Complete Women’s Hiking and Backpacking Gear List

Lightweight and comfortable — a lighter pack will help you enjoy your backpacking trips even more and your body will thank you. This backpacking gear list doesn’t skimp on comfort items, but scales back on clothing and non-essentials. Stick around to learn how you can lower your pack weight and not miss a thing.


Aside from a few personal items that you choose, this list should give you everything you need to go backpacking for anywhere from a few days to a few months. This list is also practical, meaning most products are the best overall value, rather than the best price or the best weight.

If you follow this guide for packing your hiking gear, you’ll end up with a base weight just under 15 pounds. That means everything you’re carrying minus food and water. When fully loaded with a liter of water and a few days worth of food, you can easily keep your pack weight well under 25 pounds.

This gear list is best used for temperatures ranging from 45 to 75 degrees. If you plan on hiking in cooler or warmer temps, please adjust your clothing and sleeping bag/pad accordingly.

Interesting in reading about my before and after Appalachian Trail thru-hike gear list? Click here.

Backpacking Gear List

Tent, Backpack, Sleeping Bag and Accessories

Item Recommended Weight Notes
Tent Big Agnes – Copper Spur UL 1 Person Tent 2lbs 3oz Weight includes tent body, rain cover, stakes, poles, stuff sack. This is my all time favorite tent. It’s watertight and doesn’t require trekking poles to set up. For an even lighter option, check out the Big Agnes Fly Creek Ul 1
Tent Footprint Big Agnes Footprint Copper Spur UL 1 Footprint 4.5oz A tent footprint is the ground cover and gives you extra water and rip protection. They are typically sold separately.
Sleeping Bag REI Joule 21 2lbs 5oz Women’s specific temperature rating of 21 degrees making it a great 3-season sleeping bag. Alternative: REI Women’s Flash
Compression Sack Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack 3.2oz A waterproof compression sack is the best choice for storing your sleeping bag. It allows you to pack your sleeping bag very small and waterproof material keeps it safe from rain and accidental tears.
Sleeping Pad Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite Women’s Regular 12oz The women’s version has more warmth than the unisex version of this sleeping pad. The women’s version only goes up to 5’6″, so if you’re taller than that (like me) go for the Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite Regular, unisex instead.
Pillow Cocoon Hyperlight AirCore Pillow 2.4oz Some Folks use a stuff sack with extra clothing in it as a pillow — I like the inflatable pillow.
Backpack REI Women’s Flash 45 2lbs 12oz 45 liters might sound small at first, but trust me it is plenty of space.
Pack Cover Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover 4oz Some backpacks come with one. Also, some folks prefer to simply line their pack with a garbage compactor bag.
Trekking Poles Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Pole 1lb 1oz – (carried) I haven’t used these personally, but I’m looking for a new pair! The Black Diamond Trail Pro made the top 5 on womenstrekkingpoles.com
Pack Weight: 8lbs 14.1oz

Clothing

Item Type Item Name Weight Comments
Rain Jacket Marmot Women’s Precip Jacket 11.4oz The Marmot Precip has become a bit of a standard as far as price vs weight vs waterproofness.
Insulation Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket 6oz This jacket is so light that you might not believe it at first. It’s also very comfortable.
Hiking Top REI Women’s Sahara T-Shirt 5oz (Worn) Quick-dry and breathable are the most important factors when picking a hiking shirt. In the heat, sweat can cause chaffing and discomfort. In the cold, it can be deadly.
Hiking Bottom Nike Women’s Dry Tempo Short 5oz (Worn) Pretty much any pair of quick-dry running shorts will do. I prefer the built-in liner (although it took some getting used to).
Sports Bra Champion Women’s Freedom Seamless Racerback Sports Bra 8oz (Worn) I like a loose and comfortable fit. Whichever hiking bra you pick, just make sure it dries fast!
Base Layer Top Smartwool Women’s NTS Mid 250 Crew 6.6oz Smartwool base layers are great for a lot of reasons. They are quick-drying and breathable, warm and comfy, but also wool is odor resistant!
Base Layer Bottom Smartwool Women’s NTS Mid 250 Bottom 6.4oz In warm temperatures where it gets cooler at night, these are my pajamas.
Hat Smartwool Merino 150 Pattern Beanie 0.5oz Keep yer noggin warm on cold nights and brisk mornings.
Underwear (x2) Patagonia Women’s Active Brief 1.3oz each Quick-dry and breathable.
Hiking Socks (x2) Darn Tough Vermont Women’s Merino Wool Micro Crew Cushion Socks 2.25oz each (1 worn) Darn Tough has a fantastic return policy and the socks are crazy comfortable.
Sleeping Socks Smartwool Women’s Hiking Medium Crew 2.8oz These are a bit thicker than the Darn Tough socks, and help keep toes warm at night.
Shoes Salomon Women’s X-Mission 3 CS Trail Running Shoes 1lb (worn) I prefer hiking in sneakers, and tend to stay away from waterproof ones for better breathability.
Pack Weight: 2lbs 6.55oz

Cooking and Hydration

Item Type Item Name Weight Comments
Cooking Pot Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium Cookset 6.2oz The lid doubles as a small fry pan. The set is super durable. Save space in your pack by storing small cooking essentials inside.
Heating element MSR PocketRocket Stove 3oz While a homemade alcohol stove might be lighter, a cooking stove like the pocket rocket is easier to control and more convenient to use.
Fuel MSR IsoPro Fuel 8oz Isobutane canisters are mostly interchangeable.
Utensil Snow Peak Titanium Spork .1oz The best argument I ever heard for a titanium spork is that it’s easier to eat ice cream with. Sold.
Lighter x2 Bic Mini 0.4oz each Bring two small lighters instead of one big one. Then you’ll have a backup without the added weight.
Pack Towel REI Mini MicroTowel Lite .8oz A super absorbent towel has a lot of great uses. I like to use mine for cleaning out my cook pot.
Water Filtration Sawyer Mini Water Filter 2oz The price and weight make the Sawyer Mini a no brainer. I prefer a filter over iodine or chlorine pills because it cleans the water and filters out gross little floaties.
Water Bottle x2 Smartwater, 1 Liter .5oz each (empty) Light weight, cheap to replace, the perfect size (tall and thin) for fitting in a pack, durable plastic, and the screw top fits perfectly with the Sawyer Mini water filter. What more is there to say?
Total Weight: 21.9oz

Toiletries and First Aid

Item Type Item Name Weight Comments
Sunscreen Sawyer SPF 30 Stay-Put System 1 Sunblock Lotion 2oz Consider the amount of tree cover there will be to determine how much sunscreen to bring. With a lot of tree cover, you might not need any at all.
Bug Repellant Repel 100-Percent Deet Insect Repellent, Pen Size Pump Spray .45oz You can spray this on your clothes to help ward off pests. I detest using bug spray because of how sticky it makes my skin feel. You can get creative when choosing the type of bug repellant you use. I once hiked with a bug repellant incense stick burning and sticking out of my pack.
Toothbrush Liberty Mountain Compact Toothbrush 0.5oz I like the small size, plus the cover to keep the germs away.
Toothpaste Any brand 1oz Hiking is no excuse for poor dental hygiene … feel free to stop showering though … 🙂
Soap/Cleanser Dr. Bronner’s Travel Size 2oz Purell works, too, and is easier to use — but Dr. Bronner’s can also be used as shampoo in a pinch.
Chapstick Any brand 0.5oz Chapstick should be on the 10 essentials. Never leave home without it.
Advil, Benadryl Any brand 0.5oz Get a small ziplock bag or another container for pills.
Gold Bond or Vaseline Any Brand 2oz For hot temps, use Gold Bond powder or stick to help with chaffing. Use vaseline to pre-empt blisters by applying it to hot spots.
Tampons Any Brand 2oz Yep. I said it. Don’t forget em. I always carry some, even if I’m not scheduled to get a visit from aunt flow, just in case I run into a fellow female hiker in need.
Toilet Paper Any brand 1oz Grab some off a roll and throw it in a ziplock bag.
Tweezers Any brand 0.5oz For ticks! Also for grooming…if you’re into that…
Nail Clippers Any brand 0.5oz Don’t be the girl on the trail asking strangers to borrow nail clippers!
Total Weight: 12.95oz

Other Gear

Item Type Item Name Weight Comments
Waterproof Stuff Sacks (dry sacks) – Various sizes – x3 Outdoor Research Dry Ditty Sacks 1oz each Stuff sacks help you organize your gear. Go with the dry sacks for an extra layer of waterproofing.
Food Bag (dry sack) Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack 1oz This is to organize your food, and also the bag that you’ll hang from a tree at night so bears can’t reach it, and also so squirrels don’t break into your tent at night. Waterproof is a must. Also, go for a larger size because you’ll also put your toiletries in here when you hang it.
Bear Cord (utility cord) ThreeBulls 1.8mm Fluorescent Reflective Guyline Tent Rope Camping Cord Paracord 1.2oz Reflective cord is a good idea so that you can easily spot it at night.
Knife Gerber EVO Jr. Knife, Serrated Edge 1.8oz Small and light. The serrated edge allows you to cut paracord if you need to. I used mine mostly for cutting cheese.
Headlamp Petzl – TIKKINA Headlamp, 150 Lumens 3oz 150 lumens is incredibly bright.
Phone Any brand 5oz Can be used for camera, communication, and maps (navigation).
Phone Case Mophie or Lifeproof battery case 5oz Combine the phone case and extra battery into one by getting a phone case with an extra charge in it.
You can also get waterproof battery cases.
Maps Printed or Physical copies or a guide book 2oz You can get maps on your phone, but it’s always good to have a backup hard copy.
Duct Tape Any Brand 1oz Wrap some around your trekking poles. It saves space and weight in your pack and provides easy access for quick fixes.
Total Weight: 23oz

If you stop here, your base weight will be 14 lbs 14.5 oz. With few days of food and a liter of water, your total pack weight should be well under 25 pounds.

Optional Add-ons

Item Type Item Name Weight Comments
Personal Locator Beacon SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Messenger 4oz I prefer to simply let people know my travel plans and when I expect to return. I also typically travel with a hiking partner. If you travel alone and will be outside of cell phone signal, a personal locator beacon might make sense for you.
Rain Pants Marmot Women’s Precip Pant 11.5oz In warmer climates, I prefer to get rained on than wear sweaty sticky rain pants. A good pair is worth considering if you’ll be hiking in colder temps.
Sunglasses Suncloud Zephyr Polarized Sunglasses 1oz Like sunscreen, the necessity of sunglasses depends on how much tree cover/sun exposure you will get.
Sun Hat ExOfficio Bugsaway Sol Cool Adventure Hat 3.2oz For trips where you’ll have a decent amount of sun exposure, a wide brim hat with SPF protection is a great idea.
Bandana Any Brand .2oz Can be used in lieu of a pack towel, great for sweat and snot. Can also be used as a pee rag.
Bathroom ‘aid’ pStyle 0.6oz Peeing in the woods as a female could be easier. Check out the pStyle for a lightweight solution.
Gloves Northface Women’s TKA 100 Fleece Glove 1.5oz Don’t be like me getting caught in a cold snap and wearing socks on my hands. I looked silly.
Total Weight: 1lb 6oz

Get a FREE backpacking checklist

Don’t forget anything on your next backpacking trip! Join the mailing list and I’ll send you a checklist with all the items in this post!