Whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced backpacker, the worst thing that can happen is that you forget an item or two that you really need. Here is a list of items that are essential for any backpacking adventure in the wilderness. Before you even start to pack, think about where you are going. Research and plan your trip in detail. Remember that in weather extremes, like a desert or a snowy mountain, you will need extra items suited specifically to those environments. I have created these lists so you can print the article and check things off as you pack them.
This is essential to protect you from the elements. Pack an extra tarp to cover anything left outside your tent to keep it contained and dry. If you are going somewhere where rain is likely, take a tent that is more suited for this. A sleeping pad is essential to protect you and your sleeping bag from the damp and cold rising up from the ground.
Tent or tarp Tent poles, stakes, and guy lines
Ground cloth or tarp Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad Mosquito netting
Camp pillow Camp spade
Pack carefully and consider the weather that may be coming up. Extra socks are always a good idea.
Hiking boots Sandals (to cross streams)
Pants and shorts Thermal tops and bottoms
Socks Fleece jacket and pants
Hat and gloves Lightweight wind jacket
Raincoat Cotton shirts
Camp food is delicious, but make sure if you need to cook food you have investigated the regulations. Some places have fire bans in summer. So if you can cook, here is a list of possible items to include.
Stove and fuel for it Utensils, plates, and bowls
Lighter or matches Bear canister or hang bags for food storage
Knife Water purification tablets
Dehydrated food Tinned food or other easy, fast-cooking food
Pots and pans Dishwashing liquid and tea towels
Water storage containers Energy bars and drink mixes
First Aid Supplies
Always have your first aid supplies packed at the top of your backpack, so they’re easily reached. You don’t need too many items, just the basics to cover you for the cuts, grazes, and stings that may occur. Also, include sunscreen and personal comfort items.
Cell phone Emergency blanket
Whistle Duct tape and rope
Sunscreen and lip balms Insect repellents
Hat and sunglasses Toilet paper
Flashlight and batteries Personal hygiene items
First aid kit – check that it includes band-aids, insect and sting cream, blister cream, gauze bandages, tweezers, wound pads, a large rubbish bag
Extra medications for asthma, allergies, and any other medical conditions your group has.
Know your route, mark it on the map, and, if you know how to use one, carry a compass. Make note of prominent landmarks as you travel, and stay on the marked trails. Take a GPS tracking device – they weigh very little and will help others find you if anything does happen.
Once you have packed the essentials and you find you have room left, you can add whatever else you might want. Remember that if you carry it in you must carry it out. Now you have everything you need to explore with confidence.