Whats in the bag?

When off on a trip, its important to make sure you have with you everything you need. And leave behind the stuff you don't need. It can be quite hard working this lot all out in memory, so I tend to write it down and check everything off on the way in, and just as importantly, check it all out when I get back. This last point is handy, so you know if you need to replace stuff thats broken, or lost. Finding a spare pole section for your tent at 12 hours notice just ain't gonna happen and could screw a future trip. So. Here is my packing list to give you an idea

The list

The list is actually several different lists. You don't take the same stuff on a hostelling trip, as a camping trip. So I have broken it down into, Core, Clothing, Camping and Photo. You may not take all this lot with you, read, adapt, understand.

You will note that apart from the emergency food, there is no mention of food on here. That is very much a matter of taste, budget, and target destination, and so what food to take is left as an excersise for the reader.

Core Packing list

  • Sleeping bag + liner
  • Sleep matt
  • Backpack
  • Survival bag
  • Water bottles + puritabs
  • Crusader Cup + cooker
  • Hammock + poncho
  • First Aid kit
  • Leatherman + tool adapter
  • Knife + Fork + Spoon
  • Emergency food - This can be a couple of mars bars, or some kendel mint cake, something that doesn't need cooking and is hard wearing.
  • Torch + Spare Batteries
  • Paracord
  • Few cable ties of different sizes
  • 4 maillon rapides
  • Concentrated Soap
  • Towel
  • Mozzi repellant
  • Passport + money + credit cards + driving license


  • Boots/shoes
  • 3 x Trousers
  • 3 x T-shirts
  • 2 x Bra
  • 1 x Skirt
  • 3 x Socks
  • Enough knickers/underpants to last a week
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Waterpoof jacket
  • Hat + gloves + scarf
  • Swimming Costumer
  • Shampoo + conditioner
  • Tooth brush + tooth paste
  • Razor + shaving foam (for legs)

Clothing you take should be light weight, hardwearing, and above all, quick drying. The basis of this packing list is "Wear one, wash one, one spare". Which basically means, when you take your clothes off at night, give them a rince out and stick them out to dry. I do this while in the shower, kill two birds, one stone. In really hot climates then you find many of the modern quick drying clothes will actually dry in a few minutes, or you can wring them out and stick them back on. For most situations the above will be enough for anyone. If it gets really cold, wear the lot. Things like the skirt, you can leave out and replace with a sarong, which will be lighter, and more versatile, etc...

Show some common sense, you don't need the hat + gloves + scarf in summer :p

A question of colour

Be careful about the colours of your clothing. I tend to go for drab earthan colours, browns, greens, dark blue, black. Princply, to cut down on visual polution. Its horrible to sit on a peak over looking a beautiful vista, to see a huddle of bright yellow and red jacketted hikers, walking slowly across your view. With a little bit of care they can easily blend in and thus not ruin your enjoyment of the view.

The counter argument to this, of course, is that the bright colours are easier to see if they need to search for you. And yes, they are right, bright colours are. Thats why you carry a bright orange survival blanket. Keeps you warmer, keeps you drier, and is alot bigger for people to see. Also, chances are, if you are that far up odour inlet with no means of hydrokinetic propulsion. They will have a helicopter up with Forward Looking Infrared FLIR, which will see you as a heat source.

So, less of the bright :p


  • Tent
  • Stove + fuel


  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Lenses + cleaning kit
  • Batteries + chargers
  • Memory Cards/Film
  • Cable release
  • Memory card reader

How to Pack it

How you pack all of the above, is entirely upto you and depends what pack etc... you have. For me, I pack in a layered way. Round my waist goes my money belt with passport, cash, card, license in. This is the bare minimium I need to get home in the civilised world. Next comes the webbing. This takes all the kit in the core list, apart from the first 3. With this lot, you can get home semi comfortably, and if you are half way up a mountain, survive for a few days till help arrives. Next up comes my pack, which takes the clothes, and camping gear. Finally comes my hands, which is where the camera kit goes. The Camera I hold in my hand, the tripod is slung over one shoulder, and the accessories are in a pouch over the other. All in all, it should be possible to do several weeks of hiking/backpacking/travel on the above for < 15kg + food + water. If you are careful, you can probably get it down even lower. Travel light.

I keep meaning to make up some laminated lists, with "In" and "Out" columns on them, so I can check the kit into the bag when I go, check I have it when I get to the first campsite/hostel, check it in again when I leave there, etc... I just haven't got around to it yet.

About this Document

This page last modified Saturday, 11-Sep-2010 22:39:22 CEST.