Backpacking Checklist

10 Vital Things for safety, survival and basic comfort:

1. Navigation

  • Map (with protective case)
  • Compass
  • GPS (optional)
  • 2. Sun protection

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • 3. Insulation

  • Jacket, vest, pants, gloves, hat
  • 4. Illumination

  • Headlamp or flashlight (plus spare)
  • Extra batteries
  • 5. First-aid supplies

  • First-aid kit (see our First-Aid Checklist)
  • 6. Fire

  • Matches or lighter
  • Waterproof container
  • Fire starter (for emergency survival fire)
  • 7. Repair kit and tools

    • Knife or multi-tool
    • Kits for stove, mattress; duct tape strips
    • 8. Nutrition

    • Extra day’s supply of food
    • 9. Hydration

    • Water bottles or hydration system
    • Water filter or other treatment system
    • 10. Emergency shelter

    • Tent, tarp, bivy or reflective blanket
    • Beyond the Essentials

    • Backpack
    • Daypack or summit pack
    • Pack cover
    • Sleeping bag
    • Stuff sack or compression sack
    • Sleeping pad
    • Pillow or stuffable pillow case
    • Whistle (plus signaling mirror)
    • Multifunction watch with altimeter
    • Trekking poles
    • Ice axe
    • Meals
    • Energy food (bars, gels, chews, trail mix)
    • Energy beverages or drink mixes
    • Stove
    • Fuel
    • Cookset (with pot grabber)
    • Dishes or bowls
    • Utensils
    • Cups (measuring cups)
    • Bear canister (or hang bags for food)
    • Nylon cord
    • Backup water treatment (e.g., halogens)
    • Collapsible sink or container
    • Packable lantern
    • Clothing: Warm Weather

    •  T-shirt
    • underwear
    • Quick-drying pants or shorts
    • Long-sleeve shirt (for sun, bugs)
    • Sun-shielding hat
    • Bandana or Buff
    • Clothing: Cool Weather

    •  long-sleeve T-shirt
    • 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)
    • Camera and memory cards
    • Binoculars
    • Permits
    • 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
    • Insect repellent
    • Headnet
    • Bear spray
    • Toothbrush and/or toiletry kit
    • Biodegradable soap (and shower bag)
    • Quick-dry towel
    • Cell phone/satellite comunicator/2-way radios
    • Post-hike snacks, water, towel, clothing change
    • Trip itinerary left with friend + under car seat

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