By Cameron Ownbey

I often get asked by novice and veteran backpackers “What do you pack when you do an overnight?”

Well, as luck would have it, I just got back from a 4 day backpacking trip and am unpacking at this moment. So I’ll share all of my creature comforts with you.  No more and no less.  Remember simplicity and functionality are paramount. This is exactly what I take for anything from an overnight to a week long backpacking trip.  Minus the food, of course but that is an entirely separate article.


Water filter, small Nalgene for hot and sugary mixed drinks.  Large Nalgene for clean drinking water and hot water bottle at night.  Two liter collapsible container for filtered water around camp.  I go into more detail in 3 Water Bottles For Backpacking.

Two person tent. Of course if you are sharing a tent with more people, you’ll either need to get really familiar with each other, or get a bigger tent. I’ve also previously outlined how to select a tent spot.

A stove, plastic spoons and metal cup.  I have more tips on Metal Cup One of The Essentials 

Sleeping pad and sleeping bag in stuff sacks. Compression bags are great items and maximize space in your pack.

Twenty-degree sleeping bag and 3/4 length inflatable sleeping pad.  I like to empty my backpack and use it as the other 1/4 at my feet. This works for me even when I camp in the winter.

Head net, Deet, extra flashlight, headlamp, toilet paper, moist towelettes, toiletries with a compact mirror which is handy if you have an injury on your face or something in your eye.  Extra AAA and AA batteries 25 and 50 feet of 550 cord, knife, 2 lighters, signal mirror, emergency whistle, SPF lip balm, sun screen, waterproof bottle for batteries, sleeping pad repair kit.

First aid kit

Compass, map in plastic, GPS and a space pen

Rain jacket, rain hat light gloves and rain pants.  A must have for rain and a godsend when the mosquitoes are eating you alive.

Synthetic light puffy jacket, extra pair of wool socks stocking cap, gaiters.

75 liter backpack with +10 liter option in the stretch pocket on the outside.

This is exactly what I took on my last trip.  No more no less.

Of course it is essential that you know what to do with all these things. Taking a list of  “stuff” along without knowing all the functions they can perform defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Happy Hiking!


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