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Backcountry backpacking checklist: what to pack for an overnight backpacking trip

Are you asking yourself what to pack for your overnight backpacking trip? This is a great place to start to build your gear list and an easy to use backcountry backpacking checklist. If this is your first time going on an overnight trip or you might want to enhance your backcountry knowledge, then consider taking our Intro to Backpacking course. This course will teach you about trip planning, best practices for being in the backcountry, talk about wildlife safety, and more. Our guides are outdoor, industry professionals with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and view your safety as their #1 priority.

Read this page to the bottom to review a gear list that you can include on your next overnight backpacking trip.


  • Toque
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Light gloves
  • T-shirt
  • Warm shirt (synthetic/wool)
  • Light fleece pullover/jacket or mid-layer
  • Heavier fleece jacket or sweater (no cotton)
  • Rain jacket and pants
  • Hiking pants
  • Shorts
  • Socks (plus a spare pair)
  • Hiking boots
  • River crossing shoes / camp shoes (ie keens – something that will stay on your feet with water current)

Sleeping Gear

  • Tent with tie down cords & pegs
  • Groundsheet (optional)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping liner (spring/fall)
  • Tarp (optional)

Backpacking Gear

  • Overnight pack (40L or more)
  • Backpack rain cover (garbage bag works too)
  • Dry sack to put your clothing/sleeping bag into
  • Lighter or matches
  • Headlamp plus batteries (extra batteries)

Food & Water

  • Food **
  • Stove & fuel **
  • Pots **
  • Cooking utensils, plate, bowl, cup, thermos (can bring your own if preferred) **
  • Soap and scrubby **
  • Water filter / purification **
  • Large, reinforced stuff sack for hanging food **
  • Rope and carabiner for hanging food **
  • Water bottle / hydration pack (at least 2 litres)

Emergency Equipment

  • Bear spray **
  • First aid kit **
  • Repair kit **


  • Toiletries (put all products into smaller containers, only bring what you need for trip)
  • Medicine
  • Toilet paper
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Map **
  • Compass **
  • GPS **
  • Camera (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional)

** If you are on an Uplift Adventures’s trip, then this item is included by your guide (unless otherwise discussed).

Comments 4

  1. Hi!
    Just wondering if you have to share a tent with someone. I’ve got my own backpacking tents but because of COVID I wouldn’t want to share.
    Also I don’t have a high clearance vehicle. Could I catch a ride with a guide perhaps?

    1. Post

      Hi Patricia – People only share tents if they want to and if they know the person. It is common that people come with other friends and then they are able to share the weight of a tent.

      We can always make arrangements for carpooling with vehicles when we have our meeting the night before the trip.

      I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions.

    1. Post

      We allow dogs on some trips, depending on the situation. Some guests are allergic to dogs or have fears of dogs, so we have to confirm with the group before allowing dogs. We will often allow dogs on day trips if asked ahead of time.

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