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Backpacking and Hiking for the Prepared Boy Scout

More than perhaps any other outdoor activity, backpacking rewards the efficient packer and punishes the overpacker. After all, you will have to live with and carry every decision you make. This list is focused on a three-season, three to five day outing, but when packing always plan against the highest high and the lowest low temperatures you'll encounter. It'll protect you from spending a miserably cold night out in the woods, give you a bit more of that oh-so-precious pack space, and save your back.

It's also good to compartmentalize when packing by putting similar items in individual bags. Keeping all your food in one place will save your from leaving an errant energy bar behind when prepping your bear bag (to say nothing of preventing a bear mauling), and putting things like flashlights, matches, and your multi-tool together will help you quickly locate what you need. Also, let things do double duty. For example, a sleeping bag stuff sack or tent sack can make the perfect bear bag.

Packing List

Basic Items

Food and Drink



Optional Items

Food Thoughts





Additional Items


Additional Resources

I know some of these are outdated.  I'm in the process of updating these.

The Weekend Adventurer on Youtube
This guy has many backpacking ideas and helpful tips about preparing food and gear.
Boy Scout Gear List: New Scouts, Three-Season
When a boy first joins the Boy Scouts, one of the first questions that comes up for his parents is what backpacking gear to outfit their son with. Naturally, the parents really want to get their kid the "right" gear. But there are differing opinions on what it right.
Homemade Backpacking Gear
I've used this site for many DIY gear, including the "G4 by GVP Gear" backpack that I made.
Gossamer Gear G4 DIY Backpack
Make your own backpack. The instructions are free, and the material will cost about $35. My son and I both made a G4 and used them on the Appalachian Trail in 2009. We only had one repair that needed to be done on the six day hike.
Backpack Gear Tests
Check out what other outdoor enthusiast think of gear you have, or are thinking about purchasing. BackpackGearTest.org is a site where backpackers evaluate new gear in the field over a six month testing period.
I found this site VERY helpful in finding ways to reduce weight, while still keeping safe and enjoyable.
The ultimate resource for every and any kind of backpacking stove... that you can make.

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