The Ultimate Backpacking Checklist You Didn’t Know You Needed

If you are up for a new hiking challenge or want to satisfy your wanderlust, you need to be prepared beforehand and adjust your packing list accordingly.

A backpacking trip can be a memorable experience that will broaden your horizons and help you see things from a different perspective, as long as you are consistent and properly organized so that there are no unexpected events.

If you are new to backpacking or you’ve done this before, but are determined to do this more efficiently this time, we’ve got your back!

Keep reading our guide as we will unveil to you what to keep in mind when backpacking, what essentials you’ll need, and how to safely store your belongings when backpacking.

PS: stay tuned until the end as we’ll share with you our backpacking checklist!

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Why is a Backpacking Checklist Essential?

A backpacking checklist is essential for several reasons.

Below, we’ve gathered the most important ones, which are no other than safety, organization, and efficiency.

Reason #1: Safety

Oftentimes, when planning our next trip we get carried away by excitement or we are simply too worried not to forget anything important, that we might not take all the safety precautions.

A backpacking checklist that includes items that are crucial for your safety, such as a first-aid kit and navigation tools, can ultimately help you prevent accidents and better handle unexpected situations such as cuts or scrapes.

Reason #2: Organization

Moreover, having a system of organization is paramount as it helps you better prepare for your trip by ensuring you have all the necessary items and do not overpack with unnecessary things that just add extra weight to your back.

This includes everything from food and water to hiking boots and emergency supplies.

Reason #3: Efficiency

Furthermore, an equally vital reason to lean on the power of a backpacking checklist is efficiency.

As previously mentioned, a backpacking checklist can aid you in avoiding overpacking by focusing on the essentials, making your backpack lighter and your overall experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

Also, if you choose to follow a trail in a remote location or aim for a solo traveling experience, a well-curated checklist ensures that you are self-sufficient and independent.

Next, let’s dive into what to pay attention to before planning your backpacking trip.

What to Pay Attention to Before Planning Your Backpacking Trip

Before planning your next long-awaited backpacking trip, it is crucial to pay attention to factors such as destination, trip duration, and weather.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors right away.

Understanding your destination

First and foremost, understanding your destination and doing research beforehand is key to being properly prepared.

When creating your travel checklist, try to research potential destinations and choose one that aligns with your interests and is accessible to some extent.

When planning your perfect trip, consider factors like:

  • trail difficulty
  • elevation changes
  • distance
  • proximity to available amenities
  • permits and regulations (check if permits are required and adhere to trail rules)

Determining your trip duration

Each destination boasts its unique natural beauty and diverse landscapes.

However, often the days we have at our disposal to explore new places are not enough to savor the abundance of their hidden treasures.

Destinations such as Lima, a vibrant coastal city with delicious cuisine, and Athens, a historic place with iconic landmarks like the Acropolis, might require fewer days to explore than Guatemala, a famous paradise known for its volcanoes and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal.

Thus, determining your trip duration in advance and creating a well-curated packing list, will help you avoid overpacking or going the other way and under-pack.

Considering additional factors

Some additional factors to take into account are the weather to pack fabrics suitable for the climate and safety precautions.

For instance, Medellin, the second largest city in Colombia, is a cultural hub ideal for hiking nearby volcanoes like Acatenango and a generally safe place for travelers in terms of violent crime.

However, you should take safety precautions, such as guarding your belongings and refraining from wearing expensive jewelry or watches that might attract unnecessary attention.

Apart from these factors, a big problem that arises when backpacking is where to safely store your bags and precious belongings; it’s a no-brainer that carrying your bags around can pose a huge yet avoidable hindrance to your dreamy backpacking trip.

Luckily for you, there are companies like Stasher that can safely and reliably store your luggage for as long as you want.

Here at Stasher, we have your back as we’ve partnered with hostels, cafes, and local shops, in over 900 cities worldwide to cater to the needs of every traveler, looking to store their luggage for a few hours or days.

Also, the whole booking process is much simpler than you might imagine.

The way our luggage storage app works is super easy and you can book one of our locations in less than 2 minutes!

Below, you can see for yourself via demo how to book your luggage storage at Stasher.

Pretty simple, right?

Following up, we’ve gathered some essential things to consider adding to your backpacking checklist.

Essential Things to Add to Your Backpacking Checklist

Before embarking on your journey, here are some crucial things to add to your backpacking checklist.

Gear and equipment

When it comes to backpacking, having the right gear and equipment can immensely facilitate your backpacking trip, enjoying this experience to the fullest.

So, make sure you invest in the following items:

  • Hiking boots/shoes, that provide ankle support and comfort for long hikes
  • A backpack that is comfortable and has a storage capacity of 50-80 liters
  • A reliable tent that is easily transferable and durable
  • A sleeping bag and an insulating sleeping pad
  • Stove and fuel
  • Plenty of food, water bottles to avoid dehydration, and lightweight kitchen supplies

Safety essentials

Safety is paramount when backpacking.

Below, we’ve listed some essential safety items to include in your backpacking gear to ensure a safe and seamless experience.

  • Navigation tools (i.e. a map, a compass, and a GPS device to stay on track)
  • First aid kit with basic supplies such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, tweezers, and pain relievers
  • Multi-tool or knife
  • Whistle
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Waterproof matches or lighter
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses


Regarding clothing, it’s essential to keep an eye on the weather forecast to backpack accordingly.

For warm conditions try to pack:

  • Moisture-wicking underwear and T-shirts
  • Quick-drying pants/shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirts for sun and bugs
  • Sun hat
  • Hiking socks and liner socks

For cool or wet conditions try to pack:

  • Insulating top/jacket (made of fleece, wool, or synthetic materials)
  • Mid-layers and base layers
  • Waterproof pants and jacket
  • Warm hat or beanie
  • Gloves
  • Gaiters

Keep in mind that destinations such as Guatemala which we mentioned earlier have diverse climates, thus packing lightweight, breathable clothing for warm areas and layers for cooler highlands is highly recommended.

Adding to that, if you choose Bangkok for your next destination determined to explore its famous temples like Wat Pho and Wat Arun, it is pivotal to respect local customs by wearing modest clothing that covers your shoulders and carrying a scarf for temple visits.

Personal hygiene kit

Furthermore, when exploring the unknown it is essential to carry with you a personal hygiene kit that contains the following items:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Sanitation trowel
  • Toilet paper/wipes
  • Menstrual products

As promised at the beginning of our guide, it’s time to go through the free backpacking checklist we’ve prepared for you!

Download Our Free Backpacking Checklist

And now is the moment you’ve been waiting for; a complete backpacking checklist for you to download and use for your next hassle-free trip!

Make a copy of our checklist here.

As you’ll see, we’ve put all actions into a certain category to make things even easier for you.

All you have to do is check off every item or action when completed, and you’re good to go!

Let’s wrap things up with some final words.

In a Nutshell

We hope we’ve got you covered with all the essential things to consider before your next backpacking trip!

Traveling is an exhilarating experience that provides us with memories of a lifetime.

Our backpacking checklist will aid you in making the packing process smoother and more fun. So don’t forget to download it.

To make the most of it and live your trip to the fullest, apart from packing your essentials, storing them somewhere safe is equally important.

So, before you decide to move forward with the trip, go find a location to store your luggage with Stasher, and you’ll never have to stress about the safety of your luggage and other valuable items ever again.