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By Julia Van Peer

"My guilty pleasure is to bring a book with me. It adds up to the weight, but I can't go without a good, old-fashioned book."

After years of struggling what best to pack for a longer trip, and balancing everything out, these are the items that can’t be missing from your backpack. Often it is a compromise between weight, quantity, and the somewhat more luxurious guilty pleasures.


Keep in mind that every trek is different, depending on things like: the climate, the distance, and sometimes unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, the described list is a good starting point for the novice hiker, however for certain treks specialised equipment may be required. The checklist is suitable for adventurers doing hikes between June and September, in moderate to warm climate.

Some tips in advance:

  • Pack as light as possible. Any small weight adds up, and can greatly determine the total weight of your backpack.

  • Be prepared for all possible weather conditions, even in the middle of summer. Mountains can be very unpredictable, and the higher the more unstable. 

  • Keep in mind that even though during the day temperatures can rise greatly, the nights can get freezing cold.

  • Make sure that the weight of your backpack never exceeds 15 kilograms. 


Here is my ultimate checklist!


  • Passport 

  • Bank card and/or credit card 

  • Cash

  • Student card – Often discounts can be obtained in certain stores.

  • Membership card – If you are a member of a certain association, your membership card can be of importance.

  • Insurance number 

  • Travel documents – Including flight tickets, bus or train tickets, etc. Try to have an online copy of all your tickets in case they suffer water damage or you lose them.

  • Topographic hiking map 

  • Important information – Including emergency numbers park/country, phone numbers family, etc.



  • Phone – Can also be used as music player, camera, and GPS.

  • Ear pods 

  • Camera or GoPro 

  • GPS

  • Chargers and extra batteries – In some countries a universal charger is needed.

  • Powerbank

  • Small music box (optional)

Keep all of your electronics in a Ziploc bag, preventing water damage.



  • 1 pair of sturdy hiking shoes – Don’t forget to bring extra shoe laces with you.

  • 1 pair of slippers – Perfect at the end of the day to give your feet some air.

  • Underwear – Underpants and sports bras.

  • 3 pairs of hiking socks – It doesn’t matter much how many days you go hiking, 3 pairs is perfect the third being a spare. 

  • Long hiking pants (or sports leggings)

  • Short hiking pants

  • Base Layer short sleeves – Depending on which characteristic you find most important, there is wool or synthetic material.

  • Base Layer long sleeves

  • Mid Layer – This is usually a thin fleece sweater.

  • Insulation Layer – Either a thick fleece sweater or a puffy jacket.

  • Raincoat – Perhaps your most important piece of clothing. It will protect you against rain, wind, and cold!

  • Rain pants – Not an unnecessary luxury when going to an area that has a slightly wetter climate.

  • Gloves – Also in summer a must, seeing the weather can turn in the blink of an eye. Or in the evening when the sun has set, and temperatures drop swiftly.

  • Winter hat – Can make a big difference during the night temperature-wise. 

  • Buff – Multifunctional: scarf, headband, hat.

  • Cap

  • Sunglasses

  • Gaiters (optional) – Can help to keep rain and snow out of your hiking boots, preventing them to get wet on the inside.



  • Tent

  • Sleeping bag – Weight and/or heat will determine the cost price. When buying a sleeping bag, make sure to ask for (clear) information about its advantages and disadvantages. One of the most important features is unquestionably the minimum comfort temperature.

  • Liner for in the sleeping bag – Keeps your body temperature better.

  • Sleeping mat – Here too, different types are to be found, ranging from very compact and self-inflating, to less compact foam mats. 

  • Ground sheet – I use a safety blanket for this, (but) this can also be an ordinary piece of plastic.

  • Pillowcase – Don’t take a pillow with you, if you just put a number of clothes in the pocket of your sleeping bag, this can serve as a pillow just as well.



  • Cooking pot – I prefer a Jetboil, which can boil water in only a few minutes. Especially with freeze-dried bags of food this is a gift from heaven. 

  • Gas fire pit – It is better to buy this in your country of destination, as gas is not allowed on the plane. 

  • Cutlery – A spoon with a long holder will make it easier to eat out of a bag of freeze-dried food. 

  • Email mug – The best material to hold the heat of your drink. 

  • Drinking bottle and/or thermos – In most places the water coming from the mountains is clean enough, yet sometimes it is safer to bring a filter. You can choose from a dust filter, bacteria filter, or a combination. 

  • Lighter

  • Sponge

  • Esbit (optional) – Also used in the military, among other things, (because of) its lightweight and it is a good alternative if your gas fire should fail. 



  • Oatmeal or ready-to-eat cereals

  • Freeze-dried food bags 

  • Whole-grain tortillas

  • Nuts or nut-based bars

  • Energy bars or gels

  • Dark chocolate (optional)

  • Dried fruits – Since fresh fruits will only be scarcely available, dried fruits are the best alternative.

  • Tea bags, instant coffee, and instant chocolate milk



  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Soap – All-in-one soap, available in all camping stores.

  • 1 quick-drying towel

  • Small EHBO set – Includes anti-insect spray, anti-bacterial gel, medication, desinfect, etc.

  • Lens case and a small bottle of lens fluid – Available in travel size in your local pharmacy. 

  • Sunscreen

  • Toilet paper 

  • Travel size comb (optional)



  • Backpack – 60 – 70 litres

  • Compass

  • Pocket knife 

  • Headlight

  • Paper and writing material

  • Handkerchiefs

  • Rope

  • Duct tape – Good for repairs.

  • Trash bag

  • Ziploc bags for electronics, travel documents, etc.

  • Whistle

  • Walking sticks 

  • A compact lightweight backpack, ideal for exploring without your large backpack. 

  • Leisure (optional) – Pocket booklet, card game, etc.

  • Instagram
On track off track.

Hi there!

I'm Julia, a Belgian native who loves to travel and explore off the beaten places all over the world. Discover more on how to fill your travels with adventure, warmth, and colour. Learn more about me here.

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