Always Use a Backpacking Checklist ...

... and you'll never have to say "Oh, crap!
I forgot to bring ____ "

Without a backpacking checklist, I inevitably forget something. Nothing can ruin a trip quicker than leaving behind a piece of important gear or some food. Get into the habit of using a backpacking checklist while you load your backpack at home.

The following is a checklist that has worked well for me for most two and three season backpacking trips. The list is quite comprehensive; thus, add or delete items based on personal preference, time of year, length of trip, destination of trip, and how lightweight you want to travel.

To help you come up with your own backpacking checklist, consider consulting "The Complete Walker", a book which goes into amazing detail about every possible thing you might need.

3-Season Backpacking Checklist

Ten Essentials
1. Extra food
2. Extra water
3. Extra clothing (like a sweater, warm hat and rain jacket)
4. Map of the area
5. Compass
6. Flashlight, extra batteries extra bulb
7. Pocketknife or all-in-one-tool
8. Fire-making items (lighter, or matches in waterproof container, candle)
9. First aid kit
10. Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm, hat)

Main Items
Pack rain cover
Day pack
Tent, poles, pegs, groundsheet
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad

Cooking Items
Stove (with all accessories & parts)
Wide-mouth water bottles (two or three)
Cooking pot
Pot scrubber
Small plastic dipping/measuring cup
Cup or mug

Clothing Items
Boots or hiking shoes
Sandals (campwear, wading streams)
Waterproof clothing bag
Socks, inner and/or outer
Pants (non-cotton)
Pile/fleece jacket
Shirts (long-sleeve and short-sleeve)
Gore-Tex (or similar) Parka
Hat for sun protection
Fleece headband
Cold-weather hat (covers ears)
Thin, lightweight gloves
Rain Pants
Long Underwear *
Winter gloves or mittens *
Wool gloves *
Mitten shells *

Camera and film
Cell Phone
Reading material, cards, other

Other items
Water purification system (iodine or filter, etc)
Lip sunscreen
Insect Repellant
Biodegradable Liquid Soap (Campsuds)
G.I. can opener
Toilet paper in plastic
Hand sanitizer
Plastic bags (grocery bags, garbage bags)

Extra lighter
Extra flashlight bulbs
Extra batteries
Extra pack buckles (waist buckle, 3/4" buckle)
Extra draw cord toggles
ThermaRest and tent patch kit
Stove maintenance kit
Tent pole repair tube
Sewing kit (w/heavy duty needle, thread)
Small length of wire
Duct tape
Nylon cord

First Aid Kit
Extra-Strength Tylenol or aspirin (12 tablets)
Cold medicine, cough drops
Ibuprofin for pain anywhere on body (12 tablets)
Antacid tablets (6 tablets)
Antibiotic ointment
Antiseptic towelettes, wrapped singly (10 pckgs)
Adhesive bandages of various sizes (12 one-inch)
Butterfly adhesive bandages (6, various sizes)
Roller gauze (2 rolls, 2" x 5 yd.)
Burn cream
Medical tape (2" roll)
Krazy Glue (to close minor cuts)
Triangular Bandage
Elastic bandages
Safety Pins
Needle, Tweezers
Scissors and/or razor blade

Also, Double Check The Following...

Functionality (is it in working order?)
Cell Phone (charged)

Reusables (do you need to buy/bring more?)
Sunscreen, lip balm
Toilet Paper
Insect Repellant
Soap/Wipes/Hand Sanitizer
Water Tablets/Iodine

"Extra" Items sometimes forgotten
Spare batteries (camera, flashlight)
Change of clothing: socks, underwear

Note: For DAY HIKING, use the "Ten Essentials" as a checklist, along with the first aid kit.

* Starred items: consider for colder climates or early/late season trips.

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