How to Pack Lightly for Your Outdoor Adventures - Your Must-Have Items

How to Pack Lightly for Your Outdoor Adventures - Your Must-Have Items

Hiking, kayaking, backpacking and cycling are excellent ways to explore the great outdoors. However, if you are planning to camp along the way, you’ll have a lot to carry. That’s why it’s important to ensure you pack lightly for your outdoor adventures.

Packing lightly isn’t difficult. Just begin with a list.

If you carry too much, you’ll struggle along the way and won’t enjoy your outdoor adventure. However, if you don’t pack everything you need, you not only won’t be able to do all the fun things you planned in the wilderness, but you could also put yourself into danger.

That’s why you should begin your packing procedure with a list of everything that you must take. Your list should fall under 6 headings:

  • Key items
  • Equipment
  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Food & drinks
  • Documents

Key items

Sometimes there are items you should pack that are vital to your survival. For example, if you’re planning to hike in really remote areas through rough terrain, you are in danger of getting lost and maybe wandering into dangerous places. For that reason, you should carry a mobile GPS unit and learn how to use it.

If you were to get into trouble, a locator beacon can alert the local emergency services and tell them where you are. While you’re waiting, you may need to use a first aid kit. People who suffer from serious medical conditions should ensure they pack their medication. This includes an EpiPen for people with allergies.


The equipment you must pack depends on what you are planning to do. When choosing equipment, you should aim to pack the lightest options available. For example, when camping in wooded areas, a good-quality camping hammock designed for camping can offer as much protection as a tent but weighs much less.

When tied between two trees, a camping hammock lifts you off the ground to protect you from bugs and rodents. You can use a  rain fly to protect your camping hammock from the elements or consider the  Sky Tent 2 which is like the love child of a tent and a hammock and provides insect and rain protect in spacious hanging hammock shelter.   Check out all of the options from Hammock Bliss.

Other items you should definitely pack include a GoPro and a camera to record all your outdoor adventures. If you’re worried about your electronic devices running out of power, take a solar charger. For hot food at your campsite, a portable stove is essential.

If you’re camping in a sunny area, I’d recommend a solar oven. Not only are box solar ovens super lightweight, but you don’t need to pack a butane canister to use one. The other items of equipment you choose will relate to the specific outdoor pursuits you have in mind, such as walking poles for hiking or a fishing rod for angling. When enjoying the wilderness in bear territory, always carry bear spray.


The best way to pack clothes lightly is to wear everything you need and not pack anything. However, that’s not going to work if you’re hiking for two weeks, so you’ll at least have to carry several changes of socks and underwear.

If your outdoor adventure involves dramatic changes in altitude, such as hiking up mountains, then you’ll need to pack layers that you can add or take away as the temperature fluctuates. And if you’re hiking in the tropics during the rainy season, you’ll be thankful for a light raincoat.

In cold weather conditions, you’ll need to wear base layers, such as a thermal vest, and outer layers, such as a jacket. To keep things light, pack layers that incorporate chemical or electrical heating systems so they provide more heat for their weight.


In really hot or really cold locations, skin moisturizer is useful. Where sunlight can be bright, lip block and sunblock are essential. Bug spray is great in tropical locations. When traveling with kids, baby wipes are always useful. And if you’re going to be taking backcountry trails for a while, don’t forget your female hygiene products.

Food & drinks

In the wilderness, hydration is key. However, water is heavy to carry. For this reason, you’re probably going to need a water filter designed to filter out both organic and mineral impurities and a reusable water bottle.

To pack lightly, you’ll need to carry dehydrated foods that you can easily and swiftly re-hydrate in a pan. Because such foods often come with excess packaging, it’s a good idea to throw away the original packaging and pour the dried food into labeled plastic freezer bags.


Depending upon where you’re enjoying the great outdoors, you’ll probably require some documents. If you’re abroad, you’ll probably need your passport. This is especially true if you plan to cross international borders, such as when you hike n the Austrian Alps on the border with Germany.

If you plan to hire a vehicle at some point during your adventure, you’ll need your driver’s license and international driving permit. You may also require other travel documents and some cash or bank cards. In remote locations, cash may be essential because bank cards may not be accepted.

While you should endeavor to complete your outdoor adventure without any mishaps, it’s still a good idea to take out travel insurance that specifically covers you for the activities you plan. You may need to have your insurance documents to hand in the event of an emergency.

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