Making a Hiking Checklist

Don’t forget essential hiking items – Use this hiking checklist while packing to ensure your safety in the wilderness

I always consult this backpacking and hiking gear list before any adventure into the mountains.

Forgetting any item off this essential, packing list can spell disaster.

While a mild hike does not necessitate all of these hiking essentials, for longer day hikes and extended backpacking trips, consider these items a safety checklist.

Backpacking & Hiking Packing List

When I first began backpacking, I did not understand why all this gear was necessary. However, you need to be prepared for anything when hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Weather changes on a dime, injuries occur and aggressive grizzly bears exist.

Following this backpacking and hiking checklist however will guarantee you have the hiking essentials to be prepared for anything nature throws at you.


10 Articles of Essential Hiking Clothes

Refer to this hiking checklist below and use your personal judgment: if you are only going on a short day hike, of course you do not need every item listed below.

However, for those on a multi-day backpacking trip, every hiking item on this packing list is essential:

  • Smartwool socks, one for each day plus one extra pair, which I keep in my sleeping bag to ensure it remains dry
  • Long underwear
  • Regular underwear
  • Hiking shirts, which are lightweight & uv protected
  • Hiking sandals or other lightweight footwear for resting and protecting your feet while at camp
  • Warm hat… a cut stocking can be a lightweight, cheap solution
  • Convertible, hiking pants (or long pants and shorts–the latter serve as the best hiking shorts
  • Hiking boots
  • Gloves–I use the internal layer of my winter gloves–lightweight and no extra cash spent
  • Brimmed hat for sun protection


10 Overnight Backpacking Checklist

For overnight forays into the backcountry, certain campground essentials are required:

  • Tent & waterproof fly
  • 20 degree sleeping bag, stuff sack, and sleeping bag pad
  • Adequate food supply
  • Camping utensils, including cooking pots, cup, bowl, eating utensils, camping stove and enough fuel for your cooking needs
  • Portable water filter, such as a Steripen or Katadyn Water Purification Pump
  • 50 feet of nylon cord to hang your backpacking equipment
  • Bags: Trash bags and zip locked bags to help maintain organization
  • Toilet paper and lightweight shovel to dig excrement holes
  • Internal or external frame backpack
  • Raingear, which can include a pack fly and/or lightweight poncho


10 First-aid Kit Essentials

A properly supplied first-aid kit can mean the difference between surviving an unforeseen injury and possible death in the backcountry.

While the majority of these items will never be used, you must have every item on this hiking checklist or a mild injury can quickly turn dangerous:

  • Bandages, including ace, triangular sized, small bandages and nonadhesive for burns
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Four 4×4 Gauze pads
  • Medications, including laxative, allergies, aspirin and others necessitated by personal needs
  • Tweezers & scissors
  • Bug repellent & sunscreen
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Adhesive tape
  • Snake bite kit, if in snake habitat
  • Moleskin for dealing with blisters


10 Survival Kit Essentials

I pack the majority of my survival items in my first aid kit, but have never required any of them.

Still, with the unpredictable nature of Rocky Mountain weather, wildlife and natural disasters, you must be prepared and have all of these hiking essentials checked off:

  • Cigarette lighters wrapped in waterproof wrapper or waterproof matches
  • Compass with mirror for signaling to overhead assistance
  • 2 Emergency food bars, such as cliff bars
  • Iodine water purification tablets
  • Plastic whistle
  • Reflective blanket
  • Swiss army knife
  • Waterproof Map
  • Headlamp
  • Spare batteries

Have you ever seen a packing list that did not include a +1? Of course not.

The number one hiking essential that must be taken on every trip, no matter the length, and be on every Glacier National Park hiking checklist, is bear repellent.

I cannot stress this enough. Nothing is more dangerous in Glacier National Park than a mother grizzly bear.

Additional Glacier National Park Hiking Info

Glacier Park Hiking – Return back to an overview on Glacier National Park Hiking

Return back to
Glacier National Park Travel Guide

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