Is backpacking on your bucket list? For many people who enjoy the outdoors taking a solo or group backpacking trip is high on their list. Firing up the ‘ole wood burning backpacking stove under a starry night sky is pretty magical.
With many thousands of trails across the country you will have many opportunities to explore some fantastic wilderness.
Any time you venture out into the wild for a day trip and especially for longer weekly or monthly hikes it is important to be prepared.
Here is a quick gear guide for the must have essentials to help you have a good time.
Your backpacking checklist:
Hiking boots or shoes: Something for your feet is pretty important don’t you think? Unless you are a hardcore barefoot marathoner you are going to need a good pair of foot covering – bear skin boots probably won’t cut it.
Backpack: Not far down the list of essentials is a good backpack – unless you have twenty arms and plan on carrying everything piece by piece. For the rest of us we need backpack. There are an enormous amount of options when it comes to backpacks.
For day trips you can get by with whatever you have on hand that will fit all your gear. For longer excursions you’ll need a framed backpack for more support and durability.
Tent: Sleeping under the stars is a romantic notion but in the wilderness with bugs, snakes, and wild animals galore you’ll probably want a tent. Again there are tent option ups the wazoo so do your research before dropping a bunch of cash.
Sleeping bag and sleeping pad: A cozy place for your bum all snuggled up nice in your tent is also pretty important. Depending on what type of ground you’ll be laying on a pad may or not be required, but it’s always nice to have.
Stove and fuel: Unless you know you’ll always have access to a campfire bring your own wood burning backpacking stove is important as well. If you’ll have plenty of access to dry dead wood that’s one less thing to bring, if not you’d better have a backup unless you like your fish raw.
Kitchen supplies: You don’t have to bring the kitchen sink, but you many want some basic kitchen supplies like plates, bowls, and utensils.
Plenty of food: Food – needed for survival, so pretty important too unless you have plans to catch and eat your meals which is doable but if you haven’t kept up with your survival skill training you may want to pack some food.
Water bottles and water-treatment supplies: Since you can’t rely on collecting rain water you are going to want to bring water. But since water is one of the heaviest items on your list you’ll need water treatment supplies to make use of any water you find on the trails.
Weather-appropriate clothing: Naked trail running can be a fun adventure, until you get bit by a mosquito in a sensitive part of your body. Don’t forget to bring clothes.
Emergency and hygiene supplies: Accidents happen so be prepared. Hopefully your hike will be uneventful in the emergency category but just in case make sure you have the necessary supplies to deal with injury – oh and bring soap if you are going to be out for a week or longer – it’s just the right thing to do for fellow hikers.
Small repair kit: Having an essential sewing kit can be a life saver. Plus don’t forget some patching kits for your tent – a night with a thousand mosquitos is one you won’t soon forget.