Monday, July 23, 2012

Backpacking List

For a while now I've been really into backpack hiking. I could say it's my newly discovered love. There's something about being out there in the wilderness by yourself, away from civilization, cars, cell-phones, loud artificial sounds, hoards of people, that renews me and fills me up with happiness and energy. For those who like to run, they call it "the runner's high." I guess I have "the hiker's high," and you can probably speak about similar highs with any other outdoors activity. Whatever rocks your high boat!

I've long wanted to make an extensive list of all the items I need to bring with me when hiking, as there's always something I forget at home. The list below was borrowed from my friend David Pilz and slightly modified/expanded to suit my own packing needs. 

Some of the items on the list below are linking to my favorite camping items/brands, but that doesn't mean they are the best, or that I am endorsing a certain brand. They are just the items I've used and liked, and a good recommendation starting point for anyone building a "hiking kit" from scratch. 

The weight of your backpack with all the items inside it already should be less than 25% of your body weight, so, keep that in mind when purchasing new camping items, such as sleeping mat, tent or sleeping bag. Today, you can find extremely light and compact camping gear. Some of it can be expensive, but it's worth it, if you know you'll be hiking or camping a lot. I've had my ultralight sleeping bag, mat and tent for years now, have used them tons of times and never regret the investment.


The Essentials

  1. Backpack (60-80L)
  2. Rain cover for backpack (optional; only if you're know there's chances of rain)
  3. Hiking boots - I recommend real hiking boots, with good ankle support
  4. Trekking poles (optional; I don't use them, but they're nice to have on downhills)
  5. Tent
  6. Sleeping mat
  7. Sleeping bag
  8. Headlamp (bring extra batteries!)


  1. 2 tshirts
  2. 1 (fleece) hoodie - I hate fleece, but when you're cold and sweaty, it works like magic.
  3. Jacket (or windbreaker)
  4. 1 pair convertible pants
  5. 1 pair underpants/thermals
  6. Tevas
  7. 2 pairs hiking wool socks
  8. Underwear
  9. Swim suit /trunks
  10. Beanie (gloves optional)
  11. Girls: 1 heavy impact/yoga bra
  12. Rain gear (jacket and pants or poncho, depending on season and area)
Note: I also bring a lightweight long-sleeved lycra jacket. Benefits: It protects your arms against sunburn, insect bites and scratches from hiking in dense forest. It gets sweaty, but then it dries super duper fast. Its' sleeves also come in handy for wiping off sweat and my runny nose. Gross, but it works for me.


  1. Camera (+ a spare battery + camera case + neck strap)
  2. Ipod + Headphones
  3. Kindle (or a real book, why not?) - I've used my Kindle a lot recently and really love it.
  4. GPS (optional) 
  5. Maps  
  6. Pen + tiny notebook
  7. Sunglasses


  1. Toothpaste
  2. Toothbrush
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Lip balm
  5. Bug repellent
  6. Toilet paper
  7. Wet Towelettes 
  8. Travel Towel 
Special case extras: 
  • contact lens liquid + case
  • Girls: tampons
  • a couple of q tips
  • Deodorant  (I personally never bring one when hiking, just use a wet towel)

First Aid Kit

  1. The essentials
  2. Moleskine + band aids + anti-blister gel
  3. Painkillers (Ibuprofen, Vicodin)
  4. Altitude-sickness pills (optional)
  5. Nasal decongestant
  6. Allergy pills (antihistamines)
  7. Poison oak soap (optional, if you know you're allergic to that shit)

Cooking Gear

  1. Mini stove + Gas
  2. 1 camping cooking pot
  3. 1 Bowl / 1 Mug / 1 Spork (the plastic accordion ones are really light and small)
  4. Utility Knife (or Swiss army knife)
  5. Matches and/or a lighter
  6. Kleen Kanteen water bottle
  7. Katadyn water filter (or water purification tablets)
  8. 1 small bottle of Castille Soap
  9. 1 small sponge
  10. 1 garbage bag


  1. Oatmeal (+freeze-dried strawberries)
  2. Energy food (bars, chewables, gels)
  3. trail mix
  4. Tea bags / Coffee powder
  5. Tortellini / pasta / bagged pasta sauce
  6. Packaged camping food (This is expensive, so I avoid it, but if you can afford it, why not?) 
  7. Other (whatever you're craving, as long as it's not too heavy and doesn't go bad.) 
I hope this was helpful. I will conclude today's post with a cool poster I found online recently.