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Backpacking Checklist for 2023

We cover everything you need for a successful backpacking trip, from essentials like shelter and insulation to extras like matches and sunscreen

Whether you’re a first-time backpacker or a seasoned veteran, everyone could use a good list to make sure they’re prepared when they head out on the trail. Our detailed checklist below covers everything from critical backpacking equipment (tent, pack, sleeping bag, etc.) to kitchen gear, footwear and clothing, health and hygiene products, and personal items and extras. For more information on each product category, many of the headings link to our detailed product round-ups, which are the result of years of testing and opinions (we do love backpacking). And for all our product recommendations in one place, see the landing page for our backpacking gear reviews.

Backpacking Equipment

Whether you’re headed out for a quick overnight or embarking on a multi-day mission deep into the backcountry, the gear below is what we bring on every trip to comfortably spend days and nights outdoors. We've also included a handful of optional items that may or may not be worth packing depending on your preferences and objective(s).

Read Sarah Nelson's entire backpacking checklist here.


June 7, 2023

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A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)

Rachel Schultz
Editorial Director


Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.



And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.

Samson McDougall