THE LIST

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 Google Docs so that it doesn't get lost and so it can be easily edited whenever I get a good new idea. For the compulsively organized, I recommend 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.

SHELTER AND TRANSPORTATION

Lightweight backpack (sized for the load - compact REI Cruise and roomier Gregory Z65 are current favorites)
Tent (Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 or UL2) and footprint/groundcloth
Titanium tent stakes
Nylon string (bright orange or yellow for non-tripover visibility - good for holding up tents and hanging food bags)
Sleeping bag (and compression bag)
Sleeping pad (NeoAir)

THE KITCHEN

Stove (MSR Pocket Rocket) and fuel cannister
Titanium pot and lid
Matches (waterproof and book)
Bic lighter
Spoon (alloy)
Plastic insulated cup (with handle removed)
Washable coffee filter (MSR MugMate)
Ziploc freezer bags and paper towels (stored in large ziploc)

FOOD

First day out: scones, bagels, pocket bread, hummus, string cheese
First day out: beer in cans (tasty canned microbrews are now widely available)
Fresh-ground coffee or Starbucks Ready Brew if I'm feeling particularly minimalist
Instant oatmeal (Mary Jane's Farm)
Mary Jane's Farm freeze-dry meals (buy in bulk on website to save $$)
Crackers in ziploc (Triscuits hold up well)
Salted and unsalted nuts in and trail mix ziplocs
Snack bars
Payday candy bars (no-melt)
Altoids (for flavor)
Evening happy hour: single-malt scotch or Bushmill's is always appropriate
Zippered bag as food container (Eagle Creek - easy to hang from a tree)

WATER

Water filter (sometimes cautiously optional) or SteriPEN purifier
Gatorade or bottled sports drink (use container for water when empty)
Water bottle(s) or empty Gatorade containers
Platypus collapsible 2L containers (very compact when empty)

BATHROOM

Hair brush (small)
Nail clippers
Band-aids (several sizes)
Moleskin
Ibuprofen or other NSAID
Toothbrush
Toothpaste (small tube)
Dental floss (small)
Toilet paper
Trowel (lightweight)
Sunscreen (small tube)
Insect repellent
Mini-towel
Micro-mirror
Soap (Dr. Bronner's peppermint repackaged in very small container)
Personal medications (as needed)
Whistle (I use the noisy one that I have for my kayak when I travel solo)

CLOTHING

Lightweight hat with large brim (if sunny or warm)
Lightweight long pants
Lightweight long-sleeved shirt
Spare underwear
Handkerchief (cotton)
Lightweight down vest (or long-sleeve down sweater)
Lightweight wind and water-resistant hooded shell or jacket
Hiking shoes (lightweight)
Hiking socks
Wool socks (also good for sleeping if it's chilly out)
Small wool stocking cap
Long-sleeve capilene top
Capilene long underwear bottoms (lightweight - nice if chilly or a little sweaty)
Glove liners (good for reading on cold nights)
Camp shoes (I use a lightweight pair of Tevas but would use water shoes if I could find a pair that would fit)
Compression bag (for all clothing) - doubles as pillow

PERSONAL GEAR

LED flashlight (Olight S10 a current favorite)
MicroLight Keychain LED (the spare light - NiteCore Tube is my favorite)
Spare batteries (only the minimum)
Cell phone (iPhone) e-books and podcasts for extended tent stays
Compact portable battery
and/or Mophie battery case for the iPhone
Lightweight carabiner
Duct tape (small roll)
Reading material (small print)
Leatherman multi-tool (Juice S2 is my current favorite)
Dark glasses
Spare glasses
Small notebook
Pens (2)
Zippered stash bag for personal gear (Eagle Creek)
Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil day pack

FINDING YOUR WAY

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

OPTIONAL GOODIES

Ultralight folding chair (VERY optional but VERY nice)
LED headlamp 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 a 5.5 oz.
Eagle Creek and the 5.8 oz. mont-bell also looks good)
Cribbage board (compact)
Silk bag liner (for colder weather)
Luci Light (solar-powered)
Head net (if it looks like it'll be buggy out)

THE ULTRALIGHT LIST

LIGHTWEIGHT BACKPACKING RESOURCES

LIGHTWEIGHT BACKPACKING WEB RESOURCES

HEAD BACK HOME

11/09/2017
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