Backpacking Quick Reference Checklist

Essential Gear For Backcountry Hiking

Key to an enjoyable and safe backpacking adventure is remembering what to pack. The following list includes essential items for multi-day hikes from summer through early winter. Important is to tailor your layering system according to the season and expected weather conditions.

  Route Finding

Map (in protective cover)

Route description / guide book

Compass / handheld GPS

Headlamp (extra batteries)

  Clothing / Footwear

Base layer: wicking top / bottom

Mid layer: light to mid-weight fleece

Insulating layer: down jacket

Outer layer: breathable shell jacket

SmartWool microweight shirt (sleeping)

SmartWool microweight bottom (sleeping)

Socks (plus spare for sleeping)

Hiking pants / shorts


Beanie / sun hat

Gloves / mittens

Boots / hiking shoes (extra laces)


Wide mouth water bottle

Collapsible water carrier

Water treatment / filter

  Cooking / Food


Gas canister / fuel

Cigarette lighters / matches (in waterproof container)

Stackable cook set




Quick drying towel

Pocket knife

Meals including for extra day

Energy bars and snacks

Tea and coffee



Stuff sacks

Ziploc storage bags

Plastic bags

  Shelter / Sleeping

Tent, fly and stakes (additional guy lines)

Tent pole repair tube / tent patch


Sleeping bag

Inner sheet

Sleeping pad


  Medical / Survival

First-Aid kit


Lip balm

Insect repellent

Hand sanitizer

Fire starter

Needle, dental floss and safety pins

Parachute cord


Signal mirror

  Personal Items

Money / ID

Smartphone (charged)

ABC watch

Sunglasses (in hard case)

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Toilet paper

Camera and memory cards

Trekking poles

Notebook and pencil

  Tell Someone

Leave an itinerary with a friend