My Backpacking Checklist (Printable + Dog Friendly)


Remembering everything you need to pack for a camping or backpacking trip can sometimes be stressful, so I decided to create a printable backpacking checklist to help me stay organized while I'm preparing for my next adventure.

After having backpacked South Manitou Island, the Pictured Rocks, and the Potowatomi Trail, I've had a chance to see which gear items I think are worth carrying, packing, and unpacking on a daily basis and which ones aren't.

The more experienced I get with packing for hikes, backpacking trips, and travel in general, the more I've learned to make it my goal to pack with the intention of making sure my bases are covered.

What do I mean by that?

Instead of just just throwing an array of different outfits and snacks into my bag and calling it a day, I choose what to pack based on what situations are likely to arise on my trip.

For example, when I pack clothing for backpacking, I don't pack myself a different outfit for each day.  Instead I pack a bunch of layers, so I'll have something to hike in whether it's hot, cold, or raining, as well as something warm and dry to wear at night.

For a regular camping trip, in addition to the items on this checklist, Luke and I will usually bring along:

  1. A lantern
  2. A big blanket
  3. Bathing suits (in warm weather)
  4. Beach towels or yoga towels
  5. A cooler

When I pack for a vacation or for work-related travel, I aim to choose my outfits based on the capsule wardrobe idea to help keep the weight and space of my suitcase as light as possible while still making sure I have what I need.  (If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here is a really helpful article I found that explains what a capsule wardrobe is and how to build one for travel.)

When I'm traveling, I also like to throw my packable hiking layers into my bag since they're lightweight and don't take up much space.

Click on the button below to download a printable version of my backpacking checklist, and feel free to add or subtract items based on your own personal preferences.  Just remember, at the very minimum, make sure you're bringing along the Ten Essentials on any outdoor adventure, even if you think you won't be needing them!

If you're interested in reading about my personal gear picks for hiking, camping, and backpacking, you can find them here

Do you have any "must-have" items for camping or backpacking?  Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

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