What Should I Pack for a Weekend Backpacking Trip?

By Michael Ferguson

Backpacking is one of the most rewarding outdoor activities you can do. It allows you to immerse yourself in nature, explore new places, and challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible.

But when it comes to packing for a backpacking trip, it can be overwhelming — there are so many items to consider and so little space. To help you out, here are some tips for what to pack for a weekend backpacking trip.

Shelter should be your first priority when packing for a backpacking trip. Depending on the location and weather conditions, you may need a tent or hammock, tarp or bivy sack, sleeping bag and/or sleeping pad. Be sure to bring extra stakes and guy lines if needed.

Clothing is another important item to consider when packing for a backpacking trip. You’ll need clothes that are lightweight yet durable enough to withstand the elements.

Be sure to pack layers of clothing such as a lightweight base layer (long sleeve shirt and pants), warm midlayer (fleece or wool), and waterproof outer layer (rain jacket). Also bring extra socks, underwear, hat, gloves, and other accessories.

Food & Water are essentials for any backpacking trip. Pack enough food for the entire weekend — think lightweight options like dehydrated meals, energy bars, nuts/trail mix, jerky/dried fruit — as well as plenty of water or water purification tablets if needed.

Navigation & Communication items like maps/GPS devices, compasses and radios should always be included in your backpacking kit. A helmet-mounted flashlight will also come in handy during night hikes.

First Aid Kit.

Accidents happen — even on short trips. Be prepared by bringing along a comprehensive first aid kit that includes bandages/dressings, antiseptic wipes/ointment, painkillers/anti-inflammatory drugs and tweezers.


A successful weekend backpacking trip requires careful planning and packing the right gear. Be sure to include shelter, clothing items suited for the weather conditions at your destination; food & water; navigation & communication tools; and a comprehensive first aid kit. With these items in tow, you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way!