The amount of “what to bring on your backcountry camping trip” blog posts I’ve read, is a lot. I was determined to make it the most comfortable, most prepared for experience. But you know what, sometimes there are things you just don’t think about. And somehow, even after all of that research, I still managed to forget a few things on my first backcountry trip.
Below are some of the things I wish I’d brought and some of the things I found very useful out in the backcountry. Some of which you might not have thought of! Here are the 10 things you didn’t know you’d want in the backcountry.
Sweat towel & wash cloth
A sweat towel can be any sort of cloth you have laying around, a bandana works perfectly! And its super easy to tie around your neck or on your pack. And, it acts as a headband! You could also use a multiclava.
Cooling off with a wash cloth is refreshing (and a luxury) when hiking in the summer heat. Soak it in a river or stream and put it around your neck or use it as means to wash up before heading to bed.
P.S. I recommend using separate cloths for your sweat towel and wash cloth.
I’ve always been one to hike in leggings- always. I am just now realizing how restrictive (and hot) leggings can be in some conditions. On my first backcountry hiking and camping trip, shorts were the only thing I wore! Not the least bit restricting and kept me cool all day long.
The Vista Camp Pants by L.L. Bean are my go to’s! I love them because they are sweat wicking, stay in place, have zip pockets, and are loose fitting with an adjustable waist band.
Next on the 10 things you didn’t know you’d want in the backcountry list, a hammock. I will be investing in a hammock, no questions asked! It’s the perfect mid-day or evening wind down. If you’re carrying a hammock in the backcountry, choose your lounge spot mindfully and avoid areas that look untouched (so they can remain untouched).
I don’t know about you but I like to sleep. And I like to sleep well. A sleeping pad makes all the difference. A couple of inches of padding does wonders for the back! You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to get back at it all over again.
Whether you’re going to be out there for one night, two nights or a week; a water filter is essential! As you learn more about your hiker tendencies you begin to notice your water consumption. As time progresses, you’ll learn the right amount of water you need to carry depending on the length of the hike.
A water filter, like Sawyer Squeeze, is especially helpful because its small, convenient and easy to use. The pouch is easily filled in moving water (recommended) and still water. Using a water filter like the Sawyer Squeeze, even on a day hike, is super helpful in reducing pack weight. Water weighs a lot y’all.
Because, you will not, and I promise you, want to walk around camp in your hiking boots.
L.L. Bean’s Katahdin 4-Point Sandals are comfortable and adjustable. I am typically a 7.5 but rounded down to 7 as I found they run big.
Heavy but necessary! But why does this make the 10 things you didn’t know you’d want in the backcountry list? Blisters! They are no joke and oftentimes bandaids don’t work or stay on with all of the movement and sweat.
Duct tape acts as a second layer for the bandaid protecting it from moving and adding an extra cushion between your skin and boot! Duct tape can also be used for any area your pack might chafe your skin, like your hips or shoulders, or if you tear your gear or need to fix something in a pinch. Nothing like a multifaceted backpack item!
Extra underwear, bras and socks
After a day of walking through the woods and up and down summits, there is nothing better than changing into fresh clothes, especially fresh underwear, bra and socks. You might not want to carry the extra weight, because every ounce adds up, but trust me on this one you’ll feel like a million bucks when you slip into fresh undergarments.
I love these ExOfficio Give N’ Go Bikini Brief. These briefs are extremely breathable, sweat wicking, fast drying and odor resistant. The briefs are made to be worn repetitively through long travel days and treks. The company has been in the game for over 20 years creating functional underwear and apparel! So they’ve got it all figured out.
Day one snacks! Make these at home before heading out, keep them in the top of your pack and enjoy for lunch! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taste like you’re eating at a Michelin star restaurant when you’re sitting above treeline, trust me.
A change of clean clothes in the car
Things you didn’t know you’d want in the backcountry: a change of clean clothes in the car. This is an absolute must! Returning to your car sweaty, smelling of dirt, hot and tired is unavoidable after hiking in the backcountry and carrying a 30 something pound pack. This change of clothes will be an instant refresher until you can get home to take a proper shower!
Over to you, what are some of your backcountry must-haves?