Do you use a checklist when you plan a hike?

Backpack Explosion

A few months ago I was thinking about writing a blog post about what we pack in our backpacks. I figured that everyone would want to know how many sandwiches we carry and what’s in our first aid kit.

Then I realized that our packing list is a fluid and evolving document. When it comes to packing we start with a generic checklist and then ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What is the temperature and the forecasted temperature? Is it hot, cold, wet, dry, windy, snowy? What will the temperature differences be between the trailhead and the top of the mountain? What clothing and gear do we need to keep us warm, dry etc?
  • Who are we going with? Grandparents, kids, babies, toddlers, teenagers, people our own age? What is their fitness and experience level? Who is going to carry the babies and toddlers and what are we going to carry them in?
  • Where are we going to sleep? In a cabin, hut, tent, yurt? Are there beds or cots or do we pack air mattresses or camping pads?
  • What are we going to eat and how are we going to cook food or find water? Are we going to cook on a fire, stove, grill or stick to the jet boil? What are we going to use for fuel?
  • Are we car camping, backpacking, traveling fast and light or is there room for weight and luxuries (like a book)?

It seem’s simple, but putting a little bit of thought into planning and not relying on someone else’s checklist can make the difference between a great time on the trails and a not-so-great time on the trails.

Now, we’re curious. Do you use pre formatted checklists when planning an adventure? What questions do you ask yourself when packing?


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  1. Pingback: 6 Questions I Ask Myself Before Every Hike -Just Trails

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