What to Wear & What to Bring on a Backpacking Trip

Planning and packing for a backpacking trip is important. Being prepared can result in having a more pleasant experience. In order to be prepared for each circumstance the right clothing must be worn and the the proper supplies should be packed.




When backpacking it is best to invest in a good pair of boots. Boots will protect the feet and add support to heels and ankles when walking downhill.

  • Know the basics of the terrain you will be hiking; will it be snowy? icy? rocky? There are different kinds of boots made specifically for terrains.
  • Waterproof boots are the best option since they will keep water away from the socks when walking in wet areas or if it should rain.


  • In warmer weather shorts are typically the preferred option.
    • When wearing shorts for backpacking, choose a pair with an integrated liner.
    • When opting for pants in warmer weather, look for lightweight pants made from nylon or polyester that still offer protection to the legs.
  • For cooler weather, or when more protection is needed, look for a woven nylon that will be more durable.

Shirts and Jackets

Layering is ideal when backpacking, since many different environments can be encountered throughout a trip.

  • Start with a base layer.
    • a lightweight tank or top is best
  • Bring at least a light, packable jacket in case of rough terrain or cold weather
  • If rain is a possibility, be sure to have a waterproof jacket packed.




The first thing needed for backpacking is a the backpack.

  • Plan the entire trip ahead of time so that you can choose the proper backpack size.
  • Durability is a must since rough terrains and winds can be harsh.
  • A waterproof option is ideal for keeping supplies dry when the surrounding environment is not.

Hydration & Nutrition

Spending large portions of time outdoors and being active requires you to be properly hydrated and nourished

  • Plan to bring 1.5 – 2.5 lbs of food per person per day.
  • Popular choices include:
    • Instant Rice
    • Instant Oatmeal
    • Soup Mixes
    • Freeze Dried and/or Dehydrated Foods

Basic Survival Gear

Bring along basic survival gear that would be needed for any type of outdoor activity. This includes:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Starter
  • A Compass, or other form of navigation system
  • Sun Protection – both in clothing and lotion form
  • A Light Source