How to Pack For A Trek: The Ultimate Hiking Packing List

How ought to I pack for a hike? What ought to I pack for a multi-day trek? What is an excessive amount of? And what is just too little? How am I going to carry all of it? Which mountaineering gear and necessities ought to I purchase prematurely and which may I purchase on the bottom? That’s the place this Ultimate Hiking Packing List is available in to reply all of these questions — and rather more — to put together you in your subsequent journey.

After receiving quite a few emails, queries and feedback asking about mountaineering gear and the way to pack for hikes and multi-day treks, we determined to assemble our mountaineering gear and packing recommendation for treks and hikes, quick and lengthy.

By means of background, throughout the first six years of our journey we carried all that we wanted in our backpacks in order to be ready for almost any sort of local weather or exercise, from seaside to glacier. In retrospect, we made some foolish selections in these early days. As a outcome, we schlepped just a few bits we by no means used.

But by way of expertise and experimentation and after a few dozen multi-day treks throughout all continents, we bought sensible not solely as to what gear to carry with us, but additionally what made sense to purchase domestically and even simply lease during the trek.

And we found out how to do all this whereas on a price range.

What is the distinction between trekking and mountaineering?
Good query. While this text does a superb job breaking it down, for our functions right here we’re utilizing the 2 phrases considerably interchangeably to characterize going out and strolling in nature for a time frame. This is totally different from mountaineering, which often includes specialised climbing gear and technical abilities.

Note: The following recommendation applies primarily to multi-day treks the place your sleeping and consuming preparations are taken care of already (assume visitor homes, lodges, huts, tea homes, house stays and even with a trekking company takes care of tents and meals). If you might be tenting by yourself, then you definitely’ll want to add meals, tenting, and cooking gear to every part under.

Update: This article was initially printed on 27 June, 2014 and up to date on 15 April 2019 with further gear and suggestions that we have discovered from further mountaineering and multi-day treks we have achieved throughout that point (e.g., Alay Mountains in Kyrgyzstan, 10-day Huayhuash Trek in Peru, and so forth.).

Trekking and Hiking Packing Myths

During the primary six years of our journey we carried all that we wanted in our backpacks in order to be ready for almost any sort of local weather or exercise, from seaside to glacier. In retrospect, we made some foolish selections in these early days.

As a outcome, we schlepped just a few bits we by no means used. But by way of expertise and experimentation and after a few dozen multi-day treks throughout all continents, we bought sensible not solely as to what gear to carry with us, but additionally what to purchase domestically or lease.

And we found out how to do all this whereas on a price range. Here are a few of the trekking packing myths that we have found alongside the way in which.

1. You should buy the most recent and best trekking gear.

It’s true that some trekking clothes know-how is particularly helpful for lightness, wind-resistance, waterproofing and wicking (GoreTex, fleece, Polartec, and so forth., come to thoughts). However, we advise specializing in the trekking fundamentals: clothes that’s snug, breathable, gentle, simply layered.

You’re not climbing to the height of Mount Everest right here. (If you might be, that is for a future article.) For a bit of perspective, watching locals breeze by you in flip-flops may make all of your pre-purchased fancy gear appear a bit of pointless.

So there is not any want to overspend. Go for good high quality, however resist the shiny bleeding-edge trekking toys. I do know it is arduous. Outdoor shops are harmful buying vortexes for us, too.

2. You want to convey EVERYTHING with you.

For each trek we have undertaken, there’s been ample alternative to lease or purchase gear to complement our trekking package. For instance, it is simply not sensible for us to carry round cumbersome waterproof pants in our backpacks once we solely want them a tiny fraction of the time. Same goes for strolling sticks and sleeping luggage.

Do your analysis and discover out what is accessible on the bottom and at what value. Ask the tour firm you are going with or attain out to different impartial vacationers who’ve skilled the identical trek. When you land on the bottom, store round for the very best value.

Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking Gear
Decked out in layers of rented trekking gear on the highest of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Before climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, we would traveled by way of Bali, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Jordan and Thailand — all from the identical gear in our backpacks all through.

So it was greater than definitely worth the $65 I spent in Moshi, Tanzania to lease a sleeping bag, waterproof pants, waterproof jacket, strolling stick, gaiters and extra to get me to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Dan even rented mountaineering sneakers for $15 which provided a bit of extra ankle assist and stability than those he’d been carrying. When we departed for our safari simply after the Kilimanjaro trek I may simply drop all that stuff off on the trekking store and proceed with my common gentle backpack.

three. Real treks require tenting.

This is all subjective. It’s true that tenting and carrying all your individual gear might offer you a better sense of independence and accomplishment and permit you to dive deeper into nature. However, we take situation with the assertion that tenting equals a greater trekking expertise. In truth, a few of our most memorable treks (e.g., Annapurna Circuit, Markha Valley Trek, Svaneti, Peaks of the Balkans, Kalaw to Inle Lake in Burma, and so forth.) have been memorable exactly due to the native tradition and human interplay dimensions surrounding our lodging and meals preparations.

It’s the mixed expertise of nature and folks (and the human nature that responds to the encompassing atmosphere) that we discover actually soul nourishing.

Packing for Your Trek: First Principles

When it comes to packing for a trek in an environment friendly means so that you’ve got most flexibility with minimal weight, we observe the next trekking packing rules and philosophy. This has come collectively during the last ten years with all of the totally different treks we’ve got achieved everywhere in the world.

1. It’s all concerning the layers.

This is true in all kinds of journey, long-term and quick, however particularly for trekking into excessive altitudes. Temperatures can change very drastically throughout the course of a day. I all the time want to have an additional layer in my bag than to go chilly.

Trekking Packing Lessons
Layers. The key to making ready for a freak Himalayan blizzard in June.

Even if the times are heat at low altitude, nights should be chilly. On summit days you may usually want to pile on every part you’ve got to get to the highest, solely to peel it off layer by layer as you descend.

2. Rest and sleeping garments.

I discovered this from the parents at Erratic Rock in Puerto Natales close to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.

They referred to as the yucky, smelly garments you may end up carrying day-after-day till the very finish your uniform. In gentle of this — and even if you’re going minimalist — strive to embrace an additional set of night time garments to turn into on the finish of the day. These garments will likely be dry (fairly essential in the event you’ve hit snow or rain that day), snug and comparatively clear.

I often pack an additional t-shirt, pajama pants and socks. I am going to additional layer different garments on prime to keep heat at night time. Regardless, the layer closest to my pores and skin is dry and comparatively recent.

Oh, the little joys whereas on the trekking path.

This method additionally provides your moist and smelly garments an opportunity to dry and air out in a single day. The subsequent morning you’ll be able to slip again into your trekking garments — sure, your uniform — and you will be prepared to go.

three. Never skimp on solar safety.

As you advance greater in elevation, the solar turns into scary sturdy. So even in the event you tan superbly on the seaside with none sunscreen, be certain to pack ample and powerful sunscreen. Carry a hat that can defend your face from the solar (assume rollable foldable solar or jungle hat — we do not want to look fairly whereas trekking).

Trekking with sunburn — head, face or palms — is depressing. And in case your sunburn is dangerous sufficient, you may virtually really feel flu-like. Not good for peak efficiency.

Also be certain to have sun shades with high quality lenses that defend your eyes. Otherwise, they too will change into burned and sore.

Hiking Backpacks and Camera Bags

Small mountaineering backpack or day pack

You’ll be carrying all of your stuff in your again up and down mountain passes so the scale, match and luxury of your pack is essential. Aim to carry a pack that’s sufficiently big to maintain the necessities (e.g., water, jacket, rain gear, sunscreen, and so forth.), but not too large that it’s going to weigh you down.

The dimension will rely on what number of days your trek is and whether or not or not you’ll camp. Don’t neglect to convey a rain cowl to defend your backpack in storms.

We’ve usually repurposed our laptop computer backpacks or rented backpacks from trekking businesses. This often did the trick, however they weren’t all the time completely applicable and thus variety to our again and shoulders. We’ve since invested in correct trekking backpacks and have not regarded again.

Update August 2016: We upgraded our trekking backpacks so as to stroll the Camino de Santiago (960 km). Here are the backpacks we’re now utilizing and might advocate:

Recommended ladies’s mountaineering backpack: Deuter ACT Trail Pro 32 SL Backpack

Very gentle with all types of nice performance like a built-in rain cowl, water bladder compatibility, large waist belt for stability, and extra. Still love this backpack even after strolling virtually 1,000 km with it on my again. Buy on Amazon | Buy on REI

Recommended Women's Trekking Backpack: Deuter ACT Trail Pro 32-Liter
Loved my Deuter backpack strolling 960km alongside the Camino Norte.


Recommended males’s mountaineering backpack: Osprey Packs Exos 38 Backpack

This backpack is available in a number of sizes, so the Large model is well-suited for tall folks. Light, snug, and sturdy. The major grievance about this backpack is the strolling stick holder because it’s a bit of janky. Buy on Amazon | Buy on REI (48-liter)

Recommended Mens Trekking Backpack: Osprey Packs Exos 38 Backpack
Dan gentle on his toes together with his Osprey Pack on the Camino.


Camera bag

If you are carrying a separate digicam and a number of lenses take into account packing a separate digicam bag to defend your gear and to enable you quick access to it. For a much bigger DSLR digicam with a number of lenses we like this Lowepro digicam bag with a waist belt that permits the bag’s weight to relaxation on the hips slightly than on the shoulders.

Hiking Gear, Camera Bag
My ThinkTank digicam bag matches completely underneath my small daypack.

Recently, we switched to a mirrorless Fuji digicam and lenses. One of the principle causes for this was that they’re smaller in dimension and weight, that means I may carry a smaller digicam bag on treks. I actually just like the ThinkTank Sling Camera Bag which inserts a digicam physique and two lenses. Its shoulder strap is helpful for city settings whereas the waist strap makes it snug for mountaineering because it sits proper on my hips. I can nonetheless put on a backpack or daypack that rests on prime of it.

Dry Sack

You by no means know when it is going to rain or snow, so put together for the worst — significantly in case you have gear that should stay dry. We carry a dry sack with us so as to defend our gear towards freak storms or inadvertent submersions whereas fording rivers. Buy at REI | Buy on Amazon

Recommended Trekking Gear, Dry Sack to Protect Electronics
Dry sack to defend digicam and electronics towards rain.

Hiking Clothes for Men and Women

Below is what we every carry for a 5-10 day trek. If you’re going on a shorter trek then you’ll be able to reduce, but when your trek is longer you’ll be able to nonetheless carry the identical quantity of garments and even much less (e.g., we carried an analogous quantity for our 40-day Camino de Santiago stroll).

Recommended Trekking Pants: Clothing Arts Travel Pants
Recommended trekking pants = Clothing Arts Travel Pants for Men and Women

For longer hikes and treks you may simply want to “recycle” them extra or discover a means to wash them alongside the way in which. By recycle, I imply flip issues inside-out, air them out, wash them. Whatever the very best mechanism you’ve got out there to give it longer life and no matter your tolerance stage is perhaps. The most essential factor will not be whether or not you stink (there is a good likelihood you simply may), however that you’re dry and cozy.

My strategy is to carry and preserve separate mountaineering and sleeping (or stress-free at night time) garments so that you simply all the time have one thing clear(ish) to turn into at night time. To be on the protected facet to defend towards issues getting moist, put your sleeping garments and no matter else you are not carrying on the time in Ziploc or one other sort of plastic bag.

  • 1 pair of trekking pants: We’re each been utilizing Clothing Arts Travel Pants (for males and for ladies) as our go-to trekking pants these previous couple of years. We discover the extra safe pockets helpful on treks for preserving telephones, cash, tissues and different issues helpful.
  • Thermal underwear (prime/backside): I like my silk lengthy johns as they’re heat, cozy and take up virtually no room in any respect. Dan remains to be eager on his Patagonia zipper prime and bottoms that he is been utilizing for a decade.
  • three short-sleeved t-shirts: Preferably quick-dry or common cotton.
  • 1 long-sleeved journey/trekking shirt (his and hers)
  • :Pajama/sleeping pants: I discover that cotton yoga pants work fairly properly.
  • Underwear: However many pairs that you simply’re snug with carrying. Here are really helpful males’s boxer shorts and girls’s underwear
  • three pairs of socks: I like SmartWool mountaineering socks as my first pairs lasted me virtually seven years of heavy utilization. If you like a thinner sock take a look at their ultra-light line. Buy at REI | Buy on Amazon

Hiking Outerwear: Jackets and Waterproof Gear

I all the time want to have the choice to take away layers than to not have sufficient to placed on after I’m starting to chill as I head over a mountain move or by way of a storm.

Recommended Trekking Gear, Jackets and Waterproof Pants
Never know when a freak snowstorm will hit. Always be ready with layers.

Light and Waterproof Hiking Jackets

For jackets, we every often convey a fleece jacket, skinny windbreaker and a few kind of outer waterproof or waterproof jacket.

Hiking Gear and Packing List, Women's Waterproof Jacket
A waterproof jacket as an outer layer gives consolation and safety towards rain.

For our current trek in Peru I upgraded to a NorthFace Climatech know-how waterproof jacket and I like it. It not solely supplied safety towards the rain and chilly, however the jacket materials could be very breathable so it did not really feel like a sauna inside. Highly really helpful. Buy at REI | Buy on Amazon.

Light Down Jackets

We’ve additionally began carrying a light-weight down jacket that may be stuffed right into a tiny cinch bag. It hardly takes up any room or weight within the backpack, however can present heat and luxury at night time when temperatures drop. Dan loves his seamless ultra-light down jacket from Uniqlo.

Waterproof Pants

We used to borrow or lease waterproof pants from an area trekking company, however most lately we picked up a pair of sunshine pull-on biking waterproof/waterproof pants. They fold up right into a small bag in order that they barely take up any room or weight in your backpack, however maintain you fairly dry when the clouds open up.

Hiking Shoes and Other Footwear

Hiking Shoes

Shoes could also be a very powerful factor you convey with you so in the event you put money into one factor prematurely, put money into a stable snug pair of mountaineering sneakers. And break them in. Your sneakers can actually make or break a visit.

If you’ve got a selected trek or hike in thoughts, ask prematurely whether or not you want mid- or high-cut mountaineering sneakers for ankle assist as this will likely affect your buying resolution. We do not discover ourselves usually needing high-cut boots. However, in case your ankles are weak or vulnerable to turns and sprains, extra assist is healthier than much less.

We each lately shifted to carrying Oboz Sawtooth mountaineering boots. The insoles and assist in your toes are actually good, and the sneakers are sturdy and might arise to some powerful terrain. In addition, Oboz vegetation a tree for each pair of sneakers offered so you’ll be able to really feel good that your buy goes in the direction of reforestation and environmental tasks.

Men’s Obuz Sawtooth Hiking Shoes: Buy at REI | Buy on Amazon

Women’s Obuz Sawtooth Hiking Shoes: Buy at REI | Buy on Amazon

Flip flops or river sneakers

At the tip of a protracted day of strolling you might have considered trying to take off your mountaineering sneakers and provides your toes a relaxation. But you may nonetheless want one thing in your toes to go to and from the outhouse or nearest bush. That’s the place flip flops or river sneakers worn with socks (sure, ignore the style police) are excellent.

Outside of those conditions, you might discover river sandals both helpful or required for crossing or fording rivers. Depending on the underside floor of the river and the depth, we have additionally simply managed in naked toes or with our waterproof mountaineering boots, given a while to dry. Buy on Amazon (Women’s) | Men’s River Shoes

Other Hiking Gear and Essentials

Headlamp: Lights the way in which and retains your palms free. If you are staying with households in visitor homes or house stays, you might discover they’re with out electrical energy at night time or within the rest room/outhouse, a most unlucky place to journey in the dead of night. If you are tenting, headlamps are in fact completely important.

Quick-Drying Travel Towel: Always good to begin and finish your day by washing your palms and face. Don’t anticipate sizzling showers on treks, nor operating water of any variety. But on just a few events we have been ready to get a few bucket baths that had been actually, very nice.

Sleeping Bag Liner: Arguably non-essential, however good to have. Whether staying in house stays with supplied bedding or sleeping in a rented sleeping bag, you generally marvel when the final time something was correctly laundered. And you may additionally marvel about mattress bugs and different critters. That’s the place a sleep sack with a pillow wrap is available in to present a clear layer between you and every part else. Prophylactic!

Note: We don’t carry a sleeping bag with us often. If we want one for a trek or tenting, we strive to lease one domestically.

Reusable water bottle: We carry a reusable liter water bottle on us and refill alongside the way in which. A CamelBak water bladder within the backpack additionally works rather well. Even if the trek has bottled water to promote, resist the urge to purchase bottled water, as plastic bottle waste is a gigantic downside at elevation and in villages world wide.

Water Purification: Some treks will offer you clear, boiled water as a part of the service (e.g., Kilimanjaro, Markha Valley). Sometimes there will likely be a program of UV (ultraviolet) purified or pass-filter cleaned water companies in villages the place you’ll be able to refill your bottle with clear water for a small charge. Hop on it, perhaps even pay a bit of further. It’s price it to you, the village, and the atmosphere.

On different treks it is up to you to in some way purify or clear the water you supply from mountain streams or village faucets. We counsel carrying a mixture of a SteriPEN and sterilization drops.

The SteriPEN makes use of ultraviolet (UV) gentle and know-how to purify the water which doesn’t have an effect on the style. The sterilization drops might make the water style a bit of humorous, nevertheless it will not make you sick.

Sunscreen, hat and sun shades: Bring the best SPF sunscreen you could find and put on a hat always. The solar’s rays are exceptionally highly effective at altitude and you will find your self particularly uncovered when there is not a cloud within the sky.

Moisturizing pores and skin cream and lip balm (with SPF): Creams and moisturizers might sound extraneous, however they will make a distinction. Many mountain treks contain excessive desert the place you’ll not solely be uncovered to plenty of solar, but additionally arid situations.

Your pores and skin and lips will dry and crack to discomfort in the event you do not maintain them moist. Treat them properly: moisturize! And be certain to carry solely a tiny light-weight container, not the unique 32 oz. tube!

Walking stick: Highly really helpful on most treks, particularly for downhill sections. If you do not convey a strolling stick to you, then maintain your eye out for a tree department or limb that may be carved for the aim. Two strolling sticks or one, you ask? We’ll often share one strolling stick set of two so every of us makes use of one stick.

Snacks: Even in case your meals are supplied to you on a trek, it’s generally good to have a bit of one thing to nibble on between stops. We often convey a small stash mixture of Snickers bars, granola/energy bars, a jar of peanut butter and crackers. You’ll need a bit of little bit of each salty and candy meals.

Trekking Snacks
Peanut butter. Helped us up Mount Kilimanjaro.

Hand sanitizer gel and cleaning soap: One of the very best methods to keep away from turning into ailing: wash your palms completely and infrequently. If you are feeling a bit of obsessive compulsive with the hand cleansing, that’s a superb factor.

Silicone earplugs: A good night time’s sleep on the trekking path is supremely essential in your situation. And though you might be sleeping in the midst of nowhere, there are nonetheless noises from roosters, howler monkeys, birds, lions, and never least different trekkers that can all conspire to maintain you up. That’s the place earplugs come to the rescue and assist shut all of it down to silence.

Leatherman: A multi-tool gadget with a knife, bottle opener, screwdriver, and extra is available in fairly helpful when on the path. We use ours on a regular basis for slicing cheese, greens, bread or different meals objects for picnic stops. Note: keep in mind to take it out of your carry-on bag whenever you fly!

Toilet paper: One roll, used sparingly. Better to be self-sufficient right here. No rationalization wanted. I usually additionally maintain a pack of tissues in my pocket as properly for such emergencies.

Medicines: You could also be miles or days away from any physician so be certain to have some fundamental medicines with you in case you (or others) fall ailing. On our treks, we have picked up sinus infections and helped others who’ve picked up the mistaken sort of intestine micro organism. Having the fundamentals with us allowed us to cope with medical points instantly and to maintain going.

We advocate packing: Band-Aids, aspirin/Tylenol, Amoxicillin (or different fundamental antibiotic to deal with sinus infections), rehydration packets, anti-flu powder (a packet that dissolves in water that breaks fevers may match higher than a capsule if somebody has been throwing up), duct tape (magic in stopping and managing blisters) and Compeed (magic when you have already got blisters).

For a full record of journey medicines and the way to use them, take a look at these journey well being suggestions.

Note: You can simply replenish on medicines at pharmacies in lots of growing nations. Basic medicines akin to those listed right here and within the article above will doubtless be astonishingly low-cost and can usually not require a prescription.

Batteries, reminiscence playing cards: It’s often higher to assume that you simply will not discover electrical energy alongside your trekking route. If you do, take into account it gravy. Be positive to ask your trekking information or company, or different route-experienced vacationers (both in boards or as soon as you might be on the bottom). Ask all of them as soon as, then once more for good measure. Bring further reminiscence playing cards in your digicam so you’ve got ample house to snap away or document video.

This means it is best to strive to convey further batteries in your digicam, headlamp, and anything that is battery-powered. If you are carrying your smartphone with you take into account bringing a photo voltaic powered energy financial institution and placing your telephone on Airplane Mode to protect battery life.

If there’s electrical energy alongside your trek and you want to recharge, by all means convey rechargers. We do. But it is simply one thing else to pack — and one thing you should prioritize when the ultimate bag stuff begins simply prior to setting off.

The Ultimate Hiking Packing Checklist – PDF Download

To aid you pack and put together in your subsequent hike with all the correct gear, we have created a easy one-page downloadable mountaineering packing guidelines

Ultimate Trekking Packing checkList

What did we miss? What are your go-to objects for trekking?

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