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Hiking Gear Checklist

Hiking Gear for Enjoyment and Survival

A hiking gear checklist can serve two purposes. The first is to ensure you have everything you need for those recreational jaunts into the wilderness. The second is to guarantee that in the event of a walking bugout you don’t end up short of your destination due to a lack of proper equipment.

Some of the needs for a bugout are going to be a bit different than found on our hiking gear checklist, so right now we’re going to look at the particular needs for an enjoyable hiking trip. In some cases there may be further explanation or comments along with our recommendations.

Hiking Gear Checklist

Hiking Gear Checklist - Hiking/Navigation

  • Backpack – Should contain a water bladder compartment, abundant places to strap or hook other gear, lightweight but durable, large enough to carry your needs.
  • Hiking Shoes – More serious hikers are going to hiking shoes to avoid the blisters often associated with hiking boots. Waterproof is nice, although synthetic materials will hold up better to getting wet.
  • Hiking Poles – Once you hike with a hiking stick or pair of hiking poles you’ll wonder how you ever hiked before without them. Whether going downhill, uphill or crossing streams, a hiking stick can be a knee and life saver.
  • Knife – A good rugged folding lock back knife that is a must.
  • Pepper Spray – When heading into bear country you really can’t afford not to carry a can of Counter Assault Bear Spray.
  • GPS – A global positioning system when used in conjunction with a topographic map can keep you from knowing exactly where you are.
  • Compass – A good compass when used with a map will help even if you don’t have a GPS.
  • Compression sacks – Work similar to those vacuum seal bags in that you can put your clothes in and cinch down tight and make more room in your backpack.
  • 2-way radios – If you are a hiking companion, a pair of 2-way radios will help you keep in touch.
  • Whistle – to signal for help if necessary
  • Flashlight/Headlamp – A headlamp flashlight is an absolute must for hands-free backpacking. Whether hiking or working around camp after dark a headlamp light makes tasks so much easier.
  • Batteries – If your headlamp or flashlight uses batteries, remember to take extra batteries. Even if you only plan on being gone a couple of days, accidents happen and you could find yourself in the dark without extra batteries.
  • Miscellaneous – watch (waterproof), multi-tool, zip ties, sunglasses, collapsible fishing pole/gear, map (waterproof)

Hiking Gear Checklist - Camp

  • Shelter – Tent, tent stakes and tie down lines. Tent should be large enough for you and perhaps one other person, lightweight, yet durable.
  • Sleeping bag – A synthetic-fill (down is useless if it gets wet) bag with a zip-off cover will provide year-long comfort.
  • Sleeping mat – A lightweight inflatable sleeping mat can make all the difference in your sleep and increase your bag’s ability to keep you warm.
  • Camp Shoes – Once you set up camp you’ll want to remove your hiking boots/shoes. A pair of sandals or lightweight shoes that can also serve as replacement hiking shoes in the event you have a problem with your regular hikers.
  • Para cord/clothesline – Can use to hang food out of reach of wildlife
  • Carabiners – Several of the small carabineers to use with the Para cord to hang your food out of reach or clip cups/cooking pot or camp shoes to your backpack.
  • Shovel – a lightweight foldable shovel will ensure you can bury your body waste.

Hiking Gear Checklist - Health/Hygiene

  • First Aid Kit – A small first aid kit should be included in every backpack. Accidents do happen and even a small cut can become dangerous without proper care.
  • Hand sanitizer – when you can’t wash, sanitizer will kill germs on your hands.
  • Camp Towel – A small and lightweight towel will dry you off after a swim or downfall, yet dries easily.
  • Dental Floss – For flossing and to use as string
  • Toothbrush – a foldable toothbrush with a cover
  • Toilet paper – biodegradable, remove cardboard core and flatten and carry in a zip lock bag
  • Miscellaneous – lip balm, travel size: toothpaste, lotion, body wash/shampoo combo, bug repellent/bug spray, comb/brush, sunscreen

Hiking Gear Checklist - Hydration

  • Water Filter – A good pocket water filter is an absolute must. Make sure you also take an extra filter.
  • Water Purification Tablets – Even if you have a water filter you should have a backup source of water purification.
  • Water Bladders – If your backpack has a water compartment, a couple of water bladders will enable you to keep hiking by simply switching the drinking hose between bladders when one runs dry.
  • Water bottle – A wide-mouthed water bottle with a filter that can clip to your backpack is a real necessity
  • Water – Start the trip with the water bladders and water bottle filled.

Hiking Gear Checklist - Food/Cooking

  • Fork/spoon combo – Metal or heat-resistant plastic tinsels
  • Food – Mountain House has a number of lightweight and nutritious meals.
  • Snacks/Beverages – Nutrition bars, hard candy and packets of instant beverage powder.
  • Fire Starter/Matches – Waterproof matches or a flint and steel fire starter will ensure you can have a campfire or light your camp stove.
  • Backpacking stove – A lightweight, multi-fuel canister stove to cooking.
  • Stove Shield – A heat/flame resistant wind guard that protects the stove from the wind will help food cook faster and preserve fuel.
  • Pan/Bowl – a lightweight metal bowl/pan combo with a lid will let you cook and eat out of the same container will be a real space saver.
  • Biodegradable Soap – Enables you to wash dishes away without harming the environment. Note: Never wash your dishes in the river or stream or in your camp.
  • Miscellaneous – small plastic pot scrubber

Hiking Gear Checklist - Clothes

  • Rain Jacket – A lightweight shell to repel the rain and serve as a windbreaker, with underarm vents is the perfect addition to your warm fleece jacket.
  • Backpacking Rain Poncho – You’ll need one large enough to protect you and your pack in the event you are hiking thru the rain; keeps you and your gear dry.
  • Fleece Tops – A couple of zippered tops that with layering under the rain jacket will keep you warm and dry.
  • Hiking pants – A pair of hiking pants convertible to shorts with zip-off legs made of quick drying material is absolutely mandatory. Denim jeans are the WORST possible pants for hiking!
  • Wicking shirts – Get rid of the cotton T’s, these synthetic material will retain your body heat even if they’ve gotten wet, and they’ll dry faster than a cotton shirt even could.
  • Cap/Hat – A simple knit watch cap will reduce the considerable heat loss that happens thru your head.
  • Gloves – Even if the weather isn’t cold a pair of light gloves will protect your hands. If you’re expecting cold weather, make sure you have a pair of waterproof gloves.
  • Warm up pants – Wear at night to keep warm
  • Miscellaneous – Gortex sock liners, belt (non-leather is best), swimsuit, brimmed hat, extra underwear, extra synthetic or wool socks, handkerchief or bandana

Miscellaneous Equipment Used for Hiking

  • Small sewing kit
  • Zip lock bags
  • Duct Tape
  • Safety Pins
  • Money
  • Itinerary (left with someone)
  • Ground sheet/tarp
  • Trash bags/ties

Of course the items on this checklist can be modified according to the time of year, your own personal needs and the number of people in the hiking party. Many of these items can be purchased at your local Walmart, but remember that you get what you pay for. Don’t skimp on those items that will ensure your safety or health. For those items on this hiking gear checklist we’ve provided a few recommendations and sources of quality gear.

This hiking gear checklist is the first step in preparing for a walking bugout.


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