What To Pack For An Overnight Hike

outdoor hike

So, you’ve done plenty of day hikes. You’ve done a few car camping trips. Now, it’s time to move on to something a little more challenging.

An overnight hike.

And this blog will outline exactly what to pack for an overnight hike.

Believe me when I say that this is a heap of fun and will only further your obsession with hiking.

However, whilst planning and researching for a day hike or a car camping trip is one thing, an overnight hike, in my opinion, requires a different approach.

To begin with, you need a lot more gear than what you need for a day hike or a car camping trip.

So, let’s get down to it, shall we?!

Overnight Hike Packing List

To begin with, there are six items that I believe are non-negotiable:

overnight hike

Now, some of these are going to be weather dependent. i.e. the tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag. Your sleeping bag and tent will all depend on the time of year.

If you can get yourself a four-season tent, then you are all set.

A sleeping bag or sleeping quilt is essential to keep you warm and comfortable at night in all conditions.

There are different types of mats you can use such as air pads, self-inflating mats, and closed-cell mats.

In my opinion, and this will largely depend on the time of year, you will always need to strongly consider the insulation of the mat and the R-value (this means its ability to resist heat flow).

The higher the R-value, the better it will be able to keep you from colder temperatures.

  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Water
  • Portable stove, pots, plate, etc

These are no-brainers but depend on the weather (clothing) and what your eating habits are like (food).

Clothing will be weather dependent, but it’s always a good idea to pack clothes that are lightweight and breathable.

Quick tip: take one set of clothes for hiking and another to change into at night.

outdoor hike

Given we’re talking about an overnight hike, you shouldn’t have to pack your entire wardrobe, but pack enough so you will be comfortable at all times.

Furthermore, a hat or beanie and some gloves might be necessary too.

Water is dependent on location and if you have the ability to buy or use a filtering system via a known stream.

Personally, when it comes to food, I always take 700-800 grams of food per day with me on an overnight hike.

This food is always lightweight and full of calories, which allows me to carry less but feel fuller for longer. Also, I typically eat every two hours.

outdoor hike

There’s nothing like a hot meal at night after a day’s worth of hiking, so be sure to bring a stove of some sort.

A lot of the chain stores sell these, but you can find some of the same gear on eBay, Gumtree or outdoor forums for half the price.

There are plenty of ways to fire up your stove, but I prefer good old gas.

  • First Aid kit
  • First Aid kit
  • Did I mention a first aid kit?

Absolutely necessary! Load up your first aid kid with plenty of blister pads, band-aids, tape, bandages, a pair of scissors, Hydralite (in case you become dehydrated), Panadol, Dettol, insect repellant, sunscreen, and all the things that will allow you to deal with any mishaps whilst in the outdoors.

  • Maps (paper and/or online)
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • PLB (personal locator beacon)

If you’re not too sure where you are going, or even if you are, having adequate navigation tools at hand is important.

Either take a paper copy or an online copy of the map of the area where you are going.

A compass works hand in hand with your map too.

You can take it a step further and get yourself a GPS. They can be quite expensive but are worth it.

Whilst I don’t have one yet, a personal locator beacon is extremely handy to have.

If something goes wrong, all you need to do is hit the emergency button and the necessary authorities will be alerted to your whereabouts.

Obviously, there is a little more to it than that, but that is the general gist of it.

  • The little things…

And, finally, the little things that can make all the difference.

I’m talking about toiletries, toilet paper, and a trowel (leave no trace, remember?), a pocket knife, matches/lighter/flint, and your phone, wallet, and keys.

You could include a head torch in this, but I believe that comes down to your own personal preference.

And that’s what I believe is necessary to take with you on an overnight hike.

As I mentioned at the start, an overnight hike is such an experience and one that I always look forward to.

It’s such a different feeling knowing you are carrying everything with you and you don’t have a car nearby to support you.

In fact, the feeling of achievement and satisfaction you will almost certainly get from an overnight hike will be, in my opinion, one of the best feelings you’ll get as a hiker.

And it really doesn’t matter if it’s your first one and you’re only doing 20kms in total or you’ve done a few and you’re hiking 30+ kilometres.

It’s a great feeling and an achievement you should be proud of.

If I have missed anything on that list, or if there’s something you take with you, be sure to let me know.

2 Responses
  1. Hayley Wright

    Thanks John!

    Can you do a video of how you pack and fold role clothes etc into a pack. I’ve been googling and there’s really nothing.

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Hayley!

      Yeah, I’m sure I could at some point. I think the thing to remember with packing your clothes is that the things you need at the end of the day i.e pyjamas etc. should go to the bottom of your pack with your sleeping bag etc. and the things you might need during the day i.e. rain jacket etc. should be easily reachable and therefore packed at the top of your backpack. Everything in between can go wherever.


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