#Gear – What to pack for backpacking!

I will preface this post by saying a few things…

My slightly compulsive gear storage area! Completing this project has made packing and UNPACKING  significantly easier!

I am NOT an ultra light backpacker not do I have unlimited funds to go get the top level gear. I try to be practical with my purchases. I also like being comfortable, so I carry a few things that many ultra light backpackers do not carry, but they make me happy!

What I carry greatly depends on who I am hiking with, and what the hike will entail. When I am hiking with Zack/friends I don’t have to carry everything because we can split the shared items like a tent/bear canister etc!

In addition, everyone is different, so your list and what you deem “necessary” for a backpacking trip might be different! To me it is all about testing yourself and your gear to sort out something that works for you!

Photo of ALL of the gear I pulled out to see what I needed/didn’t need for my first solo backpacking trip!

I will use my first solo backpacking trip because this would encompass almost everything you could need if you were going it alone…

The photo above was my starting point… it includes things that I decided I did not need that got vetted out… like a bear canister (January in the North East USA it is not required), snow shoes (my hiking plans changed, so I didn’t wind up needing them). Additionally, some of this changes by the season, obviously you won’t need snowshoes in the summer (in most climates) and your clothing might change a little!

The photo also includes things you would not need in general… All of Nova’s gear would not be something you would need to pack, unless you had a 140lb dog accompanying you!!!

Gear for Backpacking – Does not include what I packed for my dog!


  • 65L Osprey Ariel
    • The 65L was the perfect size for Nova & I’s single night winter gear. I would say 80% of my backpacking trips the 65L has been a touch on the large size, but since it is my go-to bag I do not mind at all!
  • Rain Fly (Large Osprey)


Osprey Bladder with in-line Sawyer Mini
3L Bladder with in-line Sawyer Mini

Bathroom Needs:

My galaxy theme Kula Cloth!
  • Tampons (Yay periods!)
  • Kula Cloth
    • You can read my little review here: In summary… It is the most wonderful leave no trace solution to TP for #1!
  • Toilet Paper (for #2) & ZipBlock to Carry Out TP and Tampons
  • Poop Shovel

Safety/First Aid:

Sleeping Arrangements/Shelter:

  • Sleeping Pad
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Bag Liner
  • Pillow
  • Tent


  • Luci Light – For Tent Lighting
  • Hiking Poles
  • Tooth Brush & Tooth Paste
  • Body Wipe
  • Bandana
  • (1) Towel


  • (1) Pair of Boots
  • (2) Pairs of Socks
    • I always like to pack two pairs of socks… Putting frozen socks on the next morning is a horrible experience I do not wish to repeat!
  • (1) Pants
  • (1) Pair of Knee Height Gaiters
  • (1) Sports Bra
  • (1) Tank Top
  • (2) Long Sleeve Shirts
  • (1) Vest
  • (1) Down Jacket
  • (1) Rain Jacket
  • (2) Neck Gaiters
    • Mine tend to get all snotty & moist, so I like to carry 2!
  • (1) Winter Hat
  • (1) Baseball Cap

Winter Specific – Traction Devices:

This is what my fully packed backpack looked like! (Again, please remember this is for a winter hike, so all of my gear was bulkier AND I had packed for Nova as well, so an extra sleeping bag, sleeping pad, towel, and food for her!)

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