scouts bsa Troop 11 | Houston, texas

How to Pack for a Weekend Backpacking Trip

For a backpacking trip, EVERYTHING has to go into a frame backpack. The troop has packs to lend out if you need one. Pack everything in closed gallon-sized ziplock freezer bags that make it easy to find things while also keeping it dry.


  • Tent w/stakes, poles & rain fly 
  • Tent footprint or groundcloth 
  • Sleeping bag 
  • Sleeping pad 
  • Backpacking pillow 
  • Waterproof pack cover

Personal Gear

  • Head lamp 
  • Pocket knife or multitool 
  • Matches or firestarter
  • Rain gear
  • Day pack
  • Lightweight camp chair
  • Watch
  • Pencil
  • Cheap sunglasses
  • Map or GPS with spare batteries and directions
  • Compass
  • Emergency whistle
  • Small first-Aid kit 
  • 4' Length of duct tape (wrap around a Nalgene)
  • Velcro tie-down straps (not bungie cords)
  • 50’ of paracord 
  • Work gloves (if there is a service project scheduled)
  • Tent pole repair kit 
  • Wallet with cash, ID, medical insurance card
  • Cell phone with charger and power adapter for drive to campout
  • Navigation apps downloaded and installed if being used while hiking (Gaia GPS, Maplets, AllTrails are all good)
  • Supplemental battery (to recharge phone)

Personal Care

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • Medications (give to the designated Medmaster at departure)
  • Lip Balm 
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Bug spray 
  • Sun protection 
  • Gold Bond (for chafing)
  • Several pieces of moleskin (for blisters)
  • Spare zip-lock bags (so you don't have to leave your tent in the middle of the night)
  • Toilet paper and small spade (for digging a cathole)
  • Tekneu (for poison ivy)
  • Hand warmers (for cold weather)
  • Nail clippers (do your toenails before leaving home)

Dining and Eating

  • Stove with fuel and cook pot/lid (optional)  
  • Bowl or cup (in a ziplock bag) 
  • Spork 
  • Very small container of dish soap
  • Filled 1-liter water bottles (minimum 3 liters) Optional: Camelbak
  • Water filtration kit (optional)
  • Meals (usually provided but leave room to carry your share)
    • 2 Breakfasts 
    • 1 Lunch 
    • 1 Dinner (freeze-dried)
    • Hiking snacks

Clothes (hot weather)

  • Hiking boots/shoes
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Camp shoes close-toed but lightweight like Crocs (optional)
  • Socks (1 pair/day) Some people also like thin, wicking sock liners under their hiking socks.
  • Long pants/convertible shorts (1 pair/3 days)
  • Wicking athletic shirt (short sleeve is cooler, long sleeve protects from sun, bugs, and scratches better)
  • Compression shorts (to prevent between-the-leg chafing)
  • Underwear (1/day)
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Swimsuit (if there will be swimming opportunities)
  • Rain gear/windproof shell

Clothes (cold weather)

  • Warm pajamas
  • Wool socks (1 pair/day)
  • Hiking boots/shoes
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Warm base layer (not cotton)
  • Heavy pants (avoid cotton like jeans if there is any potential for wet conditions)
  • 2 warm, long-sleeved shirts
  • Warm layer - could be a fleece jacket/wool sweater + your rain jacket OR a separate warm, windproof coat
  • Rain gear (minimum is a rain jacket. Rain pants would only be for very wet and cold conditions. Some people prefer very small umbrellas.)
  • Warm toboggan hat
  • Warm scarf (optional)
  • Gloves, mittens, or glove liners
  • Soda can koozie (useful to keep phones warm so the battery doesn't die quickly)

Entertainment (optional)

  • Book to read
  • Frisbee/ball/games
  • Binoculars

Special considerations for cold weather:

  • Cotton is bad, wool and synthetics are good. Cotton retains moisture. Blue jeans and sweat pants are not advisable for winter camping, although dry sweat pants can be worn in the sleeping bag. Wicking synthetics such as Cool Max are available for clothing next to skin. They wick moisture away from the skin and allow it to evaporate.
  • Layering is important. One-piece winter suits are good only when inactive and not recommended for winter campouts. Throughout the day Scouts will be active, and need to wear layers of clothing that can be added and removed.
  • Putting clean, dry underwear on when going to bed is crucial. Bring a spare pair of underwear and long underwear to change into while in a sleeping bag, as well as a pair of dry socks for sleeping. That night’s underwear and socks can be worn the next day, as long as you have another dry set for the next night.
  • Most heat is lost from the head. Bring a 2nd dry stocking cap for night, or a hooded sweatshirt, to keep head warm. For really cold weather, a balaclava can cover your face while leaving mouth and nose open to breathe without wetting the cloth. Do NOT breathe into your sleeping bag – you will get wet and cold.
  • Dehydration can help cause hypothermia. Drink 2-3 liters of water during the day. Storing your water bottle upside down in the snow (next to your tent where you can find it) will help prevent the lid from freezing on.
  • Physical activity warms you up. If cold, move!
  • Tip: If the temperature gets down into the single digits, an exposed Nalgene will freeze solid. Before bed, fill your Nalgene with hot water, close it tightly, and put into your sleeping bag. It will keep you toasty all night and prevent your water from freezing.
We check on all boys all weekend.

Scouts BSA Troop 11
First Presbyterian Church Houston
5300 S Main St, Houston, TX 77004

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