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Backpacking Checklist: Essential Items for Camping


Article Categories: Hiking Tips
Article Tags: Backpacking | Camping | Hiking Tips

So you are going backpacking soon and need the right gear? We have created several resources for you to use by creating a Google Sheet, Downloadable Excel Sheet, and a Table down below with the ultimate backpacking checklist.

You’ll be sure to have everything you need using any of the below resources.

Quick Navigation:
Google Sheet | Excel Spreadsheet | On Site Checklist | Why Are These Items Important?


A Google Sheet


Use this link and simply go to “File” and select “Make a Copy” to have your own checklist to use on your Google drive at any time.

Don’t like Google Sheets? No Problem. We have a download link for an Excel document.


Excel Spreadsheet

Download your backpacking checklist here.


On Site Checklist

Going for a camping sounds great. But if you don’t pack your bags right, then it could turn out to be a nightmare. Now, while selecting the essential backpacking gear, you’ll need to make the right choices. Bringing enough to be safe, and comfortable, but not so much that your backpack is weighing you down.


Item Is it packed?
Walking / Hiking Items
Backpack & Raincover
Hiking / Trekking Poles
Food & Water
Water Bottles & Reservoir
Water Filtration System or Chemical System
Meals for Camp
Snacks & Energy for hiking (bars, nuts, gels, etc)
Extra food for emergencies
Clothing & Footwear
Moisture Wicking Underwear
Moisture Wicking Shirt
Pants / Shorts
Long Sleeve (For sun or warmth)
Fleece / jacket
Boots / Trail Runners
Rain Jacket
Extra Clothes
Sandals / Flip flops
Bandana / Neck Gaiter / Buff
Gloves / Mittens
Extra underwear
Extra socks
Extra pants
Extra shirt
Map of Area
Watch and/or GPS
Emergency Satellite Device / Beacon
Campsite Items:
Tent / hammock, stakes, rain fly, tent footprint (optional)
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Pillow / Clothes to make pillow
Headlamp / Flashlight & Extra Batteries
Bear Box / Bear Bag / Bear Spray (depending on location)
Nylon Rope (50 ish feet to hang bear bag)
Camping chair (optional)
(Lantern / camp light)
Sleeping Bag Liner
Tools & Repair Items:
First Aid Kit
Extra line / rope
Knife / Saw / Axe / Shovel
Tent pole repair sleeve
Sleeping pad repair kit
Kitchen Items:
Stove & Fuel
Lighter / Matches
Cooking Pots
Water Bottles
Water Filter
Plates / Bowls
Dish cleaning soap / scrubber
Bottle opener / can opener
Trash Bag
Hygiene & Health
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Toilet Paper
Poop Bags
Menstrual Products
Prescription Medication (Inhaler, pills, epipen, etc)
Prescription Eyewear
Hygiene & Health: Optional
Soap / Shampoo / Hand Sanitizer
Bug Spray
Blister treatment
Mental & Backup:
Are you healthy?
Did you give your itinerary to someone not on your trip?
Do you have the proper permits?
Credit Card / Cash
ID / License
Car Keys
Cellular Device
Backpacking Extras:
Daypack / extra backpack for day hikes
Book / Cards / Entertainment


Why Are Some Of These Items So Important?


1. Sleeping Bag And Pad:

Lying on the grassy ground with leaves here and there seems soothing. Reality is, it could be a short term pastime. You need a good and warm sleeping bag for sleeping when the night comes and the temperature falls. Besides, insects could get into your clothes if you sleep at an open place.

Don’t ever forget a sleeping pad. Not only will it enable you to sleep more comfortable, but most importantly, sleeping pads keep you warm. Sleeping on the ground without a pad will pull the heat away from you and reduce the effectiveness of your sleeping bag.

If you aren’t in the backcountry, you may want a larger blow up mattress. Or if you are with your significant other, a camping mattress for couples might be of interest to you.


2. Tent / Hammock

If you want to keep dry, you need a tent or hammock setup. It will protect you from the elements, and is an essential piece of your camping gear.


3. Fire Arrangements

If you are in an area where fires are allowed, there is pretty much nothing better than a fire in the wilderness. Even if you aren’t you should have gear in case of an emergency or survival situation.


4. Water Supply

Water is the key that keeps you hydrated during the camping or backpacking adventure. You need enough to drink, make your food, and maybe clean up a bit. Having a water filtration system is an absolute life saver.


5. First-Aid Kit

Simply put, just be prepared for injuries. You’ll be happy you have this on you.


6. Toilet Paper

You’ll want a clean butt for when nature calls.


7. Flashlight / Headlamp & Extra Batteries

Humans aren’t good at seeing at night. This is an essential item if you don’t want to have to do nothing from sunset to sunrise.


8. Navigation Items

You’ll want an old fashioned map and compass for backup, but GPS devices are also fantastic to have. Stay safe by knowing where you are, having bailout points, and making the right route decisions.


9. Knife

From cutting a rope to slicing butter, a knife is your ultimate tool during camping chores. A multipurpose knife will serve you for tons of activities. They are also important survival tools.


10. Money & Phone

Be ready in case something goes wrong, or you need to head back to civilization. A phone is a big safety net, just make sure it is charged.

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about

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