Generate A Camp Gear List

It seems as if every time you take a trip up to the mountains you forget something.  Whether you forgot your pocketknife or an extra pair of socks, it is never fun to forget any essential items for the back woods.  However, this problem can be easily alleviated with a simple backpacking checklist.  Read on to help you create a checklist of your own. 


Obviously shelter is one of the most important aspects of your camping gear.  A well-designed tent will keep you out of the elements, but should be comfortable enough to fit you and your camping partners.  If you are backpacking, your tent should fit no more than two to three people.  Any more room would add too much weight and bulk to your pack.  For those who want to pack as light as possible, there are a number of very good ultralight tent options.  Also, you must keep in mind what time of year you will use your tent.  Most backpacking tents can be used for three seasons, but more expensive and sturdy tents can be used in the winter as well. 

You choice of a sleeping bag has the most impact on your comfort through a night of camping.  Do you need a sleeping bag rated for below twenty degree, or will summer temperature ratings around forty degrees suffice?  Will you purchase a lighter, more durable down sleeping bag, or is the more cost-effective synthetic bag a better fit?  If you are backpacking, make sure that your sleeping bag can pack well.  A good stuff sack should help get your sleeping bag as small as possible. 

And you certainly should not forget a sleeping pad or a ground sheet.  Sleeping pads provide extra cushion and help you better regulate your warmth by elevating your body from the cold ground.  You should always lay a ground sheet in between your sleeping pad and the bottom of the tent.  This will prevent any moisture from entering your tent from the ground and will thus keep you and your sleeping bag warm and dry. 

For the checklist:

  • Tent - Double check poles, stakes, and the rain fly are included
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Ground Sheet

PackingBackpacking Internal Frame 70LCredit:

 Your backpack should be the easiest item to remember on your checklist since you will pack everything inside your bag.  Try to store the heavy items that you will not need on the trail at the bottom of your pack.  Generally, your sleeping bag fits well in the bottom of your bag with other items stacked on top.  To conserve space within your backpack, it is recommended that you do not store anything in stuff sacks as you pack them into your backpack.  When items are stored in sacks, they will create air pockets of wasted space.  Be sure to pack any important items that you will need on the trail like sunscreen or a guidebook at the top of your pack. 

If are planning a mountain ascent on your trip, you should always bring a daypack to store food, water, and extra layers.  Comfortable daypacks will have waist and sternum straps to prevent your daypack from moving around.

It is always smart to carry a waterproof rain cover for your daypack.  If it begins to rain on the trail or at camp, this cover will fit nicely over your backpack and will keep the water out.  Rain covers come in a number of different sizes so be sure that you purchase the correct rain cover for your backpack.  A black garbage bag should also fit over most backpacks and will serve just fine as a poor man’s rain cover. 

Your old plastic grocery bags can be reused as small garbage bags or just as stuff sack while camping.  Rope or cord is always good to have lying around your campsite.  It can be used to hang your food from bears or to strap stuff to your pack.  Rope can be a very versatile and useful tool to have while camping. 

For the checklist:

  • Backpack
  • Daypack
  • Backpack rain cover
  • Grocery bags for trash
  • Cord

Food and Food PrepBackpacking MSR Propane StoveCredit:

Make sure to purchase a durable and compact backpack stove backpack stove to fit your backcountry dining needs.  Most camp stoves use either propane/butane or white gas.  Propane stoves are generally easier to use and more compact, but they do not work very well in colder weather conditions.  White gas stoves burn very efficiently and effectively but are a little more complicated to use and require more maintenance.  Even if your stove has a handy push-button starter, you should always remember to carry matches.  Make sure to store them in a waterproof baggie or pouch. 

Choose a good set of backpacking cookware according to how many people you cook for in the backcountry.  A two to three liter pot should cook almost any freeze-dried meal on the market.  Many cookware sets include nesting pots, pans, and other helpful cooking items.  This will save much valuable space in your backpack. The least expensive cookware is made of aluminum, but these pots heat very evenly and are prone to deforming.  Stainless steel cookware is a little heavier but provides for a better and sturdier cook surface.  The best cookware is made of titanium, but you will pay a premium price for a premium product.  Also, do not for get to pack a fork or spoon.  Plastic ware can be used as an inexpensive option, but it is prone to breaking. 

Before heading out on your next backpacking trip, you should be fully aware of the wildlife in the area.  If bears might be present, it is recommended that you store all of your food in a bear proof container.  These can be big and bulky, but it will keep these animals away from your food.  A less expensive but still very viable option is to hang your food from a tree.  You must make sure that your food is not too close to the tree trunk since bears are very good tree climbers. 

Obviously you will need breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each full day that you are in the wilderness.  Freeze-dried foods are the best options for those wanting to keep a light backpack.  These meals may seem a little non-traditional, but most of them are very delicious.  Keep in mind that you will be engaging in strenuous physical activity while backpacking and will therefore need to consume significantly more calories than normal.  Also be sure to bring some extra snacks such as energy bars, trail mix, and dried fruit to fill hunger pangs between meals. 

For the checklist:

  • Camping stove with fuel
  • Cookware
  • Utensils
  • Bear proof canister or sack to hang food
  • Matches
  • Meals – Freeze Dried or custom creations
  • Extra snacks

To ensure that you pack everything you need for your next outdoor adventure, it is absolutely critical that you create a camp gear list so you do not forget any essential items.  This list can grow and change over time, but if you stick with one solid list, you will be able to camp with ease whenever you make it out to the wilderness. 

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