Summer Backpacking Gear

First thing first this is a minimalist approach, I used this on a 24-hour hike and wild camp, the only gear missing is the tent and food. This isn’t what I would take on a multiple day excursion, this is meant to be light to carry with the few things necessary for a short trip. People can become very wrapped up in gear and feeling the need to have the best piece of gear to go out and explore the wild. This isn’t the case in many circumstances, the idea of this article was to show a simplistic approach to encourage people to take the plunge and make the most of what you have.

There are a few bases that must be covered when packing gear for an overnight trip. You need something to sleep under, on and in. Without this you are at the mercy of the elements and might have a miserable night.

A tent provides perfect cover, and a feeling of security, for sleeping out, at the expense of sometimes being a little bit heavy to pack in. Tarps provide good overhead cover are much lighter than tents and help immerse yourself in the environment. I would suggest checking the weather when deciding which to take, tarps do keep out rain and wind, but it is certainly nice to be tucked inside a tent if it’s going to be particularly nasty night.

9 Tent

Something to sleep under now covered, consider what you might be sleeping on. The ground will suck away massive amounts of your body heat if you lie directly on it, even in warmer weather. Not only that but it can also be lumpy and uncomfortable. There’s a variety of choice in sleeping mats, from yoga mats to self-inflating thermarest matts with down filling. I use a thermarest prolite regular for all my summer camping, its small and light when packed down but very comfy to sleep on.

Finally, something to sleep in, pretty straight forward any sleeping bag with a suitable temperature rating will do. This depends on where you will be camping, in high mountains it can still get cold even in summer, whereas camping on the beach will probably be quite warm. Consider your environment and average weather and make an appropriate decision.

Now that your portable bedroom is done you will need something to carry it in. Backpacks can be tricky, as you need something large enough, but if it’s too large you might end up filling it with things you don’t actually need. The kit shown fits in a 40 litre military surplus backpack, however a standard size which most people would have for backpacking is approx. 60 litres. If you are going out for a short trip, but have a larger bag try be extra critical of what is really essential to avoid carrying unneeded weight.

If you live in a wet area or will be around rivers or lakes, dry bags can be a life saver for keeping your kit safe. Consider in getting a large one for inside your backpack and then a series of smaller ones for vital gear, such as a dry bag with phone, keys, wallet and charger.

For cooking I use a primus stove, with its 500ml pot. Most of my cooking is just boiling water to put into dehydrated meals, or oats for breakfast. Ensure you keep your calorie content high but don’t over complicate cooking, take lots of dense snack bars and chocolate as they can be eaten while hiking.


As far as water goes it is again prudent to consider the area you are going into. Have a look on maps prior to your trips, are there any streams or lakes you could take water from and purify? If there aren’t then ensure you take enough water to last your entire trip, factor into account rinsing dishes and cooking.  If there are water sources that could be used consider investing in a filtration device, such as a sawyer squeeze, or water purification tablets. Always check upstream before drawing water and I wouldn’t advise drinking unfiltered or untreated water, there are some nasty things in water that could seriously ruin your camping trip.

The remaining essentials are common sense, a lighter to get your stove going, and folding knife. A map and compass are vital but make sure you know how to use them or carry a GPS. Toilet roll is optional, if trips are short you often find that you can go without a number 2 but carry toilet roll and a small trowel if you have your doubts. A phone and portable charger is a must, just in case you need emergency help along with a basic first aid kit.


  • Tent or Tarp
  • Sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Backpack
  • Stove and Gas
  • Utensils
  • Lighter
  • Food high in calories freeze dried meals are good
  • Water bottle and filtration system
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Toilet roll and small trowel
  • Phone and charger
  • First aid Kit
  • Toothbrush and any hygiene products
  • Spare clothes just in case you get wet#kitlayout

Things to consider before you go:

Check the weather forecast and decide if the weather looks appropriate for hiking and camping.

Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time they should expect you back, very important if you are going alone!

The last thing is get out and have fun!! Leave a comment if you enjoyed this and let me know what you want to see next!

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