Backpacking Packing List Basics
With summer winding down, now is a great time to get in one last summer trip. For the adventurers out there, or for those who are looking to try something new, backpacking makes a great last-minute travel option. For the most part, backpacking is affordable, easy to plan on a whim, and you’ll often be able to find a backpacking location close to home if you aren’t looking to travel far. One of the best tips you’ll receive as a newbie backpacker is to pack light! Remember you’re going to be carrying all of our belongings with you whoever you go so the lighter your load the better. However, don’t skimp on the essentials; make sure you’ve got these basics in your backpack when you reach your destination.
Being in the great outdoors, there’s a guarantee that you’re going to run into some pesky bugs. Keep the bug bites away and avoid irritating itching by remembering to pack bug repellant.
Make sure you’re protecting yourself from the elements no matter what the season is; packing sunscreen is a must.
First Aid Kit
You’ll want to make sure that you’re backpacking first aid kit contains a few extra items than your regular first aid kit. For example, if you’re allergic to bug bites or suffer from any other type of potentially deadly allergic reaction you’ll want to include an EpiPen. It’s also advisable to pick up a snake bite kit especially when you’ll be traveling days out from immediate help. Bug bite itch cream and Moleskin for blisters are also something you’ll want to add to your kit and it could make the world of a difference when it comes to unexpected ailments.
Rubbing two sticks together might bring the whole camping experience together but the convenience of a lighter and matches cannot be understated.
If you’re going to be days out from civilization it might be worth it to invest in a satellite phone. It’s also suggested to remember to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. If you don’t return when you’re supposed to and haven’t contacted that person to let them know otherwise, they will be able to alert the authorities that something might not be right.
The size of your backpack is largely dependent upon how long your trip is going to last. For shorter trips lasting 4 days or less it’s suggested that your backpack be able to hold between 50 and 70 liters (volume). When in doubt don’t be afraid to ask an expert at your local camping or outdoor store. It’s better to ask then be stuck backpacking with an inadequate backpack.
The size of your tent will depend on whether you will be sharing a tent and what type of weather you’ll expect to encounter along the way. There are hundreds of options available so do your research ahead of time so that you’ll end up with the best possible fit for your trip.
Sleeping Bag & Pillow
Depending on where you’re traveling and the time of year you’ll want to make sure that your sleeping bag is rated correctly. If you’re traveling during the colder months, it’s advised that your sleeping bag be rated at least 10 degrees cooler than the lowest temperature you’re expecting overnight.
Be sure that your boots are the correct size. Nothing will spoil your trip faster than ending up with blisters due to improper fitting boots. If you’re unsure of what the correct fit should be, ask a professional when you go to purchase your boots.
Contrary to your initial thoughts about wool, wool will keep your feet comfortable and dry in your boots during the trek. If possible, opt for wool socks over cotton or cotton blends, your feet will thank you for it!
Water filtration & Storage System
This is very important, especially when you’re going on a trip that’s going to take you a few days. Purchase a bladder over a hard canteen and make sure you can get at least 2 liters of water into it.
Flashlight & Headlight
Don’t forget to pack a flashlight, you’ll need this during moonless nights. A headlight can come in handy too as it frees your hands up so that you can collect wood or put together you’re tent in the dark. Last but not least, don’t forget to pack extra batteries.