What is on Your Backpacking Gear List?

Do not go crazy making a backpacking gear list. Choose wisely. If you are a beginner, take short trips on safe trails you are familiar with. Go on some overnights in good weather on a trail you know well. Stay close to home and within cell phone communication range. Your standard gear should include a satellite messenger in case you get in trouble. That should go with you on every trip, and you should always have fresh batteries in it. I am all for triple redundancy for safety items, but backpacking is all about weight and quality gear.

Take your time and only get the best gear you have thoroughly researched. It has to survive field use in all kinds of conditions. Some experienced backpackers like to camp in all four seasons. I know a guy who takes weekend winter trips. He is a seasoned backpacker who sleeps outside in just his sleeping bag. He can take the cold, and he is expert at staying hydrated and not having to worry about food. He does revisit the same areas he is very familiar with when he is backpacking where there is snow.

He packs what he can reasonable carry, and he only ventures as far as half of his supplies will take him. He figures that on the return trip he could rough it out a bit getting back to his vehicle or pickup point if he is delayed for a day or two. He does keep a supply of lightweight survival calories as part of his backpacking gear list in addition to his main food supply. He keeps them on a small pack on his person in case his main pack is compromised. Calories are especially needed if it is cold out. Your first few times on the trail will be a lesson in cutting weight. Soon you will be able to go for a week and still have a pack you can carry.