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Part II of our Essential Backpacking Guide: Gear Checklist & Day-Of Plan

Yes, there are gear lists all over the Internet. But this one is the best.

Welcome to the second part of our backpacking guide: our essential gear list plus some short tips on what to do the night before/morning of your trip. There are gear lists alllll over the Internet, but this one is the best. Why? Because we spent years editing and updating it based on different backpacking trips and after reviewing it against a bunch of the gear lists already out there.

There are no affiliate or promotional links on this list. If we mention a specific brand, it's because we have tried and tested the gear from the perspective of a backpacker, not a promotional partner.

To access the Best Backpacking Gear List Ever, click here. (Printer-friendly PDF version below)

We aspire for this to be a living document, so if you have feedback or suggestions, don’t hesitate to

! This is a list we have tried and tested over the years, but we acknowledge that everyone backpacks differently and we can learn from each other.

The Best Backpacking Gear List Ever - Gear Checklist
Download PDF • 91KB

What To Do the Night Before/Morning Of Your Trip

Woohoo! You are just hours away from the backcountry. Hopefully the weather is looking decent and you've gone through our pre-trip checklist and gear list.

Depending on where you are, we recommend leaving early in the morning for a backpacking trip so you can find parking close to the trailhead and have enough time for your hike. If you're like me, early mornings are a struggle, so I tend to wrap up prepping for my trip the night before so that all I have to do in the morning is roll out of bed and go! Some tips on the night before:

1. Pack your gear and test the fit/weight.

Finish packing all your gear and test the weight and fit of your pack (with water). I tend to refrigerate my water overnight so I re-pack the middle and top sections of my gear in the morning.

If you're using your gear for the first time, you'll probably need to adjust the fit of your pack a few times while you're hiking, so don't worry if it doesn't feel "perfect". As long as the weight feels balanced on both sides of your body and you are carrying most of the weight on your hips/lower body, that should be enough to get you started.

2. Eat a carby meal

Eat a filling meal with complex carbs the night before so you feel nourished in the morning and drink plenty of water!

3. Check the weather and road conditions

Check the weather and road conditions the night before and morning of and make sure you feel comfortable traveling in those conditions.

4. Let a friend or family member know your plan.

Tell someone about your backpacking plans and around when you expect to be done with your trip.

5. Get some rest!

Get a good night's sleep the night before so are well-rested for your adventure!

6. Go to the bathroom before you hit the trailhead.

Sure, pooping outdoors is part of the backcountry experience but if you can get an indoor bathroom trip in before you hit the trail, we say go for it!

Have fun!

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