Backpacking Packing List | Bold Betties
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Backpacking Packing List

There are many questions you will need to answer when deciding what to pack on your backpacking adventure.  Things like:

  • How long will I be gone?
  • How much weight can I realistically carry?
  • What environmental and/or route conditions will I encounter?
  • Why am I doing this in the first place?!



The length of your trip will dictate the amount of food and water you need and, if you’re like us, how many changes of clothes you will want.  Don’t know about you, but we don’t really want to be rocking the same base layers more than 3 days in a row.

To assess how much weight you can carry, fill your pack up to the maximum weight that feels comfortable to you when trying it on.  Then remove at least 1/3 of the weight.  It might feel light enough when simply trying it on, but wearing it for hours at a time, while physically exerting yourself, possibly at altitude, will make that weight feel a lot heavier. 

The environmental and/or route conditions will dictate the clothing and gear you pack.  If you are backpacking in winter, for example, a) you might be crazy and, b) you will need a sleeping bag rated for cooler temps, you may want to take a different kind of tent and you will want to have warmer layers.

Why ARE you doing this in the first place?  Are you doing this for fun, to enjoy nature and see some pretty scenery?  Or are you doing this to haul ass and beat a record?  Depending on your objectives for your trip, you may want to pack heavier or lighter all around.

This is a comprehensive list of everything you might need or want on a Backpacking Trip. Depending on the specifics of your trip and/or your preferences, you may exclude some of these items or may include others not listed here. You will want to limit the load to those items necessary to keep you safe, dry and comfortable.

[Optional Items / Varies by Trip Type]


Accessories , Clothing & Footwear

See Bold Betties’ Tips for Accessories, Clothing & Footwear here


Travel Gear

  • Trekking poles*
  • Ice axe*
  • Packable lantern
  • [Travel alarm clock]
  • [Water disinfection system or tablets]*
  • [GPS receiver]
  • [Binoculars]
  • [Umbrella]
  • [Book / magazines]
  • [Playing cards]
  • [Field guides or relevant guidebooks]
  • [Language phrasebook]
  • [iPod or other music player and headphones]
  • [Journal or sketchbook with pens]





  • Dehydrated meals
  • energy food (bars, chews, gels, jerky, trail mix, etc.
  • energy drink mixes
  • stove
  • fuel
  • cookset
  • dishes and utensils
  • collapsible sink or container
  • means of keeping bears from food (bear canisters or bags and nylon cord for hanging food bags)


Personal Items

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Insect repellant
  • Hand sanitizer / Hand wipes
  • Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Toiletry kit
  • Toothbrush
  • Cosmetics
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Moleskins
  • Baby wipes
  • [Sleep aids (eyeshades, ear plugs)]
  • Tissue or toilet paper
  • [Alcohol or antiseptic wipes]
  • [Skin lotion]

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