Zen Backpacking Ultralightweight Packing List






Ultralightweight Backpacking Packing List



For backpacking, less is more.  Traveling ultralight means that you carry just enough to stay alive and have move easily since you only carry a feather weight pack.  Instead of figuring out what you can do without, sit down and figure out what you must have and can't do without.  Reexamine your list and determine what you can do to replace two items with a single item and how you can make each item or system lighter.  Repeat until you are as close to 10 pounds or less as you think is possible given your backpacking environment and budget.


The amount of gear needed for 1 weeks is the same for 3 months.  The only thing that changes is the amount of fuel, food, and water purification tablets you will need.  These items should be picked up along the way and predetermined drop points.  If you are traveling through hot deserts and cold alpine regions, you can pick up and send home special gear along the way.


Item   Location Notes
Nylon shirt   Worn Microfiber nylon is light and dries fast; cotton keeps you wetter and cooler for longer and can kill you
Hiking pants   Worn Microfiber nylon is light and dries fast
Hiking socks   On feet Synthetic socks dry faster than wool; thick high density sock are generally not needed
Light trail runner shoes   On feet Light, comfortable and durable enough; trimming laces down is a little extreem
Quick release nylon strap belt   Through pant belt loops Light weight; can be used to secure cargo, as tourniquet, etc; may be needed to hold up pants as you loose weight
Waterproof wrist watch   Left wrist Waterproof is really preferred; alarm may be useful if you are on a time schedule
Wrist compass   On wristwatch Attached to watch strap; usually sufficient for most backpacking
Sunglasses   Worn If not sunny, pack them
Backpack   Generally worn Use a frameless backpack made from silnylon or something similar
Mini LED light   Right shoulder strap used to signal in crowds or see in dark
Bottle of water   Side pocket A small disposable water bottle is all you need
Sleep pad   Separate compartment or lining pack Not only provides comfort, it insulates back from ground; trim to minimize and fold to double as pack support
Wallet   Special zipped up place Small amount of emergency cash, ID, ATM card, laminated contact list with calling card numbers (simple encryption if you like) and keys (if taken); placed in Ziploc bag
Shelter   Backpack Silnylon tarp; keep in separate stuff sack - some more optimistic backpackers go without a shelter which isn't advised
Bug net   Backpack Depending on where you are backpacking, may be required; use a minimal one that just covers your head
Tent stakes   Backpack Titanium hooks are very lightweight; Coated or painted with bright orange to make finding easier; store in piece of corrugated cardboard with top that folds over hooks to protect pack and pack contects; these double as pot supports; if pack not water resistant, keep in reezer bag
Tarpline   Backpack Used to set up tarp; use ultralight cord
Water bladder   Backpack Enough to carry a days worth of water; more is needed when traveling through areas that have limited water points
Food Bag   Backpack See Below
Plastic trash compactor bag   Backpack May be needed if main pack is not waterproof; used to keep clothing dry
Small pocket knife   Waterproof bag So many uses; small pocket knife sufficient; small single blade if fine; use cord to tie to pack or belt
Toilet paper   Waterproof bag Stored in Ziploc bag; minimal amount rolled up without paper roll
Female hygiene products   Waterproof bag Needed if female and menstruating; kept in own Ziploc bag
Map   Waterproof bag Take just what you need; stored in Ziploc bag or waterproof; some hikers go without a map
Jacket   Waterproof bag Thin waterproof/breathable material is preferred; this is a must in potentially wet environments
Soft jacket or pullover   Waterproof bag Packed when climate/conditions mandate; should fit under outer jacket
Thermal underwear   Waterproof bag Synthetic or wool; need dependent on climate and sleeping bag
Shorts   Waterproof bag Wear when washing and drying clothes (longer trips); used as swim suit
Trekking socks x 2   Waterproof bag synthetic socks dry faster than wool or cotton
Cord   Waterproof bag Used to tie pack to high branch
Hygiene Kit   Waterproof bag See Below
Camp Towel   Waterproof bag Fast drying; used to dry body and wring out washed clothing; trim to minimize
Stove   Waterproof bag Solid fuel (ESBIT); alcohol or collapsible titanium wood (long trips) stoves are preferred
Stove fuel   Waterproof bag Just enough fuel as needed; alcohol carried in disposable plastic water bottle
Cook pot/mug   Waterproof bag See Below
Sleep quilt/bag   Waterproof bag Down in dry environments, synthetic in wet environments; quilt lighter than bag
Food Bag   Backpack Separate bag for food
Food     Dehydrated and stored in freezer bags; hang pack at night
Snacks     Limit to what you need
Spork or spoon     Makes eating grub so much easier
Cook Pot     Titanium pot or mug or Wal-Mart Grease Pot; only boil water for freezer bag meals; store cook gear in pot when packed
Windscreen   Cook pot Needed for any stove; thin titanium sheet is nice
Waterproof match case   Cook pot Even waterproof matches need protection from water
Waterproof matches   Waterproof match case Ziploc bag may be used
Match strip   Waterproof match case Used to ignite match; take even if you have strike anywhere matches
Bandana   Cook pot Fold and used to lift and move pots
Fire starter   Film canister Fill a film canister with Vaseline impregnated cotton balls; needed if cooking with wood
Hygiene Kit   Backpack Kept in small Ziploc bag
Toothbrush     Soft Bristles are easy on the gums
Toothpaste     Small tube or squeeze some in a small Ziploc bag
Bottle of liquid soap     Use very small bottle; used for washing, laundry and dish washing if needed
Disposable razor     If male and would like to shave; use soap lather or water alone to shave
Mini GUM dental floss container     Used for flossing, sewing and as string (such a for holding up bug nets)
Water purification     Kytadyn chlorine dioxide tablet are the best, but some opt of activated liquid chlorine dioxide in a small plastic bottle
Prescription meds     Carried if needed - this would also include extra glasses, contact lenses, birth control pills, etc. for those that need these; all stored in Ziploc bag
First Aid Kit   Backpack Often skipped; stored in small Ziploc bags; kept very minimal
Assortment of dressings     Band-Aids, Steri strips, 4x4 gauze pads, 2x2 gauze pads
Single use Betadine packet      
Alcohol swabs      
Sewing needles     Heavy duty stainless steel keep in mini plastic holder; stored here so that it doesn't get lost
Small roll of medical tape     Many uses - secure dressings, splinting, taping sprained ankles, make rope; minimize amount carried
Small roll of sterile gauze     Air squeezed out of package and stored in own Ziploc bag; used to pack, cover and wrap larger wounds as well as make slings, tie up splints and make tourniquets
Common Additions to List
Extra clothing   Backpack Needed if really cold
Camera   Backpack or pocket Compact is easier to carry; may also require extra batteries or film
Mini can opener   Hygiene kit US military type is very small, with less mass than many coins; allows you to eat canned foods, which are not ideal for packing - but give you a pot/mug
Hat   Backpack Protect wearer from sun, cold, bugs and hides messy/dirty hair
GPS   Backpack Some backpackers can't navigate without one; these then to take away from backpacking and require batteries and an extra set if you can't navigate without one; these same backpackers may not be good candidates for ultralight backpacking
Notepad   Backpack Journal type or waterproof; used to right notes, etc.; keep in Ziploc if not waterproof
Paperback, religious text, etc   Backpack Kept in Ziploc bag




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