What to Pack for Your First Backpacking Outdoor Adventure

close-up of must have items for hiking trip
Source: greenbelly.co

From choosing the right pair of hiking boots to layering up for whatever nature throws at you, a backpacking outdoor adventure requires some preparation to make the most of it. While experienced backpackers will tell you to back as little as possible, that doesn’t mean you should be strolling into the mountains only with a pair of good shoes and some granola bars. Here’s what you should pack for your next trekking adventure. 

Camping Tent

camping tent placed on a cliff when sun is rising
Source: happycampergear.com

When backpacking, your tent is your shelter. So, there’s no reason to pack another emergency shelter unless you think you might do short day hikes from remote basecamp during your trip. However, bringing an emergency blanket that is ultralight and highly packable is a great idea. 

Nowadays you can find camping tents in different sizes and setup styles. Aside from capacity (1-3 person), you’ll have to choose between freestanding and semi-freestanding tents. Freestyle tents can be set up to their full potential without being stacked, are spacious and good for camping on terrain where staking would be difficult. Semi-freestanding tents have a separate pole system and can stand up on their own without being stacked. However, you’ll need to stake them for full stability and livable space. These tents offer the ideal combination of weight saving, space and versatility. 

As a weight-conscious hiker, you’ll value a tent for the weight over livable space. A one-person tent is a good option for a lightweight, one-person shelter. These camping tents are easy to set up and they can be set up in small spaces. Talking about where to set up a tent when camping, the ideal location is on level ground, but not a low place. Make sure to keep a safe distance from your fire rings and cooking area. Sparks from your fire could melt holes in your tent. As for what to put under a camping tent, choose a lightweight ground cover. This will help keep moisture from seeping through the tent, getting you and your gear wet. 

Once you choose a camping tent, get used to setting it up. This can be done in your backyard or other space close to home. Find out the different size poles, how the rainfly fits, and the way it all packs up when you disassemble it. The more you get used to setting it up and down, the easier it will be once you hit the trail. 

Extra Clothing 

When it comes to what is necessary to survive the worst conditions on a trip, this varies according to season, altitude and conditions. Extra thermal layers, a hat and rain gear take up little room and weight in your backpack but can keep you warm and dry on an unexpected overnight. 

Sun Protection

If you tough that sunscreen and sunglasses were just for the beach and the pools, you were wrong. They are must-haves when hiking or climbing on high altitudes, water, ice and snow. If there is sun, sunglasses and sunscreen should be worn. 

giving a first aid on a injured hiker
Source: thecampinggeek.com

First Aid Supplies 

Get a basic first aid kit and learn how to use it. First aids come prepackaged, so you can choose one that fits your adventure style and length. Many come with a booklet with first aid instructions – take the time to read it. 

Fire Supplies 

Pack whatever is necessary to start an emergency fire. This may include butane lighter, waterproof matches, or whatever creates a spark as well as a fire starter like candles, chemical heat tabs or canned heat. These supplies will be very helpful when trying to start a fire with wet wood. 

Torch Flashlight

close-up of olight flashlight torch
Source: originaloutdoors.co.uk

Spending more time than planned on a trail is something that may happen to you at some point during your backpacking career. Even when you plan on doing just a short day hike, emergencies and other situations can easily derail your adventure, keep you in the outdoors until well past sundown. Therefore, you should always be prepared with a reliable torch flashlight and spare batteries, for even a day trip. When planning a trip for more than a couple of nights, consider getting a few sets of spare batteries, just in case. 

While some campers prefer headlamps for their backpacking trip, flashlights come with their advantages. The handheld design of the torch makes it a portable design that serves multiple uses. It gives you the ability to point it where you want the light. You can also set it down while you’re doing something. Most flashlights can also assist the user during an emergency as they can be used as a signalling device. 

When shopping for a torch flashlight there are some factors you’ll want to consider, such as size and weight. Choosing a lightweight option can be quite beneficial when backpack camping. You don’t want a lot of heavy items weighing your down and causing you to tire easily. It should also be an impact resistance because camping and hiking can take a toll on your gear and belongings. This will make it a more reliable and durable tool in the long run. 

The number of lumens the flashlight can release is also an important feature to consider. If you need a flashlight for small chores at night, then a low-lumen count will do. If you are planning on exploring at night, then you’ll need a more heavy-duty torch. 


To be ideal, your backpack food should require no cooking, be easily digestible and store for long periods. Choose options that fuels you and then pack extra. Dehydrated meals, nuts, energy bars and jerky are all great options.  


klean kanteen water bottles
Source: boardsportsource.com

We all know the importance of proper hydration. However, it’s not possible to carry all the water you need if you’re heading out for more than a day of adventure. So, in addition to carrying a sports water bottle with you, you’ll also want to have a tool for purifying your water outside. Your research before your trip should also include finding locations of water sources.