
     3. Body
     4. Paper towels
II. Toiletries
  A. Toilet paper, sealed in zip lock bags
  B. Tooth:
     1. brush
     2. paste
     3. floss (the string has multiple uses)
  C. Sunblock
  D. Deodorant
  E. Bio-safe soap
  F. Hair brush
  G. Wet Wipes
  H. Hand sanitizer
III. Clothing
  A. Hat
     1. Sun hat
     2. Thermal hat
  B. Shirt
     1. Long Sleeve
     2. Short sleeve
  C. Sunglasses
  D. Pants
     1. Long pants
     2. String/thin pants
     3. Shorts
  E. Shoes
     1. Hiking shoes
        a. A spare pair of laces
     2. Sandals
  F. Underwear
     1. Long Johns
     2. briefs (boxers lend themselves to chafing)
     3. Socks
        a. heavy
        b. light
  G. Coats
     1. Fleece liner
     2. Wind breaker (shell)
  G. Return Trip Clothing (it's nice to change into something clean for the drive home)
IV. Food
  A. Water
     1. Car reserves: 5_gal
     2. water for the hike 3_liters per day
     3. water filter
  B. Snack Food
     1. Fruit
     2. Energy bars
     3. Trail mix
  C. Meals
     1. Cooking
        a. Soup mix
        b. grain cereal
        c. stirfry
           i) vegetables
           ii) oil
     2. Uncooked (or pre-cooked)
        a. cereal
        b. milk
        c. juice
        d. bread
        e. cheese
        f. tuna
        g. fruit
        h. nutrition bars
         i. pizza?
  D. Utensils/Cookware
     1. Pot/pan
     2. Fork, Spoon
     3. Pocket Knife
     4. Stackable, disposable, storage tubs for food storage and as dinnerware
     5. Stove and cooking fuel
  E. Caffeine
     1. Coffee
     2. Energy drinks
     3. Energy drink powder
     4. Gels
     5. Vivarin
V. Emergency/Medical
  A. Snakebite kit
  B. Aspirin
  C. First Aid Kit, plus
     1. Space blanket
     2. ACE bandage
     3. Inflatable splints
     4. Toe warmers
VI. Navigation
  A. Compass
  B. GPS Unit
  C. Binoculars
  D. Maps (USGS, and/or Trails Illustrated)
  E. Hiking plans
     1. Books
     2. Trail/area descriptions
VII. Other
  A. Walki-Talkies
  B. Mobile phone
  C. Camera
  D. Matches/Lighter
  E. Book/Reading Material
  F. Notepad
  G. Writing Utensils/Eraser
  H. Lights
     1. Headlamp
     2. Hand flashlight
     3. Glowing lightsticks
  I. Bandana
  J. Extra Batteries
  K. Watch or other timepiece
  L. Wash rag
     1. person
     2. dishes
  M. Tiny sewing kit
  Q. Thermometer
  R. Plastic garbage sacks

Posted by Jeff at August 31, 2005 11:37 AM


Hmm. All the essentials have been covered, Jeff. But I think there a number of items which could be removed to afford a lighter load.

Posted by: kenny at September 24, 2005 06:19 AM

Looks to me like you are going on a high ticket safari. Get down to basics and leave all but the essentials at home. --"one who has been around."

Posted by: Gene at February 14, 2007 12:04 AM

This is the best list I've seen for menu and food options. I love that you've devoted a whole segment of your outline for caffeine. You've even placed it before navigation and medical attention. This is my kinda list!

Posted by: Norma at May 28, 2007 12:56 PM

Great list! I wouldn't take everything on the list, but I think that it covers all the essentials, plus the other stuff you may want, but forget. Thanks!

Posted by: John at May 22, 2008 10:05 PM

Thanks for the great list. Careful planning of your list will reduce the chances of you forgetting any vital piece of equipment or camping accessories that will make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable and you'll also be better prepared for most eventualities.

Posted by: Annie at April 14, 2010 02:49 AM

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