After the "A FEW TIPS" section, there is a minimum general list of items I use when backpacking. Any camera gear you carry is in addition to what is on the list.
*** There may be other things you need or want for your individual situation. ***
A FEW TIPS
HOW MUCH TO CARRY: If you are in GREAT shape, the maximum recommended pack weight is ⅓ of your body weight. That weight includes everything you are carrying. (If you are overweight, you cannot include those pounds as part of your body weight in the calculation.) Think about the environment when gauging what you can do. Be honest with yourself about your ability. You may be carrying your backpack for hours over mountains, across sand, at high altitude, etc. which will be harder than trying on a full pack at home. Do not put others in a position where they have to become your rescue party because you used poor judgement.
Backpacking gear can seem expensive, but several thoughts may help put things into perspective:
- Your life may depend on your gear, so buy gear on which your life can depend.
- You are going to have to carry it.
- How many nights could you stay in a hotel for what you are spending on good gear? (not many)
============================= MUST HAVE LIST ===============================
Gloves and liners
Hat (Keep head warm and covered from the sun)
Coat (Warm and Rain Repellent)
Hiking pants NOT cotton (Jeans can wick away body heat causing hypothermia and possibly death. Hypothermia can occur well above freezing in such cases.)
Seasonal appropriate shirts--and it can be surprisingly cold at night
Hiking boots (Research and get good ones. Remember that you will have to walk back out. Your life may depend on your boots.)
Socks (See REI for technical socks)
Long Underwear for warm layer
Food (1 lb/day if using dehydrated meals) Carry at least one extra day's worth of food. You may need it.
Firestarter, Matches, and Lighter
Stove and fuel (Have a stove that works at high altitudes and in high wind conditions.)
Extra fuel for stove
Spork and knife (the correct name for a Spork is "Runcible Spoon")
Dish to eat from
Sanitizing Wipes / Hand Sanitizer
Bear Vault (Not a bear bag. Bear Vaults can be stored on the ground 100 yards from the tent. I have seen recommendations that a Bear Bag must be hung on a tree limb at least 16 feet above the ground. The limb must be large enough to support what is in the bear bag, but small enough that animals cannot go out on it. I have never seen a tree meeting that description.)
Water 2.20 lbs per liter (32 0z = 946 ml) (Weight is 2.083 lbs or 2lbs 1.33 oz)
Nalgene Bottles or Water Bladder
Wash Cloth and Towel
First Aid Bag (see commercial bags as your base)
Sunglasses or Transition lenses
Medicines (keep dry)
Compass, Mirror, Magnifying Glass, and Whistle
Phone (or Satellite Communicator if out of cell phone range)
Battery Backup/Recharger for phone, headlamp, satellite communicator, and other electrical items
Solar Cell (if you are going to need to recharge your battery backup)
GETTING THERE AND SLEEPING IN YOUR TENT
Pack Rain Cover
Plastic Sheet (Clear)
Sleeping Bag Liner
Tent Footprint (or something to put the tent on to keep it from contacting the ground directly)
Tent Cords and Pole Sheath
Trekking Poles (2)
MISCELLANEOUS BUT IMPORTANT
Sealed container for trash with odors (toilet paper, hygiene products, anything with food odors, etc.)
2 pens / Pencils (and something on which to write)
Always have an itinerary to leave with the person who is your "Home Base." Your Home Base will be the person who follows you from home to make sure you are safe--and the person who communicates with someone for help if necessary.
The itinerary should include a minimum of:
- Type and color of vehicle you are driving complete with license tag number and VIN number (Email pictures of the vehicle, license number, and VIN number to your Home Base. It would be easy for the Home Base to forward them in case of emergency.)
- Where you are going
- Your "trail name" (For instance, if you are hiking the AT, there are logs at shelters where you should check in EVERY time. For safety, you do not use your real name, but if you make a log entry under your trail name, emergency personnel can follow you by looking at the logs.)
- Emergency Contact information (Include names--such as rangers, phone numbers, locations-addresses if possible, and web addresses in case it is necessary to contact someone who can find you.)
- Where you plan to be each day
- Times you will be checking in with Home Base
- Contact name and number(s) for your Home Base person (You will need their contact numbers in case other people are using your itinerary and need to contact your Home Base. Email a copy of the itinerary to the Home Base so they will be able to forward it in the event of an emergency. Check to confirm that Home Base received both the email of your itinerary and the email with your vehicle information.)
If you are in cell range and both you and your Home Base person have iPhones, it is good to let them track you on an app such as Find Friends. If you are out of cell range, have a satellite communicator they can use to track you--and be sure they know how to track you on the satellite communicator. An example communicator (not an endorsement) is InReach.
*** ALWAYS TAKE A COPY OF YOUR ITINERARY WITH YOU and EMAIL a copy to Home Base ***