We've pulled together the ultimate backpacking checklist for multi-day backpacking, hiking and trekking trips.
Backpacking Checklist: The Pack
The kit you take with you is going to be determined by the length of the backpacking trip, the size of the pack and the weight you can carry. In this backpacking checklist, we’re going to be focusing on a multi-day backpacking/ trekking trips and using the 60 litre Aether AG 60 as our pack. The Aether already comes equipped with a raincover but here are a few additional accessories you might want to consider to complement your pack:
- Pack Liner – An added layer of internal protection if rain is a serious possibility
- Drysacks – Useful for organisation, protection and easy to stack and pack
- Stuff Packs – There may be times you want to venture away from your camp. A stuffpack/ daypack is the perfect light companion allowing you to leave your backpack behind
- Hydration Reservoir – A reasonably large hydration reservoir can carry 3L and will mean you can walk and drink with ease. Continuous hydration will be important for extended trips
Backpacking Checklist: Clothing
It’s important to pack for the climate you’re travelling in and to understand the seasonal variations that go with that location. A rainy season will need more attention than dry. Here are some recommendations:
- Footwear – Hiking boots or something more flexible like hiking trainers/ approach shoes. Make a call based on the temperatures and the weather. Always take flip flops to rest your feet at the end of the day!
- Gaiters – If the ground is going to be wet and muddy, or include damp brush, then gaiters can help keep your socks and shoes dry
- Hiking Socks – It’s definitely recommended that you take a few pairs of breathable hiking socks. They provide some cushioning but also a level of ventilation for your feet
- Base Layer – It’s always important to have a breathable base layer that adds warmth when you’re cold but wicks away sweat and provides ventilation when you’re warm. Take two if you have the weight and space spare
- Mid Layer – The mid layer is designed to direct any body heat that your base layer didn’t retain back into your body and help to stop cold air passing through to your body. Aim to choose your mid layer with thickness and breathability to match the climate
- Outer Layer – The outer layer aims to protect you from the wind and rain. A thin shell jacket (paired with your other layers) should be enough to break the wind and keep you warm. Pick up something more waterproof if rain is expected
- Underwear – You know the drill. You’re going to need a few pairs…
- Trousers/ Zip Off Shorts – You can save weight by packing water resistant hiking trousers that can zip off into shorts. Pack waterproof trousers to go on top if you know you’re going to be getting wet
- Sunglasses – If it’s sunny there’s a good chance you’ll be needing to protect your eyes
Backpacking Checklist: Kit
You’re going to be relying on your core kit at both the best and worst of times. It’s your ‘day-to-day’ but also your safety net.
- A Map – No matter how familiar you are with the terrain, or how reliable you think the technology you’re carrying is, always take a map for a multi-day backpacking trip
- A Compass – It can be ultralight and incredibly small so why risk it? You never know when you’re going to need to rely on those basic orienteering skills
- First Aid Kit – You can buy some pretty exhaustive, light and small first aid kits. Some additional suggestions would include blister plasters, hand sanitiser, pain killers, and water purifying tablets
- Firestarter – It’s always useful to carry a lighter or manual fire starter. Great for those warming campfires at the end of the day
- Toiletries – You know what is most important for you! Toothbrush/ toothpaste, roll on deodorant, Vaseline (for any rubbing issues), soap, wet wipes, sun cream etc.
- A Torch/ Head Torch – This depends on preference but a head torch is a wise piece of kit for safety or just for reading a book at the end of the day
- Snacks – OK, snacks technically aren’t kit but they’re no less essential. You’ll definitely be stopping for your 3 square meals, the exercise will require it, but be sure to take slow burning, dense snacks that can be easily stored and consumed while on the go
- Sleeping Bag – Match the warmth rating to the season and weather you’re travelling in
- Sleeping Mat – A sleeping mat is essential if you’re camping. Inflated mats add an extra layer of comfort and insulation from the cold on the ground
- Shelter – Whether you’re carrying a lightweight tent or using a bivvy and tarp be sure to take shelter
Backpacking Checklist: Travel Essentials
There are some essentials that really are essential. From logistics to your health, be sure to get these items arranged before you travel.
- Travel Insurance – For your kit, for your wallet but most importantly, for you
- Jabs – Injections prior to travel may be necessary. If you’re ever unsure always contact your doctor
- Updated Passport – If you’re heading abroad be sure to check that your passport is up to date and, most importantly, don’t forget it!
- Plan your Itinerary – A rough itinerary of your key dates will help keep you on track. It doesn’t have to be restrictive but it can stop you from missing your flight!
- A Friend or Family Member – No, you’re not carrying them in your backpack. Just ensure that someone close to you back home knows exactly where you are and where you’re going. That information could prove useful were you to take a fall and need help
For a complete list of travel essentials, we’ve also put together The Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist.