What’s in my Camping Pack: the Ultimate Backpacking Checklist
It’s that time of year again! With the weather getting warmer and sunnier, Ben and I are ready to pull our camping gear out of the closet and hit the trail for some backpacking.
After years of trial and error, I finally made a backpacking gear list that I can use each summer.
- Gear for one night for two people (optional dog gear at the end)
- Backpacking gear, where we park at a trailhead and hike 3+ miles to camp. This isn’t my list for car camping, which is much easier to pack for!
- Assumes both people start the hike in good sturdy hiking boots and durable hiking clothes
We generally camp in the Pacific Northwest, but our gear list was very similar when we camped in the Southeast.
The Ultimate Backpacking gear Checklist
Sleeping Pads (lifesaver!)
First aid kit
Bear cannister – for food and other smelly items like bugspray and sunscreen
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Small shovel – I always pack this just in case I need to dig a bathroom hole…but I’ve never had to use it
Headlamp or flashlight
Ziplock to pack out trash
Extra plastic bag
Small pack of tissues (I’ve been surprised how often I use those)
Ziplock with toilet paper!
Food and Drink
We don’t get too fancy with our food but if you want to there are tons of great ideas online for gourmet backpacking food.
Dinner meals (Mountain House brand is our go-to)
Breakfast meal to share or extra granola bars for breakfast
Tuna sandwiches (for the hike in)
Snicker bar (optional)
S’mores ingredients (optional)
Cocoa or other drinks for camp (optional)
Water pump purifier
Matches and a lighter
Fire Starter – see below
Fire starter info: a toilet paper roll with dryer lint inside makes a great fire-starter. We don’t always make a fire, as not all campsites allow it or sometimes we can’t find enough dry wood, but I usually keep one in my pack.
“Buff” – a scarf/hat aka “multifunctional headwear” – Ben and I both have one and it comes in handy for hiking and camping. Mine is similar to this.
Extra wool socks
Yoga pants for sleeping
Cold-weather clothes if needed
Camp shoes (optional – crocks or flip flops work great and you can clip them to your bag with a carabiner)
Kindle or book
I bring my glasses and a contact case pre-filled with solution
Our dog Kai is 24 pounds. We always keep in on his leash and harness unless he’s secure in the tent.
Dog food (in a ziplock)
Collapsible dog water bowl
Blanket for Kai at night
What isn’t on my list that you bring along on backpacking trips?