Our Current Backcountry Packing List

One of the questions I see asked frequently is: What to bring on backpacking (and camping) trips? Getting started can seem overwhelming at first. So much gear! What do we really need? What can be left at home? How do I avoid carrying 75 pounds up a mountain? Should I just rent a llama to pack everything??

I understand that it seems like A LOT, especially when you are factoring in all the gear required for a small human (whom is ALSO going to need to be carried). So I’m posting our current packing list for this season. This is based on two adults and one 6 month old infant, for a three day excursion, but can be scaled to longer trips easily. It’s definitely not an inclusive list for all families but I think it’s a good jumping-off point.

NOTE: None of the links included are sponsored. I have only linked to items that we have personally used, and continue to use because it’s good quality, useful gear. I don’t benefit in any way from the purchase of anything I’ve posted below (none of these are affiliate links).




  • Base Layers
  • Underwear x 2
  • Socks x 3
  • Fleece Pants
  • Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Puffy Jacket
  • Toque
  • Rain Jacket (forecast depending)

Baby Specific


  • Bear Spray
  • Bear Bangers/Flares
  • First Aid Kit (see below for details)
  • Paracord – 10+ Feet*
  • Compass
  • Topo Map

Everything Else

  • Breast Pads
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Toilet Paper
  • Headlamp & Batteries
  • Camp Shoes
  • Battery Bank/Charger
  • Cell Phone Power Cord
  • Bluetooth Speaker Power Cord
  • Lightweight Tarp (optional)
  • Camera, Battery, SD Card, Mini Tripod

First Aid Kit

  • Infant Tylenol & Syringe
  • Digital Thermometer
  • Bandaids/Tegaderm
  • Saline Drops
  • Steri-strips
  • After Bite
  • All Prescription Medications
  • Advil
  • Benadryl


1. We typically carry water bottles instead of water bladders. This is personal preference, but taking a bottle as backup is wise due to the possibility of a bladder being punctured (which happened to us). Wide mouth bottles are also awesome for filling with hot water before bed and tucking into the foot box of your sleeping bag, as a “critter catcher” for kids, to rehydrate food while you hike, and numerous other purposes.

2. We use disposable diapers. To determine how many diapers to bring I just kept track of how many we use at home each day over the course of a few days, then added a few extra in case. Since Katrin started solid foods, she has stopped pooping daily and now only goes once every couple of days. Since the majority of her diapers will just be pee, we will dry them in the sun and then pack them out in an XL zip top bag. Drying (or even partially drying) will at least reduce the weight, and the smell, for the trip home. Don’t forget to store all dirty diapers, and other scented baby necessities in bear lockers or hung in your bear bag!

3. The only SAFE SLEEP options for infants are labeled specifically as bassinets, cribs, or play yards. We do not co-sleep, even at home. The lightest evidence-based safe sleep device that I have found is linked above. It weighs around 6lbs but it comes with its own self-inflating mat which is ideal for backpacking anyway. Plus it can double as baby-containment during the daytime.

* We started using white noise for Katrin when we transitioned away from swaddles. It seemed to make a significant difference for her in terms of staying asleep. We decided to bring our portable speaker on camping and backpacking trips because it’s something familiar. She doesn’t sleep all that great in new environments, so anything we can do to improve her rest (and ours) we will do.

** Paracord is extremely useful. I have recommended 10 feet, but more is better (personally we like to have 18-20 feet in case we need to hang out food unexpectedly). You can use it to hang a tarp, as a clothes line, repair certain damaged gear, guy line out your tent if an unexpected storm rolls in, etc. It’s worth carrying, and you can weave it into a nifty lanyard or bracelet if you really want to.

About the author

Mike & Cal have been backpacking around Alberta for the past decade. This site is where they share trip reports, photos, and tips and tricks for getting outside.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow us on Social Media