Discover the Must-Have Backpacker Checklist for a Safe and Thrilling Adventure!

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Backpacker Checklist

Here’s your downloadable and printable backpacker checklist

Ready for an unforgettable backpacking trip? Look no further! This comprehensive list has been carefully crafted to ensure you have everything you need to make your trip successful.

Our expert-crafted checklist, made through meticulous research, hands-on experience, and seasoned backpacker feedback, has got you covered. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, it’ll help you plan and pack with confidence. It’s all you’ll need to ensure a seamless and stress-free adventure. So get ready to hit the trails with peace of mind!

Backpacking is an exciting escape from daily life, but having the right gear and supplies is crucial. The Backpacker Checklist is your guide, including all essential clothing, equipment, personal items, and safety gear. It helps plan, prepare, and ensure a triumphant backpacking experience.

Pack, Shelter and Sleeping Gear

When it comes to backpacking, having the right backpack, shelter, and sleeping gear is crucial for a successful and comfortable trip. Your backpack should be the right size for your journey and equipped with a rain cover to protect your belongings from the elements. A 40-65 litre backpack is the perfect companion for one-night escapades, but if you’re planning a multi-night trek, opt for a pack in the higher end of that range. 

A tent provides a safe and secure place to rest, while a quality sleeping bag and pad keep you warm and comfortable throughout the night. Consider bringing extra stakes and guylines, a groundsheet or footprint, and a camp pillow to ensure a good setup. 

Investing in the right backpack, shelter, and sleeping gear will allow you to focus on the adventure ahead and make the most of your backpacking experience.

  • Backpack with rain cover
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Optional:
    • Extra stakes and guylines
    • Groundsheet or footprint
    • Camp pillow


Embark on an unforgettable adventure with confidence in your clothing choices. Your clothing can make all the difference in terms of comfort, safety, and overall enjoyment. With unpredictable weather, it’s essential to be prepared for any situation. Pack versatile, quick-drying clothes that protect you from sun and wind, and layer up for chilly evenings.

Say goodbye to heavy and soggy cotton clothes and hello to performance fabrics like synthetic or wool. These fabrics will provide comfort and safety by quickly wicking away moisture, drying fast, and keeping you warm even in damp conditions. So to improve your backpacking experience, avoid the cotton pitfalls.

Step up your game with durable and comfortable footwear that can handle any terrain, and bring along a trusty hat to shield your face from the sun. Make sure to include a waterproof jacket, cozy sweater or fleece, and gloves for those rainy or chilly days.

Stay comfortable on the trail with breathable base layers that wick away moisture and insulating layers to keep you warm. Be ready for any weather with waterproof outerwear, gloves, and a warm hat. Pack smartly and let nothing get in the way of exploring and enjoying your adventure.

  • Base layers
  • Insulating layers
  • Rain gear
  • Waterproof and breathable jacket and pants
  • Hiking boots or trail shoes
  • Camp shoes or sandals
  • Socks and underwear
  • Hat, gloves, and a warm hat
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen

Navigation and Communication

A solid navigation plan is a must! Whether you’re exploring a new mountain range or navigating the backcountry. Choose your weapons wisely and pick the tools that best match your style and the type of trip you’re taking. 

If you’re a tech-savvy adventurer, bring a GPS device or personal locator beacon to help guide you on your journey. But remember the traditional tools, a map and a compass – these timeless essentials will be your trusty companions, leading you to your destination and back. So be sure your skills are still fresh on how to use a compass. With the proper devices, you’ll confidently face any challenge and experience a backpacking trip like never before.

  • Map and compass
  • GPS or personal locator beacon
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Whistle

Food and Water

Fuel your backpacking escapade with delicious and nutritious meals and drinks! While on the trail, pack easy-to-eat snacks such as energy bars, jerky, hard cheeses, and nuts to keep your energy levels up and your hunger at bay. Then, take a break and indulge in a more substantial meal for lunch to keep you going throughout the day.

Stay hydrated by carefully planning your water-carrying needs and planning for the available water sources at your destination. Then, with the right food and drink, you’ll have the energy and stamina to tackle any challenge the trail throws and reach the summit of adventure, conquering the wilderness and embracing the beauty of nature with every step.

The amount of food to take daily while backpacking depends on several factors, including your physical activity level, appetite, body size, and the length of your trip. As a general guideline, pack around 1.5 to 2.5 pounds (0.7 to 1.1 kilograms) of daily food. This equates to approximately 3,000 to 5,000 calories per day, depending on your specific needs. Pack a little extra to ensure you have enough food in case of emergencies or unexpected changes in your plans. Remember to bring various snacks and meals to stay fueled and satisfied during your backpacking trip.

  • Backpacking stove and fuel
  • Biodegradable dish soap
  • Cookpot and utensils
  • Bowl
  • Cup or mug
  • Water filter or purification tablets
  • Water bottle
  • Hydration system (such as a water bladder)
  • Food and snacks

First Aid and Emergency Supplies

Ensure you’re equipped for any curveball with a comprehensive first-aid kit and emergency essentials. A well-stocked kit can make all the difference, from addressing minor injuries to navigating inclement weather. Elevate your level of preparedness, reduce the risk of harm, and turn any backpacking trip into an unforgettable adventure with essential first-aid supplies.

  • First aid kit
  • Bug spray and insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Firestarter and matches or a lighter
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Emergency shelter or bivy sack
  • Personal locator beacon or satellite messenger
  • have two itineraries in place – one with a trusted friend and another stored safely under your car seat.

Personal Items

Bringing along essential personal items can make your backpacking experience comfortable, clean, and unforgettable. Remember things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and prescription medications to ensure your health and hygiene. You’ll also want to pack trash bags to keep the environment pristine. Finally, capture your journey with a camera, binoculars, a journal, or a book. 

A bear canister or bear spray can give you peace of mind and extra protection if you’re in an area where bears are present. So pack these essential personal items to explore the untouched wilderness, revel in its beauty and leave with memories to last a lifetime.

  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, hand sanitizer)
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Trash bags
  • Lip balm
  • Prescription medications and copies of prescriptions
  • Optional:
    • Camera or binoculars
    • Book or journal
    • Bear canister or bear spray (if required by the area you are visiting)
    • Cards/games

Miscellaneous Items

Miscellaneous items are the unsung heroes of backpacking, providing versatility, convenience, and peace of mind. Items like trekking poles help to maintain balance and stability on the trail, while a repair kit with essentials like duct tape, needle, and thread can be a lifesaver in case of gear malfunctions. Keeping extra batteries on hand ensures you’re never left in the dark, and carrying cash and ID is vital for any unexpected situations. 

If comfort is a priority, lightweight camp chairs and portable solar chargers can enhance your camping experience. A power bank can keep your devices charged and ready for action. Pay attention to the value of these miscellaneous items, pack them for your backpacking trip and make your journey effortless, enjoyable and worry-free.

  • Trekking poles
  • Repair kit (such as duct tape, needle, and thread)
  • Extra batteries
  • Cash, credit card, debit card and ID
  • Cellphone
  • Optional:
    • lightweight camp chairs
    • portable solar charger
    • Power bank

Final Verdict on The Backpacker Checklist

The Backpacker Checklist is your ticket to an unforgettable backpacking adventure! This comprehensive guide has been carefully crafted to ensure you have everything you need for a successful trip. Remember, this checklist is a guideline and should be tailored to your specific needs. So, take the time to consider what items are necessary for your journey and pack with purpose. 

With this list in hand, you’ll be ready to tackle any backpacking challenge with confidence, comfort, and ease. And remember to check out our article on How to Keep Bugs Away for extra tips to sweeten your trip! So, grab your backpack and hit the trails – the adventure awaits!


What should I do to prepare for a backpacking trip?

You should research the location of your trip, plan your route, and check the weather forecast. You should also make sure you are physically prepared for the trip by exercising and training with a fully loaded backpack. Finally, make sure to let someone know your itinerary and expected return date in case of an emergency.

What should I bring for food on a backpacking trip?

You should bring lightweight, high-energy food such as trail mix, energy bars, and dehydrated meals.

How much water should I carry for backpacking?

You should carry at least two litres of water per day, but this amount may vary depending on the weather and your level of activity. You may also want to bring a water filtration system or water purification tablets in case you need to refill your water supply.

What type of clothing should I bring for backpacking?

You should bring clothing appropriate for the weather, including a waterproof and breathable jacket, pants, and footwear suitable for the terrain. Avoid cotton clothing as it absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry.

Photo of author


Meet AJ Yarwood, the outdoor enthusiast and the Creative Director of, dedicated to sharing unforgettable outdoor experiences with a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step. Join him as he navigates the wonders of nature, from towering peaks to hidden trails, sharing a treasure trove of tips and tricks along the way!