The best way to avoid finding out that you don’t have what you need when you are in the backwoods is to use a backpacking gear checklist before you go. These are free, downloadable templates that you can customize so you have the exact backpacking gear checklist on hand that you need.
Customizing the Backpacking Gear Checklist
A customized template is better than a generic list, like those you will find on many gear sites, because each trip has its own special needs and risks. A good backpacking gear checklist not only makes sure that you have everything you need, it can also help you to divide the ratio of weight and gear among your group.
How to Use the Backpacking Gear Checklist Template
To start, download the free template. It is available in a number of formats so it will work with almost any program and operating system. Then customize your backpacking gear checklist by making sure to include:
- Clothing options for potential weather
- Backup power sources for emergency contact equipment
- Ranger recommendations for safety supplies
- First aid kit that is appropriate to terrain and age of travelers
- Things that are fun to do in camp
As always, you want to make sure that you have emergency supplies for extreme weather and enough extra food and water for two days, even if you are only going on a day or weekend trip.
Special Tips for Making the Backpacking Gear Checklist Effective
One of the best tips for making this list effective is to customize the template, print it out and then cover it in plastic. Distribute it to everyone going in your group and mark down who is taking what, and the weight. You want to make sure that no one is unfairly burdened, but you also can use the templates as a “map” or “catalog” of the gear you have with you when you are out on the trail. This reduces the amount of time you may spend digging for something in the wrong pack. Make sure everyone knows where the master list is located too.
Download: Backpacking Gear Checklist