8 Essentials to Pack for Your First Backpacking Trip
If you’ve decided to go on your first backpacking trip, you need to prepare to sleep overnight
with only the items that you can carry on your back. You will want a wide variety of lightweight
gear and clothing to get you through the day and night. You’ll also want to ensure that you pack
the right gear for the weather and that you’re prepared in case of an emergency.
Backpacking can be a lot of fun if you know what to bring with you. Be sure to pack these eight
backpacking essentials on your first trip:
1. A Sleeping Bag and Tent
Since the definition of backpacking is at least one night spent on the trail, you’ll want to
invest in a high-quality sleeping bag and tent. Depending on the weather at your location,
you’ll want to make sure you’re warm enough and dry enough through the whole night.
2. Food and Water
You’re going to be out in the wilderness for hours exercising for long periods. The number
one backpacking essential is water. Bring plenty of water with you as well as water
treatment supplies to drink from any bodies of water you find along the trail. You also want
to bring adequate high-calorie food for long days of burning calories.
3. Equipment to Start a Fire
Fire is important for many reasons. It can help you stay warm, allow you to cook food, and
be used to signal in an emergency. Many parks have regulations on fires only at designated
campsites, so be sure to check before you head out.
4. Sunscreen and Insect Repellent
There’s not much worse than realizing halfway through a hike that you’ll spend the next
several days with sunburn or bug bites. Be sure to have sunscreen and insect repellent in
your backpacking essentials and reapply both often.
5. A Head Lamp, Flashlight, or Lantern
You’ll want a source of light in the evening to prepare your campsite and have visibility after
you put the fire out. Ideally, a head lamp will keep both hands free, but a flashlight or small
lantern can also work.
6. A Pocket Knife
Both the blade and gadgets on a pocket knife can come in handy in the wilderness. You can
cut away branches, open cans, and cut away clothing or other obstacles in an emergency.
7. A First Aid Kit
At a minimum, you should have a first aid kit that includes bandages and antiseptic wipes.
Ideally, you’ll have medication for stomach upset, allergic reactions, and pain relief and
have materials to fashion a splint out of branches if someone injures a joint.
8. Clothing for All Conditions
While you won’t need a winter coat if you’re hiking in Florida, remember that weather can
change suddenly. Elevation changes can lead to warmer or colder weather than at the start.
Be sure you prepare for any inclement weather you’re likely to experience on the trail.
Backpacking Essentials Could Save Your Life
While all of these items seem simple, most of them also represent a key element for survival.
Be sure to check that you cover all the backpacking essentials for your safety and enjoyment on