The following list is extensive. Not every person will bring every item, but every group should carry at least one first aid kit and all items on the group gear list. When you head into the backcountry, you are responsible for assessing the terrain, current conditions, your abilities and those of your group, and what items you should have in your pack to survive if you encounter a mishap or sustain an injury.
Note: No checklist is infallible. Before you head out on an adventure, it is important to check the weather, prepare for the worse possible conditions and make a plan based upon your personal and/or your group's abilities in mind. Plan an alternate route in case of bad weather, injury, illness or slower than expected travel time. Before departing, make sure someone at home knows your plan: where you are going, with whom, and when you plan to return. And make sure you know how to use the gear you carry.
Waterproof pack cover
High-energy food & snacks
Water (at least 2 quarts per person)
Water bottles or hydration system
Water treatment system
Re-sealable, double-bagged plastic bags to pack out toilet paper
First aid kit
Personal medications: For example, an inhaler (asthma) or Epi-pen (allergies)
Repair kit , including a knife/multi-tool and duct tape
Headlamp/flashlight w/ extra batteries
Firestarter (for emergencies)
Route description/guidebook and trail map
Trip itinerary (2)
Tip: Leave an itinerary at home with a friend or family member, and place one, out of sight, in the car parked at the trailhead.
Personal ID, insurance card, credit card and a small amount of emergency cash
Contractor grade trash bags
Note: Plastic trash bags serve many functions: Use them as pack liners to keep your gear dry, to carry out trash, as a makeshift rain poncho, or as an emergency bivouac sack.
Group Gear: If you are traveling in a group, carry at least 1 sleeping bag, 1 closed foam sleeping pad and 1 form of shelter (tarp, tent, bivy sack, or emergency blanket), 1 cook stove, fuel and pot. These tools can be used in an emergency to keep an injured hiker warm until help arrives. Hypothermia is more of a threat when you sit, immobilized, due to an injury.
Wicking (synthetic, wool or silk) underwear
Wicking (synthetic, wool or silk) t-shirt
Wicking (synthetic, wool or silk) long underwear
Synthetic or wool long pants
Tip: Zip-off pants, which convert to shorts, are popular in the warmer weather
Wicking (synthetic, wool or silk) long-sleeve shirt
Insulating layers - top and bottom: Fleece jacket (or vest)/pants
Wind/rain gear - top and bottom: Waterproof, breathable fabric
Synthetic or wool hat
Tip: In the warmer weather, a baseball cap or brim hat to shield your face from the sun can also be helpful.
Bandanna or Buff
Gloves or mittens
Boots (or shoes suited to the terrain)
Socks (synthetic or wool)