We encourage all students to either borrow or rent their equipment until they get more familiar with all of the different types of equipment available. It is also important to get familiar with your equipment prior to going on a hike/backpack. Below is a list of the "Ten Essentials", the items that every hiker should carry in his or her pack at all times, and also other items that we think you should consider bringing on your trips. Please note that there is no absolute list. Every hike brings its own challenges, and may require different types of equipment. But we hope this list will help you think through what you think you may need to have a safe and enjoyable experience.

During each outing, make sure to bring your “Ten Essentials”.

The Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation (map and compass)
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat)
  3. Insulation (clothing)
  4. Illumination (headlamp, flashlight)
  5. First aid kit
  6. Fire starter (matches, lighter)
  7. Repair kit (knife, tools)
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter (raingear, poncho, space blanket)

How to Pack Your Backpack

Start with your sleeping bag in the bottom for a solid foundation. Put the heaviest items like your clothing, food, and cooking gear in the main compartment, keeping the weight close to your back, nearest your center of gravity. For men, this is higher, and for women it tends to be lower, towards the small of the back.

Backpacker's Checklist

Pack & Sleeping:

  • Backpack
  • Tent & Stakes
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Day Pack


  • Boots, well-sealed
  • Hiking socks, liner socks
  • T-Shirt
  • Shorts
  • Warm shirt
  • Long pants
  • Extra underwear
  • Thermal underwear
  • Warm jacket/fleece
  • Rain gear
  • Gloves - fleece/wool
  • Hat with brim
  • Warm hat
  • Camp shoes and sandals (luxury)


  • Medication
  • Bandana
  • Bowl and plate
  • Insulated cup
  • Spoon and fork
  • Personal toiletries
  • Camera and spare batteries
  • Lip balm and lotion
  • Lightwieght towel
  • Extra water bottle or hydration system
  • Stash bags
  • Lightweight camp chair
  • Hiking poles
  • Binoculars
  • Note pad and pencil
  • Reading material

Group Equipment:

  • Stove
  • Wind screen
  • Small lantern
  • Fuel and funnel
  • Matches/lighter
  • Water filter/chemical
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper and towel
  • Trash bag, repair kit
  • Large First Aid Kit
  • Water storage container
  • Bear canisters
  • Biodegradable dish soap
  • Scrub pad
  • Dish towel
  • Large utensils
  • Pots and fry pan
  • Small cutting board
  • Pot grip
  • Drink mixes
  • Food
  • Spices
  • Snacks
  • GPS
  • 2-way radios

Winter & Snow Camp Equipment

  • Avalanche probes, beacons
  • Boot protection/sealant
  • Extra dark sunglasses/case
  • Extra pot for melting snow
  • Small piece of sleeping pad (ensolite) for stove
  • Snow stakes
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow shoes or cross-country skis

Have Questions?

If you have any questions not answered here, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

18 Years of Age

Persons 18 years of age and older are eligible to take this course.

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