There’s nothing like hiking through lush forests, mountain lakes, and rocky slopes. The thrill of your journey swarms around every step you take. It’s marvelous. However, when you’re out in the wilderness, either alone or with your friends, you can’t leave things to chance. That’s why we’ve compiled this backpacking gear list.

Cross things off as you shove them into your backpack. These outdoor essentials will help you survive being at one with nature.

Essential Backpacking Gear for Every Trip

what things do you need for backpacking
Basic backpacking gear for your multi-day outing.

Whether you’re planning a short-distance or long-distance trip, start by grabbing backpacking staples. It’s pretty easy to figure out what you need by asking yourself:

  • How do I navigate out there? Remember, you’re out for off-the-grid traveling. There may be no signal, and your smartphone may be of no avail. But a compass and a print map will still be useful.
  • How do I illuminate the trail at night? A flashlight or a headlamp are essential things you need for backpacking. You don’t want to be lost every time the sun goes down.
  • How do I get a good sleep on the trail? Do not deprive yourself of rest when communing with nature. Always have a quality backpacking tent and a sleeping bag for your shelter.
  • What do I need to stay hydrated and beat hunger pangs? Pack a few bottles of water and mark available sources on your map for refills. Do not overlook energy bars and other snacks to fuel you on your way.
  • Am I going to cook during my getaway? If you’re planning a multi-day outing, your basic backpacking gear should include a compact stove, lighter (or matches), and fuel.
  • What do I need for cutting and trimming? A multi-tool is your best bet to open food packages and get rid of branches on the trail. But if you don’t have one, a knife is a nice alternative.
  • How do I survive the elements? Be a better planner and check the weather forecast. If it’s going to be a sunny getaway, pack up the clothing that can protect you from UV rays. A rainy outing? Then you should grab extra clothing, including shoes and socks.
  • How do I deal with injuries? A first-aid kit is always what you need for backpacking. Make sure to bring bandages, antiseptic wipes, painkillers, and antibiotic ointment on your trip. Otherwise, there is a checklist of travel medicines for you to follow.

More Outdoor Essentials for Large Backpacks

outdoor essentials for survival
Outdoor essentials for survival on mountains.

If you’ve packed this must-have backpacking gear, and you have extra space in your bag, you are the lucky one. Be careful with that, though. Packing too much or too heavy stuff may ruin your trip. There aren’t many places that have porters for your convenience as in the trekking trail Ta Nang – Phan Dung that I introduced.

But anyway, if you’re sure you can carry it all, consider tossing these 10 extras into your backpack:

  • Hiking sticks for rugged terrains and long-distance trips.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Folding tripod stool.
  • Inflatable pillow.
  • Travel camera.
  • Headphones.
  • Power bank.
  • Binoculars.
  • Book.
  • Umbrella.

Buying Backpacking Gear – What You Should Know

How Much Does Backpacking Gear Weight?

Usually, it’s not about what equipment that you should buy, but how to pack the backpacking gear for your comfort and convenience during the whole trip. Some items are particularly heavy. As a result, your bag would load a lot of weight if you don’t pack the right way.

To avoid heavy stuff from ruining your journey, you can consider packing light-weight outdoor essentials. There are many alternatives for an item in the market that surely you can pick a more portable one.

Buying or Renting?

Camping on top of a jeep with backpacking gear
Camping on top of a jeep.

Of course, for the things that you cannot rent, you have to buy them! Hopefully, the statement before helps to shorten your consideration of the backpacking gear you need to buy or rent. Nevertheless, you can further think of the available items that the local suppliers have and the frequency of your usage. For example, I have a friend who loves to drive his pick-up to the lakes and camping there. He bought his own matched-tent with the car rather than renting different ones for each trip like me.

Expensive or Cheap?

You get what you pay for. Indeed, that idiom applies to me in cases, including buying backpacking gear.

To me, I prefer buying branded or well-known items. Always, it doesn’t come with a good price, but the quality definitely worths any pennies spent. Particularly to the frequently used and important outdoor essentials such as shoes or backpacks, you shouldn’t find cheap ones. A bad pair of shoes won’t protect your feet for a long and enjoyable trip. Similarly, a bad bag evenly puts more weight on your shoulder, and it cannot protect your outdoor kits inside well.

Besides that, you can always think of renting a good item if it’s hard for you to afford. As well as the heavy stuff, don’t let bad equipment ruin your trip. Please feel free to contact me if you need a suggestion for backpacking gear tips!

Where to Buy Backpacking Gear?

When I lived in Ontario, Canada, I loved going to MEC and Bass Pro Shops to buy outdoor kits. Honestly, I will never forget the first moment I stepped into those shops. I was extremely surprised by a lot of things they sold. Whereas, in Vietnam, I can only go to the locals-owned stores to see if they import any good stuff to buy. If you live in the US, I think you can go to REI for many choices of outdoor kits. They offer rental stuff too.

Otherwise, you can buy backpacking gear on Amazon. I see they have varied selections to choose from, just remembering you carefully read the info and check the sellers, shipment before purchasing.

Final Say

Now that you know what to pack and get the ideas for backpacking gear, your time in the wilderness will be safer and more comfortable. Zip it up and hit the trail!


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things to put on your backpacking gear list - the broad life's pinterest board
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22 COMMENTS

  1. What a comprehensive list. I’m a great believer in you get what you pay for too. If it s going to make a difference in how cold or hot I will be and also from a safety perspective, always get the best equipment possible. Inflatable pillow btw is so cool! I need one of those for sure!

  2. It is nice to go out backpacking. You do want to be prepared though. There are some things you will miss dearly if you don’t pack them.

  3. So detailed and thanks for the useful tips, it’s now time to get out there and enjoy the nature as it should start to get warmer soon. – Knycx Journeying

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