Gear Selection and Planning Pt 2 – Lists; Lists; Lists

Pt 2

Lists; Lists; Lists

A friendly reminder:
Being back country guy is not my day job. Although, I have been doing this for many years and have become comfortable with my way of doing things, I’m sure there are different ways to do just about anything out there; some may be better and some may not be. Please keep an open mind when reading and don’t be afraid to compare my ideas with someone else’s and maybe between them, come up with something that works even better for you.

Okay! We know where we’re going and for how long!

We know we’re going to need a tent and a sleeping bag and some clothes…some food and water…and…and…a backpack…and…a map …and…what was that other thing called again?

… You get the picture.

For me, lists help immensely when planning an extended outing.

Over the years, I have built a backcountry checklist that I always start with. From there, I’ll tailor a list of items specific to my trip.

REI has a great list of checklists you can start with. They can be found, here

Here’s a template I start with:


Back Country Checklist Template

10 + Essentials

Extra clothing layer(s) Map of area (in waterproof case)
Drinking water Compass
Extra day’s worth food Headlamp or flashlight (with extra batteries)
First-aid kit Sunglasses (with retaining strap)
Pocket knife or multi tool Sunscreen
Matches (in waterproof container) Whistle / signal mirror

Hiking Clothing

Quick-drying pants/shorts Fleece jacket or wool sweater
Short-sleeved shirts Wicking long underwear (top/bottoms)
Long-sleeved shirts Regular underwear
Warm pants (fleece or wool) Quick-drying swimsuit
Fleece or wool vest


Rainwear (top/bottoms) gloves/mittens
Wide-brimmed rain/sun hat Heavy shell for colder weather/Altitude
Warm hat (fleece or wool) Bandanna


Hiking socks Extra laces
Wicking liner socks Gaiters
Hiking boots Water crossing / Camp shoes

Camping Gear

Backpack Funnel
Day/summit pack Matches/lighter
Pack cover Cook set, dishes
Tent, tarp or bivy sack Cooking/eating utensils
Rainfly Drinking cup
Tent stakes/guylines Pot grabber
Footprint Biodegradable soap
Tent broom Pot scrubber/dish towel
Sleeping bag Plastic garbage bags
Compression sack Resealable plastic bags
Sleeping pad Water filter/purifier
Sit pad or sleeping pad chair kit Water-purification backup (tablets, halogens)
Extra nylon stuff sacks Water bottle
Food / Meals / Snacks Hydration system (bladder)
Trekking poles Pillow
Stove and fuel Lantern/Headlamp/Light

Personal Items

Toilet paper Lip balm
Toothbrush and toothpaste Insect repellent
Biodegradable soap Shower bag
Small bath towel Head net – for insects
Brush/comb Trowel/Shovel
other personal hygene items Hand sanitizer

Other/Extra Items

Altimeter Repair kit (stove, tent, mattress) / sewing kit
Binoculars 50-100ft – 3mm accessory cord
Field guides Axe/saw
Camera, memory cards, tripod and lenses Cash and CC card
iPod Cell/Sat phone
After trek food and snacks After trek change of clothes
Notebook and pencil Photo ID
Travel games Camping/fire permits
Watch/alarm clock Fishing license and fishing gear
Weather radio Trip Plan (left w 2 friends, ranger station, in car)
Duct tape (wrapped around 1/2 toilet paper roll) 2 way radio
Orienteering handbook GPS

Granted, not every item on the template makes it into the backpack, but I find this a pretty good place to start.

Once I have the items I’m going to use checked off from the template, I’ll add them to a new checklist specifically for the trip I’m getting ready for. I use that checklist all the way up to the trail head.

I also keep a separate checklist template for my first aid kit supplies (future post)…and one more usually to plan and buy meals and snacks from. (This one I make as I go)

Once I get my list for the trip dialed in, I’ll print it out and keep a copy with my gear.

The last thing I do, before hitting the trail head, is inventory my pack one last time in the trail head parking lot.

One more thing… I keep a copy of the list with me on the trail too. It’s easy to forget whether or not you actually packed some items or didn’t, and with the list, if I find myself in that spot, I can easily determine if the items were lost on the trail, or if I forgot to pack them all together. That helps in a BIG way…nothing like searching your campsite for two hours… for an item you never packed in the first place!

Keep in mind, this list is suited to my needs and is a dynamic template that changes with the times and my taste in gear. This is only a snapshot of what the template looks like at this time.

I hope this helps!

Until next time,
Peace everyone!


One thought on “Gear Selection and Planning Pt 2 – Lists; Lists; Lists

  1. Such great advice, thank you! It’s nice to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. I never thought about including my packing list, what a great idea! I feel like I waste so much time searching for things. The trail is the last place I want to be wasting time hunting for something I never packed. Great post, thanks for sharing what you’ve learned out there with us!

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