Zen Backpacking Weekend Packing List






Weekend Backpacking Packing List



Most weekend backpackers have a different philosophy than lightweight and ultralightweight backpackers.  Basically, they plan on walking a short distance to a lake or other scenic spot, set up a comfortable campsite and possibly go out on day hikes from there.  With their special little camps comes a great deal more weight than carried by the lightweight or minimalist backpacker.  With more weight, you will also need a heavier duty pack, boots and repair kits.


The amount of gear carried by weekend travelers can be enormous and the follow is just a basic list of gear often carried.


Item   Location Notes
Nylon long-sleeved shirt   Worn Nylon dries quickly and keeps you warmer than cotton; cotton works in hot environments but kills in cold or wet environments
Hiking pants   Worn Again, nylon and other synthetics dry quickly and cotton kills; cargo pockets are nice and convertible pant allow you to switch between pants and shorts
Hiking socks   On feet High density wool worn inside out work best
Sock liner   Under socks Hikers prone to blisters may benefit from a thin poly sock liner under their wool socks
Good pair of hiking boots   On feet You will want good support and durability; Gortex lining is nice to have
Heavy duty belt   Through pant belt loops Can be used to secure cargo, as tourniquet, etc; some can even be used as a emergency harness
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 Good pair with side protection; if not sunny, pack them
Backpack   Generally worn Take your time to find a good fitting pack; external frame packs provide a good amount of support and comfort and generally cost less than a well built internal frame backpack
Mini LED light   Right shoulder strap Used to signal group or take quick looks at your map
Bottle of water   Side pocket Lexan bottles are extremely durable, but you may opt for a Camelback type system
Knife/mutlitool   Outer compartment Multitools with pliers can come in quite handy; Rambo knife is optional
Toilet paper   Outer compartment Stored in Ziploc bag
Female hygiene products   Outer compartment Needed if female and menstruating; kept in own Ziploc bag
Snacks (trail mix, bars)   Outer compartment A small amount in a Ziploc bag; don't go overboard
Headlamp   Outer compartment Allows you to walk in the dark; put in fresh batteries prior to trip
Maps   Outer compartment Take just what you need; stored in Ziploc bag or waterproof
Binoculars   Outer compartment Waterproof is preferred; if not waterproof, store in Ziploc bag
Protractor   With map  
Real compass   Assessable Great for orienteering
GPS   Outer compartment No guess work in figuring out where you are at; put in fresh batteries prior to trip
Pen   Outer compartment Used to leave notes and mark maps
Bug cream   Outer compartment Extended release DEET is best; store in bear bag at night
Sunscreen   Outer compartment If light skinned, take even if overcast
Hat   Outer compartment Protects you from sun, cold and bugs
Camera   Outer compartment Put in fresh batteries prior to trip
Bear canister   Main compartment or outside pack See Below
Plastic trash compactor bag   Main compartment Used to keep clothing dry
Waterproof jacket   Main compartment Breathable material such as Gortex is preferred; this is a must in potentially wet environments
Soft jacket or pullover   Main compartment Better to have and not need than need and not have; should fit under outer jacket
Extra shirt   Main compartment Synthetic quick drying preferred
Extra pants   Main compartment Synthetic quick drying preferred
Thermal underwear   Main compartment Synthetic or wool
T-shirts   Main compartment Good for hot days around camp
Shorts   Main compartment Wear when washing and drying pants; used as swim suit
Trekking socks x 3   Main compartment High density wool preferred
Camp slippers   Main compartment Gives your feet a break from your boots
Hygiene Kit   Main compartment See Below
Extra Ziploc bags   Main compartment Used to separate and waterproof any number of things; take a couple of small ones and a couple of larger ones; freezer bags are more durable than regular bags
Camp Towel   Main compartment or hung from pack to dry Fast drying; used to dry body and wring out washed clothing
Water bladder   Main compartment Enough to carry a days worth of water; more is needed when traveling through areas that have limited water points
Stove   Main compartment Choice of stove depends on many factors; gas canister stoves are the easiest to use and preferred for most backpackers but others provide turbo charged multi fuel stoves
Stove fuel   Main compartment Remember that you will need enough to heat meals as well as beverages and it may be cold out there; pack more if it's going to be really cold
Cook Set   Main compartment See Below
Mug   Outer compartment Titanium preferred for light weight; allows you to drink nice hot beverages
Sleep pad   Outside of pack Not only provides comfort, it insulates back from ground; ones that convert into camp chairs are preferred
Lantern   Outer compartment Battery or white gas; allows you see at night
Mosquito coils   Outer compartment Not recommended for use in tent due to fire hazard; keep in Ziploc bag
Sleepingbag   Sleepingbag compartment 3 season down in dry environments, synthetic in wet environments
Camp pillow   With sleepingbag So nice to have; a pillow case can be filled with extra clothing
Compression bag   Main compartment Used for sleeping bag; if room is not a concern, a plastic trash compactor bag can be used
Tent   Main compartment Three season tent will give you protection from wind, rain and bugs; shop carefully
Tarp   Main compartments Nice to put over eating/leisure area
Tarpline   Main compartment Used to set up tarp
Space blanket   Main compartment Keep in day pack; used as ground cloth; can be used blanket or separate tarp
Water purifier system   Outer compartment Makes water safe to drink
Small shovel   Outer compartment Small plastic one sufficient to dig cat hole
Repair Kit     See Below
Daypack   Variable If pack does not have removable top, you may wish to pack a very pack to use as a day pack
Cook Set     Titanium and steel are nice and durable; you may need multiple stackable pots; store in large stuff sac
Windscreen   Cook pot Needed for any stove
Stormproof lighter   Cook pot Used to start stove and fires
Waterproof match case   Cook pot Even waterproof matches need protection from water; carried as backup
Waterproof matches   Waterproof match case Even if your stove comes with an igniter, bring in case you need to start campfire
Match strip   Waterproof match case Used to ignite match; take even if you have strike anywhere matches
Thermal pads   Cook pot Used to lift and move pots; can be made from several layers of rags sewn together
Fire starter   Film canister Fill a film canister with Vaseline impregnated cotton balls; use to start fire in survival situation or to start camp fires
Plates and/or bowls   Same stuff sac Titanium are light and more durable than plastic
Cutlery set   Bear bag Titanium or Lexan
Bear Canister     A bear bag is optional, but nothing protects your food like a good bear canister or a purpose made bag constructed of ballistic material
Food     Mix of freeze dried meals, noodles, cheese and maybe some eggs
Cord     Used if you are using a bear bag
Seasoning     Salt and pepper shakers and bottle of hot sauce
Hygiene Kit   Backpack Nylon stuff sack; hang with bear bag
Toothbrush     Soft Bristles are easy on the gums
Toothbrush holder     protects bristles
Tube of toothpaste     3oz or less to make it through airport; more purchased later
Soap dish      
Soap bar      
Bottle of liquid soap     Use for washing, laundry and dish washing if needed
Disposable razor     If male and would like to shave; use soap lather to shave or pack shaving cream
Mini nail clippers     Take if on longer trips
Mini GUM dental floss container     Used for flossing, sewing and as string (such a for holding up bug nets)
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 Small zippered nylon case; everything kept in Ziploc bags; kept minimal
Assortment of dressings   Ziploc 1 Band-Aids, Steri strips, 4x4 gauze pads, 2x2 gauze pads
Single use Betadine packet   Ziploc 1  
Betadine on cotton tipped applicator   Ziploc 1  
Alcohol swabs   Ziploc 1  
Antibiotic ointment pack   Ziploc 1  
Small roll of medical tape   Ziploc 1 Many uses - secure dressings, splinting, taping sprained ankles, make rope
Safety pins   Ziploc 2 Used to hold dressings and slings together; close large wounds; clear tongue from obstructing airway
Premium grade moleskin   Ziploc 2 Put on ideally prior to blister formation; several precut
Sterile suture pack   Ziploc 2 Silk with needle attached - can be used to sew skin or gear
Sewing needles   Ziploc 2 Heavy duty stainless steel keep in mini plastic holder; kept here so it doesn't get lost, but can be used to sew skin in a pinch
Vinyl Exam gloves   Ziploc 3 4 in own Ziploc bag - why get someone else's blood or body fluids on your hands?
Roll of sterile gauze   Ziploc 4 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
ACE warp   Ziploc 5 Used to warp dressings or injuries
Small bottle of Betadine   Ziploc 6 Kept in small Ziploc bag; used to disinfect wounds and water in a pinch; works better when diluted so a little goes a long ways
Medication card   Ziploc 7 laminated; reminds you dosages and when and how to use meds
Selection of meds   Ziploc 7 sample or blister packs of Katadyn chlorine dioxide (water purification), loperamide (Imodium), Tylenol (paracetamol or acetaminophen), ibuprofen (Advil), ciprofloxacin (for bacterial diarrhea) - if in areas of risk: metronidazole (Flagyl of amebic dysentery), Mebendazole (Vermox for worms), a bottle of doxycycline for malaria, and/or other meds; all kept in small Ziploc bag
Repair Kit   Main compartment Kept in small stuff sack
Duct tape     So many uses
Stove repair kit     Need if using a multifuel stove
Fabric repair patches     Good for quick temporary repairs of jackets, tents, tarps, etc.
Mattress repair kit     Required if packing an inflatable mattress
Common Additions to List
Extra clothing   Backpack Needed if really cold or wet
Mini can opener   Hygiene kit US military type is very small, with less mass than many coins; allows you to eat canned foods
Radio   Backpack Some backpackers need some form of background noise to relax
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
Camp tools   Backpack Generally not needed unless living in the outback for a long period of time




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