Backpacking Checklist


Boy Scout With Vintage Backpack

Printable Version (PDF)

More than perhaps any other outdoor activity, backpacking rewards the efficient packer and punishes the overpacker. After all, you will have to live with—and carry—every decision you make. This list is focused on a three-season, three- to five-day outing, but when packing always plan against the highest high and the lowest low temperatures you'll encounter. It'll protect you from spending a miserably cold night out in the woods, give you a bit more of that oh-so-precious pack space, and save your back.

It's also good to compartmentalize when packing by putting similar items in individual bags. Keeping all your food in one place will save your from leaving an errant energy bar behind when prepping your bear bag (to say nothing of preventing a bear mauling), and putting things like flashlights, matches, and your multi-tool together will help you quickly locate what you need. Also, let things do double duty. For example, a sleeping bag stuff sack or tent sack can make the perfect bear bag.

The Basics

Eating and Drinking

Clothing

Accessories

Optional Items

Special Considerations

*Indicates optional/depending on climate and geography


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