Looking for a packing list for your first backpack? Here is a list of what we carry in our backpacks. Plan on splitting items for the group items over the more experienced hikers to make packs lighter for those with less experience.

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To make it easy to plan your trip, here is a packing list for your next backpacking adventure. Below are all the items we make sure to bring along.

  • Backpack – good quality with hip belt. Ideally fitted to your body
  • Industrial garbage bag (use inside your bag to keep everything dry)
First Aid, Safety & Repairs
  • First aid kit
  • Medications
  • Duct tape (roll some around your water bottle or hiking pole to save space & weight)
  • Swiss Army Knife or multi-tool
  • Reflective blanket
  • Bear spray
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Headlamp
  • Extra batteries
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Emergency Whistle
  • Base layers

  • Hiking clothes
  • Underwear & socks
  • Warm layers
  • Down coat
  • Hat & mitts
  • Rain jacket & rain pants
  • Sunglasses

  • Toilet paper

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Ziploc bags
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Chapstick
  • Pack towel
  • Deodorant (more for those you’re backpacking with)

Food and Drink
  • Meals, separated for each day.

  • Ultra-light emergency food for 1 day
  • Water purification of some sort (tablets, filter, drops)
  • Platypus water bladder
  • Bear Canister (where required)
  • Canoeing dry-bag (for food storage)

  • Stove
  • Fuel
  • Pot/s for cooking.
  • Waterproof matches or lighter
  • Scrubbie & pot scraper
  • Camp soap
  • Cup/bowl/utensils
  • Garbage bags
  • Water filter/treatment
  • Tent – make sure you have all the parts – yes, we’ve been in the backcountry without our fly!

  • Sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp pillow or stuffable pillow case
  • Ear plugs

On the trail
  • Hydration bladder or water bottle

  • Rain cover for backpack (can be removed if you take a garbage bag as a liner)
  • Permits
  • Flip flops
  • Stuff sacks

  • Smartphone with some music, eBooks, maps

  • Back-up battery pack to charge your smartphone
  • Small axe to cut wood (where fires are allowed)
  • Red wine, transferred to a plastic water bottle

This article is part of a series of articles for beginner backpackers. You can see other articles here:

We also have other articles to help you with the basics of travelling in wilderness, such as “How to poop in the Backcountry”“Being safe around Bears” and “Trail Etiquette”.