Backpacking through distant verdant forests or nearby national parks is a great way to reconnect with nature. Most of us spend the majority of our lives indoors. Then, when we are outdoors, we are likely in transit. The act of simply being in nature is revolutionary, especially the act of spending your night outdoors.
The approach of spring and soon summer means that the whole Northern Hemisphere is slowly becoming more hospitable. There’s never a better time in the year to plan overnight backpacking, whether as a day hike or a lengthy adventure.
On a regular backpacking trip, you can get by while missing some of the essentials in your daypack. It’s far from ideal, but you can make it work so long as you aren’t completely missing food and water.
We live in a connected age when going off the grid for an extended period seems unthinkable. The truth is, you don’t need to vanish for days at a time to reap the benefits of overnight backpacking. Even a single night spent under the sky can be enough to get you reconnected with what so many have lost.
Olivers is here with your next overnight backpacking trip. Commune with nature, and do so comfortably with our simple yet comprehensive packing list.
Critical Backpacking Apparel
A good trip demands apparel that is truly built to meet it. You don’t just want to look stylish, though the below garments will help you achieve that. You’re also looking for performance-enhancing fabrics and weaves designed to accomplish anything you may need.
Olivers’ selection includes classic styles improved through high-performing fabrics and an understanding eye of what matters most.
For your base layers, we suggest a pant whose built-in properties help provide coverage, stretch, and even sun protection. The Traverse Pant is made from durable stretch canvas and features both UPF 50+ sun protection and a water-repellent finish. Military olive, petrol, nutmeg, and khaki models provide rich colors that reflect cool and neutral natural hues.
Six pockets, with two in front, two in back, and cargo pockets at the thighs, provide thorough storage. Keep your most important gear within arm's reach with this powerful, moisture-wicking hiking pant.
For your top, choose a tee comfortable enough for the trail and your tent. Our Pivot Long-Sleeve Tee is built to be a powerful addition to any wardrobe. Use it for exciting outdoor trail running or to keep dry during overnight hikes. Pivot tech makes the tee an incredibly effective garment.
Flat-locked seams provide strength while reducing friction. Recycled fibers create an environmentally friendly garment that’s also moisture resistant and odor resistant. The longevity of its performance is fit to meet the harshest and longest trails.
You’ll also want a good pair of hiking boots and hiking socks. You’ll want supreme traction, a comfortable fit, and quick-drying fabric in your socks. An effective pair of running shoes can also help with trail running if you want a faster pace.
Essentials Overnight Backpacking Gear List
The backpacking gear you bring with you is just as necessary. Energy sources are at a premium when backpacking, making safe sources essential. Gas-powered generators can create pollutants and disturb the local wildlife due to the noise. Choose a solar-powered generator for any devices you may want to power.
Your phone battery should be conserved for the essentials, including, if you so like, photographs to document your trip. GPS functionality cannot necessarily be relied on, especially as you enter remote areas. Bring a compass to keep yourself oriented at all times.
Your specific choice of backpack is also essential to your pieces. A bag that goes over both shoulders symmetrically will be better for your balance and muscles. If you plan on staying near a car, leave the bulky items there. Fill your backpack with the immediate essentials you may need at a moment’s notice.
You should pack ample food, water, and clothing, and be sure to pack more than you expect to need. This will help you if you run into issues or come across other explorers in need. Nonperishables like granola, trail mix, mixed nuts, and jerky all make for easily stored, delicious snacks to help you through.
A headlamp is also effective for overnight journeys. If it’s getting late, you don’t want to have to dedicatedly hold a flashlight that can easily be dropped down the side of a mountain. A headlamp keeps your arms free and your way lit.
Medically speaking, people need to wear sunscreen every day. This is doubly true when out and about. Sun protection doesn’t just rely on sunscreen. Brimmed sun hats, a neck bandana, and apparel with UPF protection can both provide essential sun protection.
The gear you carry with you should be the little essentials you need throughout your day. For everything bulkier, prepare your campsite.
Completing Your Campsite: The Must-Haves
The camper’s base of operations should be able to sustain you for however long you camp. The goal is to make an effective temporary home while reducing your impact on the world around you. Some choose to sleep in an ultralight backpacking tent or merely in a sleeping bag or hammock under the stars.
For outdoor chefs, this could be a hot plate. This portable backpacking stove is easily packed for warm breakfasts or cozy late-night dinners. Be sure to keep all your food secured from wildlife with help from a bear canister, though.
Late nights can be a bit more livable with a lantern. Alternately bring a fire starter and waterproof matches for the perfect overnight trip. Aim for light sources that provide enough light for visibility but aren’t so bright that they will disturb wildlife or your camping neighbors.
Some enjoy bringing a field guide to identify animals and plants. This can help you if you want to uncover edible plants or simply take a closer look at your location. Preparation for all scenarios should factor in wet weather gear like rain cover for gear and a rain jacket.
For your toiletries, go ethical. Biodegradable soaps, toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste with minimal packaging, and other items can help you leave no trace. Quick-dry towels help offset drying times and keep your packed gear dry.
Modern environments like urban ones rely heavily on artificial light. Billboards, businesses, phones, and screens all coalesce to ruin our circadian rhythm. Sleeping outdoors lets us adjust to reacting to natural light, resulting in better sleep to come.
Essentials for Backpacking Emergencies
Being alone in the backcountry can offer unexpected challenges, and because of this, emergency supplies must not be overlooked. These are pieces that you don’t want to need, but you should have on hand in case you ever do. The first essential in any protective gear is a first aid kit.
You should also bring supplies to ensure that you can take care of any hikers in need you may come across. Extra water bottles, hydration packs, backpacking food, and topical ointment for blisters turn you into a trail-bound protector.
If dangerous wildlife is nearby, always have bear spray on hand. Far from just fending off bears, people have also successfully used it to repel cougar attacks.
Cell phones should always be charged in an emergency or have a charge available. We’ve previously mentioned the importance of electronics, but maintaining extra batteries for essential communication devices is a must. Of a less immediate magnitude, hand sanitizer and a water purifier should be on the list for hygiene purposes.
Also, keep a well-stocked first-aid kit handy. This will include various materials for disinfecting and treating burns, scrapes, and puncture wounds. It should also contain pain relievers with various base ingredients if someone has restrictions on medication they can take. Most general stores sell first aid kits of various sizes, so you don’t have to worry about making your own.
Keeping these handy in a backpacking pack will ensure that adventurers are prepared for anything.
The Overnight Backpacking Checklist: Final Thoughts
We talk a lot about what to bring to the trail regarding material goods. As a misbegotten hiking checklist, these matters can ruin what would otherwise be a wonderful day out. However, they aren’t the only thing that matters.
Whether over several days or only a single night, backpacking trips are a chance to reconnect to what truly matters. The daily hazards and pressures can fade away, leaving us with beautiful natural environments and close personal connections.
Getting started early on your checklist allows for more time to appreciate Mother Nature. Even a minor trip can become something wonderful when all is prepared for. Ditch the needless anxiety, and embrace the peace and power of outdoor living with your next outdoor adventure.