Backpacking Checklist, v42

Also Available: Regular Camping Checklist or Bicycle Camping Checklist.

See Bicycling Checklist or Hiking Checklist or Vehicle Checklist
based on the mode of transportation.


Have Quickly Available and Know these 
     Items by Location by Blind Feel
[ ] 1 First Aid Kit (Appropriate for trip style,
      location, and duration)
[ ] 2 Lighter (or Magnesium Striker or Water Proof Matches)
[ ] 3 Flash Light, Headlight, Lantern (a.k.a. torch -
      Tested and Working)
[ ] 4 Spare Light Batteries (Correct Size, in Zip
      Lock Bag, Ends Protected or Covered by 
      Non Conducting Tape - Prevent Discharge)
[ ] 5 Rain / Weather Protection Gear (Appropriate for
      Climate, Altitude, Season)
[ ] 6 Knife (Swiss Army type: big and small blade, awl, 
      scissors, bottle & can opener, and tweezers. Keep in pocket.
      Mine must also have a cork screw!)

[ ] Back Pack:
      Tested, Fitted, Rigged, Loose Ends Taped / Secured /
      Trimmed.  Duct tape can be used to sound proof & secure
      loose straps.  [People are always amazed at how many
      wild animals are walked or biked in upon
      when all is quite, even in groups!]
[ ] Pocket Knife      
[ ] Camping Gear & Equipment, See Camping:
[ ]   Waterproof Carry Bags, Stuff Sacks
[ ]   Tent, Fly, Poles, Stakes, Line, Line Clips.
      - Know how to set up beforehand.
      - Tents without bottoms are lighter
      - Tents that are fully enclosed keep creepy crawlers out
      - If you are away, keep doors and widows closed. Keeps
        surprise rain, hail, and critters out.
      - Window Screen, Door Screen, serviceable, 
        actually keeps bugs out and can keep rain out
        by adjusting a window cover.
[ ]   Hammer (or Hand Axe for Adults. Life's great irony,
       a heavy weight is needed to pound in tent stakes
       in many places with hard ground and no rocks, yet 
       who wants to carry a heavy weight on the trail?
      Where found in some areas, a four inch hammer stone 
       will work just fine - Good campers leave it for the
       next site user.)
[ ]   Cord, Rope, Twine
[ ]   Saw, Folding (Way better than Axe for cutting)
[ ]   Plastic Sheet / Ground Cloth (place under the tent bottom,
       protects tent bottom from wear, keeps dirt/mud off tent,
       allows clean tent folding/packing, for packing - shake and 
       the fold ground cloth dirt side to inside)
[ ]   Cooking Area Fly (optional): Space blanket, tarp, plastic; with 
       guy lines if possible. Because of a need to NOT cook in the tent 
       as food smells attract bears and other carnivores. Set up a cooking
       area away from the tent. Fifty feet away (or more) is recommended
       but sometimes in some environments twenty-five feet is the best
       available. Also, don't store food in the tent, ever.
      If the weather is bad, cook under the fly, if the weather is
       good, sit on the fly       
[ ]   Sleeping Bag(s) 
      - Always store hung or loose, never store packed or compressed
      - All bags need to be unrolled and fluffed at the campsite
        to be effective insulators of warmth.  
      - Its Not a good idea to stuff tomorrow's clothes in a bag 
        because body moisture will ruin the insulation benefits.  
      - When sleeping in a bag, it is unwise to burrow into the bag
        and breathe inside the bag. The moisture from the breath will 
        rob the bag of its insulating capabilities.
      - In cold air situations, it is very wise to sleep with the head
        outside of the bag and to wear a cap on the head 
        (stocking cap is best).  
      - Goose down bags are lighter and compress better than micro 
        fiber bags, useless if wet, use river float proof cover, 
        we store in kayak bag).
      - Micro fiber bags dry faster than goose down bags (hours vs days, 
        better expedition durability & survivability, functional if wet,
        store in waterproof cover/container/bag).
[ ]   Sleeping Bag Liner (optional)
      - There are commercial liners but many people use a folded cotton sheet.
      - A few sleeping bags have interior tie strings for liners but most don't.
      - Most people use "blanket" size safety pins to connect bag and sheet
        (attach at the seams to prevent cloth tears).
      - In the US South or tropical areas, people may use a sheet on top of a
        light weight (summer) sleeping bag or blanket, and maybe crawl into the  
        bag if it cools down (and may not want to attach the sheet to anything).
[ ]   Sleeping Bag Cover (optional). This supports an alternate camp style.
       There are GoreTex type covers that facilitate two capabilities. 
       One capability is that a person can sleep in the open, without 
       carrying a tent. Some covers have little rain flies to protect 
       the head. Also, sleeping bag covers provide additional insulation
       and warmth and can give some summer type bags usefulness into 
       cooler Spring and Fall temperatures.
[ ]   Pillow (clothing stuff sack, folded jacket,
      little blowup pillow with a cover, mini pillow)
[ ]   Space Blanket (They Work - Read Instructions)
        AKA Emergency Blanket
[ ]   Foam Pad (Self Inflating Best - thick and slightly heavier, 
       Non-Inflating Foam (lightest weight, smallest space),
       Avoid Air Mattresses
[ ] First Aid Kit:
[ ]   Bandages (.25 inch, .5 inch, 1 inch, 2 inches, 3 inches)
[ ]   Moleskin
[ ]   4x4 inch pads for cleaning/wiping wound and soaking blood 
[ ]   4x4 inch non stick pads for covering wound 
[ ]   Cravat, large handkerchief, ace type wraps (2 inch wide)
[ ]   Small bottle with nozzle of Betadine or similar sanitizer, 
       ability to spray wash it into a wound
[ ]   Tylenol (Acetaminophen) and/or Motrin or Advil (Ibuprofen)
[ ]   Other elements to use: knife (with tweezer and scissor),
       duct tape, flash light, note pad, pen/pencil, matches, 
       soap and water, Benadryl, and communication device. 
       A tampon is a great trauma pad blood soaker.
[ ]   Medicines / Personal Medicines / Allergy Medicines
[ ] Cooking Supplies and Equipment, See Cook Equipment
[ ]   Stove, Tested, with Appropriate Connectors
[ ]   Appropriate Fuel for Stove, Full, Check Quantity / Volume,
       Container Condition OK. Double check liquid container seal(s).
      COMMENT: This is a generalization with a few exceptions.
       In North America, Europe and the Far East, propane stove 
       systems are the standard and typically wood fires
       are limited or NOT allowed. In most of the rest of the world, 
       the most available fuel type is Unleaded Gasoline -
       Most newer liquid gas stoves will burn unleaded petrol,
       but validate. Another fuel type is alcohol, a most
       underrated cooking fuel. Alcohol and medicinal alcohol
       are commonly found at Pharmacies (including Muslim 
       countries). Alcohol stoves always work and have the
       lightest system weight - they do not heat as fast as
       propane systems and require a wind shield.
[ ]   Lighter, Matches in Waterproof Container, Magnesium Striker,
       Windproof Lighter. It is wise to have at least two sources.
      CAUTION: We have yet to see a butane lighter, especially a wind proof
       lighter, be dependable above 8,000 Feet Altitude (˜2,500 Meters).
      NOTE: Magnesium Strikers always work (assuming magnesium exists)!
[ ]   Fire Starter (Tube / Paraffin-Cardboard / other)
[ ]   Cook Kits, Non-Stick (Pots, Fry Pans, Handles)
[ ]   Eating Ware (Plate, Bowl, Cup, Knife, Fork, Spoon,
      Mess Kit)
[ ]   Mug. Hiker's choice: none, big, little (lots of variables
       weight, hot-cold insulation, taste satisfaction, what's drank, ...)
[ ]   Cooking Utensils (Spatula, Spoon, Fork, Knife)
[ ]   Cleaning Gear (Soap, Brillo, Scrunge, Bottle Brush, Pot
      Pad, Drying Towel(s) / Paper Towels)
      [this is what rookies forget]
[ ]   Bearbag, Lines / Cable, Throwing  Sock; Bear Safe
       Bear problems are a big deal, especially in National Park
       car campgrounds. Most backpackers avoid these places, but
       on occasion NP's are a start point or an end point.
      WARNING: Away from public parks and campgrounds, bears tend
       to avoid humans. There are public parks where the bears
       are not afraid of humans and they know to look for 
       bear bags for food. In fact, some Park Bears will tear a 
       window out of a car to get to food stored in a cooler.
       A tent does not stand a chance. Don't keep smellables
       in the tent, that also includes toiletries - tooth paste
       smells good to a bear - store toiletries and medicines 
       with the food. Learn to buy unscented toiletry products 
       (soap, no perfume, toothpaste, ...).
      More and more, a Bear Safe (a special designed, jaw proof,
       HD Plastic Container) is the item to have (not cheap).
      WARNING: Dennis has seen a bear destroy an empty 
       tent that once had food inside. The Internet has pictures
       of doors pulled off cars and windows pulled off cars
       by bears going after food smells or visible food containers.
[ ] Food, See Basic Foods & Packing Issues
[ ] Water: 
[ ]   Water & Containers (Start Full if Possible) 
[ ]   Water Purification-Filtration System (Rinsed with
       Chemical Solution before trek), extra filters & chemical
       treatment, if needed (often Chlorine Bleach, a.k.a. Clorox,
       one drop per liter/quart or five drops per gallon,
       mix and let set for at least five minutes). 
      Experience: Let creek water sit in a container
       for about 15 minutes, let it settle, then pump-purify
       only the clear water. This will greatly enhance pump
       filter survival. 
[ ]   Big water bladder - or remote camp site water filling. 
       Usually just before the evening camp, water is gathered.
       Some people carry empty water bladders and fill them, other
       fill whatever pots and canteens are available.
       Empty bladders have weight - situational judgement is required.
      WARNING In some cases, one loads up water at every opportunity. 
[ ] Navigation:
[ ]   Maps, Directions 
[ ]   Compass, Altimeter, GPS (working, batteries)
[ ]   Itinerary
[ ]   Passes, Permission, Licenses, Paid Receipts, Keys, Codes
[ ] Clothing: See Clothing
      MUST HAVE Layers Capability, Remember that packing at
       warm / lower  locations / elevations when destination is Cool,
       Cold, or Freezing, leaves many distressed at altitude)
     ISSUE: The work of hiking in cool weather keeps one warm,
       but as soon as one stops hiking, a physical cool down occurs.
       Keep a jacket and a hat handy to stay warm and sometimes
       gloves are useful. GoreTex or similar Jackets are handy for
       rain, warmth, and wind.
[ ]   Footwear:
       Waterproof (Waterproof Boots, Waterproofed Sneakers
       with Galoshes, or Stream crossing Sandals or Booties) -
       BROKE IN way before trek!!!!
[ ]   Socks (Wicking Synthetic Best, Cotton Worst)
[ ]   Sweater, Jacket, Fleece [We use a lightweight waterproof, 
       windproof coat, if we get cold, we layer with a flannel shirt]
[ ]   Parka, Coat (waterproof, windproof)
[ ]   Shirt(s): 
[ ]     T-shirts with pocket(s) (cotton often OK, as sweat evaporation
         cools the body, cotton not OK in Cold Temperatures), 
        Caution: Cotton Not OK for those easily prone to skin infection.
[ ]     Long sleeve double pocket outdoor type
[ ]     HD Chamois or flannel double pocket type
         (often worn as an in camp clothing layer
          maybe under a jacket)
[ ]   Pant(s):
[ ]     Cargo Shorts
[ ]     Cargo pants with zipper legs
[ ]     Jeans (heavy, no good if wet, but popular and comfy)
[ ]   Undies (Cotton or Synthetic, hiker judgement)
[ ]   Water Proof Hat, other (baseball, insect netted, cold weather, ...)
[ ]   Poncho, Rain Coat, Rain Paints / Jacket 
[ ]   Sleeping Cap, Wool Knit (Very Good in Cold & Mtns)
[ ]   Gloves / Mittens (watch out for people who are cold
      before the norm)
[ ]   Swimming Wear (optional)
[ ] Toiletry, See Toiletry:
[ ]   Toothbrush, Mini Holder, Toothpaste
[ ]   String Floss (a good emergency sewing thread, white or mint green)
[ ]   Soap and Container
[ ]   Towel, Washcloth (use lightweight fast dry micro fiber camp towel)
[ ]   Mirror
[ ]   Shaver / Razor
[ ]   Comb, Brush  
[ ] Medicine-Hygiene:  
      See Sanitation Behavior Customs.
[ ]   Toilet Paper, Baby Wipes
      Hint: Outside of the US
            Most places away from big cities
            may not have toilet paper and/or
            you may have to pay to use a Toilet/WC
[ ]   Garden Spade (actual or light weight fold up camp spade)
[ ]   Bandages (Big, Medium, Little)
[ ]   Prescription (Rx) Meds, Actual Prescription
      (Sometimes), Schedule
[ ]   Allergy Meds
[ ]   Aspirin, Tylenol, Other (sometimes in first aid kit) 
[ ]   Sun Block, Sun Burn Medicine, Chap Stick (Lip Balm)
      In a pinch, the waxy powder of an Aspen tree may be
      used as a Sun Block (~SPF8) - It Works!
[ ]   General Anti-Biotic Salve
[ ]   Lotion, Hand Cream
[ ]   Feminine Hygiene Products 
[ ]   Anti Bug Gear:
[ ]     Mosquito Hat, Sleeping Net
[ ]     Bug Repellent (100% DEET works best)
[ ]     Permethrin (Requires prior set up)
[ ]   Alarm Watch (NO Hour Bleeping Watches), some with altitude, compass,
       and other gadgetry 
[ ]   Glasses (Sun, Rx, cases, spares)
[ ]   Emergency Money (Coins, Bills, Cards, ...)
[ ]   Tape (100 MPH, Electrical, Duct <- Super Utilitous)
[ ]   Large curved tent repair needle and HD carpet thread 
      (floss works too).

Optional Considerations

These are items that we have carried once or just a few times
[ ]   Cell/Satellite Phone (own/rent, local/international)
[ ]   Spiral Top/Back/Side Note Pad, Pen/Pencil,
        Note: waterproof paper available
[ ]   Plastic Bags (Lg, Med, Sm [Qt, Gal] Zip)
[ ]   Tape, Electrical / 100MPH / Duct (Duck) - Duct Tape
        continues to be the most popular extra item as 
        frequently stated by globe trekkers
[ ]   Repair Kits / Parts / Tools: Tent, Mattress, Stove, Pack,
      Clothing / GoreTex, Tire, Chain. 
[ ]   Hiking Staff / Walking Sticks
[ ]   Camera, Lenses, Film, Batteries, Cable, Case, Memory, Link
       Flash, Up &/or Down Load Device(s) and Cable, H/W, S/W
       In a pinch, cheap disposable - can be later converted to digital
[ ]   iPod, MP3, EGame (Batteries and Accessories)
[ ]   Notebook Computer (Batteries and Accessories)       
[ ]   "P" Bottle (old plastic salsa container, big mouth), Lady
      "J" Funnel - or inverted and contoured cut Clorox bottle
      top with sanded edge
[ ]   Camp Shoes, Sandals
[ ]   Cleaning Basin (Plastic or Inflatable - the bottom half of an
       empty Clorox bottle)
[ ]   Astronomy: Charts, Telescopes & system s/w and h/w
[ ]   Night Vision Device/Scope
[ ]   Binoculars, Lightweight or Heavy Duty, 
        above 5x need gyro-stabilization
[ ]   Book(s)
[ ]   Letter Writing Equip, Stamps, Addresses
[ ]   Musical Instrument, Sheet Music / Book
[ ]   Umbrella 
[ ]