Backpacker sitting beside lake

The Ultimate Backpacking Checklist

Backpacking Supplies Can Take Your Trip from Good to Great

Whether you are a seasoned backpacker or a novice, the right supplies can turn a good trip into a great one. The wrong supplies, though, can be catastrophic. Before venturing out on a backpacking trail it is important to think critically about the necessities your trip requires. Make sure to use a backpacking checklist so you don’t forget any critical items.

Backpacking Checklist: What to Bring

A backpacking trip to neighborhood campgrounds, for instance, requires different supplies than a backpacking expedition through Yellowstone National Park. Whatever the trip, there are a few essentials all backpackers should include in their supply list:

  • Clothes
  • Gear
  • Maps
  • Emergency supplies

Backpackers must know the seasonal and daily climate for where they are traveling. Regional climates can change season by season and even through the day. Dessert climates, for instance, can be stiflingly hot during the day with temperatures dropping dramatically at night. Backpackers must also know how to best dress their bodies for the amount of activity they will be enduring. Extra clothing is always suggested, but should focus on one or two versatile pieces.

Bring Appropriate Items

Packing appropriate gear depends on what type of trip will be taken, but basic backpacking supplies should be packed no matter the excursion. Water, food, sunscreen and sleeping supplies are some of the necessities to never go without. Other gear such as climbing supplies, water sport supplies and more vary greatly based on the backpacker and trip. Toiletries are also needed no matter the type of trip, but can vary depending on the needs of the backpacker. Hand sanitizer, toilet paper, soap and a tooth brush are common toiletry items packed.

Maps and other navigation supplies can be overlooked, but are extremely important. The seasonal backpacker knows that spotty cell service can lead to unreliable cell phone navigation, hence the need for supplementary navigation. Paper maps that fold and can easily be transported are a key source of navigation information. A compass is also a popular tool for those backpacking off the beaten path.

Always be Prepared

No matter what you pack, emergency supplies are what really matters when it counts. The naïve traveler might want to forego emergency supplies as the likelihood of needing them is slim, but their value should never be discounted. A first aid kit, knife, medicine, emergency shelter, money, predator spray, fire supplies and extra water should accompany every backpacking adventure.

A backpacking trip can encounter unexpected turns, but if thoughtfully prepared, you can enjoy these surprises.