My trekking packing list
People sometimes ask me what do I pack for my trekking trips. Relevant question indeed, but it's not too convenient to reply everyone in detail. So here is the answer - my packing list for multiday camping treks (not only) in the Caucasus.
Just to make it clear - I won't sell this as some "ultimate trekking gear backpacking list", suitable for everybody (because people differ and mountains differ, too) - this is just a checklist of camping stuff which works for me. Since this post is already quite long, it contains only not-edible parts - the rest is covered in this post about the trekking food.
I also have to admit that I am no packing guru who follows latest trends and counts every gram. I hate shopping and do it only when I absolutely have to (the older piece breaks down). And since I prefer durable gear, that doesn´t happen that often. So feel free to get inspired but keep in mind that what works for me doesn´t have to suit you.
Packing and organization
Trekking backpackWhen it comes to backpacks, there is a little space for compromises. Because as my grandma says, "cheapskate pays twice". And you really don´t want to end up with a torn shoulder strap in the middle of the week-long trek.
Backpacks some in various sizes and capacities, each fitting a different purpose. Your pack should be neither too small or too large (ba dum tsss, what a surprise!) - you should be able to fit everything inside without leaving too much extra space. Extra space means that the backpack is too big and therefore too heavy - could make quite a difference since the backpack is one of the heaviest parts of your gear. Since my trekking trips often last more than a week, I have a backpack with the capacity of 70 litres. It´s quite a lot and I could save space if I attached some stuff from the outside of the pack, but I don´t want to feel like a walking Christmas tree.
And the brand? For the last 8 years, I´ve been using Treksport Tatran made by famous, but the already defunct local company (15-20 years ago, Slovak and Czech travelers could have been easily distinguished by their Treksport backpacks). It misses some modern tweaks but is almost indestructible. Also, it has a built-in raincover - if your backpack doesn´t, you will have to buy it extra.
Of course, it can´t be bought anymore. If I had to buy a backpack today, I would probably go for some lighter model such as Deuter Aircontact or Osprey Aether.
In case of emergency, you can also create a daypack from the compression sack for your sleeping bag. You just need to readjust straps.
Re-sealable, waterproof packsGreat for storing things one doesn’t need in the mountains (passport, smartphone), some kinds of food (I mix my own muesli) or various small items you want to keep together. I use transparent packs sealable by a zip - bought them at the DM Drogeriemarkt.
For the last 7 years, I´ve been wearing Teva Terra Fi3 hiking sandals. And I must admit that they were extremely durable, comfortable and provided great value for money. Recently, I finally exchanged them for newer model and hope these will be at least half as durable as the old ones.
Currently, I have Columbia Silver Ridge convertible pants. They can be shortened to the "above the knees" length and I wear them like this most of the time.
Short hiking pantsI have also another short hiking pants as a backup if the other ones get torn or extremely dirty. Again, these are light and fast-drying. I got mine at Decathlon.
Undewear - trunks (4x)I usually pack four pieces. And once in a few days wash them in the morning and let them dry during the day on the top of my backpack.
As for the brands, right now I have one Icebreaker Oasis shirt - great, but pricey. Remaining two shirts are from Slovak company Froggywear. I´ve been using them only shortly, but they are good enough and cost a fraction of the price of the original Icebreaker.
Ordinary T-shirtJust an ordinary shirt, used for moving around the cities or as a backup if everything else gets wet.
Three pairs are enough even for longer treks. Right now, I have two pairs of Icebreaker’s Hike & Light Crew socks and one pair of Northman’s Trekking Light Merino Crew.
Swimming shortsI use them mostly for sleeping but they occasionally also come handy for trekking on extremely hot days or when I want to bath and there are strangers around.
Camping & sleeping
Right now, I use Rimo 600 sleeping pad made by Czech company Sir Joseph, well-known for their high-quality gear. Also, won't deny it, I like their name :P
Inflatable sleeping pad fits very well at the top of my backpack
Right now, I have several pieces from the Pinguin Quadri set. But if I went shopping now, I would buy Pinguin Solo as it's designed to fit in also a gas canister and stove.
Gas canisterUsually you have to buy these in Georgia as you can’t bring gas canisters onto the plane. So you can’t be too picky and buy what’s available. Of course, no-name canisters are cheaper and last shorter, even when the weight is the same.
How much gas will you need? As a rule of thumb, the average hiker "consumes" about 30 grams of gas per day - that’s enough to prepare one hot meal and several cups of tea. So plan accordingly.
I currently own Deuter Streamer and it's the best camelbak I had so far. What I like the most is the material, it's some sort of smooth rubber which looks clean and sterile even after several years of usage. Another nice feature is the full-width top opening so the bladder can be cleaned much easier than the models with a lid.
Tin mug, Dish sponge, Box of Matches
Smartphone- Since I installed Locus maps, I use it for the navigation.
Spare camera battery- as one is not enough for 1 week of trekking
Spare batteries- AAA batteries for the headlamp.
Charging cables for the camera and smartphone.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, interdental brushes
Toilet paper- reasonable amount, not the whole roll :)
Small towel- usually lose it during the trek, but still keep taking it.
Sunscreen lotion- the higher UV factor, the better. But take only a small tube, not the whole bottle :)
Lip balm- used to get herpes on the 3-4th day of the trek because of the combination of sunstroke and exhaustion. This small guy really helped me with it.
Insect repellent- didn't take it in the last few years since them most problematic insect in the Caucasus are the horseflies and those simply don't care :) Luckily, there are not that many in the Caucasus yet.
Pack of tissues
Biodegradable soap- for washing of hands and also of clothes.
Nail clipper- I thoroughly clip my toenails before the trip but still feel better if I have this one in reserve.
These items are not needed for everybody - but at least somebody in your hiking group should have them. You won´t need most of them regularly, but once in a while, you can save the day.
Sewing kityou will truly appreciate this one only after your trousers get ripped around the butt on the first day of your trek. Map & compass - at least someone should have a clue where you are actually going.
Roperecommended for skilled groups who plan to stray away from well-established hiking trails. Priceless during dangerous river crossings or in steep, semi-climbing terrain.
GuidebookIt's good to have one in a group. Even if you have planned everything in advance, there is a chance that you will at some unexpected place and such cases, guidebook is a great, compact source of the information. The most popular guidebook were published by Bradt and LonelyPlanet.
WD40 duct tapeUniversal fixing tool. There are so many things in the world that can be fixed with the duct tape!
First aid kit
How to build your first aid kit? That could be a topic for a separate article, so to make it short, I will just list of hazards and corresponding items in your first aid kit. Also, this is technically also "common stuff" - one in a group is enough
Skin wounds- antiseptic towels or water syringe (to clean the wound), butterfly bandage (for smaller cuts), sterile gauze pad and bandages (both cotton and elastic) for larger wounds, latex gloves (when things get bloody).
Blisters- leukotape both for prevention and treatment
Diarrhea- Imodium, Endiex or something similar
Cold, flu- Theraflu or something similar
Various pain(head, teeth) - painkillers
Still, I chose to use them. Right now, I own Fizan Compact, made by reputable Italian company. Marketed as the lightest trekking poles on the market, one pole weight only 173 grams. So far, I've been using them for two years and must say that in spite of the low weight, they are quite durable. And once they break, I will without any qualms buy them again.
Journal with a pen
Disclaimer: This article contains links. Pointing to products. Since July 2018, some of them are affiliate links - that means that if you click on it and buy something, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Finally decided to get registered as an Amazon Associate after being laughed at by my fellow travel blogers. Now I am eager to find if it actually makes some money :)