Backcountry Gear Checklist

Here is a list of things to bring with you on a backpacking trip. Some of these items may not be necessary depending on the environment you'll be in and the time of year. And some of the essentials may be up for debate.

One Per Group Items (Essential and Non-Essential)
Water Filter, Iodine Tablets, or other Purification (I'm a big fan of the MSR Miniworks)
Stove and Fuel
Waterproof matches in waterproof container (in case lighters have been compromised)
Hatchet (soaked wood is much easier to ignite if split)
Survival Kit (flint, candle made of fat, snare wire, etc.; the SAS version is great)
Map (sufficiently detailed for your purposes)
First Aid Kit
Duct Tape (Enough to be useful)
Snake Bite Kit (if poisonous snakes are known to be an issue)
50' of rope (for descending steep slopes or fording rivers)

One Per Person Items (Essential)
Water Bottles (I usually go with two Nalgenes that are compatible with my water filter)
Backpack (preferably waterproof. Arcteryx makes a great pack)
Flashlight or Headlamp
Bug Repellent
Hat or Bandana (to protect head from sunburn)
Sunglasses (with polarized lenses)
Knife or Leatherman
Toilet Paper
Sleeping bag (rated appropriately)
Sleeping pad (if sleeping on snow, insolite pad is recommended)
Plastic Garbage Bag (preferably black to absorb sunlight and heat water)
Small Aluminum or Titanium Pot (for cooking and boiling)
Cup and Spork
Rain Gear (top and bottom should be able to keep you completely dry)
Long Underwear
Pants (ones that convert to shorts are great. Denim and other difficult-to-dry materials are bad)
3 layers for chest (eg. t-shirt, fleece long-sleve and jacket)
Winter Cap
Gloves (preferably wool or fleece; ones with removable fingers are nice)
Hiking boots or shoes
Extra Socks (wool or synthetic)
Extra Underwear (boxers aren't the best)
Prescription eyewear (glasses or contacts, plus cases)

One Per Person Items (Non-essential)
Dental Floss
Tooth brush
Tent, Rainfly, and Footprint/Tarp (I'm a huge fan of bringing a tent as opposed to a bivy sack)
Bear Canister (makes a nice seat and protects food from other critters)
Chair converter for sleeping pad
Fishing Rod, Lures, and Fillet Knife
GPS (it makes you feel so much more relaxed!)
Sandals (great for kicking around camp, as Arnot puts it)

Other References

  • Joe's Ultralight Backpacking
  • Books

  • High Sierra
  • SAS Survival Handbook
  • Other

  • Great Quotes