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Packing for a Camping Trip

Updated on January 13, 2017

The Greatest Pack in the World [Literally]

Feel free to skim through this list to see what you're missing, or scroll through and learn more about each item on this list.

Regradless of how you use this great resource, there are a few factors that you should know.

Believe it or not, these items can fit in a 35 liter pack. Before putting this pack together over a two year period, I was told that it would be impossible. The fact is, I was a bit apprehensive about carrying around a 75 liter bag and falling over by the shear awkwardness of that size.

My goal was to be as much a minimalist as possible and that is exactly what this inventory list will make you.

This pack will sustain any camper for at least a six month stay in the wilderness. It is heavy but has everything you will need to be comfortable and ahead of whatever nature feels like ditching.

I hope you gain a lot from it as I've worked on minimizing clutter into the most functional pack that you will find.

Your Five Star Outdoor Inventory List

- A Pack
- A Flashlight
- Utility Rope
- Compass
- Stove
- Cooking Pot and Pan
- Utensils, Plates, Tin Cups, Plates, Spoons, Forks, Eating Knives
- Knives
- Firearms, Ammo, Cleaner, Case
- Powdered Ginger
- Pepper Spray
- Four Season Tent
- Fire Starters, Fire Burners
- Utility Canvass
- Batteries
- Bungee Chords
- Duck Tape
- Quick-Dry Clothing
- Zero Degree Sleeping Bag or Better
- Four-Wheel Vehicle
- Glasses, Sun Glasses, Work Glasses, Polarized Shades
- Three Small Towels and One Large
- Changes of Underwear but only Two Outfits
- Hand Sanitizer
- Dish Soap
- A Five Gallon Bucket
- Gloves, Fire, Work, Wood
- Waterproof Matches, Torch Lighter
- Basic First-Aide Kit
- Add Ibuprofen, NyQuil Tablets, Thera-Flu, and an Antihistamine
- Climbing Harness, Carabiner, Figure Eight
- Collapsable Shovel
- Axe
- Blade Sharpener
- Rugged Boots, Hiking Shoes, Mud Boots, Wading Boots
- Head Lamp
- Twine
- 32oz Canteen
- Toilet Trees: Body Soap, Tooth Paste and Brush; Vaseline, Brush, Comb, Floss, Mirror, Hair Styling Gel, Hair Clippers, Styling Shears
- Solar Panels
- Mobile Devices
- Hats
- Rain Sleeve and Windbreaker
- Clothes Detergent
- Stamps and Licenses
- Maps
- Locators
- Learn to Read the Sun
- Spare Car Battery
- Jumper Cables
- Spare Gas Tank
- Satellite Phone
- Rice and Seasoning

Are You Carrying too Much?

How Big is Your Pack?

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- A Pack

As you will hear often in this article, always go with a brand that has a warranty on it. Most outdoor manufactures will back their products by replacing them should they legitimately fail. Check all of the sewing done on the pack.

It doesn't matter if you buy a hard or soft case. This is based on preference.

When you consider size, just remember that the following items will fit in a bag as small as 35 liters. In the world of camping, this is consider a tiny bag, but look at the size of this list!

- A Flashlight

Whatever flashlight you decide on, make sure that it is lit by LEDs. They are lighter in weight, use less battery power and wont heat up after long durations of use. They are also smaller and come in sizes that fit neatly in pant pockets.

You will need two flashlights. One will be head mounted and the other will be hand held. The advantage of having this spectrum allows the user to utilize different types of beams, apply them to the best use and direct the projectoary of light in flexible ways.

- Utility Rope

This rope is standard climbing rope with at least a 200 to 350 pound tensile strength. At minimum, you will need 50 feet of it. You will also be surprise how often it is needed to help others out.

- Compass

If you cannot navigate with the sun and stars, you will need a compass. The best advice to give is to spend a solid penny. You may go years without needing a compass, but when you do need one an expensive one is likely to still work.

- Stove

There are a variety of stoves to examine and consider. What this list suggests is to avoid relying on gas powered stoves. What you'll want to find are stoves operated by wood or by burning waste. When out in the wild for long periods of time, you will not have the opportunity to buy more gas.

- Cooking Pot and Pan

Most packs have one and not the other. Pots are good for boiling. They prepare water, soup and stews. But when you have a fresh catch of fish, they are better prepared on a flat pan and sautéed. Both of these will fit in a 35 liter pack. It takes a bit of know-how, but you can make it work.

- Utensils, Plates, Tin Cups, Spoons, Forks, Eating Knives

The utensils are cut and dry. Just don't forget to bring them. It is fine if all of your utensils are plastic, but make sure that your cups are enamel finished tin. They last a life time and will not deteriorate when placed over a flame to warm its contents.

- Knives

These are not cooking knives. If you consider bringing a knife, find two that are sturdy and reliable. One will be your small-sized pocket knife while the other should be as big as a Bowie knife but no bigger than a machete.

A Bowie knife will clear brush just as good as a machete. To a degree, machetes seem like be-heading knives. You wont really need one even in the most dense of jungles.

- Firearms, Ammo, Cleaner, Case

If you feel the need to be armed in the forest you venture to, be sure to know the laws governing firearms where you go. The laws will inform you of how to travel with your firearm, when and where you can unholster it; and the type of gauge or weaponry allowed.

Follow those laws. They will help you.

- Powdered Ginger

When you put together a frist-aide kit, you will want to add a few more items to it. In an interesting way, powdered ginger can be put into boiling water, tea or coffee and helps with sudden sickness. Sudden sickness in this case would be feeling an imbalance.

The ginger seems to shock the senses and usually wipes clean whatever minor symptoms you'll feel. Think of the symptoms as having a bad day. Ginger will wake you up!

- Pepper Spray

This is optional as I don't carry it. If you're afraid of animals, bring it for your sanity's sake. Otherwise, keep your Bowie knife and firearm close by.

- Four Season Tent

Not everyone will want to spend this type of money. Yet honestly, a four season tent is the best way to go. They are designed to keep you warm in winter and allow breathable and cool air flow in the summer.

Find a brand with a warranty and don't be upset when you spend $50 for a tent and still get soaked in the rain.

- Fire Starters, Fire Burners

The brands and types are endless. It is best to be a collector of fire starters. Each one has it perks and advantages. Sometimes all that is needed is a match, other times, a wax ball and sometimes a stove burner will only get a fire roaring.

Whenever you are at an outdoor market, pick up a few starters that you have never tried. Before you know it, you'll have a collection that is flexible enough to even start a fire underwater.

- Utility Canvass

If the rain is too harsh and you have a cheap tent, a good 10x10 canvass can be placed overhead to protect you. Otherwise, the best use of this canvass is to keep fire wood dry once you have chopped it and see storm clouds coming.

- Batteries

You cannot have too many batteries. As a rule of thumb, you will only need triple and double A batteries for the modern outdoor tools that require this type of power source.

- Bungee Chords

These chords are good to have around. You'll never know how they will be used, but they will and can strap down anything.

- Duck Tape

Duck tape is also useful based on the circumstances. Just don't go out without it!

A Car-Less Pack

This pack is intended to work without the aide of a vehicle. What this means is that once you leave your vehicle, you will not need to return to it to obtain usable items. All of those tools will be slung on your back and wherever you hike.

- Quick-Dry Clothing

Today, clothes that dry in a moment's notice can be found at every outdoor retail store and online outlet. Keep in mind that warranties with outdoor apparel reign supreme. No hiker, camper, fisherman or hunter is 100 percent protected from a mishap here and there.

Whether you fall into a stream or get caught without a water proof shell, quick-dry clothing will always quick moister into the air and have you dry in around ten minutes of time.

The thinner the material, the better. They can be rolled or neatly folded into a camping sack with ease and little to no protrusions.

- Zero Degree Sleeping Bag or Better

The best thing about a great - and usually expensive - zero-degree bag is that it will also quick moister away. A well-made sleeping bag can be a substitute to having a tent. This is especially true when traveling and taking a quick nap on the way to your wilderness destination.

Even if you wake with the morning's dew upon you, your sleeping bag will be instantly dry after giving it a good shake.

These type of bags can resist temperatures down to negative 40 F, but if a budget is limiting you to other models, any degree bag can be accompanied with layering up in cold weather.

- Four-Wheel Vehicle

You will not need to purchase a vehicle just for a wilderness outing. But if you want to go where most can't or are not willing to, you will need something that can deal with uneven terrain at most.

If it doesn't four-wheel, do what you can to keep the bumper as high as possible when driving and at no cost should you drive over grass that is wet or has snow on top of it.

All in all, use sound judgement, but be sure to be as edgy as possible.

- Glasses, Sun Glasses, Work Glasses, Polarized Shades

You'll need glasses. Find your own preference between polarized or clear lenses. The important thing is that you can protect your eyes when working. Casting a lure puts your eyes in danger and so will chopping wood. Protection from the sun is good but not everyone will care.

- Three Small Towels and One Large

Two hand towels go a long way in the wild. A large one will undoubtably save the day at one point or another. You'll be surprised at how long each towel will last after multiple uses. Paper made towels will not be of any reasonable help. Leave them in your kitchen.

- Changes of Underwear but only Two Outfits

This may be a tough one for city dwellers to accept, but when your packing a bag for a long trip, the less you have to carry, the better. Also, an outfit can stay reasonably clean before completely compromised with what you call filth. The trick is to have multiple sets of underclothing. Multiple sets is more than you will need or think you will need.

Your outerwear is bound to get abused, so you wouldn't want to be wearing your best everyday in the wild. Nevertheless, it helps to have clean underwear when your sweating and keeping a sense of hygiene alive with clean materials that will be directly against your skin.

- Hand Sanitizer

This goes without saying. Bring some! Don't know what that slime is there on your hands? Sanitize it!

- Dish Soap

If you are not near a running stream, then you are camping in the wrong place. Have a five gallon bucket handy and use as little soap as possible. You can dump it in the bushes without harming the Earth.

- A Five Gallon Bucket

Some will tell you to cut out the bottom, dig a ditch and use the bucket for a toilet seat. If you do this, bring two buckets. One for your bathroom and the other will be a pale for hauling water, cleaning clothes and soaking dishes.

- Gloves: Fire, Work, Wood

There are endless tasks in basic survival that will require you to get your hands dirty. Sure, it comes with the territory, but you can do the dirty jobs with a bit of class and protection on your hands. Whether you are chopping wood, digging holes or moving brush, a pair of work gloves comes in handy for an array of outdoor tasks.

- Waterproof Matches, Torch Lighter

Waterproof matches will literally start its flame while under water. For those days where no cats or dogs fall from the sky, a torch lighter is the most reliable source of flame for your everyday occasion in the forest.

The wind will not blow it out, it still lights after getting wet, it provides an extreme amount of heat and will even light your cigar at the end of a long day.

- Basic First-Aide Kit

A basic first-aide kit is just that: something basic. Just be sure to add a few of the following below.

- Add Ibuprofen, NyQuil Tablets, Thera-Flu, and an Antihistamine

- Climbing Harness, Carabiner, Figure Eight

You don't have to be a climber to have some common sense. I've towed stuck vehicles with my climbing rope, held things together with its tension and am sure it will come in handy in utilitarian use for you.

There are also some hills here in the Virginia country that are way to steep to walk up with a pack on your back and no anchoring point.

Be creative. Bring a harness, carabiner, figure eight and at least 50 feet of durable rope.

- Collapsable Shovel

Before purchasing one, bend and test its strength. Shovels are great for digging or getting your car tires out of rough places. They are small enough to fit secured onto a pack. Though they can be so small, some are as strong as an ox.

- Axe

You should be waking every morning to chop wood while camping. You never know how the weather will change or how fast you will have to burn through your supply.

By chopping wood EVERY morning, you are likely to stay ahead of the nature curve, stay warm and keep a fire burning for as long as you need. My longest flame went five days without going out.

- Blade Sharpener

Your knives, shovels and axes will need to stay sharp. It doesn't take much time to keep them that way either. Just remember, most dull blades need to be realigned and sharpened. Filing too much will deteriorate the metal and shorten its life span. Take care of your blades.

- Rugged Boots, Hiking Shoes, Mud Boots, Wading Boots

Not everyone's pockets will allow this, so take the time you need because having these are very helpful.

You will need a sturdy pair of boots for your day to day, one for muddy days or muddy work; one very light pair for traveling; and if you are a fly-fisherman, nothing beats boots made to live underwater without deteriorating away.

- Head Lamp

A good head lamp is only as good as a strong hand light that accompanies it. Head lamps can be used without the hands, but you cannot QUICKLY turn them off. Hand lights have better control.

- Twine

Be aware that twine is not rope. Twine can be defined as lengthy straw. You use it where you would not use quality rope. It has enough strength to get mediocre jobs done, but are useless enough to be thrown away after it has been put to use.

If you don't toss it, fine. Just be aware, this type of rope has no real longterm value. This lifespan should indicate it uses.

- 32oz Canteen

Fill this with whatever you want. Just be sure to have it with you. If you are not camping by a running stream, then you are in the wrong place.

- Toilet Trees: Body Soap, Tooth Paste and Brush; Vaseline, Hair Brush, Comb, Floss, Mirror, Hair Styling Gel, Hair Clippers, Styling Shears

Just because you are away from mankind doesn't mean that you should not look your best. Men: keep your facial hair in order by trimming and lathering your whiskers. It will make you feel great to have and use the above listed.

Women: you already know what you are doing.

For both sexes, be sure find a durable and waterproof pack small enough to cling onto your pack but large enough to carry two of each listed here under toilet trees. BTW, it is best to stuff a pouch like this then to have one way too large.

- Solar Panels

If you are anything like me, then you truly can't live without having some Internet connection or electronic note pad. I'm a digital writer. What more can I say?

Solar panels will keep your device powered not only in times of need but on a consistent basis as you use them. Brands vary in power output and how long they need direct sun time. Some need little, some need a lot and others will work even on overcast days.

Three panels fold up in your pack very well, and you will forget you have them. Keep them where you will be reminded of them.

- Mobile Devices

Bring every device that you will think you will need. Just be sure to have the right fall or rain protection for each that you do bring.

- Hats

Keep your head warm or protect your eyes from the sun. Many outdoor hats also help to keep a long day's sun off your back and face.

- Rain Sleeve and Windbreaker

Putting together a waterproof set of gear starts with a great rain sleeve. Warranties still reign supreme here. There is also a rule of thumb in regards to these. You pay for what you get.

- Clothes Detergent

If you brought along a bucket, this will help you to wash clothes as is necessary. Use twine to dry them between trees.

- Stamps and Licenses

Most National Forests require a special stamp to camp or fish within it. Others require people to register so that park rangers know that they are camping. If something happens or if you are around longer than you expected, they may initiate a helpful search for you.

Be sure to notify all authorities and obtain the necessary paper work for where you go.

- Maps

It goes without saying. Bring them!

- Locators

These devices will send a distress call and a satellite location when you are in danger. There are good to have.

- Learn to read the Sun

Navigation is key even if someone has already initiated a search for you. It also fairly simple. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. That happens everyday, every week, every month and every year.

- Spare Car Battery

Cold temperatures will likely startle your vehicle if it hasn't been running. You may also wind up draining your battery if you haven't brought along solar panels.

The only solution is to have a spare battery.

- Jumper Cables

It helps with the battery problems.

- Spare Gas Tank

If I got a nickel for every time I was driving with low to no gas, I would be a millionaire. As long as you have a spare tank, you'll get to where you need to be.

- Rice and Seasoning

Believe it or not, the item that takes up the most space in common packs is food. Not everyone is a hunter, but if you can at least learn to use a rod, you'll be able to fish for a morsel to eat.

When you have the expectation of finding meat in the wild, you can accompany it with rice and seasoning. This combination helps to slim down your pack as you only have to carry rice and seasoning.

With the right combination of seasonings, you'll also be able to change the taste of your food and not be tired of the same routine.

Enjoy your next trip, and be sure to leave comments with your thoughts and ideas!

Thanks For Reading. ...

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    • StageCheck profile image
      Author

      Joseph Minor 3 years ago

      @sparkleyfinger.

      I'm six feet tall and range between 175 - 185 pounds. I personally wouldn't go more than 10 miles in a day with this pack. I usually do between three to five miles from my four wheel vehicle and still find rare scenery to camp amongst. With that said, a true outdoor lifestyle is physical labor likely to keep you in great shape. As I mentioned in the article's opening, find things on this list that works for you and keep those only. Just be reminded, the complete list IS the price to pay for camping EXTREMELY comfortable and self-sustaining in the wilderness without a car.

      Thnx for the comment!

    • sparkleyfinger profile image

      Lynsey Harte 3 years ago from Glasgow

      Great hub- I'm guessing this would all weigh an absolute tonne though!!?!

    • StageCheck profile image
      Author

      Joseph Minor 3 years ago

      Thnx for the feedback, Thief12. ...

    • Thief12 profile image

      Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Great article. A very complete and useful list.

      Voted Up, Useful, and Interesting.