Pack all of the following individual equipment into your backpack, and divide up the group equipment between group members. A general rule of thumb for backpacking is if you’re not sure you need it, you probably don’t. Pack larger items in the large main pocket, and smaller items in the smaller side pockets. Doing this will make these items easier to access. To create extra space in your pack, strap either a sleeping mat, a tent, or a sleeping bag, or a combination of these things to the area underneath your pack as shown to the right:
Equipment: What to Pack (Individual Items): Make sure to pack all of the following items.
A school backpack won’t do. You will need a hiking backpack. Hiking backpacks come in two forms, internal framed and external framed. They both have their benefits. External frames have a lot more space to them and have more pockets making them easier to pack and unpack. Internal frames however are more comfortable and have a snugger fit. However, they come with one big pocket, so unloading can be difficult. Hiking backpacks come in a lot of sizes so if you don’t have one, go by a trail store and get fitted.
In figuring out what sleeping bag to bring you’ll have to decide on a balance between warmth and weight. Pack the lightest sleeping bag that will keep you warm enough for the weather.
Sleeping mats are crucial to a good night’s rest on the trail. They help cushion the ground and keep you warm.
-Personal First Aid Kit
This is absolutely necessary for a safe hiking trip. It’s more convenient to buy these pre-packaged. However, if you want to assemble one yourself make sure to include band-aids, moleskin, aspirin, after bite wipes, antibiotic ointment, alcohol swabs, and tape.
-Water + Purification
Make sure to pack at least two liters of water. Nalgene bottles are great for this because they are both durable and easy to pack in your bag. Along with 2 Nalgene bottles, be sure to pack a filtration pump.
Any light flashlight will do. Before you pack it, test it to make sure it has batteries. A flashlight will do you no good if it won’t turn on.
Hiking boots will provide more stability than regular tennis shoes. They will also decrease your chances of getting blisters.
Your mess kit should include a bowl or plate and a utensil
If you don’t have one, an oversized trash bag will work. Just cut out a large hole in the center for where your straps come out.
-Bug Spray + Lighter
These two things go together: not only is bug spray helpful in repelling bugs, it is also helpful in starting a fire.
There’s no dress code on the trail. Pack clothes that you will be comfortable in and do not mind messing up.
Also, pack clothes relevant to the kind of weather forecasted for the trip. For hot weather, a cotton t-shirt and athletic shorts work just fine. For colder weather bring layers. As you hike you’ll want to take off your outer layers. Depending on how cold it is you may need to pack multiple jackets along with a windbreaker. If rain is forecasted pack a rain jacket. Always check the weather forecast for where you’re hiking.
Equipment: What to Pack (Group Items): These items will not need to be brought by every group member but they will need to be brought by somebody. And for many of these items they will need to be split up among multiple people.
-A lightweight tent
Before you leave on your trip, make sure everyone has a tent to sleep in. Decide who is sleeping in what tent BEFORE you leave. You don’t want to bring extra tents, as that is extra weight. Traditional tents can be very heavy, especially those made for 4 or more people. Ideally you should have a 2 man tent made specifically for backpacking, as they are significantly more lightweight.
-A Hiking Stove w/ Fuel
A good hiking stove is a small cartridge stove that uses compressed gas. They are lightweight but you will need to bring fuel to go along with it. For cartridge stoves you should use either butane, isobutene, or propane.
-A Cooking Pot
This should be lightweight but also big enough to contain enough water to cook with.
Bring all of the food that was planned earlier for your meals.