Do you ever wonder what to pack for a multi-day hiking trip? Trust me, you aren’t alone. It’s one of the biggest struggles you can face when you’re just getting into backpacking. 

Thoughts like “What if I forget something important?” or “I don’t want to pack too much!” are probably racing through your mind.

Take a deep breath, sit back and read our comprehensive packing guide to get you started. 

 

 

FREE BONUS! Download The Multi-Day Hiking Checklist On PDF

 

HOW TO USE THIS HIKING PACKING LIST

Before we jump into the world of packing for hiking, I want to give you a quick run down on how to get the most out of this list. Next to each item you will see a few categories, let me explain what they mean. 

PURPOSE: What is used for, a quick insight on why you might need that piece of gear.

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: We know that when you’re just starting out it can be tough to know what you really need and what can be left at home. We did our best to weed out the essentials and have wrote yes to each item we believe you truly need. Keep in mind, this will vary from the type of trip you are planning.

PRICE RANGE: It’s good to get an idea of how much each item will cost so you can budget accordingly.

LOOK FOR: Some quick tips on how to choose your gear.

OUR PICK: Our choice based on the value and quality of the product.

LEARN MORE: A full article on how to choose that particular piece of gear.

BEST MODELS: An article about the top gear of the year.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

DOWNLOAD THIS CHECKLIST ON PDF

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THE COMPLETE HIKING GEAR LIST 

1. BACKPACKS & BAGS

60 – 80L BACKPACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Carry All The Gear You Need To Survive On The Trail

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $150 – $400

LOOK FOR: Comfort When Carrying Heavy Loads & A Good Fit

OUR PICK: Osprey Aether 70 /Ariel 65 (Women’s version)

LEARN MORE: How To Choose A Backpack For Hiking 

BEST MODELS: Top 10 Backpacks For Hiking

 

 

DAYPACK

daypack

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Carry Essentials For Side Hikes

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Depends On Your Plans

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $240

LOOK FOR: Lots Of Pockets & Lightweight

OUR PICK: Osprey Daylite Pack

BEST MODELS: Top 10 Day Hiking Backpacks

 

 

PACK COVER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Keep Your Gear Dry During Wet Weather

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Depends If There Is A Chance Of Rain

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $50

LOOK FOR: Durable Material & Fits Your Pack Size

OUR PICK: Osprey Ultralight Rain Cover

BEST MODELS: Top 10 Backpack Rain Covers

 

 

PACKING CUBES

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Organize Your Clothes So They Are Easy To Find

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $5 – $60 (Depending on size & set) 

LOOK FOR: Various Colors To Quickly Determine What Is Inside

OUR PICK: Eagle Creek Pack It Original Set

 

 

DRY BAG

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: To Keep Electronics Dry

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Depends On Your Needs

PRICE RANGE: $15 – $60

LOOK FOR: Seam Seals & Roll Top Closure

OUR PICK: Sea To Summit Lightweight Dry Sack 20L



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2. SLEEPING GEAR

TENT

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Provides Shelter From Cold & Rain 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $150 – $850

LOOK FOR: Good Construction & Lightweight

OUR PICK: MSR Hubba Hubba

LEARN MORE: How To Choose A Tent

BEST MODELS: Top Backpacking Tents Of The Year

 

 

CAMPING HAMMOCK

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Provides Shelter, Alternative To Tent

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $100 – $300

LOOK FOR: Good Construction & Lightweight

OUR PICK: Hennessy Expedition Hammock

BEST MODELS: Top Camping Hammocks Of The Year

 

 

TENT FOOTPRINT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Protects Bottom Of Tent From Damage 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

ALTERNATIVE: Tarp

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $60

LOOK FOR: Fits Your Tent Model

OUR PICK: Depends On Your Tent

 

 

SLEEPING BAG

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Keep you warm at night

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $100 – $600

LOOK FOR: Sufficient Temperature Rating & Small Pack size

OUR PICK: Western Mountaineering Ultralight Bag

LEARN MORE: How To Choose A Sleeping Bag

BEST MODELS: Top Backpacking Sleeping Bags Of The Year

 

 

SLEEPING BAG LINER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

PURPOSE: Keep Your Sleeping Bag Clean & Extra Warmth

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $80

LOOK FOR: Comfortable Material

OUR PICK: Sea to Summit Silk Liner

 

 

SLEEPING PAD

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Provide Warmth and Cushioning

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $40 – $400

LOOK FOR: Cushioning, Warmth & Small Packsize

OUR PICK: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm

LEARN MORE: How To Choose A Sleeping Pad

BEST MODELS: Top Backpacking Sleeping Pads Of The Year

 

 

COMPRESSIBLE PILLOW

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Support Your Neck While Sleeping

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $40

LOOK FOR: Small Pack Size & Comfortable

OUR PICK: Therm-A-Rest Compression Pillow 



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3. NAVIGATION TOOLS 

MAP & TRAIL GUIDES

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Find The Way & Give Useful Information

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $3 – $20

LOOK FOR: Easy To Read, Compact, Accurate

OUR PICK: Depends On Which Trail You Plan To Do

 

MAP CASE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

PURPOSE: Keeps Your map Protected From The Elements 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Depends If You Plan To Hike In The Rain

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $50

LOOK FOR: Waterproof Welded Seams

OUR PICK: Osprey Ultralight Map Case

 

 

COMPASS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Navigation

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $13 – $200  

LOOK FOR: Liquid-Filled Capsule For Stable Operation

OUR PICK: Suunto M-3 D Leader

BEST MODELS: Top 10 Best Hiking Compasses of the Year

 

 

GPS DEVICE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Navigation

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $200 – $800

LOOK FOR: Easy To Use & Long Battery Life

OUR PICK: Garmin eTrex 30x

BEST MODELS: Top GPS Devices of the Year

 

 

ALTIMETER WATCH

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

PURPOSE: Navigation & See Current And Upcoming Weather

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $200 – $800 

LOOK FOR: Ease of Use 

OUR PICK: Suunto Core Watch

BEST MODELS: Top Hiking Watches of the Year



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4. COOKING UTENSILS

BACKPACKING STOVE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Cook Camp Meals and Make Hot Drinks

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $30 – $250

LOOK FOR: Lightweight & Reliable 

OUR PICK: MSR Reactor System

LEARN MORE: How To Choose A Backpacking Stove

BEST MODELS: Top Backpacking Stoves Of The Year

 

 

FUEL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Power Camp Stove

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $30

LOOK FOR: Depends on your stove model (consult manual) 

 

 

MATCHES OR LIGHTER 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

PURPOSE: Light The Stove & Make Camp Fires

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

CONSIDERATIONS: Always bring a spare lighter or matches. If they aren’t waterproof, be sure to pack them in a container. 

 

 

COOKWARE SET

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

PURPOSE: Cook Camp Meals

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $200

LOOK FOR: Type of Material (Depending on your needs)

OUR PICK: MSR Quick 2 Pot Set

LEARN MORE: Best Backpacking Cookware Sets

 

 

DINNERWARE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Eating Camp Meals 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $5 – $200 (depending on set)

LOOK FOR: Sufficient For Group & Lightweight

OUR PICK: GSI Infinity Table Set

 

 

UTENSILS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes (unless you only plan to eat sandwiches)

PRICE RANGE: $3 – $20

LOOK FOR: Lightweight & Durable 

OUR PICK: GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Set

 

 

DISH WASHING KIT

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Amazon | REI


PURPOSE: Wash Dishes Up After Cooking

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $5 – $20

DISH SOAP: Campsuds Biodegradable Soap

SOAP CONTAINER: GoToob Bottle

SPONGE: Campsuds Biodegradable Soap

 

 

COFFEE MAKER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Warm Up When Getting To Camp

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $9 – $55

LOOK FOR: Light & Compact 

OUR PICK: GSI Outdoors Javadrip Coffee Maker



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5. FOOD & DRINK

MEALS


Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Refueling After A Long Day On The Trail

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $1 – $10 per meal per person

LOOK FOR: Sufficient Calories To Recover From Hiking

OUR PICK:  Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

 

 

SNACKS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

PURPOSE: Quick Energy Between Meals

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $1- $5

LOOK FOR: Energy Bars, Fruit & Nuts

 

 

WATER BLADDER OR BOTTLES

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Carry Water While Hiking

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $1 – $10

LOOK FOR: Holds Sufficient Amount Of Water & Easy To Drink From

OUR PICK: CamelBak Antidote Reservoir 

 

 

WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

PURPOSE: Create Safe Drinking Water

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $40 – $10

LOOK FOR: Lightweight, Effective, Easy To Use

OUR PICK: SteriPEN Ultra Water Purifier 

BEST MODELS: Top Water Purifiers of the Year



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6. CLOTHING GEAR FOR WARM WEATHER

WICKING T-SHIRT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $15 – $80

LOOK FOR: Comfort, Fit, Quick-dry Fabric (Wool or Synthetic)

OUR MEN’S PICK: Icebreaker Oasis T-Shirt

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Icebreaker Tech-Lite Shirt 

 

 

QUICK DRY PANTS OR SHORTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $100

LOOK FOR: Lightweight, Comfortable, Quick Dry-Fabric

OUR MEN’S PICK: Prana Stretch Zion Shorts 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Prana Tess Shorts

 

 

WICKING UNDERWEAR

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $50

LOOK FOR: Comfort & Quick-Dry Fabric

OUR MEN’S PICK: Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Oasis Boxers 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Icebreaker Sprite Hot Pant



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7. CLOTHING GEAR FOR COLD WEATHER

Pack the same 3 items as warm weather gear plus these items below:

 

WICKING BASE LAYER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: To Keep Your Upper Body Warm & Dry

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $30 – $120

LOOK FOR: Warmth, Breathability & Quick-Dry Fabric

OUR MEN’S PICK: Arc’teryx Phase AR Baselayer

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Arc’teryx Phase SV Baselayer

BEST MODELS: Top Hiking Base Layers of the Year

 

 

WICKING LEGGINGS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: To Keep Your Lower Body Warm & Dry

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $100

LOOK FOR: Comfort, Breathability, Quick-Dry Material

OUR MEN’S PICK: Icebreaker Oasis Leggings

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Icebreaker Oasis Leggings

 

 

FLEECE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Keep Warm While Resting And In Evening

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $40 – $200

LOOK FOR: Comfort, Warmth, Fit

OUR MEN’S PICK: Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody 

 

 

BEANIE OR BALACLAVA

pocket beanie

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Keep Head Warm While Hiking & Resting

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $30

LOOK FOR: Comfort, Warmth & Fit 

OUR PICK: Icebreaker Pocket Beanie 

 

 

GLOVES

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Keep Hands Warm & Dry 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $5 – $40

LOOK FOR: Comfort & Warmth

OUR MEN’S PICK: Outdoor Research Versaliner Gloves 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Outdoor Research Versaliner Gloves



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8. RAIN GEAR

WATERPROOF RAIN JACKET

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Keep Your Upper Body Dry 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $100 – $400

LOOK FOR: Seam Seals, Waterproof-Breathable Liner

OUR MEN’S PICK: Outdoor Research Foray Jacket 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Outdoor Research Foray Jacket

 

 

WATERPROOF RAIN PANTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Keep Your Lower Body Dry 

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $100 – $400

LOOK FOR: Seam Seals, Waterproof-Breathable Liner

OUR PICK: Outdoor Research Helium Pants 

OUR PICK: Outdoor Research Aspire Pants

BEST MODELS: Top Hiking Rain Pants of the Year

 

 

WATERPROOF GLOVES

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Keep Your Hands Dry In Wet Weather

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $30 – $100

LOOK FOR: Comfort, Waterproof Waterial

OUR MEN’S PICK: Outdoor Research Arete Gloves 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Outdoor Research Arete Gloves



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9. FOOTWEAR

HIKING BOOTS OR SHOES

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Support Your Feet & Ankles While Carrying Heavy Loads

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $100 – $400

LOOK FOR: Comfort, Support & Grippy Sole

OUR MEN’S PICK: Salomon X Ultra Mid Boots 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Salomon X Ultra Boots

LEARN MORE: How To Choose Hiking Boots

 

 

SANDALS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Protect Feet While Hiking

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Optional, Good For Warm Weather And Camp

PRICE RANGE: $50 – $120

LOOK FOR: Comfort, Fit, Grippy Sole

OUR PICK: Teva Terra Fi-Lite 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Teva Tirra Sandals

 

 

GAITERS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Keep Rocks & Dirt Out Of Shoes

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $30 – $100

LOOK FOR: Comfortable, Breathable, Waterproof (For Wet Conditions)

OUR MEN’S PICK: Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters

 

 

SOCKS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

PURPOSE: Cushioning While Hiking

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $30

LOOK FOR: Cushioning, Appropriate Cut For Your Shoes 

OUR MEN’S PICK: Darn Tough Vermont Socks 

OUR WOMEN’S PICK: Darn Tough Vermont Socks

BEST MODELS: Top Hiking Socks of the Year



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10. PERSONAL ITEMS & ACCESSORIES

 

11. SAFETY EQUIPMENT

 

FREE BONUS! Download The Multi-Day Hiking Checklist On PDF

 

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