There’s no doubt that backpacking is one of the greatest ways to experience the outdoors. Whether you’re a beginner backpacker or you’ve been hitting the trails for years, the number one question is ALWAYS “what should I pack?”
With it being the beginning of fall, that means it’s officially the best time of year for backpacking and hiking. The scorching temperatures of the summer are behind us and it’s time to take in the crisp, fall air and beautiful leaves. Are you planning your own backpacking trip sometime this fall and need some guidance on what to pack? Well, you’re on the right trail (no pun intended). Over the next few weeks, we’re going to outline exactly what you need for a weekend backpacking trip— nothing more and nothing less— after all, you’ll be carrying it all on your back!
Disclaimer: Throughout this blog, you’ll notice that some links go to our online Compass Point shop, and some go to Amazon. Our goal at Compass Point is to have all things backpacking and hiking gear in our store. While we work on getting more items in our shop, we’ve set up an Amazon Affiliate account so you can still support us by shopping through those links. As time goes on and we get more items in our shop, this blog will be updated with links to our online Compass Point shop. If you do choose to purchase something through the online Compass Point shop, please know that you must pick up in person- we do not ship items (and we want to see your face). Thank you for supporting our small business- we are excited to equip you with the knowledge and gear you need to have memorable and safe adventures in the great outdoors.
For the first section of the checklist, we’re talking big gear essentials and the necessary accessories you need for a weekend backpacking trip. In the weeks following, we’ll outline camp cooking items, backpacking toiletry bags and clothing.
Your backpacking adventure does NOT have to be painful. The biggest factor to your comfort while backpacking is…. take a guess…. your backpack! We recommend the Osprey Aura 65 for backpacking trips of three days or more in length. This pack is women’s specific- meaning it’s smaller, lighter, and has narrower shoulder straps and hip belts that are shaped for a women’s anatomy.
The key things to look for when choosing a backpacking tent are weight, durability, weather-proof features, and ease of set up. It sounds pretty simple, but there’s so many to choose from and the search can get a little daunting. This two-person Mountainsmith Morrison tent is a great starter tent, used by the Original Dirty Girl herself (Denise).Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent (Citron Green)
Sleeping in a tent with a crappy sleeping pad will probably leave you never wanting to go backpacking again. This incredibly lightweight and affordable sleeping pad is a great choice because it has a V-chamber design that limits air movement and heat loss for better support and comfort.
One of the best investments you can make as a backpacker is a good, cozy sleeping bag. This is a great beginner sleeping bag from a brand that we love at Compass Point. It’s an efficient and compressible sleeping bag with water-resistant fibers. You can insert your sleeping pad into it as well for optimal comfort. You may not get the greatest sleep ever while backpacking, but a cozy sleeping pad paired with a comfortable pad can get you close.Therm-a-Rest 32-Degree Synthetic Mummy Sleeping Bag
Using trekking poles on a hike may look a little goofy, but you won’t be thinking that after using a pair just one time- they make a huge difference in strength, endurance, weight distribution and also help increase balance. These trekking poles are made with carbon, keeping weight to a minimum. They also have cork handles, offering an unmatched level of comfort that eliminates hot spots and pressure points.Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro – Carbon Pair
First Aid Kit
We recommend putting together a DIY first aid kit using this Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack and adding the minimum supplies to the bag that you will need to address minor wounds, as well as travel-sized packs of some handy medications. In addition, add some extra blister band-aids and any medications that are specific to your needs.
Headlamp and Camp Light
A light source is an essential element for any backpacking checklist. In case you haven’t heard, there are no street lamps miles deep into the woods like in Narnia.
Here’s a great option for a lightweight, rechargeable headlamp that packs well, wont break the bank, and puts out a great amount of light.
UCO Air Lightweight Rechargeable LED Headlamp
This collapsible camping light is also very handy- you can set it on the ground, in your tent, or even hang it on a tree. It doesn’t take up hardly any space in your pack and has three different lighting modes!
Backpacking without technology is risky, and a reliable power bank is a must have. This power bank is a good price point for the impressive battery life and performance.Anker PowerCore Portable Charger