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Backpacking Checklist : Important Backpacking Equipment needed for a great trip!

Use this complete backpacking checklist to prepare all your backpacking equipment so that you have exactly what you need for trip and a great hike in the woods. This camping checklist is the smallest of the camping lists because you’ll want a bare-bones camping list with only what is absolutely necessary because you don’t want to be carrying extra weight on your back for tens and hundreds of kilometers.

If you’re interested in more extensive lists check out the car camping list, canoe list or hiking list.

When backpacking, the less you bring the happier you will be.

Remember: Choose the lightest option for anything- for example, if you have 2 tents, bring the lighter one. Stove, pick the light and compact one. For food, only bring the amount that you will eat. Only bring necessities. If you think ‘you might use it’, do not bring it.

Backpacking Checklist

Check out how to choose the backpacking equipment by clicking on the links.


  • Small Tent with groundsheet (or camping hammock)
  • Warm sleeping bag appropriate for weather
  • Sleeping pad
  • Flashlight
  • Camera with enough memory for trip
  • Journal, writing paper
  • Watch with alarm to wake up


When picking clothing. Bring a total of 2 sets of lightweight clothing so that you can change into dry clothes when at the campsite and for sleeping while you let your other clothes dry-out after you wash them at night (if you want).

  • 1 Sweater – fleece or wool. No cotton! Bring a second if its cooler.
  • Long sleeve shirt – lightweight – I like it if they button up to allow a breeze.
  • 2 T-shirts or Tank-tops
  • 2 Quick dry pants
  • 1 Bathing suit
  • 1 pair shorts (or wear pants that zip off)
  • 1 Hat
  • Socks (for number of days, or bring 3 and wash nightly and rotate)
  • Personally the more the better. Hygiene is very important, and you don’t want to get trench foot or foot rot.
  • Sandals to wear around the campsite in the evening
  • Rain gear (top and bottom)
  • Undies (for number of days or 2 and wash one each night)
  • Bras (one for every 2 days)


  • Toothbrush,
  • Floss,
  • Toothpaste,
  • Dental appliances (retainer),
  • Feminine products
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Medication
  • Lip Chap

Easily Accessible

I like to have often used items kept in an outside pocket or top of my pack so they are readily accessible.

  • Map in ziplock bag (with compass)
  • Water bottle
  • Bandaids
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Tweezers
  • Matches or lighter
  • Bear banger/ air horn
  • Knife
  • A bit of toilet paper
  • Important medications
  • Epi-pen if someone has major allergies


  • Tarp (optional)
  • Duct tape
  • Saw
  • Cutting Board
  • Grill if cooking on a fire
  • Work gloves for cooking on a fire
  • Compact lightweight towel

Things you DO NOT NEED for your Backpacking checklist:

· Pillow

· Jeans as clothing

· Forks

· Plates

· Chairs for around the campfire

This is a basic backpacking checklist with only the basic backpacking equipment.

If you are camping with a partner, evenly spread the equipment and food between both packs so that they weigh around the same amount.

Check out the canoe camping list, car camping list and hiking list for additional stuff to bring for various types of camping.

Some other pages that might be of interest:

How to choose the right backpacking equipment

How to camp: Tips and Advice

Return from Backpacking checklist to Camping Expert (home)

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