Backcountry Gear List

backpacking gear gear list hiking hiking gear for women thru hike

Lately I’ve been upgrading my backpacking gear, going lighter and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I’m hoping to only carry what’s necessary, which of course takes practice but I think I’m slowly getting there. Today I’ll be sharing my current gear set up; excluding major items like my tent, backpack and sleeping bag (stay tuned for future posts on those!). Some items in my list may be left behind depending on the season and weather.

backcountry camping clothing items for women laid out


  • Tank tops to alternate (one can be saved to sleep in/change into at camp in warmer temperatures)
  • (In cooler temperatures, 1 tank and 1 long sleeve)
  • Long sleeve camp/sleeping shirt (quick dry) – you can also hike in it if needed. Mine may be upgraded soon to something similar to this top.
  • Sports bra
  • Extra bra (lightweight) to change into at camp
  • Puffy jacket – I only use synthetic, not down. I am in love with my Patagonia nano puff – it’s super compact, light and warm!
  • Rain shell – I am so happy with this recent upgrade. This shell has been great in rainy and windy conditions. In cold temperatures, this ends up being my outermost layer.
  • Buff – a lot of people call this a buff, but in this case it’s an Ubertube by Outdoor Research. You can use this so many ways including as a neckwarmer, hat, headband or towel.
  • Hat – I recently upgraded my thick, bulky toque in exchange for this Outdoor Research beanie. Outdoor Research is becoming one of my favorite brands!
  • Sports cap – yet another Outdoor Research purchase. This cap is great for sunny and rainy days.
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses – never leave without them.


  • Socks – 2 pairs
  • Sock liners – these are great for avoiding blisters
  • Sleeping socks in cooler temperatures – mine are fuzzy and not restricting
  • 2-3 pairs underwear – I am loving my Patagonia hipsters (worth every penny) and my Under Armour pair does the job (but are a bit wedgie-inducing at times)
  • Light causal shorts for camp/sleeping in (warmer temperatures)
  • Long johns/mid-weight bottoms (cooler temperatures) – Patagonia is definitely a favorite brand of mine!
  • Running shorts with attached liner (warmer temperatures)
  • Athletic leggings (cooler temperatures) – I am in LOVE with my leggings from Girlfriend Collective but only wear them on trails where I don’t think I’ll run into the risk of snagging them. I will need to upgrade to a pair meant for hiking so I don’t ruin my favorite tights!
  • Rain pants – these can be worn in multiple situations, not just during the rain. I often wear them in the morning when it’s cooler over my shorts that’s I’ll be hiking in during the day. Just before starting the hike, I’ll remove them and stow them near the top of my pack for easy access in case of rain. In addition, I wear them around camp if it’s cold or windy, layering long johns underneath if necessary.
  • Hiking boots – I highly recommend trying something like Merrells instead of big clunky hiking boots.


  • Ziploc “wallet” (a ziploc bag filled with ID, medical and bank cards)
  • Phone (doubles as my camera and music/podcast player)
  • Power bank
  • Headlamp (mine is made by Black Diamond)
  • Batteries
  • Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Advil
  • Hair tie
  • Travel size folding brush (mine is from Avon years ago and is broken but I love it)
  • Hand lotion (I have skin dryness issues)
  • Sunscreen
  • Ear plugs
  • Small bottle filled with bio-degradable soap 
  • Mini container of natural, baking soda based deodorant (I make my own, feel free to contact me to order some)
  • Lip balm
  • Earphones
  • Diva cup when I have my period or am expecting it
  • Unscented baby wipes – these are a lovely item to keep you feeling fresh
  • Toilet paper
  • A few q-tips


  • Therm-a-rest Neoair sleeping pad
  • Compressible pillow – this thing saves my neck. I am pretty sure I own the largest one but it’s a necessity for me since I have neck issues
  • I will soon be upgrading my sleeping bag for a synthetic quilt, so I’m not posting what I use now. I love it, but it’s way too heavy and bulky

I hope you find this list helpful! Please share your favorite items in the comments.

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  • Ashley from Backcountry Women on

    Hey Christine,

    I wear one set of clothing for hiking in, one for sleeping in/wearing at camp, a puffy for warmth at camp, and rain gear for keeping the rain and wind out. It’s not much! As mentioned in my post, some of the items are for warmer weather, others are for cooler weather. You do what works for you, and I’ll do what works for me :) I am currently aiming to have all I need in my pack including food and 2 L water sitting at around 30 lbs.

  • Christine on

    LOL…wow you pack a lot of clothes. I wear long pants on the trail, preferably canvas. Tank top, and a denim long sleeved shirt. And of course my Tilley. My bra goes in the pack after the first day. One extra tank, a fleece jacket,shorts, three pairs each of socks and underwear. Extra pants in the colder weather. Thats it.
    I use old running shoes on the trail. In shoulder seasons I wear hip waders when paddling. If it is a work trip I take kodiaks ( steel toed). I take sandals or second pair of runners for camp…dry feet are one of my camp luxuries.
    I take full rain gear in the spring/fall and just a jacket in the summer.

    Now, my personal items are extensive. Bug spray, aloe, sun block, knife, fire starters, toiletries in a small kit. Flashlight and batteries, camera, compass, TP.

    I usually have two to three litres of water in the outside pockets of my pack too.

    The end result is a 30.0 litre food barrel and two 30lb packs, plus my canoe. I am working on eliminating one pack. When I was younger I could use two heavier packs and no barrel but alas the years have been unkind. It is easier to make an extra trip than carry heavier loads.

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