Although I do not backpack a lot, I do like going on overnight longer trails, especially if I have good company. As am prepping for an upcoming trip and like always trying to reach the deep ends of my mind to get that ‘List’, I thought of finally writing it down for good.

I am not a winter hiker, so this list is strictly a 3 season hike guide. I am also listing down my gears, so if you have questions about any of it, shoot a comment.

The Essentials – Even before getting into sleeping bags or cooking stuff, am going to list down absolute essentials which one should not forget at any cost.

  1. The Backpack: It is very important to select the right backpack in terms of weight and volume. I own a North Face Terra 65 pack, it’s big but light. You can find a good guide to select the right backpack here.
  2. Shelter
  • Tent – like the backpack, it is very important to select the right tent when backpacking. I own 2 backpacking tents – Koppen Maelstorm 2 person tent and Kelty TN3 3 person tent. Both have its own advantages but they fulfill all my trip requirements.
  1. Navigation
  • Map (with protective case)
  • Compass
  • GPS (optional)
  1. Insulation
  • Jacket, vest, pants, gloves, hat depending on weather condition.
  1. Illumination
  • Headlamp (won’t believe how necessary this becomes) or flashlight (plus spare)
  • Extra batteries
  1. First-aid supplies
  • First-aid kit
  1. Fire
  • Matches or lighter
  • Waterproof container
  • Fire starter (for emergency survival fire)
  1. Repair kit and tools
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Ropes
  • Duct tape strips
  1. Hydration
  • Water bottles or hydration system
  • Water filter or other treatment system

The Additionals

  1. Sleeping Bag
  2. Sleeping Pad
  3. Sun protection – Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Cap/Hat
  4. Trekking Poles
  5. Food
  6. Energy Bars
  7. Stove (ultra-portable)
  8. Fuel for Stove
  9. Utensils and Dishes
  10. Packable Lantern
  11. Insect repellent

Clothing: Warm Weather

  • Wicking T-shirt (synthetic or wool)
  • Wicking underwear
  • Quick-drying pants or shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirt (for sun, bugs)
  • Sun-shielding hat
  • Bandana or Buff

Clothing: Cool Weather

  • Wicking long-sleeve T-shirt
  • Wicking long underwear (good sleepwear)
  • Hat, cap, skullcap, balaclava or headband
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Rainwear (jacket, pants)
  • Fleece jacket or vest, and pants

Footwear; Assorted Personal Items

  • Boots or shoes suited to terrain
  • Socks (synthetic or wool) plus spares
  • Gaiters
  • Sandals (for fording, in camp)

Optional and Personal Items

  • Camera and memory cards
  • Binoculars
  • Permits (based on your location)
  • Route description or guidebook
  • Field guide(s); star identifier
  • Notebook and pen or pencil
  • Credit card; small amount of cash
  • Earplugs and eye shade
  • Toilet paper
  • Sanitation trowel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bear spray
  • Toothbrush and/or toiletry kit
  • Contact Lens Kit (necessary for me!)
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Cell phone/satellite communicator/2-way radios
  • Post-hike snacks, water, towel, clothing change