How To Pack For A Trek: The Ultimate Hiking Packing List

How should I pack for a hike? What should I pack for a multi-day trek? What is too much? And what is too little? How am I going to carry it all? Which hiking gear and essentials should I buy in advance and which can I buy on the ground? That's where this Ultimate Hiking Packing List comes in to answer all of those questions — and much more — to prepare you for your next adventure.

After receiving numerous emails, queries and comments asking about hiking gear and how to pack for hikes and multi-day treks, we decided to assemble our hiking gear and packing advice for treks and hikes, short and long.

By way of background, during the first six years of our journey we carried all that we needed in our backpacks so as to be prepared for just about any kind of climate or activity, from beach to glacier. In retrospect, we made some silly decisions in those early days. As a result, we schlepped a few bits we never used.

But through experience and experimentation and after about a dozen multi-day treks across all continents, we got smart not only as to what gear to carry with us, but also what made sense to buy locally or even just rent for the duration of the trek.

And we figured out how to do all this while on a budget.

What is the difference between trekking and hiking?
Good question. While this article does a good job breaking it down, for our purposes here we're using the two words somewhat interchangeably to represent going out and walking in nature for a period of time. This is different from mountaineering, which usually involves specialized climbing gear and technical skills.

Note: The following advice applies mainly to multi-day treks where your sleeping and eating arrangements are taken care of already (think guest houses, lodges, huts, tea houses, home stays or even with a trekking agency takes care of tents and food). If you are camping on your own, then you'll need to add food, camping, and cooking gear to everything below.

Update: This article was originally published on 27 June, 2014 and updated on 15 April 2019 with additional gear and tips that we've learned from additional hiking and multi-day treks we've done during that time (e.g., Alay Mountains in Kyrgyzstan, 10-day Huayhuash Trek in Peru, etc.).

Trekking and Hiking Packing Myths

During the first six years of our journey we carried all that we needed in our backpacks so as to be prepared for just about any kind of climate or activity, from beach to glacier. In retrospect, we…

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