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Backpacking Essentials | Expedition Checklist

Setting out on multi-day backpacking hike is arguably one of the purest outdoor adventures you can have. Only packing the essentials in your rucksack, and being entirely self-sufficient. To help you plan, we have created a handy checklist of items you should consider bringing with you on your adventure.

The first thing to consider is the weather. What season are you going to be heading out in? Is it going to be wet? Cold? Or really hot? We have included additions that you should have if the weather is looking to be rainy and cold. You should also consider how remote your hike is going to be. If you are going to be far away from populated areas you should consider bringing some extra food, water and clothing just in case.

The Essentials

Sleeping

Food and Water 

Cooking

Navigation

Personal Items

Hygiene

First Aid

 

Clothing and Footwear

Few Extras

 

 

Backpacking Essentials

The Essentials

Here are items that you should always have in your rucksack when setting off on any long hike.

  • Rucksack – Between 40 to 60 litres depending on the length of time you plan on being out for. Have a look at our Rucksack Guide to find the right pack for you.
  • Navigation – Map & compass at a minimum, GPS device
  • Headtorch
  • Sun protection
  • First aid
  • Multi-tool
  • Shelter – This is could be a tent if your planning on being out for multiple days or an emergency bivy
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Spare clothes  

Sleeping

This list includes everything you should consider for a good night’s rest.

  • Backpacking Tent – Bring one depending on your group size, if more than 1 person be sure to split the parts of the tent between yourselves to even the weight
  • Sleeping bag – Make sure you have a sleeping bag that has comfort temperature close to the temperature you expect to be in at night. We have a Sleeping Bag Guide to help you decide what the right sleeping bag for your hike could be. 
  • Sleeping mat

 

Optional extras

  • Pillow – This could either be a bundle of clothes or a lightweight inflatable pillow
  • Lantern
  • Sleeping bag liner

 

Cooking

Here are the essentials for cooking when backpacking - If you lost for campsite cooking ideas we have created some delicious meals you can make whilst camping.

 

Food and Water

When planning your food, you should consider how many days and then add an extra day of food just in case. When walking it good to consider eating food that’s easy to eat when on the move such as energy bars, nuts, fruit. For lunch and dinner consider foods that are substantial and have varied nutrition value try to ensure you get enough salt in your diet to help your body absorb water easier.

For water consider your availability to water sources along your route if it’s frequent you can carry smaller water carriers and fill up frequently which will keep your pack weight low but if you are far from water sources and should consider larger water containers to keep you hydrated. As guidance, a person should consume roughly 500ml per hour when doing moderate exercise in warm temperatures. But we all different and you should consider what you need personally to prevent dehydration.

  • Water bottle or reservoirs – consider how much water you can carry and how much you need for evenings and between water sources
  • Water purification – For when you need to refill
  • Meals – Camping food otherwise known as freeze dried food is recommended it will pack down and is easy to cook whilst providing minimal mess 
  • Energy food – Bars, nuts, gels, isotonic mix
  • Extra day of food

 

Clothing and Footwear

Be sure to check the weather to better understand what type of clothing you need to pack and be sure to pack extra clothing in case you’re staying out for longer than expected or you suddenly become wet and need to dry off fast.

For footwear you should consider your personal preference if you want to travel fast then a pair of walking shoes or trail shoes will be best, however, if you need additional support then hiking boots may be better suited for yourself. 

 

Wet and cold weather additions

 

Optional extras

  • Sandals or flip flops for crossing large rivers or streams
  • Camp shoes – These are thermal outdoor slippers otherwise known as tent mules
  • Gaiters – for snow or muddy conditions
  • Buff

 

Navigation

Below we will list some navigational tools you should bring with you.

  • Map – preferably an Active map so it is waterproof and tear resistant
  • Compass
  • Watch

 

Optional Extra

  • Guidebook – For a detailed description of your route, these are common with popular walks
  • GPS
  • Multi-sport watch

 

Emergency/ First Aid

Here are essentials you need to prepare and have with you:

 

Hygiene

This list is advise for what hygiene products you should bring with you.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Trowel – for burying waste
  • Toilet paper with a sealable bag to bring out with you
  • Blister kit
  • Menstrual products
  • Prescription medication

 

Optional extras

  • Sunglasses – Essential in summer or on clear snowy days
  • Sun cream - Essential in summer or on clear snowy days
  • Insect repellent
  • Mosquito net – Essential if you visiting Scotland in the Summer to avoid midge bites

 

Personal Items

These are the personal essentials you should bring with you:

  • Cash or Card
  • ID
  • Car keys
  • Mobile Phone

 

Few Extras

Here a few luxury additions that you can add to your kit list:

  • Camera
  • Outdoor Journal / Pen
  • Book
  • Cards or Games
  • Star Chart

 

This checklist will help guide you in your decisions for what to pack on your next backpacking adventure. We also have a range of guides and advice for you to check out if you need any other help planning your trip. 

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