Backpacker Essentials
by Phil Cibicki


Phil Cibicki out in the mountains.

From my very first backpack trip to Colchuck Lake over 20 years ago, I quickly realized I needed a way to organize the gear I planned to take with me each time I went on a trip. Throughout the years, I developed and frequently updated this comprehensive list that I could use during the packing process. This allowed me to not only consistently bring the same reliable items with me each time I embarked on a trip, but also to keep me from forgetting some of the essential items that I often did (like a beanie for cold fall nights or bug spray for mosquito-ridden areas). It also helped me determine those items that were most useful and that could be doubled-up for efficiency’s sake, while helping me find those items I realized I didn’t really need to bring and could eliminate.

I hope this list is something you may be able to use during these winter months in preparation for the summer. May this list bring you some sense of security that you did indeed pack everything you meant to and that you didn’t actually forget anything. I believe this can be crucial when you might be hiking and camping 20 miles out from the trailhead for multiple days on end. Happy backpacking!

Main Wear AM/PM Main 
backpack/day pack underwear/socks sleeping bag/pad/pillow map/compass 
knife/lighter  hiking boots/camp footwear medications/Tylenol first aid kit/survival kit 
poles/watch pants/shirts/hoodie toothbrush/toothpaste parking pass/camp permit 
whistle/gum beanie/gloves headlamp/batteries zip ties/duct tape 
phone/battery/cord shorts/swimsuit ear plugs/eye mask tent/footprint/stakes/rainfly 
photo ID/cash long thermals eye drops  
Food/Water Elements Extra Food/Water 
water/electrolytes wet wipes/toilet paper fishing rod/reel/tackle water purifier 
water bladder/bottles rain shell/rain cover goggles/microfiber towel stove/fuel/pot/pan/utensils 
meals/snacks sunglasses/case pen/notebook/book Ziploc bags/garbage bags 
bowl/spoon sunscreen/baseball cap cards/games/crosswords camp towel/camp soap 
mug/mini Nalgene bug spray/head net drinks olive oil/seasoning 
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