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Backcountry Camping Essentials: 21 Items for the Perfect Backcountry Camping Trip

Are you planning a backcountry camping trip? Knowing you have limited space for packing everything you need (and want), you might be feeling overwhelmed with deciding what to bring and what to leave behind.

Let’s walk through 21 essential items you should absolutely bring with you for the perfect backcountry camping trip.

Backcountry camping

1. Quality Backpack

You definitely want to have a high-quality backpack with you on your backcountry camping trip to house all your essentials on this list. Look for sturdy, functional backpacks. Your body will thank you!

2. Food

Pack plenty of food for your backcountry camping trip so you can maintain your energy levels. Just because you will be away from civilization, that doesn’t mean you have to eat bland meals. You can even eat pad thai or chocolate mudslides thanks to freeze-dried meals.

Buy a Mountain House Exhibition Bucket, which comes with 15 pouches of freeze-dried varieties, including beef stroganoff, breakfast skillet, chicken fajita bowl, granola with milk and blueberries, and spaghetti. You won’t worry about getting bored with your meals while you’re away from civilization.

Mountain House Expedition Bucket | Freeze Dried Backpacking & Camping Food | 30 Servings

Also, read our list of best backpacking meals for more backcountry camping eating ideas.

3. Tent

Pack a tent in your backpack, and if you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to do that, we’ve got you covered. Read our tips on packing a tent in a backpack. If you’re backcountry camping on your own, the Mountain Summit Gear Northwood II is the perfect one-person tent.

Backcountry Camping Essentials: 21 Items for the Perfect Backcountry Camping Trip 1

4. Hammock

Hammocks aren’t just good for lounging in the backyard; they also make great alternatives to tents for backpackers. Typically, hammocks are lightweight, which makes them a great option for a backcountry camping trip. Check out these hammock beds for comfortable sleeping.

5. Stove and Fuel

Portable stoves and fuel for cooking are much lighter to bring with you on your backcountry camping trip than logs for a fire. Sure, you can always scavenge for firewood, but it’s always good to have a backup plan.

6. Kitchenware

You need something to cook with on your stove and utensils to eat your food. The easiest way to prepare for all your portable kitchen needs is to buy a backpacking stove kit that comes with everything you could possibly need while cooking your favorite backcountry camping meals.

7. Night Vision Binoculars

Seeing clear in the nighttime is especially important when you’re on a backcountry camping trip. Having the proper vision equipment will help you see what’s up ahead during nighttime hikes.

VABSCE Digital Night Vision Binoculars, 1080p FHD, 1640ft Viewing Range, Superior 5W Infrared, High Sensitivity COMS Sensor Night Goggles for Hunting, Camping and Surveillance with 64GB Micro SD Card

Night vision binoculars also help you stay safe from wild animals who may be scavenging for food and suspicious or ill-intended human visitors. Try the VABSCE Digital Night Vision Binoculars, which also allow you to record videos and take photos of your nighttime surroundings!

8. Headlamp

Not only do you need to be able to see at night, but others need to be able to see you. This prevents accidents and helps everyone feel safe on a backcountry camping trip. A rechargeable motion sensor headlamp is a great headlamp pick, providing you with a 230-degree lighted viewing area.

Headlamp Rechargeable 2PCS, 230° Wide Beam Head Lamp LED with Motion Sensor for Adults - Camping Accessories Gear, Waterproof Head Light Flashlight for Hiking, Running, Repairing, Fishing, Cycling

9. Hiking boots

Finding the best hiking boots for your trip is essential to planning a backcountry camping trip. The time of year can make a difference in the boots you choose. If you’re hiking in winter, you need the best boots for keeping your feet warm and dry.

Regardless of the time of year, you want waterproof boots that provide good traction. Amazon and REI both have some great selections!

10. Water Bottles With Filters

You know how important it is to hydrate, but don’t forget to bring a water bottle with a filter like the Vapor Microfilter Water Bottle or the Katadyn 6L Gravity Water Filter. Packing water simply isn’t an option when backcountry camping, because it adds too much weight to your load.

Backcountry Camping Essentials: 21 Items for the Perfect Backcountry Camping Trip 2

Water bottles with water filters like the two above and the Lifestraw Go 650ML allow you to safely fill up at any water source by removing E.coli and other bacteria and parasites from the water with their high-powered filter systems.

11. Backcountry Bed & Sleeping Pad

You could sleep on the ground, but you will be much more comfortable if you bring along a backcountry bed and sleeping pad on your backcountry camping trip.

It’s a wise idea to keep your back in top-notch condition for hiking and exploring the backcountry trails, and the added layers of comfort while sleeping will help.

12. Inflatable Pillow

You might be thinking about skipping the pillow, but your head will thank you for bringing it. There’s no reason to skip out on bringing a pillow with an inflatable pillow, which is easy to store to deflate for backpack storage.

Backcountry Camping Essentials: 21 Items for the Perfect Backcountry Camping Trip 3

Check out our six favorite camping pillows to help you find the best one for your backcountry camping trip!

13. GPS Navigator and Communicator

While you may be thinking, “I have a GPS device and map on my phone,” and that’s wonderful!

It’s not a bad idea to bring a backup GPS Navigator and Communicator, which not only allows you to download maps, but also allows you to communicate with the outside world in the event your phone loses signal.

You have probably seen a movie or TV show where a character gets lost on a backcountry camping trip and their phone just happens to break, die, or lose signal at the worst possible time. Don’t let that be you!

14. Portable Shower

You don’t have to sacrifice a pressurized shower while you’re on your backcountry camping trip. The Rinskit is a portable shower that requires no pumping, batteries, or hanging to reach optimal pressure.

Assuming you won’t have access to spigots on your backcountry camping trip, you will need to bring a bike pump as well to reach your desired pressure.

Note: Your bike pump will come in handy for inflating your portable pillow and sleeping pad too!

15. Toiletries

You probably don’t need to be told which toiletries you need to bring on your backcountry camping trip—you know your needs best. Storing your toiletries can be a challenge, though. You’re probably not going to be bringing a 24-ounce shampoo bottle with you.

Backcountry Camping Essentials: 21 Items for the Perfect Backcountry Camping Trip 4

Transfer your shampoo, conditioner, and lotions into a small 3.4-ounce travel bottle for easy storage. Then buy a large shower roll to act as your medicine cabinet away from home. The hanging strap will allow you to hang it from a tree once you get to your campsite!

16. Weather-Appropriate Clothes

Always check the weather before your trip! Even in summer, pack long socks to prevent chaffing your heels on your boots. There’s nothing worse than hiking with chaffed heels.

17. Rain Protection

You need to pack clothes and electronics in water protective bags, especially if any amount of rain is in the forecast. Even if no rain is in the forecast, the weatherman doesn’t have the best track record for predicting the forecast, right?

Silent Pocket SLNT Waterproof Faraday Dry Bag Military-Grade Nylon 5 Liter Faraday Bag - RFID Signal Blocking Dry Bag/Waterproof Backpack Protects Electronics from Water, Spying, Hacking

Duck’s Back Rain Cover is a good cover for covering your whole backpack for an added layer of protection.

18. Pocket Knife

Every time you take a backcountry camping trip, you need to bring a pocket knife with you. Pocket knives have many uses, and they’re absolutely essential for your safety and well-being.

You might end up using your pocket knife for finding and preparing food, cutting down branches that are either in your way or to be used as firewood, or as self-defense.

19. Games

A backcountry camping trip is a great opportunity to refresh yourself on how to play YahtzeeCribbage, or Solitaire. All of these games can be played solo or with a group!

20. Something to Read or Listen To

If you’re taking a solo backcountry camping trip, bringing a book or music for entertainment is a great way to entertain yourself.

Since you’re going to have all the time in the world to read, you might want to consider bringing a Kindle Paperwhite and downloading several books ahead of time. The device’s battery can last for six to eight weeks if not hooked up to Wi-FI!

Kindle Paperwhite (8 GB) – Now with a 6.8" display and adjustable warm light – Black

You could also download audiobooks through the Audible app to your phone along with your favorite songs. If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen to your favorite playlists offline.

21. Solar Power Charger

If you’re planning on using your phone or other electronics on your backcountry camping trip, you should plan on bringing a solar power station with you.

Many kinds of solar power stations are on the market, but the best solar power station for backcountry camping is the Hiluckey Solar Charger.

The Hiluckey waterproof solar charger is foldable and has both USB-C and USB-A ports for charging iPhones, Androids, and more. It will also charge the rechargeable motion sensor headlamp mentioned above.

You’re Ready for the Perfect Backcountry Camping Trip!

Now you know what to bring with you for the best backcountry camping trip possible. Before you sign off to pack for your trip, learn how to create the ultimate camping survival kit.