Backpack hiking for extended time periods requires a lot of planning and forethought into preparation. Pack your backpacking backpack with smart outlining and a good list, and there will be no need to sweat the small stuff.
You’ll have everything sorted and organized within your trekking backpack in no time. Chances are this is not your very first hike. Maybe it has been awhile since you’ve been on an excursion, in which case, you can consider this a refresher course.
- Get yourself a large hiking backpack 60 liters or more
- Many hikers carry a secondary backpack, either a daypack or a sling bag 30-45 liters for shorter jaunts from their main camping area.
- Make sure you have a broken-in pair of supportive hiking boots or shoes. You may want to pack a pair of lightweight sandals for relax time.
- Hydration bladder or refillable Nalgene 32 oz. wide mouth water container with purification tablets to turn natural water sources into bacteria-free drinking water.
- You will need a warm sleeping bag, a sleeping pad to put under you, either on the tent floor, or the bare ground for cushioning.
- Microfiber travel towel
Outdoor Hiking Clothes
- Pack clothes that fold up small; 3 T-shirts and 3 pair of under wear, (Commando while trekking is not advised)
- 2 pair of lightweight pants.
Choose moisture-wicking shirts and pants. Get yourself a mesh laundry bag to separate dirty clothes from clean.
Thin hiking pants like Craghoppers work well. Some shirts and pants are impregnated with mosquito repellent. At lakes, streams or ponds, you can rinse your clothing out and it will dry overnight. This prevents you from having to carry so many multiple items.
- Lightweight fleece jacket for summer, Down jacket for Fall/Winter
- 4 Bandanas
- 1 pair water-resistant gloves
- 1 Hat Straw or canvas for summer Wool with ear flaps in Fall/Winter
- 1 Security Belt with secret cash and credit card pocket
- 1 Pair Technical Sunglasses
Your eyes take a beating from the sun, and even a few days on the trail can put you at a higher risk for retina cancer. Choose a high-performance product with polarized, interchangeable lenses (rose-colored ones are best in low light.)
- Hiking Bag First Aid Kit Plus More
Most stores sell a very basic first aid kit. Grab one and add the following to customize it to your needs.
- Sweat-proof Sunscreen - at least 50 spf – Reapply every 90 minutes while hiking
- Razor & blades or disposable razors
- Shaving gel
- Personal medicines and prescriptions such as inhalers
- Ibuprofen or Tylenol
- Throat lozenges
- Disinfectant Wound spray
- Benadryl - Things in the wild can make you itchy
- Imodium Tabs - for diarrhea (it can happen)
- Waxed dental floss – Also makes a super strong stitching material for gear repair
- Bug Spray - At least 40% DEET protects against mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats, chiggers, and fleas, but it isn’t so great for your gear. Use a formula like Picaridin instead, which is just as effective as DEET and won’t destroy your technical fabrics.
Hiking Camping Backpack Stove
- A good camping stove is fast (for boiling water), fuel-efficient, and minimalist. I’ve used the MSR Pocket Rocket which only weighs 3 oz. For windy conditions, the MSR Wind Boiler Stove System has an enclosed wind-resistant design, but it’s a bit pricey at $130. Wind Boiler also makes a $20 Coffee Press for die-hard coffee lovers at camp, which barely weighs an ounce.
- Stick to 1 plastic plate to rewash and use, and 1 lightweight cup and bowl.
- Choose a spoon or fork made from titanium, which is durable, non-toxic, and weighs less than an ounce. Or get a combo spoon/fork from Light My Fire, called a Titanium Spork ($15) available at REI.
Hiking Bag Tools and Gadgets
Handy items you will be glad you have every time – well worth the space in your backpacking backpack.
- Super Glue
- Head lamp
- Multi- purpose tool/ Hunting Knife
- Sewing needle (for gear repair) Use your waxed dental floss as thread
- Small roll of duct tape (fixes so many things)
- A Compass (make sure you know how to read it)
- Lighter and Backup Matches - You should bring a backup pack of matches that will light no matter how wet they get. Coleman’s waterproof matches are good.
You’re all set now, so happy camping. If you have room in your pack and there is something else you feel you truly want and need, my motto is, “Which is more important, safety or packing light?” Go ahead and pack that hiking pack and hit the trails!