When planning your backpacking trip, you need to think carefully about what equipment to take and what you can afford to leave behind.

There are some things that you simply must have. Whilst there are plenty of new gadgets and devices that are supposed to enhance your backpacking experience, when it comes down to it, there are some traditional items that you should never leave home without, regardless of what new technology you may have in your pack. These essential items are listed below.

Map

The key here is to choose a map which has sufficient detail to clearly show the trails and area details of where you will be backpacking. Apart from that, it really does not matter what type of map you choose.

Compass

You will need a good quality compass that will withstand the elements outside. The fact is you have to know which direction you are going. Just taking a map is not going to work.

Flashlight

It is very important that you always can see where you are going. A good quality flashlight is essential, plus batteries. You can now buy wind-up torches, which remove the need for batteries. Remember, it can be very dark in none-rural areas. Not having adequate lighting can contribute to falls or injuries which can really ruin a good backpacking trip.

Extra food and clothing

Instead of packing just what you need, you should try to pack extra just in case. You could get lost, or encounter bad weather, or you might just get stuck and not be able to get back. You must always be prepared for the unexpected, and extra food and clothing will help you cope.

First Aid Kit

This is a really important item. There are many things which can happen out in the wilderness. Even if you are traveling in a very well kept area, you can still find a need for a first aid kit. Make sure you get a kit that is well stocked with a variety of supplies.

Knife

Ideally you should have a multi-function knife which incorporates several different tools. Such tools can prove to be very important and their uses are endless when backpacking. At a minimum, a nice sharp knife that can cut through fabric and cord is necessary.

Matches

Matches can prove to be a lifesaver, particularly in cold weather conditions. You should either get waterproof matches or carry your matches in a waterproof container.

Water or water treatment

Drinking water is essential as you must stay hydrated while backpacking. If you do not carry water, an alternative is to have the necessary supplies to adequately treat water.

These are the essentials, but as you plan your trip you will quickly find there are many considerations when deciding on what to take. Make sure you seek good advice from the many resources available to you.

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