Backpacking Checklist: 90 list for long + Essential list for short Trip

Are you going out on a backpacking trip? This post has all the things that you need to make your trip interesting and one to remember. Not all of these items are a must to carry but most of them are essential. It all depends on the activities that you’re going to engage in, the days that you’re going to spend and the weather condition of the camping area. Our step by step backpacking checklist will help you carry what you need and leave out what you don’t.

Before you go backpacking, you need to form a list of the items that you will need so that you don’t leave behind items that are important for your trip.

Summary of Contents

Essential backpacking Checklist (for long trip)

Every backpacker understands that they need a quality backpack to pack their necessities. There are different types of backpacks on the market and choosing one that suits your style is very crucial. Consider acquiring a durable made and lightweight backpack that will fit all your essentials.

Tent and sleeping

As you create your backpacking list, don’t forget to include a tent and where you will sleep. In fact, you should consider the type of shelter that is suitable in the area that you’re going to hike and the tent accessories required.

  1. Tent and tarp – the first thing to decide on before going backpacking is the type of tent that you will use. There are different types of tents on the market and choosing the best is vital. Hikers, hunters and even campers love tarpaulin tents due to their lightweight nature. These are easier to carry and are normally built from plastic or nylon material. Ensure that you pick the ideal tarp size and design.
  2. Sleeping bag – a sleeping bag can be the difference between sleeping soundly and having a long night. With so many types on the market, choose a design and material that offers you the best comfort. It should be large enough to allow you turn as you sleep. Also, some come with nets so that you can be completely enclosed but still able to breathe as you take a nap.
  3. Sleeping pad – if you are backpacking in a cold surrounding, then a sleeping bag will be very good for you. This is because these bags offer great warmth. Select a bag that is suitable for you as there are different types such air pads, and closed-cell foam. Also, some come with cushioning while others are great insulators.
  4. Hammock – alternatively, you can carry a hammock if you’re afraid of sleeping on the floor. This can be attached to two poles inside the camping ground or even trees. Most of the hammocks are made from fabric, net or ropes. Ensure you pick the one that you feel is great for you. Pick a hammock that comes with netting if you want one to sleep on.
  5. Duct tape – a duct tape is a do it all product. The silvery and waterproof tape can be used to set up a tent and join different items together. In some cases, a duct tape can be also applied to set up a hammock.
  6. Headlamp – this is a wonderful item to add to your backpacking list. A headlamp will help to light your path and inside the tent too. Make sure that you choose a headlamp that you’re comfortable with. It should be bright enough, long-running and durable. Go for the best quality if you want the best.
  7. Ground cloth – if you’re an overnight backpacker, then including a ground cloth in your backpacking list is worth it. A ground cloth will prevent you from the extreme cold, moisture, dirt, and mud. Also, most of the ground clothes are large enough to cover the entire underground of a tent, thus, they ensure that all your items are safe and clean.
  8. Pillow – camping pillows are of great importance to a backpacker as they make sure that the user gets the much-needed comfort. Sleeping in a tent while backpacking can be difficult if you don’t make your beddings comfortable enough. Carry a lightweight and sizeable pillow to allow you have a smooth night.
  9. Camping chair – backpacking involves carrying lots of items on your back. So, when you get a place to camp, it is important that you make yourself as comfortable as possible. Carry a camping chair that is small and simple to pack. This can help you to relax on it when you don’t have any activity or when you are free.


There are different types of backpacks on the market. They are made from different materials and come in a wide range of sizes. Ensure that you select an ideal backpack for your journey.

  1. Backpack – this is one of the most important items on your backpacking checklist. Before you select a backpack, you should know the number of items that you will have to carry. This will, in turn, help you select the right backpack for your backpacking trip. Bags come in different designs, shapes, and materials. Pick a lightweight but durable bag with the right size. The bag should have compartments for storing small items.
  2. Backpack cover – protect your selected backpack by purchasing a backpack cover. Some backpack brands offer backpack covers. If yours doesn’t have one, you should buy and include it in your backpacking checklist. Such a cover will help you secure your bag and items from adverse weather conditions such as rain and dust.
  3. Daypack – it won’t be right if you will have to carry the whole backpacking bag while you go hunting or fishing. So, including a small daypack in your backpacking list is a good idea. It will allow you to carry items that you will need while out hunting, hiking or when biking.
  4. Compression packing cubes – these will help you pack your clothes in an organized manner. Compression packs constrict your clothes allowing you to have additional space to keep more items. Jackets and blankets occupy a lot of space. So, if they are compressed, they leave more space to keep other things.
  5. Hanging toiletry bag – if your backpack is full, you can make up your mind and add a toiletry bag. A toiletry bag has several advantages such as it enables the backpacker to have his or her toiletries in one place. Also, it can be hung at an ideal place inside the tent where it can be accessed easily.

Cooking and eating

Of course, you should have in mind what you will cook, how you will cook it and what items you will use to cook it. Carry enough fuel to last you the days that you will be away and make sure you have a lighter to start a fire.

  1. Stove and fuel – one of the major items to carry in your backpack is a stove. There are various types of stoves to choose from. Some are large with two burners while others come with just one burner. The stove that you pick should be lightweight and excellent for backpacking. Carry enough fuel to last you the days that you will be in the wild.
  2. Cooking utensils – since you will have to cook while backpacking, you need to bundle up the right cook utensils. These include a cook set, kettle, spoon, knife, and fork. These will help you prepare different meals very well.
  3. Bowl and plate
  4. Insulated cup
  5. Trash bag – even while you’re out there in the wild, you will still be required to keep the area around and inside your camp in the best condition. After preparing a meal, you will require disposing of the remains of the food. This will be done in the trash bags that you carry so that you don’t have to litter the remains outside or around the camp.
  6. Water filter – getting purified and clean water free of impurities in the wild is almost impossible. The streams, small lakes and rivers found in the wild don’t have clean water to drink. So, packing a water filter will help you get rid of impurities in water and make it safe to drink or use.
  7. Water container – it is important to pack enough water for washing of dishes or to use to cook food. Getting clean water in the wild is very difficult and thus, you should have your own water. Also, water containers can be used to fetch water to use.
  8. Water bottle – with the hardship of getting clean water while outdoor, it is a good idea to carry a water bottle with clean water. There are different water bottle sizes and choosing a large one is a wonderful idea.
  9. Tea/coffee – some of the best and drinks to prepare while backpacking are coffee, tea and chocolate. Pack some coffee or tea with you. Tea will help reduce stress after a long day out hunting or biking. On the other hand, coffee can make you stay awake and active.
  10. Snacks
  11. Food storage containers – these are sold in different sizes and quality. Depending on the number of days that you’re backpacking, you will be forced to either carry a small or large container with little or lots of food, respectively.
  12. Food and drinks – although there is a chance that you may find food in the wild, especially if you’re a hunter or angler, you should carry your own food to cook. Pack some foods that you will cook and drinks that you will take. You can carry drinks like soda or even energy drinks.

Clothing list

The clothing list may vary drastically depending on how many days you’re going to spend out there. If the weather is warm, you will need to acquire clothes that are ideal for that weather and if it’s cold, you should as well be required to pack clothes that keep you warm.

  1. Underwear
  2. Camp shoes – pack some camp shoes which will allow you to move around the campfire freely or around the camp as you relax. These should be lightweight and very easy to clean. They can be made of plastic, rubber or mesh.
  3. Socks – there are various kinds of socks on the market. Select the best material that is suitable for the weather in the area that you’re heading to. The socks should be long enough to fit up to your knees. These will prevent you from the cold evenings and as you sleep in your sleeping bag.
  4. Vest
  5. Hiking shorts – pack some hiking shorts with you so that you can wear them while inside or outside the camp. Select quality hiking shorts from one of the re-known brands. You can pack two or three pairs of shorts for wearing on different days.
  6. Shirts – pack both short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts. During the day, you can wear a short-sleeved shirt when it is sunny and hot. In the evenings, you can put on a long-sleeved shirt to keep you away from the cold surrounding.

Warm weather

  1. Hat – if you’re going backpacking in a warm climate, then you should carry a hat with you. There are different types of hats to carry depending on your preference and choice. A hat will prevent you from direct sunlight and dust.
  2. Bandana – carry a bandana that will help to cover your hair from dust and other particles.
  3. Pants or shorts
  4. Long-sleeve shirt – you may as well decide to wear a long-sleeved shirt in a hot weather. This will prevent sunburn which is common in the wild.
  5. Synthetic or wool T-shirt – pack a synthetic T-shirt or a T-shirt made from wool. Normally, synthetic T-shirts are lightweight and ideal for warm weather.

Cold weather

  1. Gloves – ensure that you choose quality gloves. There are several types of gloves on the market. Pick quality gloves that are breathable. Also, they should keep you warm during cold evenings. Furthermore, you should put on gloves as you go hunting or hiking to secure your hands.
  2. Rain jacket – if there are signs of rain or you suspect that there will be rainfall in the backpacking area, then, bundle up a raincoat or rain jacket to keep you safe.
  3. Pants
  4. Long underwear – these come in handy during sleeping time. Choose underwear that covers most of your skin. It should be comfortable and made from quality materials like cotton. Also, it should be able to fit you very well.
  5. Long-sleeve T-shirt – pack long-sleeve T-shirts which can be worn in a cold environment to help keep you warm in the evenings.

Safety & health list

In case you are on medication, then you will have to pack your medicines so that you don’t miss to take your dosage. In addition, you should carry a first aid kit which should comprise of things like a bandage, painkillers and other medicinal products.

  1. Permits – many people overlook permits but they are very important. Before you prepare your backpacking list, make sure that you’ve got the right papers that will allow you to visit or camp in a particular area. Failure to do so may just put you in trouble.
  2. First aid kit – this is a very crucial item to include in your backpacking list. There are various types of first aid kits. You can decide to buy a first aid kit online or in stores. Alternatively, you may as well make one by yourself. A good first aid kit should have particulars for dressing wounds, painkillers, and other medicinal products.
  3. Prescription medicine – if you are on medication, don’t leave behind your medicines. Instead, carry your medicine as you travel and inform your physician. Also, you should carry enough medicine for the days that you will be away.
  4. Sunscreen – sunburns are common, especially during summer. Buy a quality sunscreen to protect you from the dangerous ultraviolet rays. You can acquire a sunscreen that is in the form of gel, spray or lotion. It all depends with your likeness. Apply it before you leave your tent in the morning to avoid sunburns.
  5. Sunglasses – if you’re going backpacking in a hot climate or during summer, then you need to bundle up sunglasses. Sunglasses come with different tints and you should select the ones that fit you well. UV rays are dangerous to the eyes and protecting your eyes while out there in the wild is important.
  6. Lip balm – during hot weather, your lips may dry up and start to crack. This is at times painful and unbearable. To prevent your lips from drying up or cracking, carry a lip balm to apply on your lips every morning before you go hiking or hunting.
  7. Whistle – a camping whistle is a safety item that every backpacker should carry with them. In case of an attack or when in danger, the backpacker can use the whistle to alert other backpackers or nearby people for help.
  8. Lighter or matchbox – pack a lighter that you will use to start a fire to cook your food. A waterproof matchbox should be carried as a backup fire starter just in case it is nowhere to be found.
  9. Razor blade
  10. Multivitamins
  11. Insect repellent – bug bites are common in the wild. Some bugs are very dangerous and their bites might bring you dangerous diseases. Carry an insect repellent to apply on your skin before you head out of the camp. This will deter the insects and prevent them from biting.
  12. Goggles – wear goggles if you want to protect your eyes from the wind, sun, and dust. You never know what you are likely to face out there. Also, goggles make the views to be more clear and more visible.
  13. Flashlight – a flashlight not only produces light but gives the backpacker more than one use. Make sure that you choose a tactical flashlight with top features. There are different types of tactical flashlights on the market. The torch that you pick should have high lumens and be made of aluminum or steel. Some come with strobe mode for disorienting assailants and SOS mode to alert nearby people when in danger.
  14. Extra batteries – carry a pair of extra batteries just in case your flashlight runs out of power or even a camera. The batteries that you carry will keep them alive.
  15. Knife – don’t just pack an ordinary knife, but instead, include a multipurpose and durable knife in the backpacking checklist. This will allow you to carry out different duties like setting up a tent, slicing fruits and cutting of different foods.


Whether you’re going to hike, hunt or fish, your backpacking trip should have toiletries in it. In order for a backpacker to have a smooth going, include toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and bio-degradable soap in your backpack. This will help you to maintain a high level of hygiene.

  1. Toothbrush and toothpaste – even though you’re going far away from home, you should still maintain a high level of hygiene. This can be done by cleaning your teeth as needed. Carry a small toothpaste and toothbrush to clean your teeth with.
  2. Tissue paper
  3. Shower gel – many backpackers don’t love using soap to bathe. A good number of shower gels are made up of essential oils, fresh fruits, and floral infusions. These ingredients are less harmful to the environment. The shower gel has a wonderful lather and using it to shower leaves your skin clean and smooth. Choose a shower gel from a top brand.
  4. Hand sanitizer – there are many infectious agents that backpackers come across in the wild. As a result, one should carry a hand sanitizer to keep the infectious agents away. Buy a small bottle of hand sanitizer at your health store and include it on your list.
  5. Lotion – if you want to keep your skin moisturized and soft, then you should carry a body lotion for applying after taking a bath. Select a quality lotion that has anti-aging, nourishing and hydrating properties. This way, you will keep your skin glowing.
  6. Sanitation trowel
  7. Biodegradable soap
  8. Towel – after bathing or swimming in the lake, you need to dry your body. Pack a camping towel. Choose a towel that is lightweight, large and very soft. It should be able to dry quickly and not absorb odors.
  9. Sandals – after a long day hiking or hunting, you need to get out of the hiking boots and allow your feet to breathe. Bundle up camping sandals to wear after a long day out.

Personal Items

To make your backpacking trip even more interesting, you should pack private items that you feel will keep you busy and engaged. Most of these particulars are determined by the activity that you’re going to engage in. This includes things like cameras, trekking poles, mobile phone, games, maps and much more.

  1. Cellphone
  2. Binoculars – if you’re visiting a mountainous area or a park, carry binoculars to make your backpacking trip even more interesting. Get to view mountain peaks or fierce animals from a distance.
  3. Camera – capture all your memories while backpacking with one of the sturdily built cameras. Buy a quality camera with sturdy construction and high magnification. If possible, record videos too.
  4. Credit card
  5. GPS/MAP – a Map or GPS will help you know the direction to your camp and to other fascinating places around your camping area. Ensure that you have it handy.
  6. Guidebook – the best way to travel safely and enjoy your trip is by carrying a guidebook. This book will show you the best areas to visit and where you can have more fun. If you’re a hunter, a guidebook will lead you to a place where you are most likely to make a great kill.
  7. Earplugs
  8. Deodorant
  9. Watch
  10. Playing cards – cards are a great way to keep backpackers busy and keep them entertained. Play cards in the evening after fishing or hunting.
  11. Book/magazine – if you love reading a lot, you can pack your favorite magazine or book to read while on your trip.
  12. Multi-tool – have multi-tool equipment with you as you go backpacking. Such a tool is a Swiss knife. It carries a knife, scissors, bottle opener, wine opener, nail cutter and much more.
  13. Repair kit – include a repair kit in your backpacking list so that you can fix different items and devices.
  14. Trekking poles – these will provide you with support, and stability and reduce strain on the trail. Carrying the whole backpacking luggage isn’t an easy thing. So, as you head to your camping ground fully loaded with backpacking items, have these poles to help you out and ease the load.
  15. Hiking boots – carry hiking boots if you’re going to camp in rough terrain areas. The boots that you bundle up should be durable and longlasting.
  16. Fishing gear –this is for anglers. If you’re going to catch fish, then you should include different fishing gear in your backpack.
  17. Bear spray
  18. Gaiters
  19. Money
  20. Disinfectant wipes
  21. Travel security belt
  22. Writing pad & pencil
  23. Nylon Cord
  24. Compass

Backpacking Checklist 3 Day (for short trip)

Want to minimize backpacking checklist for short term tour like 3 days? Here, we are going to list for you the gears that you need to have during the 3 seasons spring, summer and fall, and as well for 3 day backpacking weekend. The equipment is easy to handle and any backpacker can use them easily with some few tricks. These are excellent gears and totally weigh less. It doesn’t matter if it’s a one day backpacking or for the whole week. The checklist can be used for one day or if it’s for a longer period, things like food, fuel, water, toilet paper ad clothes should be added in the same proportion. These are as follows:

The tent that you plan to setup or carry on your backpacking trip should be of a quality one. Choose the right material and the right size. It should also be lightweight and have a freestanding design.

For relaxing and enjoying the cool wind from the mountains, you should carry a hammock with you. Also, it can be used for sleeping if the ground is very cold or when there are lots of creeping creatures.

Buy a rugged and durably made backpack with various compartments for keeping all your backpacking belongings. Ensure that the materials used to make the backpack are top quality and if possible it should be light enough.

Sleeping pad
If you intend sleeping inside the tent and not on the hammock, then you should carry a sleeping pad and a sleeping pillow. Pick one that is comfortable and light. Pick a size that fits you well. If it’s for two, there are larger sizes as well.

Sleeping bag
Another great choice for sleeping when out there camping is a sleeping bag. Normally, sleeping bags are light but provide the user with the much needed comfortable and warmth. They are the best sleeping materials in spring.

Trekking poles
For individuals who are hiking in steep areas, trekking poles are of great importance. They help ease the pressure on your knees when you are climbing up and as well when going down the slopes.

These are vital in that they help to lighten your tent and the places you walk to at night. If you intend on hunting, the flashlight should be extra bright with some safety features. Headlamps are just great for use inside the tent or on the camping site.

Ensure that you have a map to show you exactly where you are so that you don’t get lost in the woods. Also, having a GPS tracker is an added advantage but not a must. You can buy a tactical watch that has gps.

First aid kit
A first aid kit can help ease pain by offering medical services in case you get sick or are pierced with some sharp objects as you hike.

Stove and fire starter
Carry a light stove with you for cooking. You should as well have a fire starter to light the stove with. Acquire a lightweight backpacking stove.

Water reservoir
Make sure you carry a water reservoir for storing the water that you will need for use during the 3-day period.

Depending on how many days you are going for the hike and how busy you will be using the stove, this will determine the amount of fuel that you will carry.

Food sack
There are various backpacking food storage containers on the market. Acquire one that keeps all the different foods that you will need on your trip.

Water filter
In case you run out of fresh water while hiking, you may be tempted to look for a water source in the forest. Filtering such water is important and you should get a quality water filter to use at such a moment.

Knife, eating utensil and mug
Carry with you a knife for cutting food and setting up the tent or hammock. Have with you eating utensils and a mug for taking tea or coffee.

Toothpaste, toothbrush and toilet paper
These will enable you to maintain a high level of hygiene while out there camping. You can also use a water flosser for your teeth. Ensure you have enough tissue paper.

The camera can be used to take magnificent pictures and videos while hiking. Choose a trail camera plus a compact binocular with quality features and a longer run time.

The clothes vary with regard to season. But it’s important to have a tactical pant, jacket, rain coat, hiking soaks and hiking boats, among many other kinds of clothes. Avoid clothes made from cotton.

These can be carried during summer. Also, you may need sunscreen lotion and insect repellent.

These are some of the crucial backpacking gears to have when camping for 3 days.

Bottom line
Backpacking is really fun and challenging at the same time. But sometimes, backpackers forget to carry items which end up making their life on the trip to be really challenging. With the above-detailed backpacking checklist that we’ve made after several years of experience in this field, you can now use it to select items that you feel are more pressing for your trip and leave out the ones that are not.

Always keep your backpack lightweight and carry just what you feel is needed and important. This will help you to prevent the carrying of unnecessary items. Also, you should ensure that you don’t forget to pack the basic items such as water, clothing, and food. Hope you’ve found this post to be very helpful.

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