Backpacking Trip and Packing List

My daughter is headed off on her first backpacking trip today. I signed her up. She’s thrilled. She’s 14, so if you really think she’s thrilled, I have a piece of land that might interest you. Actually, she’s a bit intrigued, but did feel shocked when I told her that a vehicle carrying her stuff is not showing up at a campsite. “That’s why it’s called backpacking, ” was my response.

Her packing list provided by the group she is going with was short and managable. One thing on the list I wouldn’t have thought of was a camp chair. In case you’re planning a 4-day backpacking trip anytime soon, here are the details of what you might bring:

Scott Walker’s List: (I edited down in some places, but kept most wording just the same)

  • T-shirts 1-2 – Recommended type- Patagonia Capalene light or silk weight, Marmot light or silk weight DriClime, or similar. They dry faster and retain their performance when wet. Cotton is okay for sleeping in.
  • Light or mid weight long underwear shirt. Same materials as above, no cotton.
  • Expedition weight shirt/jacket.
  • Rain Jacket – big enough to fit over all layers. Recommended. Gore-Tex or similar. Ponchos are not recommended.
  • Underwear– 1-2 pairs of most comfortable
  • Shorts – Loose fitting, nylon, hiking or river shorts are best.
  • Light or mid weight long underwear if you get cold easily
  • Pants – Nylon pants are best, if these are zip-off pants they can double as your shorts. Pants are great to hike in to protect your legs from thorns, and poison ivy.
  • Rain Pants* -These pants are optional, Most people do not take these on backcountry trips, but if you feel more comfortable bringing them then go for it.
  • Hiking Boots– Medium off-trail backpacking/hiking boots. This is the most important piece of equipment on any backpacking trip. Make sure they are still comfortable. Make sure they fit with the socks you will be bringing
  • Socks – 2-3 pairs of wool-synthetic blend or synthetic socks. Smart Wool, Patagonia, and Bridgedale. All make excellent backpacking/hiking socks. These socks must be long enough to pass the top of your boots.
  • Camp shoes– A pair of old tennis shoes are perfect for these around camp, and day trip shoes. Sandals of any kind are not acceptable. You will switch into these shoes at the end of each hiking day. These should be comfortable and big enough to be worn with your hiking socks.
  • Bowl-This bowl is what you will eat all of your meals out of. It should have a lid so it is able to keep leftovers, and sturdy enough to be packed in you pack. Tupperware is great, and screw tops are better then ones that just press on.
  • Plate-A small plastic plate is best, durable and small enough to fit into your pack easily.
  • SpoonLexan spoons are the best. They are durable, light, and cheap. You should not need a fork, but if you want to bring one it is up to you.
  • Water Bottles– You need 2 water bottles. The total capacity should be at least 2 liters. Camelbacks are extremely popular and very handy. If you bring one of these you will also need a water bottle, and the total of these two should be at least 2 liters. Brands: Camelback is the most durable brand in this product line. Other brands are acceptable, but if you are going to buy one of these get a Camelback. Nalgene is the best outdoor water bottle on the market. They are unbreakable. Wide mouth is best, but if you already have a small mouth bottle, don’t buy a new one just for this trip.
  • Pocket Knife-Used mostly for cooking and food preparation. Multi-tools are great, and are usually more durable. Leatherman is a great brand, but can be pricy and heavy. Look for the smaller backpacking version.
  • Sunscreen -SPF 15 or higher, must be sweat proof and long lasting. You will also need lip balm with SPF.
  • *Sunglasses
    Should be cheap with UV protection. DO NOT take expensive sunglasses on this trip. Sunglass retainers are also very nice. Scott has broken every pair of sunglasses he has ever taken backpacking.
  • Headlamp-This should be a lightweight model powered by 3 AAA batteries. Petzl and Black Diamond are the best brands. Don’t spend more than $40 on this! Make sure the batteries you bring are new. You can bring a regular flashlight also, but these are lighter and easier to use. You need one of these.
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and hand lotion are the most needed items. Trial sizes are best. You can bring hand sanitizer if you want, we will have soap for you to use.
  • *Disposable Camera-DO NOT bring a nice/expensive camera, we will not let you. A regular disposable camera is perfect and if you lose it you won’t be out a few hundred bucks.
  • Plastic Bags– 5-6 freezer ziptop bags with secure closure. 2-3 trash bags to protect your stuff from the rain. The thicker the better, trash compactor bags work really well
  • *Multi-Vitamin– Bring just enough for the trip.
  • *Camp Chair– This is the one optional item that no backpacker leaves home without. These are great for campfires, group times, and just hanging out. This is optional but if you can bring one, you will be much more comfortable. Crazy Creek is the best brand of these chairs.