The Brief and Only Backpacking Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:


Spending time in the great outdoors reduces stress and improves your mood. Hiking is a great way to exercise and enjoy nature because you don’t need a lot of complicated gear. Here is a guide to the things you’ll need before you hike and a backpacking checklist to make sure you have everything you need to enjoy your time in the open air.

Hiking Shoes and Socks

Whether you’re taking a leisurely walk on a path or a full-day trip out in the wilderness, the best hiking gear is appropriate footwear. Lightweight hiking shoes and trail runners are excellent for short and long trips because they offer support without weighing you down. 

For socks, it’s best to choose a pair made from wool since that material is better at regulating temperature and keeping your feet dry. 

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First Aid Kit

While out on a hike you can get cuts, scrapes, bug bites, and more. Depending on the location and the length of your hike, the best first aid kit will include supplies for a range of possible issues. For shorter hikes, bug spray and bandaids will probably do the trick. 

If you’ve chosen a lengthier hike on rougher terrain, you’ll need something more involved like a portable medical kit

Important Gear

Among hiking essentials like shoes and a sturdy backpack, you should also take along appropriate clothing like a jacket in case of rain or wind. It’s also a good idea to bring along a headlamp or battery-powered light source just in case you find yourself out once the sun goes down. 

Even if you’re really familiar with the territory, it’s a good idea to take along a GPS or some sort of navigational device. The best backpacking gear will depend on what kind of hike you plan on taking. 

Hydration and Food

Hydration is key for any kind of physical activity. For hiking on hot days, most seasoned hikers take along at least 2 liters of water. You can choose water bottles, collapsible bottles, or water bladders, depending on which style suits you best. 

You will burn a lot of calories out on the hiking trail, so you will need to take along some snacks. It’s a good idea to pack roughly 300-400 calories per hour of hiking. Snack bars and trail mix are great things to include since you can eat them on the go. 

Just in Case

If you’re on a lengthy hike in a remote location, it’s a good idea to take along shelter, extra food, and a lighter or waterproof matches in case you find you are unable to make it back to your vehicle before dark. 

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Backpacking Checklist

Once you’ve purchased a few hiking essentials you’re ready to get packing. Here is a hiking checklist for all the things you’ll want to take along. 

  • Backpack
  • Hiking shoes/socks
  • Jacket or rain gear
  • Food and water
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Bug spray
  • Knife or multitool
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • GPS/cell phone
  • Sanitizing wipes 

Put on your hiking boots, fill up your backpack with these helpful items, and you’re ready to hit the trail!

Ready, Set, Go!

Now that you know the things you’ll need to take along on a hiking trip, you can get out and enjoy the fresh air and all that nature has to offer. Take this backpacking checklist and make sure you’ve packed everything you need for a day outdoors!

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