Basic Three Season Gear Check List

Remember two things: (1) if you bring an item, you will carry for the trip, and (2) if you didn't bring an item, you won't have it during the trip.  I have a companion gear guide to provide more details and ideas as well as some notes about Getting Starting Backpacking.  I have also collected pointers to a number of folks gear checklists which you might find useful.

Clothing Wear
  • running shoes [hiking shoes, hiking boots, or sandals which are comfortable can also work]
  • wool, coolmax, or nylon socks.  If wearing inflexible boots, an inner liner and a thick wool outer sock a must
  • underwear (ideally not cotton): coolmax, capilene, etc
  • pants / shorts (ideally not cotton): such as the nylon "travel" pants, river shorts, unlined synthetic  "warm-up" or "running"
  • shirt (ideally not cotton): supplex nylon, silk weight long underwear, technical tee-shirt, or sports shirt (biking, soccer, etc)
  • day hat (for sun protection)
Home: Sleep and Storage
  • backpack
  • sleeping bag (appropriately warm)
  • foam pad or therm-a-rest


  • water container (bottle(s) or hydration system)
  • whistle
  • pocket knife
  • hand cleaner
  • blistex or chapstick
  • sunscreen
  • flashlight, batteries for flashlight
  • sunglasses
Clothing Carry
  • extra socks for hiking
  • light/mid weight long underwear: synthetic or merino wool [optional... make nice PJs and extra warmth]
  • insulating layer: 200/300 weight fleece, or vest / jacket insulated with polarguard, primaloft, down
  • rain and wind protection: either waterproof breathable jacket  (pants optional) -or- poncho made of waterproof fabric and windbreaker
  • warm fleece or wool hat


  • cup
  • eating utensils: at least a spoon
  • large bowl (if you don't want to eat and drink out of your cup)


  • toothbrush
  • small towel


  • camera
  • extra footwear for "camp" use and/or crossing streams.  Light sandals, crocs, etc.
  • "camp wear": extra shirt and pants
  • extra warm socks for sleeping in
  • gloves (if your hands get cold and you don't want to use extra socks as mittens
 Emergency/Shared Items

The following items could be carried by each individual, or pooled as a group provided individuals don't get separated from the group:

  • water treatment
  • first-aid kit
  • lighter,  matches, firestarters
  • compass + map
  • bug repellent
  • bio-degradable soap
  • shovel (or use a stake)
  • toilet paper
  • trash bag
  • 50' of rope
Group Items

Each group will need to bring a number of items which will be shared between the group during the trip.  These items should be divided appropriately between people based on weight, size, and individuals abilities:

  • food
  • tent(s) or tarp(s)
  • stove
  • fuel for stove
  • cooking pot (1.5-4L) w/ lid
  • object to clean pot
  • bear canister(s) if appropriate
  • large water bag (optional)