Here is a list of some essential items you will need to assemble before you undertake a long distance hike. There are loads of choices and this is not an endorsement for any brand over others. You can also find many ultralight options for some of these categories but that will increase you overall costs. Keep in mind the object is endurance and determination so aim to carry the lowest weight possible within you budget.
Surely the most critical piece of equipment you’ll need it will be your lifeline and you nemesis all in one. Most important thought here is size be sure to have a pack large enough to carry all of you gear think 70 liters of capacity you may do well with a bit of a smaller pack but only if you can condense you gear enough.
There are dozens of brands and hundreds of options in this broad category and plenty of sites to explore in you search for the right pack for you. Take you time to decide read the specs and unless you gotta have it now monitor the item you never know when you favorite online store will have a special on it.
Tent or camping hammock
Next comes the decision of how you will be sleeping while you on you adventure. Hiking tents range in price and tend to be one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make. There are even ultralight models but they run on the high end some over $600 so set a budget and shop around. If you choose a tent set it up a few times in the yard get familiar with it and before you pack it up hit it with some scotch guard or other waterproofing.
Hammocks seem to be the latest big thing for hikers. Lighter than many tents easy to use and set up remember to look for a camping hammock with all the accessories like hanging straps, rain tarp, and bug netting or you will need to purchase these separately. I have never used one but the reviews I’ve seen are mostly positive.
So now on to sleeping depending on you choice of tent or hammock you may need a sleeping pad. Pads are either compressed foam some even fold up, self inflating which use a foam core that expands add a few breaths to increase firmness. Inflatable pads are also available they’re generally thicker than the self inflation variety and lastly there’s a hybrid of foam and air channels which self inflate but need firmness adjustments. When using the self inflating style of sleeping pad keep in mind to store it inflated before you need it so the foam will want to expand properly.
A sleeping bag or camping quilt is the next consideration. Bags run from Mummy style to regular traditional bags and have many cold ratings depending on your needs. I personally use camping quilts that I made myself and have slept OK [I didn’t freeze to death] even in temperatures below 30 degrees F because bags tend to be constricting and I”m a bit claustrophobic.
Camp Kitchen and cook system
You’re going to want to eat and there are lots of lightweight options to choose from. Isobutane cans use a small attachment on the canister and give a rocket style flame that quickly gets the job done and are very lightweight.
Some hikers prefer a tuna can with some holes near the top that burns alcohol you pan rests on the can and you don’t need very much fuel drawbacks are they may be dangerous to ignite and its not a controlled flame use caution if you go this route as dry gas is highly flammable.
I have also seen and made a wood burning stove from a coffee can a can of peaches and a small can of jalapenos to hold the pot it actually works good and uses twigs and pine cones as fuel and the fire stays contained within the unit.
Also, you may decide to go stove less it won’t save much weight but it can make the cleanup after a much easier chore.
Miscellaneous aka the rest of it
Without going into great detail you’ll need a few items besides food and a kitchen. A titanium spork for cooking and eating avoid the plastic ones they break easily.
A first aid kit not the biggest one they have a snack baggie with a couple of band aids or a bottle of new skin, maybe a couple of gauze pads and a tiny roll of adhesive tape, also include a roll of floss and a sewing needle in the event you need to make any repairs, and an alcohol prep pad or two.
Grooming needs include nail clippers,a comb or brush, toothbrush [modified or whole], a small package of moist wipes think sixty count if you use em all you can get the same size next resupply which will also help if nature calls. Keep it simple and basic adding too many items in miscellaneous can bump up you base weight quickly.
P P P or personal paper products either tp or wipes don’t leave home without em. There may be items I haven’t included if you concerned about weight buy a food scale.
Here you’ll want to remember less is more decide what you can get by on I will be using 2 t shirts for hiking and one for camp/town 2 pairs of shorts for hiking with built in briefs so no need to pack undies and a pair of gym shorts for camp. Sock wise I will not compromise and I will use 3 pairs to hike with and 1 pair for camp/town. Injinji’s of course because it toe socks or no socks for me. Since starting in March I intend to bring a pair of warm up style pants fleece lined until I can ship them home.
Must have is a down or synthetic down jacket which can serve as a pillow when you not hiking or sleeping in it. I could and probably will write an article about what not to bring but this is all for today I don’t wanna bore you. Thanks for checking it out. Feel free to leave a comment I’ll respond as soon as possible.