Anybody who backpacks has a constantly evolving personal list - here's the one I use when it looks like the weather isn't too likely to be too stormy or cold. Who wants to forget the matches or some other critical item because there was no list? I keep mine on my phone on Microsoft OneNote so that it doesn't get lost and so it can be easily edited whenever I get a good new idea. There are also plenty of other good list apps (Google Kind - Evernote - Apple Notes - Google Docs - and so on). For the compulsively organized, try a spreadsheet and scale with which to weigh out the gear but for me, when it's time to go, I just weigh the pack, put it on fully loaded (with water), and then have a moment of serious reflection about anything that could be left behind.

There's no ideal list for everyone. Hard-core thru-hikers will scoff at some of my extra gear while others will wonder where the grill, steaks, and charcoal went.


Lightweight backpack (sized for the load)
Belt-mounted water bottle holder (I stay hydrated better when I can reach the water)
Tent (Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 or UL2) and footprint/groundcloth
Titanium tent stakes
Nylon string (bright orange or yellow for non-tripover visibility - also good for holding up tents and hanging food bags)
Sleeping bag (and compression bag)
Sleeping pad (NeoAir)
Inflatable small pillow
Mountainsmith Slingback Chair (works with a pair of hiking poles)
Thermaarest Z Lite pad (two segments for use as chair bottom or backrest)
Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil day pack


Stove (MSR Pocket Rocket) and fuel canister
Stove stabilizer (good for safety reasons)
Titanium pot and lid
Titanium pot grabber
Matches (waterproof and book)
Bic lighter
Spoon (long-handled alloy)
Plastic coffee cup (with handle removed and marked on the side for capacity - useful when feating water for freeze-dried meals)
Washable coffee filter (MSR MugMate)
Ziploc freezer bags and paper towels (small number stored in large ziploc)


First day or two out: fresh scones, bagels, pocket bread, hummus, string cheese
First day or two out: a few canned beers (tasty canned microbrews are now widely available)
Fresh-ground coffee or Starbucks Ready Brew if I'm feeling particularly minimalist
Instant oatmeal in a bag (Mary Jane's Farm or Good-To-Go; buy in bulk on website to save $$)
Instant dinners in a bag (Mary Jane's Farm or Good-To-Go; buy in bulk on website to save $$)
Crackers in Ziploc (Triscuits hold up well)
Salted and unsalted nuts in and trail mix ziplocs
Freeze-dried raspberries (Trader Joe's)
Fruit Snack bars (Kind)
Payday candy bars (no-melt)
Altoids (for flavor)
Electrolyte water mix
Evening happy hour (optional): single-malt scotch or Bushmill's is always appropriate
Zippered bag as food container (Eagle Creek - easy to hang from a tree)


Water filter (Katydyn) or perhaps a SteriPEN purifier
Gatorade or bottled sports drink (2) (use container for water when empty)
Water bottle(s) or empty Gatorade containers
Spare Gatorade screw-on lid (for when I drop the lid in a fast-moving stream)
Platypus collapsible 2L containers (2) (very compact when empty)


Lightweight hat with large brim (if sunny or warm)
Lightweight long pants (for bug and sun protection)
Lightweight long-sleeved shirt (for bug and sun protection)
Spare underwear
Handkerchief (cotton)
Lightweight down vest (or long-sleeve down sweater)
Lightweight wind and water-resistant hooded shell or jacket (Marmot)
Hiking shoes (lightweight)
Lock Laces for hiking shoes
Hiking socks
Spare wool socks (also good for sleeping if it's chilly out)
Smartwool wool stocking cap
Smartwool glove liners (good for reading on cold nights)
Long-sleeve capilene top
Capilene or Smartwool long underwear bottoms (lightweight - nice if chilly or a little sweaty)
Camp shoes (lightweight Oofos)
Compression bag (for all clothing) - doubles as pillow


Cell phone (iPhone 7 Plus) with e-books and podcasts for extended tent stays (I like phones with lots of memory for photos, offline maps, and entertainment needs)
Moment camera lens case (with nylon cord to secure to belt if needed)
Cell phone accessories in Eagle Creek storage bag

  • Compact portable battery and/or Mophie battery case for the iPhone
  • Moment camera lenses for iPhone
  • Mophie battery case
  • External Mophie battery (sized for trip length)
  • Ear buds + lightning adapter
  • Backup Lightning to headphone adapter
  • USB to Lightning cable (x2)
  • iPhone 7 Lightning cable splitter (so I can charge and listen with headphones simultaneously - thanks, Apple!)
  • Micro-USB to USB cable
LED flashlight (Olight S10 my current favorite)
Lightweight carabiner
Duct tape (very small roll - these are vailable at REI) and small Tenacious Tape piece
Leatherman multi-tool (Juice S2 is my current favorite)
Dark glasses
Small notebook and 2 pens (I store these in my pack chest bag)
Whistle (I use my kayak model when I travel solo)
Eagle Creek Pack-It bag (bright-colored so I don't leave it somewhere)
  • Spare batteries (only the minimum)
  • MicroLight Keychain LED (the spare light - NiteCore Tube is my favorite and I can recharge from the iPhone external battery)
  • Micro-mirror
  • Hair brush (small)
  • Nail clipper
  • Band-aids (several sizes including larger)
  • Moleskin (small)
  • Aspirin or other NSAID
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste (small tube)
  • Dental floss (small)
  • Sunscreen (small tube)
  • Insect repellent (DEET)
  • Soap (Dr. Bronner's peppermint repackaged in very small container)
  • Spare glasses
  • Mini-towel
  • Personal medications (as needed - leave the supplements at home)
Toilet paper (in Ziploc bag for those damp days)
Trowel (Titanium lightweight)


Paper map(s)
Minimal pocket compass
iPhone mapping apps with pre-loaded maps


LED headlamp (especially if night hiking is anticipated)
Lightweight telescoping trekking pole
Lightweight waterproof poncho
Plastic bowl (mine came from REI)
AM-FM radio and ear buds (can be useful for heading off weather surprises)
Large plastic garbage bag for waterproofing the pack in the rain
Electrolyte drink mix or tablets (for hot weather)
Lightweight umbrella (optional - I use an older 5.5 oz. Eagle Creek and the 4.5 oz.
U. L. mont-bell looks like a worthy alternative)
Cribbage board (compact)
Silk bag liner (for cooler weather)
Luci Light (solar-powered)
Head net (if there's ANY possibility that it'll be buggy out)
Paper reading material (small print)





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