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Contents

Introduction

A person heading out on a multi-day hike will require a fair amount of equipment in order to get through the night comfortably. Packs will generally weigh between 25-50 lbs with food and water and should be under 1/3 of the bearer’s body weight†. A hiker will usually consume on the order of 2 lbs of dried, high-calorie food each day, and an extra day’s supply of food is often carried for emergencies.

Clothing should be of the quick-drying variety, such as those made from synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex. Jeans should be avoided because of their weight when wet. A suitable rain jacket will keep a hiker relatively warm (although not necessarily dry) even during a downpour of cold rain. Hikers must wear appropriate footwear for the trail.

Water Proofing a Pack

Heavy rains will usually penetrate into most backpacks. By using a pack cover you can nearly eliminate this problem. If you don't have a pack cover, you should consider lining the inside of your pack with a garbage bag; large, heavy-duty "contractor" garbage bags work well. Stuff sacks for sleeping bags should always be lined with garbage bags for additional protection. Extra clothing and food can be placed inside plastic bags to keep them dry. Toilet paper, matches, lighters and cameras should be stored in zip-lock bags.

Assume that your pack is going to get wet inside (it often does) and protect your essentials accordingly. It is usually worth the extra bit of effort.

Sharing Equipment

Many items can be shared between persons when hiking in a group. Sharable items include tents, stoves, fuel, knives, utensils, rope, pots, bowls, and first aid kits. This can significantly reduce pack weights for members traveling in a group.

Sample Gear List

Worn Gear

  • pack
  • hat††
  • shirt
  • thin pants
  • underwear
  • socks
  • footwear

Shelter

  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping mat

Cooking

  • stove
  • fuel
  • pot
  • bowl & cup
  • utensil(s)
  • lighter & matches

Food

  • about 900 g of high-calorie food per day (per person)
  • an extra day’s supply of food (per person)

Additional Clothing

  • rain jacket
  • warm shirt
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • underwear

Essential

  • water bottle
  • chemicals / filter for water treatment
  • flashlight
  • toilet paper (in a water-proof bag)
  • knife
  • rope for hanging food
  • map & compass
  • first aid kit
  • blister kit

Optional

  • camp shoes (Crocks)
  • collapsible saw
  • gaiters
  • sunscreen
  • sun glasses
  • hiking poles
  • camera
  • reading material
  • pack cover
  • soap
  • insect repellent

Footnotes

This seems to be the magic number for most hikers. Carrying 1/3 of their body weight, the average hiker will be strained, struggling, and just able to move down the trail.

†† Aside from sun protection, a hat provides some protection from low branches.