Getting Started: Backpacking Gear List

We've been backpacking for a while now, to the point where we're packing our bags on automatic, but it was not always like that. For those who are just starting, here's what we carry with us when we're backpacking.


  • Tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Small pillow
  • Clean wool socks
  • Long undies
  • T-shirt
  • Long wool top
  • Buff
  • Ear plugs
  • Headphones
  • My phone
  • Small ziplock bag
  • Headlamp
  • Spare batteries


  • Camp shoes
  • Pants
  • Down parka
  • Toilet paper
  • Trowel
  • Bug spray
  • Toothbrush
  • Compressed towel
  • Clothes line

Food and Food Gear

  • Food (2lb/day, see guide below)
  • Bear canister or food bag with hanging line
  • Stove & backup matches
  • Fuel
  • Titanium cup with lid
  • Bowl
  • Spork and Knife
  • Garbage & gallon zip-lock bag(s)
  • Water filter with backup water treatment pills

Detailed Food Guide


Food is the hardest to get right when just getting started. It is very subjective and depends a lot on individual preference. So we wrote this article detailing exactly what food we take backpacking and the gear we use to prepare it (no cooking required).

On trail

  • Backpack
  • Boots
  • Small gaiters
  • Wool socks
  • Synthetic underwear
  • Shorts
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Fleece top
  • Rain jacket
  • Bandana
  • Sun hat
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Altimeter
  • Compass
  • Map
  • Ziplock bag
  • Pack rain cover
  • Snack
  • 2 liters of water
  • Whistle
  • Camera


  • Extra clothing in waterproof bag
  • First aid kit
  • Iodine pills
  • Fire making kit
  • Mirror
  • Duct tape
  • Pen and paper
  • Micro-spikes or snowshoes
  • Personal locator beacon


  • No cotton
  • Kitchen must be away from camp, ideally by 100 yards.
  • Absolutely no scented items in or around camp, especially not in your tent, to keep wildlife from wanting to check you out.
  • Go to the bathroom 100 yards away from water, and dig at least 6 inches for #2.

*Feel free to adjust this list for the season and your personal preference.

We have just started expanding it with our personal recommendation. We began with food, which is the hardest to get right when getting started. All other to follow as we find time to write them down.

Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions, ideas, or something that we missed.

Thanks for reading!