The "10 Backpacking Essentials" Guide

The worst thing you could do when going on on a hiking/backpacking trip is to be unprepared. You will be out in nature away from everything so it's extremely important to make sure you at the very least have the most essential items to keep you comfortable and safe. 

You may have heard of the popular classic "10 Backpacking Essentials" list of gear that you should absolutely take on a backpacking trip. 

Well, we really like that concept so we produced our own more in depth and updated "10 Backing Essentials" which gives you a simple and easy to follow guide of the most necessary gear you will need on your journey. 



 Topographic Map

A person holding a map.

Maps may be a thing of the past for the most part but when hiking out in the wilderness they are essential, and combined with a compass or GPS will guide you along your journey.



A person holding a GPS.

A GPS is an essential modern tool that makes navigation much more seamless and provides you with dead on accurate location coordinates.



A hand holding a compass.

Even if you rely heavily on a GPS device, a traditional compass is an indispensable backup. If your GPS fails you will be glad you brought this along.





A man wearing a headlamp.

A headlamp is critical to a positive backpacking experience. Because it's strapped on your head, it's always pointed where you are looking.


Tactical Flashlight

A flashlight.

A flashlight is essential to complement your headlamp and help you maneuver in dark situations.


Packable Lantern

A lantern.

A solar powered packable lantern is great because you can charge it with just the sun and it takes up almost no space.




Warm Clothing

A man wearing a beanie.

Depending on the time of year and location, clothing items like a down jacket, warm socks, gloves, and a beanie are critical to keep you warm.


Waterproof Shell

A man wearing a raincoat.

It's absolutely a must to have a fully waterproof jacket shell. You don't want to get soaked and this will help prevent that.



A man in layered clothing.

Layers, layers, layers... are super important because you can shed and add on based on how hot or cold it is or how active you are at the moment.




Water Filtration

A man drinking with a water filtration system.

We all need water to survive and a good water filtration system will allow you to source water from natural resources along your journey.


Water Bottle

A water bottle.

You'll want a decent sized water bottle to transport your H2O around with you.


Hydration Reservoir

A man wearing a Camelbak.

Made popular by Camelback, this is optional but it does make hydrating much easier when you are on the move.




Waterproof Matches and Lighter

Waterproof matches.

Lighters are great but you'll want to also bring some waterproof matches in case you are in the rain and your lighter fails.


Firestarter Rod

Starting a fire.

A magnesium rod is a great way to start a fire and won't run out. This tool takes up very little space and works wonders at lighting kindle.


Packed Kindle


Keep some kindle in a sealed pouch in case you can't find any or it's too wet.




Nutrient-Dense Bars

A clif bar.

A lot packed into a small bar. These bars come in handy and will give you the energy you need to keep on trekking.


Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze dried food.

Not as good as freshly cooked food but some are actually tasty. Just add water and you have an instant yummy snack. 


Nuts and Jerky


Both of these snacks are clutch when you are a bit hungry and want to fulfill a savory craving. 






A knife can be used for protection, hunting, eating, cutting wood and many other things -- an absolute must!




Just take a look at one of these and you can see how many uses it has. All these tools packed in to one small package is amazing.


Duct Tape & Repair Kit

Duct tape.Placing a patch on a sleeping pad.

Duct tape can help you in a bind and can repair a lot of things, and a mattress repair kit will save you if your sleeping pad gets punctured.





 A selection of Sunscreens

No explanation needed... Protect your skin to avoid burns.



A man wearing sunglasses.

Your chance to look cool on the trail -- get some durable polarized lenses to protect your eyes.



A man wearing a hat.

Get yourself a breathable brimmed hat to protect your neck and face from the hot sun.





A man in a tent.

It's important to get a quality ultralight tent that's easy to assemble and dissemble.



A woman in a hammock.

If you prefer to sleep in a hammock, you can choose to opt for this instead of a tent. It will be lighter and take up less room in your pack, however, you won't be as protected from the elements.



A rainfly tarp.

Get a tarp that doubles as a rainfly. You can use this as a ground cover for your tent or strap it to a tree for a hammock roof and rain protection.




Sleeping Bag 

A sleeping bag.

Make sure you have a sleeping bag that is lightweight and is rated for the right temperature -- you don't want to be too cold or too hot at night.


Sleeping Pad

A great ultralight sleeping pad will make all the difference in getting restful sleep and providing energy for your journey. We recommend our 3-season ultralight sleeping pad.



Bring a pillow that's super light and compact but also comfortable enough to save your neck. Leisure Co's ultralight inflatable pillow is the best choice in this department. 


Veronica Hughes
September 22, 2018 at 10:42

Super excited about my camping trip. Love your guide. Thinking of purchasing my first camelback soon. Thanks for the tips.

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