What to Pack for Trekking

In assembling a personal packing list, the experience is the best guide. And in that, very few people have prepared for and walked as many wilderness miles as GORP Hiking Expert Karen Berger. For your hiking pleasure, she modified her packing list to suit a three-season (spring through fall), weekend-length trip.

The Basics | Eating and Drinking | Clothing
Accessories | Optional Items

Special Considerations

The Basics

  • backpack (3,500 – 5,000 cubic inches)
  • sleeping bag, rated to 20-300F
  • tent
  • sleeping pad

Eating and Drinking

  • water bottles (at least two 1-liter bottles)
  • water purification (filter or iodine)
  • stove and fuel
  • cook kit
  • matches and lighter
  • insulated mug
  • lightweight bowl and spoon
  • utility knife (e.g., Swiss Army-type)


  • boots (broken in and waterproofed)
  • Three pair socks (no cotton! wool or synthetic, liners or not — your preference)
  • camp shoes (old tennis sneaks, sports sandals, or moccasins)
  • One pair long underwear bottoms (synthetic)
  • One long underwear top (synthetic; zip-T style is best)
  • One pair shorts
  • underwear (optional)
  • 1 T-shirt (cotton or synthetic)
  • rain jacket and pants
  • wool or fleece sweater or jacket
  • wool or fleece hat
  • liner gloves
  • wool/fleece gloves or mittens
  • bandanna


The 10 Essentials

Don’t leave home without these items


  • compass (if you know how to use it)
  • toilet paper in the zipper-lock bag
  • maps and guidebook
  • extra zipper-lock/trash bags
  • plastic potty trowel
  • small flashlight or headlamp
  • lip balm
  • toothbrush/toothpaste (travel size)
  • first aid kit
  • pack rain cover or garbage bag
  • bear-bagging cord

Optional Items

  • trekking poles
  • sunglasses
  • baseball cap
  • small hairbrush/comb
  • extra long underwear top, wool shirt, or fleece vest if you tend to
  • be cold (pick only one)
  • journal & pen
  • book
  • camera, film
  • ground cloth
  • small strainer (for filtering food particles while cleaning dishes)

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