Gear Essentials for a 3-Day Backpacking Trip
Whether it’s your first time heading out on a weekend backpacking trip or you are a well-seasoned outdoor enthusiast, having a checklist for all your essentials is a great way to make sure you’ve remembered everything before heading out on your adventure.
Your checklist will vary, depending on the length of your backpacking trip, but, for a 3-day trip, this guide can have you prepared and ready to hit the trails.
Related post: If you’re hiking solo, be sure to familiarize yourself with these 10 safety tips.
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Backpack: Osprey Atmos 65 AG EX
Osprey is one of the highest quality backpacking brands on the market and uses only the most advanced technologies in their packs. The pack weighs four pounds and will fit everything you need comfortably. The Atmos 65 features revolutionary anti-gravity suspension and contours seamlessly to your body. With mesh webbing throughout the back panel and hip belt, this backpack keeps you cooler in warm temperatures.
Tent: MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2
Your tent will be one of the priciest items on your checklist but having a high-quality tent can make or break your backpacking trip. With the right balance between durability, weight, ease of set-up and price, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 is a popular choice for the outdoor adventurist. This tent is roomy and durable enough to protect you from wind and wet weather.
Sleeping Pad: NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad
The NEMO Tensor sleeping pad is a comfortable, lightweight and versatile option. It is designed with zero-profile valves, which allows for quick inflation/deflation and adjustments. It is thick and supportive but remains light and easy to carry at 15oz.
Sleeping Bag: Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20 YF Sleeping Bag
Based in Seattle Washington, Feathered Friends has been owned and run by a husband and wife team since 1972. Their responsible down is 100% certified under the RDS, and their sleeping bags are built to last. The Hummingbird 20 sleeping bag is perfect when every ounce of weight and every bit of warmth count. Featuring a lightweight 100% nylon Pertex Quantum shell, the Hummingbird’s increased down-proofing and water beading properties do not diminish over-time, even after years of use. The Hummingbird has a 900+ Goose Down power fill and weighs just 14oz.
Headlamp: Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp
The ReVolt headlamp can run on AAA batteries but is also rechargeable. It has multiple settings, which include an ultra-bright setting and a red night vision setting.
Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles
Poles are the key to protecting your knees when hiking and should not be overlooked. The 3-section foldable design and SlideLock technology of the Diamond Z poles allow you to quickly and easily deploy and lock your poles into position. Lightweight and nonslip, they won’t slow you down in any weather condition.
First Aid: Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit
Weighing in at just 7.2oz, the Mountain Series medical kit includes all the essentials without adding too much extra baggage. Everything included is hospital-quality and even contains an illustrated medical wilderness guide.
Cooking System: Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System
This mini cooking system comes in a small package but is efficient and perfect for a backpacking trip where you want to conserve space and weight. It features a simmer control system, making it easy to prepare meals along the trail. The MiniMo includes an insulted drink-through lid and measuring cup, as well as a lower spoon angle, making it perfect for eating right from the bowl.
Cooking Fuel: Jetboil Jetpower Canister
For a 3-day backpacking trip, 230 grams of fuel should be plenty and will keep your pack light.
Water Bottles: Platypus SoftBottle – 34 fl. oz.
To help you stay hydrated while also saving space, the Platypus SoftBottle can be rolled up when it is empty. Durable and lightweight, the SoftBottle is food-grade and 100% BPA-free. Bring along a few of these bottles.
Water Filter: Platypus 4L GravityWorks Filter
When you don’t know where the next clean water source is, it is essential to have your own filtration system. The GravityWorks filter filters 4L of water in 2.5 minutes without requiring any pump. Weighing 11.5oz. the filter will not take up any extra room, nor will it weigh you down.
Knife: Microtech LUDT Black Automatic Knife
With a blade length of 3.4″ and a push button for easy opening, the Microtech LUDT Black Automatic Knife can cut through paracord, food and anything that might snag. Fitted with a pocket clip, a smooth spine and a notched thumb ramp, it is perfect for EDC (everyday carry) use. The entire knife and pocket clip are stainless steel and made in the USA.
Camping Mug: GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug
Perfect for your morning coffee or perhaps something stronger in the evenings.
Eating Utensil: Toaks Titanium Light Spork
Weighing only 0.4oz, this titanium spork is durable, effective and efficient.
Everyone has preferences when it comes to their toiletries, but some essential items to remember are a toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wipes, sunscreen and SPF lip balm. To save you from having to dig a hole with your hands, packing a trowel is also very handy.
Trowel: GSI Outdoors Cathole Sanitation Trowel
Made from recycled polycarbonate, this trowel helps you comply with the Leave No Trace backpacking policy, while also making it easy for you to go to the bathroom in the outdoors.
Clothing and Other Gear
For a 3-day backpacking trip, you do not need to overpack. Keeping your clothing light will pay off. Don’t forget your hat and sunglasses, as well!
- Men: Patagonia Men’s Micro Puff Hoody
- Women: Patagonia Women’s Down Sweater
- Men: Mammut Men’s Convey Tour
- Women: Mammut Women’s Convey Tour
- Men: Patagonia Men’s Capilene Midweight Crew
- Women: Patagonia Women’s Capilene Midweight Crew
- Men: Patagonia Men’s Capilene Midweight Bottoms
- Women: Patagonia Women’s Capilene Midweight Bottoms
Non-Cotton Sweat-Wicking Shirt
- Men: Patagonia Men’s Capilene Cool Trail Shirt
- Women: Patagonia Women’s Capilene Cool Trail Shirt
- Men: Patagonia Men’s Quandary Shorts – 10”
- Women: Patagonia Women’s High Spy Shorts – 6”
- Men: Smartwool PHD Outdoor Medium Crew Socks
- Women: Smartwool Women’s PHD Outdoor Medium Crew Socks
- Men: Oboz Bridger Vent Mid BDry
- Women: Oboz Bridger Vent Mid BDry
Practicing packing your backpack before you set off might seem trivial, but it is the best way to become comfortable with your gear and know for sure that everything will fit. Always pack your gear in the same way. This saves you time and helps to prevent you from losing anything. Strap bulky items onto the outside of your backpack to make the most of your space.
Bring dry bags in case anything gets wet. This will prevent everything inside your bag from getting wet. Pack your sleeping bag at the very bottom of your bag, then the medium weight items, followed by your heavier items. The lightest items should be packed last.
Check the weather ahead of time, so you know exactly what you will need along the way, and don’t forget to pack your tactical knife, which can come in handy in many situations, ranging from slicing up food to cutting rope. Pack smart, leave no trace and enjoy everything nature offers!
Get Out There
This comprehensive gear list should help any hiker stay safe and comfortable while on a 3-day backpacking trip. Do you have any thoughts on other gear that should be added to this list? Let us know in a comment below.
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