My Awesome Backpacking Camp Setup/ Checklist!




A few weeks ago, I went boy Scout camping on Lake Chatauqua in NY, and I was the only one with the best setup in the whole camp.  Lets just say it was the best week camping ever.  First Thing, This is a checklist for hammock camping, but it could also be used as one for tent camping also.  P.S. If you have any comments/ questions, just comment below or on any other step. Thank- you.

Step 1: What You Will Need (necessities)

-A Hammock. I have an Amazonas Moskito Bug Hammock from Byer Of Maine. 
-Slap Straps or any other tree suspension kit. 
-2 Weight load tested carabiners. 
-50 or so feet of paracord. Useful for anything. 
-Trekking poles. 
-Tote, or backpack if you are backpacking. 
-Sleeping bag. 
-GPSWith extra Batteries. I have the Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx. 
-Cortizone, Bug Spray, Sunscreen, Waterproofer. 
-Big Tarp (10'x12'). 
-Poop Trowel. 
-Mess Kit. 
-Clothes. 1 Pair of everything for every day, plus one or two pairs just in case. Try wearing compression shorts (Spandex underwear) instead of cotton underwear to avoid chafing.
-First-Aid Kit, Fire starter, Knife, Gold Bond for chafing(I know this From Experience. Life Changing.)
-Water Bladder with water purification tablets or straw filter.
-Dish Soap/ Hand Sanitizer.
-Hiking Boots And/Or Sneakers. 
-Duct Tape. 
-Toilet Paper. 
-Flashlight/ Headlamp.
-Stove and Extra fuel. 


Step 2: What You Will Want (Optional)

-Bathing Suit With Towel.
-Sleeping Pad (Necessary for Winter Hammock Camping). 
-Playing Cards. 

Step 3: How to Pack Your Backpack.

First Thing, keep heavy things low, and close to your back. You don't want 5 cans of soup almost a foot behind you level to your neck.  You will feel weighed down way more than you need to. haha just kidding.  You want to try to pack at most 30% of your body weight. This includes your pack. It excludes what you are wearing.  If you don't have a backpack, you could rent it and other gear here. .  I don't really know what to look for in a backpack besides size and weight, so I can't help you there.  I do know that you will need a hip belt and sternum strap, but I think they all come standard.  

Step 4: How to Setup Your Camp Like I Did

After you have your gear, go camping! You want to look for trees that are in this formation:   

                o                    o


You want to hang your hammock between 2 sturdy trees, and use 2 smaller ones (Or your trekking poles) to spread your tarp out to the sides.  After the hammock is up, tie paracord between the slap straps to support the tarp. Thread paracord through the diagonal corner grommets(holes) on your tarp, and tie those to your carabiners tight.  Then, thread the other corner grommets and either tie them to a sapling, or, to a trekking pole, then make a guy wire to add stability to the pole.  You can setup a clothesline too, if you want.



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    47 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    MRE's are heavy, hi energy (exceeded only by white (arctic) MRE's) complete rations which can be eaten indefinitely. LRP's are dehydrated, light weight, low protein, for use up to a week or ten days. (Long Range Patrol).

    Real Para-cord supports 550 # but has seven strands and a cover, each useful by themselves. Well worth the weight and expense. The belt is a good idea.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Take the MRE's appart and place them in a bag counts down on the weight by getting rid of the extras that are in it.


    2 years ago

    You over pack clothes - One set of trail clothes, a base layer for sleeping, a set of town clothes for civilized areas (and while you wash the trail clothes) with a spare set of Merino wool socks and "maybe" a spare set of boxers (Commando is the best defense for chafing). Somebody already said it but stay away from cotton. Zip off trouser legs are wonderful things.

    Dish soap isn't needed, boiling water does fine. Eat as much as possible first then drink the post boil dishwater to minimize environment impact. Hand soap is needed. Sanatizer will NOT kill the dreaded norovirus.

    Bladders leak. They are great for day hikes or working out but if you out multiple days keep your water outside of your pack. Smart water bottles are very light and easily replaced.

    Mess kit need only be 1 pot and 1 cup.

    Replace the GPS with a map and a compass. Make sure you know how to use em.


    2 years ago

    Instead of the poop trowel you might want to use this from another instructable -

    Useful & lightweight, in Oz here you can get a Jungle Hammock from the army surplus stores that comes complete with its own waterproof flycover & mosquito netting (I always string a tarp over top just as a precaution). nice work btw ☺.


    2 years ago

    Cotton kills?


    2 years ago

    Plus, large black garbage bags= raincoats, cover this, cover that, store backup ice, sleeping& bag cover, field toilet or privacy. The deluxe version adda a tie wrap or wire tie! Two thicknesses: thick and thicker?


    3 years ago

    I had to mention the Hennessy Hammock @

    This thing is really cool and super light!


    6 years ago on Step 3

    Hip belts are not necessary unless you are carrying a heavy load, me and my dad went on an overnight trip with only 20lb. packs each, possibly 18lb. We were perfectly fine with our packs, super light and we could hardly notice it.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Actual hiking packs are made so that a majority of the weight sits on your hips rather than your shoulders and back. They are much more efficient. And certainly much more comfortable. I agree with GVLiz, wearing the correct pack for your hiking experience could very well save your life or at the very least prevent a serious injury.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You were LUCKY that time. However, if you or your dad had:
    A. needed to traverse anything narrow, requiring balance, your packs could make an awkward shift or lift up as you are standing on one leg and windmilling your arms about, trying to readjust your stance. Backpack takes your center of gravity with it as it leaves your body, and over the edge you go! OR...
    B. been navigating a tight spot, whether crouching to go under branches or squeezing between a couple of boulders (or what have you). A loose pack makes your silhouette larger, making this more difficult. On top of that, if your pack should get stuck in the tight spot as you emerge, it could easily cause you to injure yourself, tear your pack, or even get you stuck there with it! LAST BUT NOT LEAST...this happened to me:
    C. I slipped going down a steep incline, and landed hard on my butt (I also broke my wrist since I was dumb enough to try to break my fall with my hands). If my hip strap hadn't been properly cinched, the force of the pack hitting the ground could very well have tipped the top bar over enough to give me whiplash or a concussion, assuming it didn't actually break my neck!
    Please, everyone, even if it doesn't seem necessary, USE YOUR EQUIPMENT the way it's intended to be used. Those comfort and safety features are there because people hurt themselves or died, without them. Blessings -- GVLiz


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I would add solar panels sewn into camping cloth to this. If there is an emergency, and your phone is dead, you are out of luck.

    Joshua Zimmerman is also a featured Author on Instructables here.

    When my daughter last went camping, she was the only one, who was able to charge her phone.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    In the Army (British) you sleep fully clothed. However, you do carry two sets of clothing, one worn during activity and one worn in your sleeping bag. The set worn in your sleeping bag is always dry and you put your wet clothing back on in the morning (horrible to do but you warm up quickly with some activity.). Obviously you can't sleep naked in the army whilst on exercise or operational in case you need to bug out or fight at a moments notice. Also map and compass are essential but so is the knowledge and skill to use them.
    Great instructabe by the way.


    6 years ago

    No compass, should always carry a one since batteries and electronics can fail. There's never a substitute for simplicity.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    If you go winter camping, you don't want to float in the air necessarily. You need insulation between you and the cold earth for sure, but if it's 15 degrees farenheit, having that cold air both above and below you will suck the heat out of you just as badly. I speak that from experience, I once took a cot winter camping and I had to wear all my warm clothes inside my mummy bag and it was a long night to say the least.

    Cool air, yes. Klondike derby sleeping in the snow, no way with a hammock! :)

    5 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Also, sleep as close to naked in a sleeping bag as possible, sleeping bags are made to do this, the more clothes you wear the less effective your sleeping bag is. plus you could put a sleeping bag up on the hammock.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I also learned the "take your clothes off before you get in your sleeping bag" rule as a Boy Scout many years ago. At the time I was camping in warm weather, wearing sweaty clothes at the end of the day, and had a thick down army surplus sleeping bag. It still makes sense to get close to naked in these circumstances. However, if your clothes are dry, your sleeping bag is synthetic (or thin down), and it's below freezing, you're going to want as much insulation around you as possible. You will stay warmer if you leave your clothes on. In fact, wearing a wool sweater and hat inside your sleeping bag can mean the difference between staying comfortably warm and being uncomfortably cold.

    Always be sure to leave your nose and mouth outside the bag, so that the water vapor in your breath doesn't get inside the bag. Breathing inside your bag will warm you at first, but make you colder later on as the water vapor condenses and accumulates. When deciding to what to wear or not wear when it's cold, remember this: non-circulating air insulates and keeps warmth close to you, and water conducts and takes warmth away from you.

    One of the biggest mistakes people make is using an air mattress when it is cold. The air in an air mattresses circulates from convection currents, transferring your body heat right into the cold ground. A thin closed-cell foam mattress may not protect you as much from the lumps of the ground, but it will transfer heat away from you more slowly. As a previous commenter noted, you should balance the insulation above and below you. and remember that your body weight will compress the insulation in your bag--especially if it is down.


    Reply 6 years ago on Step 2

    Are you sure that is convection as the air wouldnt circulate as the heat is on top of the air mattress heating the air below you making it rise and stay at the top, so heats stays at the top and cold air at the bottom. Convection would happen when a heat source is below so the warm air rises then the cold air sinks, when the heat reaches the top the air cools then sinks again.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    oh, and also, even if you're in zero degree (Fahrenheit) weather, your body can maintain it's temp. for like a few minutes before you get cold, although if it is windy this will shorten the time considerably. that's why you get your sleeping bag set up, then strip and get in. but keep your clothes with you, maybe put them under your sleeping bag on the hammock.