Comprehensive Backpacking Gear List – Clothes & Food

Once you have your technical gear costs and weight accounted for, the next two things to add into the pack is clothing and food. These two categories are catered towards the environment you’ll be traveling through, the distance of your trip, and the comfort levels in which you wish to achieve, but one fact remains constant regardless of your journey, every ounce counts. Just like technical gear, excess weight can really add up in food and clothing and can weigh you down. So choose wisely, keep packability in mind, and use the following clothing and food analysis as a skeleton for your own backpacking system. Think we’re missing something, have some suggestions, or think you can do better yourself? Submit your own system to the Facebook page, we’d love to hear from you.



When it comes to clothing, wool is key, especially for the base layers (undies, socks, tops). That’s because wool wicks away your sweat, is odor resistant, and it’s a great insulator in both warm and cold weather. For pants, you can’t beat the double deal of convertible shorts, and if you’re traveling somewhere where rain is a possibility, always grab that rain jacket. Sun hats and UPF lined shirts are a good way to avoid any excess sun exposure, while puffy jackets are great for cold nights and for stuffing deep into a pack when not needed. Whatever clothes you bring, just remember that your experience will highly be determined by your comfort level, so pack accordingly.

Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Hiking Socks (2 pairs) $39.90
Keen Waterproof Koven Hiking Shoes $110.00
IceBreaker Anatomica Boxers $39.99
IceBreaker Anatomica Leggings $74.99
Mountain Khakis Equatorial Convertible Pants $89.95
Patagonia Men’s Capilene Silkweight Crew $39.00
Mountain Hardwear Thin Line Short Sleeve T $40.00
Ex-Officio BugsAway Halo Expedition Shirt $100.00
Patagonia R1 Fleece Pullover $129.00
Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Puffy Jacket $225.00
Arc’teryx LT Hybrid Rain Jacket $350.00
Tilley TWC7 Outback Sun Hat $84.00
Rayban Wayfarer Classic Polarized Sunglasses $130.00
The North Face Bones Beanie $20.00
Total $1,471.83



Food can be hard to determine exact costs and weight without knowing a few other factors. Often times on a long-distance hike you won’t have a wide array of shopping choices at resupply points, rather you might be stuck with a single mountain town grocery store where products and prices may vary greatly from your local grocery store. An important thing to remember about your food is that you need a high calorie diet if you are tackling any sort of big distances. Food is also where a lot of weight and excess can occur, so before you stuff a box full of Pop-Tarts into your pack, like with any packaged items, be sure to break down your packaging as much as you can to pack light.

*This example is for 1 week of trail food

Dinner: Dinner is an opportunity to reward yourself and pack in some calories. Freeze dried options are often delicious, can deliver a big calorie boost, and are typically one of the more expensive options. There are tons of other great diners you can make for cheap with a little recipe browsing and smart grocery shopping.

Mountain House Beef Stroganoff W/ Noodles $6.99
Backpacker’s Pantry Louisana Red Beans & Rice $4.50
AlpineAire Beef Burrito Bowl $8.49
Ramen Packet Seasoned Quinoa (Dirty Gourmet) $4.00
Sweet and Spicy Tuna Couscous (Wild Backpacker) $4.00
Bulgur Chili (Trail Recipes) $4.00
Queets Valley Shepard Pie (Mother Nature Network) $4.00
Hersheys Dark Chocolate Bar $1.54
Dinner Total $37.52


Lunch: Instead of packing the Reuben sandwich fixings, lunch should be quick and easy and can be supplemented nicely by snacking all day. Peanut butter and hummus separately add a boost to your diet, and cheese, although delicious, should be avoided if it’s been sitting in your pack in the hot sun for too long.

Dried Bananas $1.44
Hillshire Farms Summer Sausage (16 oz) $3.98
Powdered Hummus $3.59
Laughing Cow Original Swiss $3.49
Peanut Butter (16 oz) $2.49
Tortilla $2.49
Tuna Pouch $4.44
Bagels (6 Pack) $5.18
Lunch Total $27.10


Breakfast: Breakfast is an important start to your day, but it doesn’t have to take long to create. Oatmeal goes a long way, as does dried fruit and granola bars. Be sure to pack that coffee if you like your caffeine in the morning, and always remember to break down some of the excess packaging before hitting the trail.

Instant Oatmeal Packets (The Yummy Life) $3.98
Instant Coffee Packets (14 count) $2.00
Whole Grain Cereal & Powder Milk $2.98
Rice Breakfast (Backpacking Guide) $2.25
Granola Bars (6 Pack) $4.69
Breakfast Total $15.90


Snacks: Snacks are an important part of your diet. That extra boost between meals, the needed sugars and calories to make it to the next campsite, and the supplemental lunch effects, skip the gummy worms and pack nutrition-dense snacks instead to give you the fuel you need.

GORP $2.99
Dried Fruit $2.88
Cliff Bars (5) $7.50
Powdered Gatorade (8 pack) $3.78
Fruit Leather (12) $6.00
Snacks Total $23.15


Food Total (Approximate) $103.67 

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