Backpacking Trip Equipment List


  • Tent - If you don�t have one, check with your patrol. You can probably share. The tent is then split among those using it so everyone carries some of it. Avoid the "giant" ones. Remember that you have to carry it.
  • Backpack with a hip belt � Some of the troop leaders have small packs that they loan to new Scouts. Ask. REI rents packs. Some Scouts may have packs that they will loan. If you do purchase a pack, get one that FITS YOU NOW. If it fits now, it will probably have the ability to be adjusted as you grow but it must fit you now. Several of the adult leaders can adjust packs that you have borrowed. And, of course, outfitters such as Galyons and REI have staff that can adjust packs. (Make sure that you get straps with which to attach bags, tents and so forth to the pack. Bungy cords don�t do a good job at this.)

    Must Have � Should Own

    • Sleeping bag � Don�t bring a "sleepover" bag. These are insulated with cotton batting which, if wet, will just make you colder. They are very big to pack and don�t insulate well anyway. If you are in doubt about your bag:
    • If it has the tag attached, check the contents for cotton. If it has cotton, in most cases it is not suitable.
    • If it has anything printed on the cover such as Snoopy or Pokemon it is probably not suitable.

    While down-insulated bags are lighter in weight than equal comfort ratings of synthetic-insulated bags, the synthetics are preferable because (in addition to being less expensive) when down gets wet it looses its ability to insulate. Wetness does not affect a synthetic's ability to insulate. A bag used in Georgia will sometime or another get wet.

    Sleeping bags are rated as to the lowest temperature at which a user can be comfortable. While this is a subjective measure, it is as good a guide as we have. For the type of camping that we do, a rating of 15 or 20 degrees is a good compromise. A lower temperature rating adds weight and would be uncomfortable on merely cool nights.

    • Footwear � Don�t buy hiking boots just for this trek. Good running shoes are better than cheap boots. If you do buy boots, make sure that they fit now and don�t need too much breaking in. We don�t do much off-trail hiking (and none on this trek) so we are more interested in ankle and arch support in boots than in "ruggedness" per se.
    • Two pair of synthetic or wool socks. (One each for Saturday and Sunday) If all you have is cotton athletic socks, bear in mind that cotton does not wick away moisture. This leads to damp feet, which promote blisters. A really good system adds polypropylene liners for added wicking ability as well as for friction reduction. Pack in Zip-lock bags.
    • Clean underwear for Saturday and Sunday in Zip-lock bags
    • "T" shirts for Saturday and Sunday in Zip-lock bags.
    • Hiking shorts
    • Long pants � Jeans are not good for this because they are heavy even when dry, promote hypothermia when wet, and are usually too tight to permit comfortable hiking.
    • Long-sleeved shirt � preferably wool or synthetic.
    • Light jacket � Be able to "layer".
    • Hat � A wide-brimmed one is better than a baseball cap but a baseball cap is better than nothing.
    • Knit cap for sleeping
    • Lightweight, non-breakable cup (Anything from around the house will do.)
    • Lightweight, non-breakable bowl for eating (About the size of a cereal bowl.)
    • Spoon � You won�t need a fork and you have your pocketknife if you need a knife.
    • Water bottles � two one-quart bottles. For this trek, used soda bottles are fine.
    • SMALL flashlight � no bigger than the kind that use 2 AA batteries.
    • Small pocket knife. (If you don�t have your Toten Chip, we�ll work on it in camp.)
    • Whistle on a lanyard attached to your pack
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste (If you don�t have a tiny tube of toothpaste, squeeze a little in a plastic sandwich bag.)
    • Your personal first aid kit.
    • Chapstick
    • Compass

    Patrol-Supplied (You need to arrange for this when you plan menus.)

    • Cooking pot with tongs
    • Cooking Utensils needed for your menus
    • Trash bags � If we bring it in, we pack it out.


    • Dishwashing soap
    • Scouring pad
    • Toilet paper and trowel
    • Lister bags for carrying water. If you have one of these, please let me know.
    • Backpacking stoves. If you have one of these, please let me know.
    • Water Filters

    Nice to Have

    • Sleeping pad. (I almost put this inn the "Must Have � Should Own" category. If you do any camping at all, you should get one.) These provide comfort by adding padding between the bottom of your bag and that tree root that you pitched your tent on. They also provide insulation by separating you from the cold ground. (The "temperature rating" of sleeping bags assumes that you will have a pad.)
    • These come in several varieties �
    • Open cell � These are the "Thermarest"-type. They are self-inflating. They come in three thicknesses and several lengths. They are the most expensive type and begin in the $40.00 range. Their advantage is mostly in compressibility.
    • Closed cell � These are not inflatable. They vary from the "egg crates" that roll up to the "waffles" that fold up like an accordion. They are much less expensive than the open cell types and are just as comfortable and insulate as well. You should be able to get one in the $15.00 or less range.
    • Air mattress � By this I mean the type that is made of plastic and has four or so chambers for air that are blown up to a thickness of 3 or 4 inches. These are made for floating around a swimming pool. DON�T BRING one. They are very heavy, don�t insulate well and invariably spring leaks.
    • Rain Jacket � I put this in this category because a "really good" rain suit is very expensive � in the range of $250 because they are Gortex-lined, have extensive zippers that not only seal the pockets and front but also provide venting for temperature control. They are also reinforced and so forth for extreme durability. A merely "good" rain jacket has the zippers and strength of the "really good" but not the Gortex. These are in the $100 to $150 range. This means that most of us have to settle for something else:
    • An inexpensive rain suit that is rubberized to be waterproof. These are fine for waiting for the school bus but make you really hot and clammy on the trail because they don�t let the sweat out that you generate as you walk. They are also heavy. Probably not a good choice.
    • A poncho is a rectangular piece of cloth with a hole in the middle for your head to which a hood has been sewn. Some have snaps down the side. These range from the kind that are made of the stuff that dry cleaners use to cover the clothes when you pick them up (obviously worthless on the trail) to those that are made especially for backpacking. (The "tail" is longer than the front so it can fit over the pack). These are made of various materials ranging from windproof, waterproof lightweight nylon to fairly heavy rubberized fabric. A good, lightweight poncho will probably cost $15.00 or so. Perhaps a good choice.
    • A heavy-duty trash bag. This sounds crazy but for a two day trek in the "dry" season, this may be a good way to "Be Prepared" at a minimal cost. Cut holes for arms and head and you are in business. This doesn�t breath very well either but it is lightweight and doesn�t cost much. In a world of compromises, this is one that I�d probably make.
    • Rain Pants � Much of what is said above applies here. I own good rain pants and will not be taking them on this trek.
    • Mittens or gloves � The cheap, brown ones that are used in the garden are fine. They are used on this trek for a chilly morning.
    • Camera � This is an opportunity to take photos that not only show where you have been but also to take photos of your buddies that you will treasure in years to come.
    • Long underwear for sleeping � Depending on the weather forecast
    • Small camp pillow. Some use a small towel and their clean clothes instead.
    • 50 feet or so of 1/8 inch nylon line
    • Sunscreen
    • Lightweight shoes for camp to provide a break from hiking boots

    Leave it at Home

    • Game boys, etc
    • Radios
    • CD players
    • Lanterns with 9V batteries (You laugh but an Eagle Scout who shall remain nameless brought one of these on his very first backpacking trip.)
    • Full-sized pillow