This backpacking checklist includes everything you need to bring on your wilderness excursion. In addition to The 10 Essentials (and 10 Baby Essentials if brining baby), there are a number of important items you should bring to make your trip enjoyable and avoiding disaster.


Shelter & Sleeping

  • Tend & SleepingTent (with stakes, poles, and guylines)
  • Tent Footprint (optional)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow case (optional)



  • GearWater bladder or bottle
  • Water filter (don’t assume you will always have access to fresh water)
  • Headlamp or flashlight + Extra batteries
  • Knife
  • Backpack + rain cover
  • Food sack (preferably waterproof): store all food in bag at all times, hang food in tree overnight to avoid critters (or worse!).
  • Paracord: multi-use item, but needed to hang food sack in tree overnight.
  • Camera (recommended)
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Head bug net (optional)
  • Pen & paper



  • KitchenBurner or cooking system + Fuel/Propane
  • Cooking utensils: Spork and Spatula.
  • Cookset
  • Grill rack (optional)
  • Empty bag for garbage: leave no trace behind.
  • Mug
  • Soap (biodegradable)
  • Small dish brush or sponge
  • Salt/Pepper + other spices as desired (bullion, seasoning, etc.)
  • Food: see our Food/Cooking section for backpacking food ideas.



  • BathroomTooth brush + Tooth paste
  • Soap/shampoo (biodegradable)
  • Packable/camp towel



  • ClothesHiking boots
  • Sandals (optional): to wear in camp after hiking.
  • 2 pair of wool socks
  • Pants/Shorts
  • Shirts: all about personal preference. I usually bring 2 shirts; one for hiking and another to wear in camp while washing/drying my hiking shirt.
  • Hat: sun hat and warm hat for cold evenings.
  • Insulation: fleece in summer, down in spring/fall/winter.
  • Rain jacket: for blocking rain and wind.
  • Sun glasses
  • Bandana: multi-use item.
  • Gaiters (optional): prevent annoying dirt and little rocks from getting into my boots while hiking.


Additionally, you may need to consider a number of location- and season-specific items, such as: snow shoes, skis, 4-season tent, pulk-sled, etc.  And with kids, you may want to bring some “entertainment” items, such as: card games, magazines & books, iPod, etc. Whatever you think will make your trip most enjoyable for everyone!