Backcountry Camping Packing List – Two Nights 2023
Dreaming of a backcountry camping adventure? Feeling nervous? Not quite sure where to start? Good news is… you made it here and a packing list is a pretty perfect place to begin. The way you pack for an overnight backpacking trip can really make or break your experience.
I just returned from 3 days in the Colorado backcountry. I went with two other girlfriends who had never been backpacking or backcountry camping before, so my previous and extensive backpacking experience was one of the reasons I was asked to come along. And what to pack was a topic that began a month out and led us all the way up into the day before we were on the trail.
You certainly don’t want to carry too much weight (sore shoulder’s anyone?!), but you also want to be thorough. The below list is exactly what I took along for two nights and 20 miles of hiking in mid-July just outside of Crested Butte, Colorado. So let’s get into the backcountry camping packing list, shall we?!
2023 Backcountry Camping Packing List
I’ve got this divided into the following 6 categories: Camping Gear, Safety Gear, Hydration and Food, Hygiene, Clothing, and Camera Gear.
For this trip I actually used my husbands Osprey Exos 58L pack. It weighs in at 2.94 lbs. which was much lighter than my Shimoda and Atlas photography adventure packs. HOWEVER, Osprey JUST shipped me the women’s specific Eja Pro 55L Ultralight pack. And I’m SUPER stoked for it to arrive for my next set of adventures as it weighs in at only 2.06 lbs! Nearly a pound lighter. Which on longer trips, makes a huge difference. Here are a few more great options to check out as the carry-all for your backcountry camping packing list:
And if your pack does not have a rain cover included (many do), be sure to pack one! Something like this REI Co-op Duck’s Back Rain Cover is super lightweight and packs down nice and tiny. Just be sure you get the right size for whatever liter pack you’re sporting.
Get yourself a lightweight tent and sleep system! GAME. CHANGERS. Here’s what I used this trip.
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 Bikepack Tent (Thank you Betsy!)
Sea to Summit Spark Ultralight 18F Sleeping Bag (One of the other women on the trip had the 30F version of this same bag and was a bit cold. I was toasty and very comfortable!)
And for an even lighter weight sleeping pad… try the Sea to Summit Ether Light.
Zippered Kevlar Food/Bear Bag + 25 feet of 3 mm rope to hang bear bag in a tree approx. 200 yards from camp
Rocky Talkies for communicating with my fellow hikers when we were a bit separated. These came in super handy on multiple occasions! Used much more than expected. Especially for photo ops. 🙂 📸
Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Lantern (Used this both nights in the tent!)
Hydration and Food
I brought my Osprey 2.5L Water Reservoir that stayed in my pack the entire trip.
I also brought a backup 1 L reservoir so that when I ran out during the day, I could quickly refill. AND/OR have enough water for meals once we got to camp without needing to head to the river.
I typically bring my Katadyn Microfilter. But on this trip, both my hiking buddies had the Katadyn Be Free collapsible water bottles with filters, so we just used those. Highly recommend! Super lightweight, doubles as a water bottle, easy to use, and fast filtration.
I also always bring Potable Aqua water purification tablets as a back up… just. in. case. It adds zero extra weight to my backcountry camping packing list. Water filters can clog up or be finicky. It’s always best to test them and replace the filter before a big trip. So just in case, I like keeping purification tablets in my pack. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to hydration!
There are varying opinions out there about the best stove to stay light on the trail when it comes to the best backcountry camping packing lists. Ultimately, I think this is about personal choice and preference. I love the Jetboil system because I can leave the lighter and matches at home. It’s self-igniting! Plus the canister is included and it’s a true all-in-one system. Other stoves I’ve owned in the past are:
I did not bring a bowl because I was not sharing any meals. So I just ate my meals straight out of their bags.
12 oz. Miir Camp Mug clipped to the outside of my pack. I used this for coffee in the mornings and for hydration tablets in the afternoons.
I am incredibly partial to Good To-Go foods! They are my absolutely favorite backpacking food – super flavorful, clean, nutritious, and I can read every single ingredient on the ingredient list.
NOTE: If you buy your meals on REI’s website, don’t forget that you get a 10% off bulk discount when you buy 8 or more full-price backpacking food items.
Alpine Start Instant Coffee – Pack of 8 (Shared with one other on the trip.)
Stroop Club Vegan Stroopwafels – 2 (I enjoyed these in the AM with my coffee before oatmeal. 😋)
Lunch / Snacks
Trailtopia Jambalaya – 1 (Ate on the top of Triangle Pass on day 2!)
Skratch Labs Sport Energy Chews – 3 bags
1 pack of Beef Jerky
2 Beef Sticks
LMNT Electrolyte Packets – 3 (1 for each day)
And yes, I usually bring the 2 serving packs with me because girrrrrl, you know I be burnin’ them calories!
Toothbrush and toothpaste
I brought a brush and not once did I use it. I’ll leave that behind next time.
SPF 30 Lip Balm
Kula Cloth – antimicrobial reusable pee cloth that stayed snapped to the outside of my pack. I love this thing! Plus it keeps my clothes from being stinky. Ladies… you know what I’m talking about here.
Biodegradable Baby Wipes + Ziplock bag to pack it out
No Rinse Bathing Wipes – I love a good wipe down before bed. I definitely sleep more comfortably when I’m not going to bed sticky. I’d argue this is a creature comfort, but it doesn’t weigh much sooooo.
Wild Rye Quick Dry Camp Towel (I wouldn’t necessarily always include this in a backcountry camping packing list, but for this backpacking trip it came in very handy! Our destination was Conundrum Hot Springs so we soaked in the hot springs on night 1 and I absolutely used it. Then on night 2, we stayed at Copper Lake and I took an ice dip in the glacier fed lake and used it again.)
Rain / Wind
I left the rain pants at home this trip because there was zero rain in the forecast for the 3 days we’d be out. But I own the Patagonia Torrentshell Pants and love them for both wind and rain protection!
Outdoor Research Versaliner Gloves – I love these because they come with a water resistant shell as well.
Clothing / Layers
Leggings – 2 pairs (Slept in one pair and kept those ‘clean’, wore the other during the day.)
Patagonia Tech Shorts (Quick Dry) – 1 pair
Long Sleeve UPF Rated Shirt – 1
Smartwool Intraknit Strappy Bra (I wore this the entire trip and it never smelled! This bra will change your life!)
Bandana / Neck Gaiter
Merino Wool Socks and Merino Wool Liner Socks – 2 each
Yaktrax Spikes (Definitely used these on the snow day 1 and was so glad to have them!)
Helix Portable Power Bank
This post covered my 2023 backcountry camping packing list recommendations for a happy, lightweight, and safe hike. Now get out there and get adventuring! Then tell me all about it! 🥰