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Ultralight Backpacking Checklist

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

Choose the lightest-weight versions of the items on this list that you can find, afford or feel comfortable with. Organizing your gear into systems can be a good way to remember to pack what you need.




Hiking System



  • Backpack

  • Pack cover

  • Trekking poles






Navigation System



  • Map

  • Compass

  • Cellphone

  • Solar/portable charger

  • GPS

  • Personal locator beacon

  • Route description

  • Permits

Shelter System


  • Tent, tarp, bivy or hammock

  • Guylines and stakes (if needed)

  • Insect mesh for hammock (if needed)

  • Ground cloth 

Sleep System

  • Sleeping bag

  • Sleeping pad

  • Pillow (opt.)

Cooking System

  • Stove

  • Fuel

  • Mini lighter and stormproof matches

  • Mug and/or pot

  • Spork1” x 2”

  • sponge

  • Small metal drain screen for rinse water


Food Storage System

  • Food bag

  • Stuff sack for hanging (opt.)

  • Bear bag/bear canister (if required)

Water System

  • Water filtration system

  • Purification drops or tablets

  • Soft-sided water bottles

Clothing Systems


For Hiking:

  • Hiking or trail-running shoes

  • Synthetic or wool T-shirt

  • Hiking or running shorts (1 pair)

  • Hiking pants (1 pair)

  • Synthetic or wool underwear (2 pairs)

  • Sports bra

  • Synthetic or wool socks (2 pairs)

  • Sun-protective hat

  • Sun-protective gloves (opt.)

  • Bandana

For Camp:

  • Long-underwear top

  • Long-underwear bottomsWarm hat

  • Wool or synthetic socks for sleep

  • Puffy insulated jacket or vest

  • Sandals (opt.)

For Foul Weather:

  • Waterproof rain jacket

  • Waterproof rain pants

  • Warm gloves

  • Waterproof gloves/mitts

Hygiene/Toiletries System


Bring only as much as you anticipate needing.

  • Zip-top bags (varied sizes for waste, food, etc.)

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Toothpaste or baking soda

  • Small toothbrush

  • Biodegradable soap

  • Toilet paper (2-4 squares per day)

  • Pre-moistened wipes (2 per day)Sanitation trowel

  • Menstrual products

  • Women’s pee funnel

  • Women’s pee rag (1/4 cotton bandana)

  • Prescription medications

First-Aid Kit

  • Blister pads

  • Gauze pads

  • Bandages

  • Antibiotic ointment (small packet)

  • Pain-relief pills

Miscellaneous

  • Headlamp or microlight with fresh batteries

  • Extra batteries (opt.)

  • Safety whistle (with neck cord)

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm

  • Sunglasses

  • Hat with insect-mesh (opt.)

  • Gaiters (if needed)Ice traction devices (if needed)

  • Ice axe (if needed)

  • Small amount of cash

  • Credit card

  • Itinerary copies (for friend + under car seat)

Repair Kit


Bring only as much as you anticipate needing.

  • Gear-repair and/or duct tape

  • Sewing needle and nylon thread

  • Razor blade or small knife

Luxury Items

  • Camera

  • Binoculars

  • Journal or sketchbook

  • Pen or pencil

Source: https://www.rei.com


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