Backpacking vs. Car Camping: the Gear Checklist

Two lists. All you need to know to pack right and pack light. Know what you need. Know what you want. Know what you're doing. 

 

When Car Camping, you're typically in developed campgrounds, which typically have warm showers, fire pits, restrooms and running water. You’ll have your car there too, so you can stuff it to the gills with all the stuff you won’t need to enjoy the outdoors. It's basically a single serving of the van-life.  

When Backpacking, it means that if you forget anything, you'll have to improvise in the backcountry. You’ll be carrying all your gear, food and water. But don’t fret Pinocchio, below find the gear checklists to make sure you have what you need and not what you don’t.

BUT...EVERY TRIP IS DIFFERENT AND YOU DON'T ALWAYS NEED EVERYTHING ON THESE LISTS. KNOW WHAT YOU'RE WILLING TO CARRY. THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WANTING TO TAKE SOMETHING AND NEEDING TO TAKE SOMETHING.

 

Backpacking

THE THINGS TO KEEP YOU ALIVE

  • Backpacking backpack: 50 – 65 liters
  • Backpacking tent or shelter
  • Backpacking sleeping bag
  • Backpacking sleeping pad  
  • Flask full of your liquor of choice
  • Jacket or hoodie (Lightweight)
  • Headlamp with fresh batteries
  • Hydration system (2 - 3 liter bladder)
  • Water treatment system aka water filter
  • Hiking pants or shorts (quick-dry, lightweight)
  • Hiking shirt(s)
  • Hiking shoes or boots
  • Hiking socks, for each day (synthetic or wool)
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Prescription medications (lightweight)
  • Small lighter and matches
  • Map
  • Cookware
  • Backpacking stove and gas
  • Spork, bowl and mug/cup
  • Bear spray (in bear country)
  • Bear canister (in bear country)

WHAT WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU CARRY

  • Snacks
  • Contact lenses/solution
  • Sports bra
  • Underwear (fresh knickers for each day)
  • Beanie
  • Absorbent, quick drying, ultralight towel
  • Insulating layer (long sleeve thermal shirt)
  • Rain jacket/shell (depending on weather)
  • Duct tape (we’ll show you how to pack this)
  • Backpack liner or rain cover 
  • Trekking poles
  • Camp shoes or sandals
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Pocket knife
  • Bug repellant
  • Personal toiletries
    • (deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste)
  • Body wipes (for you to shower with)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Sun block and lip balm 
  • Floss 
  • Toilet paper + ziploc bags

OPTIONAL, BUT YOU'LL MANAGE WITHOUT

  • Day pack (lightweight)
  • Pillow
  • Ear plugs
  • Trowel  
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Camera and accessories
  • Swimwear
  • Dry bag (for cell phone, camera)
  • Energy snacks and drink mixes
  • Electrolyte

Car Camping

YOU'LL WANT THESE THINGS WITH YOU

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Flask full of your liquor of choice
  • Jacket or hoodie (lightweight)
  • Headlamp with fresh batteries
  • Hydration system (2 - 3 liter bladder)
  • Hiking shorts/pants (quick-dry, lightweight)
  • Hiking shirt(s)
  • Hiking shoes or boots
  • Hiking socks, for each day (synthetic or wool)
  • Prescription medications
  • Spork, bowl and mug/cup
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Bear spray (in bear country)

THINGS TO MAKE YOUR CAMP LIFE EASIER

  • Snacks
  • Contact lenses/solution
  • Sports bra
  • Underwear (fresh knickers for each day)
  • Beanie
  • Absorbent, quick drying, ultralight towel
  • Insulating layer (long sleeve thermal shirt)
  • Rain jacket/shell (depending on weather)
  • Camp shoes or sandals
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Pocket knife
  • Bug repellant
  • Personal toiletries
    • (deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Day pack (lightweight)
  • Camping chair
  • Sun block and lip balm 
  • Floss 

MORE THINGS TO MAKE YOUR CAMP LIFE MORE EASIER

  • Ear plugs
  • Pillow
  • Toilet paper
  • Trekking poles
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lantern
  • Camera and accessories
  • Swimwear
  • Dry bag (for cell phone, camera)
  • Energy snacks and drink mixes
  • Electrolyte