My trekking packing list
People sometimes ask me what to pack for their trekking trips. Relevant question indeed, but it's not too convenient to reply everyone in detail. So here is the answer - my packing list for multiday camping trips. In last years, I use it mainly in the Caucasus but it's universal - should work just as well also for hiking in South America or Central Asia.
Just to make it clear - I won't sell this as some "ultimate trekking gear backpacking list", suitable for everybody (because people differ and mountains differ, too) - this is just a list of stuff which works for me. And since it´s already quite long, it contains only not-edible parts - the rest is covered in this post about the trekking food.
I also have to admit that I am no packing guru who follows latest trends and counts every gram. I hate shopping and do it only when I absolutely have to (the older piece breaks down). And since I prefer durable gear, that doesn´t happen that often. So feel free to get inspired but keep in mind that what works for me doesn´t have to suit you.
My packing list is split into the following categories
- 1. Packing & organization
- 2. Footwear
- 3. Clothing
- 4. Camping gear
- 5. Cooking
- 6. Gadgets & Electro
- 7. Hygiene & First Aid
- 8. Common stuff (one piece in a group)
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. Pointing to products. That means that if you click on them and buy something, I will get rich. Finally decided to get registered as an Amazon Associate after being laughed at by my fellow travel blogers for years. Now I am eager to find if it works :)
1. PACKING AND ORGANIZATION
Backpacks some in various sizes and capacities, each fitting a different purpose. Your pack should be neither too small or too large (who would've thought) - you should be able to fit everything inside without leaving too much extra space (which would tempt you to pack some more stuff). Since my trekking trips often last more than a week, I have a backpack with the capacity of 70 litres. I could save space if I attached some stuff from the outside, but it could get lost during flights (and I don´t want to feel like a walking Christmas tree).
Of course, it can´t be bought anymore. If I had to buy a backpack today, I would certainly go for some lighter model such as Osprey Aether or Deuter Aircontact.
Quality here doesn´t matter as much, it should be just light and compressible. I use a 4Monster Hiking backpack, but anything should work .
In case of emergency, you can create a daypack from the compression sack for your sleeping bag. You just need to readjust straps.
Hanwag Alaska. These are the most expensive shoes I ever had, but really comfortable and made from high-quality materials. Even after 7 years, they look pretty good. Last year, I had them resoled and hope they will last a few more years.
I can sincerely recommend Teva Terra Fi hiking sandals. My first pair lasted seven years and the one I have now looks just as good. These sandals are not only durable but also very comfortable and in spite of the considerable price, they offer a great value for money.
Marmot Minimalist Gore-Tex jacket. It looks good, offers great protection from rain and with 425 grams, it's considerably lighter than my old jacket (tho not as much as the name "minimalist" suggests). Of course, performance-speaking, it can't compete with pricier models made by premium brands such as Arc’Teryx, but still, with its 150 EUR price tag, it offers great value for money.
Currently, I have Columbia Silver Ridge convertible pants. They can be shortened to the "above the knees" length and I wear them like this most of the time.
La Sportiva Voyager polartec jacket. What I like the most is that while it's very light (only 350g), it also does a great job at keeping me warm. I use it as a middle layer on the cold days and also as a top layer during chilly mornings and evenings.
Unfortunately, it seems that it can't be bought anymore. I did some research and it seems that Berghaus Men's Kyberg Fleece Jacket offers very similar perfomance, it just doesn't look that good. Of course, with greater budget, I would go for Arc'teryx Kyanite Ar jacket, but that's completely different league :)
Underwear - trunks (4x)I usually pack four pieces. And once in a few days wash them in the morning and let them dry during the day on the top of my backpack.
As for the brands, right now I have two Icebreaker 200 Oasis shirts which I use for hiking. I prefer the fabric density of 200g/m2 since the older shirt with density of 150g wasn't as durable as I wanted it to be. So I went for a higher density and couldn't chose better, T-shirts are warm and durable.
The remaining T-shirt is for sleeping and is made by Slovak company Froggywear. It is made of softest available merino wool on the market, with threads only 16.5um thick, which makes it extremely pleasant to the touch.
Ordinary T-shirtJust an ordinary shirt, used for moving around the cities or as a backup if everything else gets wet.
long-sleeve shirt by Extreme Essentials and I am satisfied with it so far. It's comfortable, well-made and cheaper than Icebreaker stuff, mainly because it's not pure merino, but 50:50 merino blend (which makes it more pleasant to waer )
Three pairs are enough even for longer treks. Right now, I have two pairs of Icebreaker's Hike & Light Crew socks one pair of Northman's Trekking Light Merino Crew.
merino Buff which I got as a present from my dear wife. I also like it's versatility - while I haven't tried not even a half of advertised 12 ways to wear it, use it from time to time instead of a beanie.
light merino beanie. Sometimes, when it's really cold, I put it on even during the night.
4. CAMPING GEAR
MSR Elixir 2. It is the entry-level tent of the otherwise quite expensive MSR brand and offers pretty good value for money - it´s spacious, sturdy, well-designed, easy to build and with its 2,4kg also reasonably heavy (though can´t be compared with ultralight MSR tents such as MSR Hubba Bubba NX-2).
Still, I am very satisfied with its quality and performance. The only bummer is that it's not delivered in a compression bag so I had to buy it separately.
Right now, I use Rimo 600 sleeping bag made by Czech company Sir Joseph, well-known for their high-quality gear and moderate prices (haven't seen any comparable sleeping bag with 200 EUR price tag, only Warmpeace, another Czech brand, comes close). Also, won't deny it, I like their name :P
inflatable Trail Scout pad by Therm-a-rest. It’s light, comfortable and can be neatly folded and rolled into the small cylinder which fits very well onto my backpack. On the other hand, as with all inflatable pads, you must pay more attention to where you put it, you don’t want to pierce your 50 EUR pad on a first trip. And I have to laugh when I read about their "life-long warranty". These are good pads (and I am not the most careful owner), but four years are the most I was able to get out of them.
Inflatable sleeping pad fits very well at the top of my backpack
Right now, I have several pieces from the Terra Hiker set. I don´t use that small teapot, have only 2 pots - the smaller pan is for the dinners and the larger pot comes handy when we want to make tea, as there is enough for everybody.
Gas canisterUsually you have to buy these in Georgia as you can’t bring gas canisters onto the plane. So you can’t be too picky and buy what’s available. Of course, no-name canisters are cheaper and last shorter, even when the weight is the same.
How much gas will you need? As a rule of thumb, the average hiker "consumes" about 30 grams of gas per day - that’s enough to prepare one hot meal and several cups of tea. So plan accordingly.
I currently own Deuter Streamer and it's the best camelbak I had so far. What I like the most is the material, it's some sort of smooth rubber which looks clean and sterile even after several years of usage. Another nice feature is the full-width top opening so the bladder can be cleaned much easier than the models with a lid.
Also tin mug, set of small steel cups for spirits, dish sponge, box of matches etc etc..
6. GADGETS & ELECTRO
Still, I chose to use them. Right now, I own Fizan Compact trekking poles, made by reputable Italian company. Marketed as the lightest trekking poles on the market, one pole weight only 173 grams. So far, I've been using them for two years and must say that in spite of the low weight, they are quite durable. And once they break, I will without any qualms buy them again.
Smartphone- Since I installed Locus maps, I use it for the navigation.
Spare camera battery- as one is not enough for 1 week of trekking
Spare batteries- AAA batteries for the headlamp.
Charging cables for the camera and smartphone.
Journal with a pen
Toothbrush, toothpaste, interdental brushes
Toilet paper- reasonable amount, not the whole roll :)
Small towel- usually lose it during the trek, but still keep taking it.
Sunscreen lotion- the higher UV factor, the better. But take only a small tube, not the whole bottle :)
Lip balm- used to get herpes on the 3-4th day of the trek because of the combination of sunstroke and exhaustion. This small guy really helped me with it.
Insect repellent- didn't take it in the last few years since them most problematic insect in the Caucasus are the horseflies and those simply don't care :) Luckily, there are not that many in the Caucasus yet.
Pack of tissues
Biodegradable soap- for washing of hands and also of clothes.
Nail clipper- I thoroughly clip my toenails before the trip but still feel better if I have this one in reserve.
First aid kit
How to build your first aid kit? That could be a topic for a separate article, so to make it short, I will just list of hazards and corresponding items in your first aid kit. Also, this is technically also "common stuff" - one in a group is enough
Skin wounds- antiseptic towels or water syringe (to clean the wound), butterfly bandage (for smaller cuts), sterile gauze pad and bandages (both cotton and elastic) for larger wounds, latex gloves (when things get bloody).
Blisters- leukotape both for prevention and treatment
Diarrhea- Imodium, Endiex or something similar
Cold, flu- Theraflu or something similar
Various pain(head, teeth) - painkillers
8. COMMON STUFF
These items are not needed for everybody - but at least somebody in your hiking group should have them. You won´t need most of them regularly, but once in a while, you can save the day.
Sewing kitYou will truly appreciate this one only after your trousers get ripped around the butt on the first day of your trek.
RopeRecommended for skilled groups who plan to stray away from well-established hiking trails. Priceless during dangerous river crossings or in steep, semi-climbing terrain.
GuidebookIt's good to have one in a group. Even if you have planned everything in advance, there is a chance that you will at some unexpected place and such cases, guidebook is a great, compact source of the information. The most popular guidebook were published by Bradt and LonelyPlanet.