The Ideal back pack contents

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

I'd like some ideas of what you'd want in a back pack, (I'm talking the big ones ) survival items, emergency items. things you think that are essential to put in a hiking /camping back pack.

You don't have to include things like clothes. we'll know if it's cold to put cold things in etc....

I'm talking, the only thing in the woods is you and the back pack for a 2 day to 5 day trip.

We're talking the filters to filter your own water out of the stream kind of backpacking, cause you won't be able to carry enough water for sure.

I know they make those little tiny stoves you could pack, what kind of sleeping bag/mat would one pack up for such an event?

DH has done this before, and want s me to go alongw ith him this time, not planning a trip real soon, but will go before winter for sure.

To the deep woods, just me, him, backpacks, and time, sleeping out side,

If I don't back out LOL

What would you just have to put into your pack?
that you wouldn't want to be without.

I'll be writing these things down as we fill our bags. Because once we fill our bags, the stuff can stay put until we're ready to go.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

The most important back pack item is less weight to make the trip more enjoyable. One set of clothing from hot to very cold. I use wool pants, shirts and water repellant nylon t shirts. I always let everyone else bring the fuel, stove, tent etc so I can frolic with the light back pack. Oh I do have lots of protein bars and dry socks. Have fun.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

LOL thanks, sounds like good advice. DH will be carrying all the heavy stuff, and I"ll be carrying the good stuff. You know , the FOOD!!

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

so that is how you do it sofer....hmmm, sounds like a good plan. ;)

anyways, hi kathy, sorry i am late posting, but we just got back from two backpacking trips- one in idaho and one up your way,sofer, in glacier. boy, it sure was a lot warmer then we were expecting it to be there, guess we brought the heat with us from arizona. :) sorry sofer...

sofer is right, try to go as light as you can afford to do. for sleeping pads, we use the 3/4 length thermarest pads. i recently upgraded from a synthetic bag (north face snowshoe) to a down sleeping bag (mountain hardware women's phantom) since it is lighter. but going lighter does come with a price. all the nice light stuff can get expensive. another way to cut down on weight is with the food you bring. DH and i will take dehydrated meals for dinner and then we only need to bring one pot to boil water in and we can eat out of the package. this makes clean up easy as well after a long day.

sofer is right about clothes. bring items you can layer or that have multi-use. i recommend getting some"zip off leg" pants that you can wear as shorts when it is hot and then put the legs back on when it is cooler in the morning and nights.

do you know where are going for your first trip? keep us posted.

p.s. most important item is don't forget to pack your mountain money (TP) and a shovel. :)

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

No we don't know where we're going or when yet. I figured it will take us a while to fill our bags. LOL he's too busy with work now too, and it's way too hot yet.

What happens if you don't want to lug around a bunch of water, considering it's so heavy, and you have to get it out of the stream if there is in deed one? what about watering filters? they make them small enough.

I thought about dehydrated foods as well. Was really thinking about water intake and how would we fix that problem.

Thanks for the sleeping bag names, I'll have to look those up. I know how high they can get .

WE have about 500.00 of free money on our cabelas visa so we are going to use it to fill our bags LOL.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I never carry a shovel, (sticks, logs everywhere) I do filter water and only carry a small coke bottle on my pack. (no nalgene) Think green. The most important stuff is stove repair kit, back up fire starter (I use wax covered cardboard), Matches in several locations, I have a small belly pack with survival supplies: Tooth brush, Misquito liquid, Protein bars, matches, Mirror, Fire starter, First Aid kit, Small Boat horn, Knife, Bear spray (Montana), camera, I never carry binochs, ax, water, personal hygene stuff, due to weight. I often in summer only carry the tent rain tarp not the whole tent so wt reduction. I sleep under the stars (Montana) You never know when or how you get separated from your pack.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

WE will sleep under the stars too, only carrying a laying pad of some sort and sleeping bag, light weight.

so if you carry a stove repair kit, what kind of stove do you have? one of those porta things? I've seen those at gander mountain. and the flint fire starters. I like the wax covered cardboard idea. I've not researched the water filter bottles yet. so i'm not sure what naglene even is. but it doesn't sound good.

Do you have preferences on protein bars? do you like any in particular?

Bear spray ha? that has to be bad stuff LOL

My husband went out once he went for about 3 days, and it was by boat , small boat , one that he could carry, but it was still heavy. and he traveled this creek. He wanted to see how far it went LOL sort of thing. He was cold, and had ice on his beard, and that's pretty cold for Arkansas. It was in the winter. And on the last day when he came home, he called us. and kids and I had to go find him cause he had no idea where he was, and we had to cart that boat and all his supplies for about 3 miles up a mountain to get to the main road where my truck was parked. It was horrid LOL He hasn't been back since, but wants to go soon, and I said i'm going this time too, he thinks I will chicken out or be a wimp, I said just pack me light cause I don't want a ton of weight on my back, and we will go hiking and sleep on the ground when we go. NO water, except for drinking water. And not in the dead of winter either.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I have moved up to an all fuel stove and carry plunger repairs, jet, and filter. I prefer the protein bars that are on clearance. They all taste the same to me and I often take just snicker bars (most protein bars are inedible when frozen and snickers are edible). In the summer I take paydays (don't melt). I make my own trail mix and make a different bag for each day. I get tired of the same flavor. Don't use too much dried fruit. (too many stops on the trail to dig latrines).
Nalgene is a safe plastic it is just that it is unecessary for all the soda we drink and could recycle the plastic for weeks and months of reuse.
Never start hiking in the winter unless you have good survival skills. Things can change quickly when wet and cold. (hence fire starter). When you sleep under the stars you will wake wet from the dew so a rain tarp is a good idea. Easily suspended from rope on tree to tree.

Lombard, IL(Zone 5b)

Light is right. The less weight in your pack the further and faster you'll hike and be much more comfortable. Light stuff is usually more expensive like down vs. synthetic bags. Synthetic sleeping bags might be a better option though for sleeping out in the open should you get wet (down loses its insulating ability when wet). I also like the 3/4 Thermarest pads like Kazooie, but if sleeping on the bare ground you might want a full length pad or a roll up or folding one like Z rest. I like the stoves that use the gas canisters with a propane/butane mix. These seem to clog less than the multi fuels stoves that I used to use, but I camp in the desert a lot.

For food, freeze dried is good and even better is drying your own cause you get more variety, which is important on longer trips. Ditto with the different trail mixes. Also bring some treats that you enjoy. I like Jelly Bellies.

Sofers survival stuff pretty much covers it and the tarp is also important. Know how to use it before you need to use it. Also I like the pak towels since they dry quick.

As far as water, I carry a filter for areas where I know the water will be really bad or have a lot of sediment. Otherwise I just use iodine tablets.

If your gonna get frisky, then take that into account and bring what will make you comfortable.


Savannah, TN(Zone 7a)

my fav trick from ol' camping days is to chop up one of those "sterno" logs that you can use to start your fireplace with. Get it into small bits and put them in a big plastic baggie....take a few out at a time..and it's instant firestarter kindling...even with wet wood.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I haven't seen those wolflrv. What do they smell like? and what does the hot air do with them?

Savannah, TN(Zone 7a)

Check your grocery store or walmart in the camping/outdoor cooking brand name I think is Duraflame logs...they are usually sold to use as log starters for fireplaces. But take an axe to them before your trip and chip them up and carry them with you in a baggie. It only takes a small chip to get a good fire going. And a bag of chips will last you at least a week in the woods, depending on how many times you have to restart the fire. They are basically sawdust and sterno fuel with a wax binding to hold them together. One log would be very heavy in a backpack, but a sack of chips weighs hardly anything.

Oh..and I always carried a roll of nylon twine and a few decent fishing hooks, a bobber and a weight in a small kit. I ate quite a bit of fish when in the can usually find grubs or worms along the way for bait. Add a small sack of cornmeal or flour and you can have a really tasty dinner..:)

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Living in the mountains I look for the outlet stream and find the areas in the afternoon where the banks recess. Under the bank place your hand slowly to the stream floor and slowly lift. You will feel the belly of the trout and flip them out. Why fish. You must understand that I fish for meat. I agree with the cornmeal. I use the Marie Callendars so I can bake a ball of it in a rock pile from the fire in the AM.

Savannah, TN(Zone 7a)

ha...that would make you a much more talented than me Soferdig....I'll just stick to my twine...:) LOL

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

No I am serious if hungry give it a try. Here in the rockies and the cascades it often gives good results. Better than fishing. LOL

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

kathy, we bring a nalgene bottle to filter our water into since the bottom of the filter will screw right onto the nalgene bottle. plus the nalgene bottles are pretty rugged. we have been using the same bottles for years now. so if you are going somewhere where you know there will be a lot of fresh water then don't worry about having to carry a lot. you can filter it or use the iodine tablets. we prefer a filter, but we bring iodine tablets just incase, for a back-up.

a good forum site to check out is at
there is a lot of info there and some good threads that will help you to decide what equipment might be good for you and places to go to. plus a lot of people there to answer any questions you might have about backpacking.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Hey, cool, thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

your welcome!

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