The Ultimate Outdoor Beginners Backpacking Checklist

Alan Morrison

Beginners Backpacking Checklist

If you’re heading out on a rustic backpacking adventure for the very first time, it might be difficult to get an idea of what you should be taking with you, and what you need to leave at home. Most of the time, the risky nature of outdoor backpacking journeys tempts beginners to shove as many things into their luggage as possible – in an attempt to be prepared for anything. However, the trouble with this is that you end up carrying more than you can reasonably manage.

Instead of stressing yourself out over the things you “might want”, use this beginners backpacking checklist, designed to help you tackle the great outdoors in style, to ensure you have everything you definitely need for a great outdoor vacation.

The Backpack

First things first, it wouldn’t be a backpacking trip without a reliable backpack to fill full of your essential items. Your beginners backpacking checklist should include a pack that’s big enough to carry all of your crucial gear, such as ropes, clothes, water, first-aid-kits, and more – but make sure that you remember you’re going to have to carry it up and down rough terrains. Bags that have numerous cargo compartments for organized storage, and strong, comfortable straps for portability are usually a good choice.


Your backpacking destination is likely to have a significant impact on the type of clothes you need to bring with you. Plenty of underwear and spare socks are an obvious must, and you’ll also need a pair of comfortable walking shoes too. Try to avoid investing in brand new shoes just before your trip, as all footwear can take some time to become comfortable, and you need to bypass blisters if you can. Thermal socks, leggings, and vests can also be a good idea if you’re heading to an area that has unpredictable weather.


Speaking of unpredictable weather, don’t leave home without your windproof travel umbrella. This sturdy accessory will not only give you shelter from the rain, but it will also provide a safe space in which you can check your map without having to fight against the wind. Beyond your umbrella, your beginners backpacking checklist should also include a credit or debit card for emergency purchases, a torch, a spare camera battery if you’re taking photos, and a first aid kit. A rope and penknife might also be suitable in your “emergency kit” just in case you need to use some survival skills.


Finally, you’ll need to make sure that you have everything you need for comfort. This means adding things to your beginners backpacking checklist that will make spending a night outdoors as easy as possible, from a waterproof tent and sleeping bag, to a travel pillow, towel, earplugs, and even shower gel for the moments when you might get time for a quick wash. Deodorant is also an essential purchase, not just for your comfort, but for the comfort of the people travelling with you. While you’re expected to get a little musky on a backpacking adventure, that doesn’t mean you should give up on hygiene altogether.

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