Planning what to pack for a long multi-day backpacking trip can be quite daunting. Packing everything you need for 7-8 days on the trail sounds incredulous, but here is my complete pack list of what I packed for the High Sierra Trail.
This pack list differs quite a bit from what I’d bring on my typical shorter weekend backpacking trip. I wrote a blog post on every item I bring on those shorter 1-3 night trips, and going on longer trips like these makes me appreciate all of my ‘luxury’ items so much more.
My pack style
Let me preface by saying: I'm not an ultralight backpacker by any means. I'm probably considered the opposite... I don't mind carrying a few extra pounds if it means making the several days out in the backcountry seem more like home!
As always, packing for your own backpacking trip is a personal preference that you learn to hone with experience. The beauty of backpacking is it forces you to think about each item you pack and ask you to question the importance of each item.
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I use my trusty Osprey Aura 65L pack (I’m 5’4” and wear a size XS for reference). I love the suspension and it is really comfortable.
This was for a 8 day backpacking trip into the Sierra in mid-September, so this was me packing for colder weather late in the season.
Items marked with * were freshly treated with Permethrin right before the trip. Mosquitoes are an easy way to ruin sunrises and sunsets, so I try to take all precautions to reduce their nuisance. I'll douse all of these clothes with one 24 ounce bottle.
1 pair of hiking pants* - Prana Halle Pant
Breathable long sleeve button shirt* - REI shirt
2 shirts (1 tank, 1 tee)
Rain jacket - Outdoor Research jacket
Rain pants - Sierra Designs Hurricane Pant
Fleece zip up sweater* - The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket
Down jacket - Patagonia Down Sweater
Base layer leggings* - Smartwool Midweight Bottoms
Base layer long sleeve top* - Smartwool Midweight Half Zip Top
3 pairs of socks (2 light and 1 mid-weight)* - Crew socks like Smartwool Medium
2 sports bras (doubles as a swimsuit)
Lightweight wool gloves - Smartwool Glove Liners
Hat - Nike Dri-FIT Hat
Headlamp - Black Diamond
Knife - Spyderco
Packable daypack - Sea to Summit packable daypack
3L hydration bladder and tube - Camelback 3L Reservoir
Hiking boots - Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX
Sandals (for camp and river crossings) - Keen Whisper
High Sierra Trail map - Tom Harrison
3 season sleeping bag - REI Joule 21
Waterproof compression sack - Sea to Summit eVent Sack (size S)
Pillow - packable inflatable pillow
Tent - Marmot Limelight 3P
Microfiber towel - REI Towel
Trowel + 1 roll of TP - Ultralight trowel
Tennis ball for foam rolling
Mug - collapsible mug
Bowl - Basic REI
Spork - light spoon
1L pot set - Optimus Terra .95 Set
Stove - Kovea Spider
Two 230g isobutane fuel canisters - JetBoil
Sponge + soap - Cut up kitchen sponge and a mini Dr. Bronner's
12L bear can - Bear Vault BV500
Downloaded offline Google Maps
First aid kit + moleskin
Extra batteries - rechargeable ones
Mini roll of duct tape
Sometimes I feel like a pack mule for camera gear.
Waterproof camera - GoPro
Mirrorless Camera - Sony a6000
Astrophotography lens - Rokinon 12mm
2 extra camera batteries - third party camera batteries
Tripod - Amazon Basics Tripod
10 stop ND filter - B+W 67mm ND3.0 for the Rokinon
Camera remote for long exposures - Sony Remote
Solar charger - Anker 21W USB Panel
Camera & GoPro charger cables
These are all personal preference, but I love the mini sizes they sell at Target or drugstores! Wet wipes are a must for backpacking.. I'll lay them out to dry after using to help me feel like my pack is getting lighter.
Face wipes/face wash
Bug spray - ultra strong DEET
Hair brush - mini brush
Sunscreen - always Sun Bum
Baby wipes/makeshift shower - No Rinse Bathing Wipes
Lip balm - always Jack Black SPF 25
It always amazes me how much of my life I can fit into a single backpack, and how little I need to survive for a week in the wilderness!
More High Sierra Trail Planning Articles
Day 1: Crescent Meadow to 9 Mile Creek
Day 2: 9 Mile Creek to Hamilton Lake
Day 3: Hamilton Lake to Moraine Lake
Day 4: Moraine Lake to Junction Meadow
Day 5: Junction Meadow to Guitar Lake
Day 6: Guitar Lake out to Whitney Portal