Backpacking Must Haves

By AFM Staff – August 1, 2016
Photo by Greg Fulks

To say Rick Cummins and Josh Gordon of Distance Guides are well-versed in backpacking is an understatement. If you want to put your fitness level to the test or simply get out of your comfort zone, this is for you. Packing for this adventure is an art and a science, so Cummins and Gordon shared a list of essentials as well as a few tips.

What You Need

Main: Backpack + Sleeping Bag w/ stuff sack + Sleeping Pad w/ stuff sack

Cooking Items: Fuel + Pocket Rocket Stove + Pot w/ top/ stuff sack + Fuel Canister + Spork

Toiletries: Sunscreen + Toilet Paper/ in zip-lock bag + Hand Sanitizer + Nail Clippers + Baby Powder/Gold Bond + Lip Balm w/ Sunscreen + Toothbrush+ Toothpaste

Survival Items: Whistle + Map + Compass + Gorilla Tape (around water bottle)

Clothes: Watchcap + Watch + Boots/Shoes + Sandals/Water Shoes + Socks w/liners x2 + Baseball Cap + T-shirts x2 + Rain Jacket/ Pants + Bandanna

Essentials: Water Purification (Bleach/Filter) + Headlamp + Knife + Wallet w/cash + Bleach/ Eye Dropper + Water Bottle + Lighter + Phone (fully charged) + Trash/Leaf Bag + Throw down credit card + Health Insurance Card/Flex Card + Identification + Garbage Bag

First Aid: Band-Aids + 2" Ace Wrap x2 + Tweezers + Vitamin C + Allergy Medication

Helpful Backpacking Advice

When you’re just starting out, borrow or rent. You could easily drop $1,000 buying all this equipment and then find out backpacking isn’t for you.

Take care of your feet by changing socks. While you’re wearing one pair, air out the other pair on the outside of your pack. Every time you stop to rest, take off your socks and shoes to apply powder. Moisture leads to blisters and blisters are a backpacking nightmare.

Wrap a couple of feet of Gorilla Tape around your water bottles because they’re the ultimate first-aid product. Use them for blisters, hot spots, securing splints, and even repairing rips or tears in gear. 

Bring a garbage bag to serve as a rain cover for your backpack. If your gear gets wet, that’ll add weight. Plus, a wet sleeping bag in a cold climate can be life-threatening.

Still not sure you can handle this feat? Distance Guides will not only help you pack, but they’ll also lead you on a backpacking trip for a base rate of $50/day.


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