The "Must Laminate" Packing List For Backpacking
How to create a solid backpacking gear list
Everyone has their own packing lists. My friend, Bella, even laminated each of hers for different seasons and trips. Go Bella! My packing lists have changed many times. There’s packing for basic backpacking, which is essentially overnight hiking. Then there are things I’ll bring bike-packing, overnight canoeing, and even to a cabin that I won’t need all the time. Below are my must-haves, no matter what trip it is. Keep in mind that winter camping is much more nuanced than summer, because everything takes more effort and mindfulness in the cold weather. Plan ahead by going with someone experienced no matter what for your first few times. Then go solo when you feel safe and have your systems dialed.
My Must Grab Backpacking Gear:
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Backpacking Stove/Fuel
- Kitchen pot/ Titanium spork
- Bear bag/or Canister
- 10 Essentials Kit
- 2 Stuff sacks
- Carpenter trash bag to line backpack with
- Backpack - 40-65L
- Navigation: Map and compass.
- Headlamp: plus extra batteries.
- Sun protection: sunglasses, ball cap, and sunscreen.
- First aid: plastic baggie containing bandaids, povidone iodine packets, gauze bandage, chapstick, medical tape, Neosporin, nail clippers, tweezers, Benadryl in case of allergic reaction (Diphen), Advil/Tylenol packets, and tummy ache pills (Bismuth).
- Fire: pocket lighter.
- Shelter: my tent.
- Water purification: Aquamira chemical treatment.
- Bear protection: to protect the bears of course! I have a small cinch-bag that I can put a rock into. Then I tie it off and tie my dyneema rope to it, to throw my bag. I bring a bear canister in areas that require it.
- Extra snacks/layers: I bring extra trail snacks so I don’t get faint and stumble on trails. I also make sure I bring extra underwear and socks on each trip.
- Poop kit: Trowel and TP (in a plastic bag) for doing your business. Bonus: I pack out my TP in a separate personal bag, because it won’t decompose. I do the same with my period waste, only I duct taped the outside of my period waste bag so that it became private.
My Must Grab Clothing
Summer/ Early Fall
- Polyester-blend T-shirt, Nylon zip-off hiking pants, buff.
- Rain coat
- Exercise bra
- Underwear for the number of overnights.
- 1 Pair of socks
- 1 Pair of “sacred” socks
- Camp shoes: “Krockoffs” or sandals
- Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Buff or bandanna
One base layer outfit
- Polyester-blend or wool long sleeve shirt (base layer)
- Insulated wool leggings (base layer)
- 1 pair of Merino Wool lightweight socks
- 1 pair of Merino Wool heavyweight socks for sleeping (sacred!!!)
- Underwear for each overnight
- Sports bra
Additional top layers
- Fleece sweater
- Medium sized puffy jacket
- Shell winter jacket (like a ski jacket)
Additional leg layers
- Snow pants or lightweight shell pants
- Gore-tex mittens
- Gore-tex gloves
- Glove liners, aka base gloves
- Waterproof insulated winter hiking boots (I use Oboz)
“Sacred” Socks? Are you nuts, what are those?
Those are your life. They must always stay safely dry in a plastic bag in your backpack. This way you will always have a safe pair of socks for cold occasions. It is a life saver, keeping one spare pair of socks permanently dry. By the way, you can sleep with your damp sweaty socks against your chest/in your sleeping bag for a dry sock in the morning. It works wonderfully because your body heat dries them out. Try it with damp gloves turned inside-out as well.
In conclusion, start with the bare minimum you see above. Go with someone experienced as a safety net in case something happens, and see what you need to be comfortable. At first, sleeping, cooking, and pooping outside can be an adjustment period for anyone. If you bring the basics like I mentioned above for gear, you will at least have what you need. You will avoid the dreaded 50lb pack, and see what it can mean to own less and experience more.
I hope you found this article helpful! Feel free to copy and save the lists I made to start your own. If you are looking for more to read, you are welcome to check out my blog.