The Essential Backpackers Packing List

New to backpacking? See our essential backpacking packing list and product recommendations to help you gear up for your next adventure!

Food | Yoga | Destination | Reviews

When we first started backpacking, we were so excited but didn’t have all the right gear. And we did a lot of research on what is the best lightweight gear for backpacking, and this is a list of what we found to be the best!

Through some trial and error, we’ve learned a lot more about the best travel gear.

We look for durability, quality, and good value when it comes to purchasing new gear. But, sometimes investing in high-quality gear that costs a little more is much more worth it as it lasts longer.

Food is also important to us. Good quality food. So we always have the best options to offer you there!

The Essential Backpackers Packing List

General Packing List

  • Gear & Toiletry:
    • Map, Guidebook, Compass
    • Tent or Hammock
    • Backpack & Waterproof Stuff Sacks
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Sleeping Pad for Comfort
    • Headlamps and Extra Batteries
    • Water Filters
    • Lightweight Cookware (Pots, Silverware, Tea Cup, Sponge)
    • Cook Stove
    • Lighter
    • Toilet Paper & Trowel
    • Bug spray
    • Biodegradable Camp Soap
    • Toothpaste & Toothbrush
    • First Aid Kit
    • Solar Panel Charger
    • Bags for Garbage
  • Clothing:
    • Rain Jacket
    • Wool Socks
    • Trail Runners/Hiking Boots
    • Athletic Sandals
    • Sports-bras
    • Underwear
    • Bathing Suit
    • Hiking Pants – Quick Drying
    • Shorts
    • Tanks/Shirts – Quick Drying
    • Long Sleeve (Warmer Layer)
    • Hat/Bandana
    • Light Weight Microfiber Towel
    • Book/Journal
  • Food:
    • Breakfast Meals (Dehydrated or Freeze-dried Meals)
    • Tea Bags, Coffee, Cocoa
    • Protein Bars
    • Jerky
    • Nuts & Seeds / Trail Mix
    • Dried Fruit
    • Bone Broth Powder
    • Dinners (Dehydrated or Freeze-dried Meals)

Product Recommendations

These are our essential backpacking gear recommendations. Gear and food that has been successful for our backpacking and other travel trips.


  • Backpacks: Osprey packs (Osprey Atmos Ag 65)
    • Anti-Gravity suspension – to feel like you are carrying less weight than is in your pack
    • Trekking pole attachment
    • Lots of storage compartments
    • Lots of ventilation
    • Comfortable and very fitting!
  • Backpack Rain CoverOsprey UltraLight Raincover
The Essential Backpackers Packing List
  • Shoes:
    • John & I both personally wear our Earth Runners almost everywhere! Walking, hiking, errands, you name it. And they allow you to be even more grounded while also added just enough support to protect you from rocks and allow your feet to be natural and free!
    • Lightweight trail runners: There are a lot of different brands out their, and I am all about the barefoot shoes, but recently have been having issues with my IT band so needed to try something with a little more support to make sure I don’t have any issues during my hike! Salomon (Men and Women) is an aggressive and supportive, yet lightweight hiking shoe.
    • Lems shoes is also a good option for hikers who like barefoot shoes!
Earth Runners
  • Tent: The Nemo Hornet 2 Tent, a 3 season, 2 person tent that weighs 1 lb 15 oz and is easy to set up!
Planning the Northville Placid Trail - The Essential Backpackers Packing List
Planning the Northville Placid Trail


Where do we start with food. As many of you may know, John and I have a strict diet, (our own version of Paleo), and we try to eat all local and organic food, and for backpacking, that is hard to find! So I purchased some dehydrated meals on REI and Amazon, that support our needs, but I also attempted to dehydrate my own meals. As you may know, backpacking meals are pretty expensive, and not always filled with the best ingredients. So I found dehydrating meal to be cheaper and knowing exactly what is going into them is important to me, but they do take a lot of time! Keep an eye out for the post on how to dehydrate your own meals!

Planning the Northville Placid Trail
  • Wild Zora Freeze-Dried Meals: AIP compliant freeze dried meals are the best backpacking meals I have found for people with strict diets. They use all good ingredients, and free-range/grass-fed meat. You can find these on Amazon, or sometimes REI has deals on them! They make breakfast, lunch/dinner meals and snacks.
Dehydrated Meals
  • Dehydrating Meals: Dehydrating meals isn’t all that complicated, but it is time-consuming and you would need a dehydrator or a stove with a dehydrating setting to do this. This will save money but is not always the most convenient. We dehydrated ground beef, eggs, peppers, and potatoes. Recipes to come!
  • Epic Bars: High protein meat snacks! You can also go to Barefoot Provisions to order!
  • Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee: AMAZING and full of nutrients!
    Here is a referral link to get $ off your first order!
  • MUD/WTR: MUD/WTR is a great coffee alternative with all organic ingredients. This gives you energy and focus but without the jitters and the crash. This is our go-to “coffee”
  • Fruit and Nut Hemp Bars: These organic hemp bars are perfect for pre or post- workouts, like hiking! They’re clean, made with quality ingredients and powerful nutrition with an amazing taste!
  • Collagen Peptides Powder: Really good for your cartilage, bones and joints, and I just add a scoop to our hot meals or hot drinks, and you can’t even notice it!

Leave No Trace

  • Pack it in, pack it out.
    • Bring a bag for food waste and garbage
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
    • Dig a 6-8 inch cathole, at least 200 ft from water, camp and trails & bury.
  • Leave What You Find.
    • Plants, rocks, animals.
  • Respect Wildlife
    • Observe from a distance
  • Respect other backpackers!
Car Packed

Check out our very first backpacking trip!

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Alyx B

A Certified Yoga Instructor and wellness coach, who studied Environmental Sustainability and Animal Science. Lover of animals and tacos! And passionate about traveling, hiking, yoga, and the environment.

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