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My Hiking Backpacking Checklist

Hiking and packpacking
Hiking and Backpacking. Photo by Andrew Ly on Unsplash

Your gear is everything when you are hiking. Carrying too little or too much can be a life-or-death result. I have been able to do a nice bit of long-distance hiking over the past couple of years and looking forward to my upcoming hike on the West Highland Way in Scotland in September 2024. In this article, I have pulled together my best ideas on the gear I carry. Check out my post on What I Carry in My Hiking PacksThis article is the companion one, with the checklists.

Main Gear Checklist

Some of these items get broken out into the daypack that I carry. For my hiking trips, I use a luggage transfer service. This is a great way to travel if you are not camping. To arrange my hikes and deal with all the lodging bookings and luggage transfers I use Other companies also set up hiking adventures like this, it is pretty common.


___ T-shirts, short sleeve, 3 pairs, base layer*

___ T-shirts, long sleeve, 1 pair*

___ Short sleeve, button, Columbia style shirt, 1 pair, acts as a dress shirt and for the airplane

___ Long pants, convertible to shorts, 1 pair, I think I wore one and carried one pair

___ Lightweight flannel shirt. I can’t remember if I took this, seems one shirt too many.

___ Underwear, 4 pairs. I do not like the quick dry underwear, starts to itch pretty quickly.

___ Socks, 4 pairs

___ Hiking boots

___ Teva sandals, or lightweight trainers, nice to change footwear

___ Fleece jacket, pairs well with the raincoat for colder weather, zipper front, mid-layer*

___ Rain jacket

___ Rain paints

___ Bandanna

___ Lightweight gloves

___ Hat, and stretch cap

___ Bug head net

*You can take fewer shirts, underwear, and socks and do more laundry.

*A lot of people wear the lightweight Patagonia Puffy Jackets

Backpack Gear

___ Backpack, day pack, and main backpack

___ Day pack rain cover

___ Trekking poles

___ Water bottles, 2–1L bottles

___ Headlamp with batteries

___ Flashlight

___ Sleeping sack?

___ Quick dry mini towel


___ MacsAdventure Phone App, download the GPX files

___ Downloaded GPX files

___ GPX phone app

___ Compass

___ Stedman trail book, West Highland Way. A lot of trails have a guidebook as well as a Facebook Group. For the WHW I follow West Highland Way Tips & Tricks on Facebook. Great place for asking questions and getting tips for the hike.

___ Trail map, phones don’t always work

___ Trip itinerary

___ Plastic sleeve to hold important papers

___ Watch


___ Spork

___ Small bar of soap

___ Laundry soap packets

___ Plastic bags for carrying food, Zip-Loc bags

Health & Hygiene

___ Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and toiletries

___ Half roll of toilet paper and poop shovel

___ Medications

___ Moleskin, Compeed plasters

___ Benadryl

___ Antiseptic gel or wipes, travel wipes, Stall Mates

___ Glasses, sunglasses

___ Sunscreen

___ Lip gloss,

___ Tube of Cortizone•10, great item for rashes from hiking

___ Insect repellant

___ Knee brace

Emergency & First Aid

___ First aid kit, SAM splint

___ Whistle

___ Ace bandages, Leukotape, or self-sticking Ace bandages

___ Duct tape, wrap around a credit card.

___ Rope bracelet, a small bundle of light rope

___ Matches

___ Itinerary left with family


___ Energy cubes, Blok

___ Nuun hydration tablets, Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier

___ Plastic bags, Zip-Lock bags for food

___ Rubber bands


___ Phone

___ Phone charger and cords, headphones

___ Charging brick

___ Short extension cord, 6′ works great

___ Universal plug converter

___ Sketchbook, watercolor paints, pencils and pens, container for water

___ Pocket knife/multi-tool

___ Extra set of straps

___ Binoculars

Travel Documents

___ Passport

___ Travel documents

___ Airline documents

___ Credit Cards and currency

___ Apple Pay or Google Pay on your phone

___ Travel insurance

___ License

___ Covid documents

___ Covid Test Kit, unbox and make smaller

___ Face masks

___ Plastic sleeve for documents.

Another Good Hiking Checklist

Back Packing Gear, Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash
Back Packing Gear, Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

Day Pack Checklist, 22 Liter

Your luggage moves on to the next BnB and your day-pack stays with you.

___ Rain jacket

___ Rain pants

___ Bug head net

___ Insect repellent

___ Bandanna

___ Small pocket knife

___ Ace bandage

___ Personal first aid kit

___ 2, 1-liter water bottles

___ Gloves

___ Headlamp

___ Maps and trail book

___ Plastic zip bags for lunch and food

___ Extra nuts and snack stuff

___ Toilet paper and trowel, maybe some sanitary wipes

___ Whistle, also often built into the pack

___ Phone charger

___ Cap and wool hat

___ Sunblock and lip balm

___ Moleskin, or Compeed

___ Pepto Bismol and Advil. You can nice little travel tubes at drug stores.

___ Passport, money, credit cards

___ Phone with Apple Pay or Google Pay on it. I traveled to the UK in 2022, and almost every transaction was done on the phone using Apple Pay or Google Pay. Set that stuff up. It is so much easier than using paper money. Every place did their commerce this way, including buses, trains, stores, and restaurants. This is also your alarm clock, GPX app, Google travel maps, and camera.

First Aid Kit

You probably don’t need everything on this list, but it is a good place to start.

1. Adhesive Bandages: Various sizes for minor cuts and blisters.

2. Sterile Gauze Pads: To dress larger wounds and help control bleeding.

3. Adhesive Tape: Secure bandages and dressings in place.

4. Antiseptic Wipes: Clean wounds to prevent infection.

5. Tweezers: For removing splinters or ticks.

6. Scissors: Cut tape, gauze, or clothing if needed.

7. Pain Relievers: Aspirin or ibuprofen for pain and inflammation.

8. Antihistamines: For allergic reactions or insect bites.

9. Hydrocortisone Cream: Relieve itching and inflammation from rashes or bug bites.

10. Blister Treatment: Moleskin or blister pads for foot care.

11. Disposable Gloves: Protect yourself when providing first aid.

12. Triangle Bandage: Can be used as a sling or for immobilization.

13. Instant Cold Packs: Reduce swelling and relieve pain.

14. Emergency Blanket: Provides warmth in case of exposure.

15. CPR Face Shield: For performing CPR safely.

16. Space Blanket: Reflects body heat and provides insulation.

17. Irrigation Syringe: Clean wounds effectively.

18. Duct Tape: Useful for quick repairs on gear or makeshift bandages.

19. Safety Pins: Secure bandages or make makeshift repairs.

20. Emergency Whistle: Signal for help if needed.

21. First Aid Manual: Basic instructions for emergencies.

22. Medications: Personal prescription medications if applicable.

23. Torch/Headlamp: Ensure visibility in low-light conditions.

24. Multipurpose Tool: Includes scissors, knife, and other tools. I usually buy one when I arrive. I try to stay with carry-on for my flights.

25. Personal Information: Emergency contact numbers, any medical conditions, and allergies.

There are also many good first-aid kits available on Amazon.

Remember to periodically check and restock your first aid kit, and customize it based on your specific needs and any special medical requirements you may have. Additionally, consider taking a first aid course to enhance your knowledge and skills in handling emergencies.

Check out my companion article, What I Carry in My Hiking Pack

Download my Backpacking Checklist