What do I bring when backpacking is usually the first question that gets asked. Unfortunately it's not an easy question to answer because it depends on what kind of backpacking you are doing, where you are going, whats the season or climate of the hike, and who you are going with. Even the most skilled backpackers have to think about these questions when backpacking. The basic list provided on this page are good guidelines to follow, but you have to add or delete certain things depending on what you are doing. Remember, whenever you go out into the outdoors, plan your event by asking:

  • WHO - Do you have a large group where you can distribute the gear and the weight? Is your group younger or older? Medical needs?
  • WHAT - What are you taking? What is your emergency plan?
  • WHEN - Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall? Cold, Heat, Rain or Snow? Night hiking?
  • WHERE - Where are you hiking? Desert, High Alpine, Lush Forest, Tundra, Coastal? Make a plan and then figure out HOW your are going to do your hike.
  • WHY - Why are you doing the hike? Is this a training hike to test out gear? Is this a 50 miler or more? Are you concerned with comfort or weight?
  • HOW - This is the big one.... How are you going to hike this trip? Plan out your destinations. Is there water at these destinations? How many miles everyday?

If you can answer and prepare for these questions, you'll usually be good to go!

Car camping gone wrong

Backpacking is different than car camping.

Backpacking list


Shelter (tent, bivy, hammock, tarp, etc)

Sleeping bag

Sleeping pad

Reflective pad / cloth **



Mess Kit / eating utensils

Bear bag w/ rope / canister

Stove w/ fuel



First Aid kit

Pocket knife

Navigation - Map and Compass / GPS

Water Treatment

Fire starter

Flashlight / headlamp

Rain and/or snow coat

Whistle / signalizing

Sun protection (hat / lotion)

Trail food



Gaiters (optional)


Jacket / Coat

Sandals / camp shoes

Swim suit (optional)

Extra clothing


Summit Pack

Hygiene items (tooth brush, soap....)

Troop 25 Backpack checklist.pdf

General Pack List developed by Troop 25. Does not anticipate all camping locations or seasons. Add / Subtract items based on your camping plan.

Philmont Packing List 2018.pdf

Backpack List developed by Philmont Scout Ranch. Designed for longer treks (7 day or more) , Southwest U.S. high elevation camp. Rustic camp with incorporated camps. Anticipated monsoon rails daily, bears, snakes, scorpions.