My Gear List

A backpacker’s gear list is deeply personal. Items one hiker deems essential another might find frivolous. However, if you are just starting out and feeling overwhelmed or you simply seek recommendations for your own kit, this is a comprehensive list of what I use for every trip. Each of these items is trail tried and true. They have all been serving me well for years.


The ten essentials should come with you anytime you step onto a trail whether day hiking or backpacking. If anything at all doesn’t go as planed these are the basics you will be very glad to have.

  1. Navigation: map, compass, GPS device/app, and a satellite messenger or personal locator beacon (PLB).
  2. Headlamp: and a way to recharge batteries
  3. Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes and sunscreen
  4. First aid: including blister care and insect repellent/bite remedy
  5. Knife: plus a gear repair kit
  6. Fire: matches, lighter, tinder and/or stove
  7. Shelter: carried at all times (can be a light weight emergency tarp)
  8. Extra food: Beyond what you think you need.
  9. Extra water: Beyond what you think you need.
  10. Extra clothes: Enough to stay warm overnight if necessary.

My day pack: Osprey Hikelite 26

Pro tips: Always leave a thorough itinerary, description of your outfit/gear, and expected return date/time with a trusted loved one in case you do not return when expected. Additionally, bright colored gear makes you easier to find if you get lost.

Complete Backpacking Check List

I use the Gas Saver by G-works to combine partially used fuel canisters at home and before I hit the trail I treat all my “cloth-like” gear (minus my undies) with this tick repellent. It works wonders!

Want to know more about these items? You can see in depth reviews of my favorites by


I sincerely hope this helps you design your own kit. Products purchased though the listed affiliate links provide a tiny portion of the profits to support this site. Thank you so much for your contributions and happy trails!

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