The Essential Overnight Hike Packing List | Top Gear & Tips On How To Save $$

As avid outdoor adventurers, we wholeheartedly understand the excitement that comes with planning a hiking trip. But we also know first-hand the frustrations that arise when starting out and learning what to pack for an overnight hike, what can be left behind and where to save money.

When we first started hitting the trails for overnight adventures, we most certainly did not have the right gear! And once we began accumulating the essentials for our overnight hike packing list, we wasted our fair share of money buying inadequate gear.

But after several years of trial and error, research and experience, we have compiled a list of gear that we love and trust. But more importantly, we’ve gained essential knowledge that we want to share with you.

Our goal for this overnight hiking essentials guide is to provide you with valuable insight into the world of hiking gear so you can confidently plan your adventures without wasting your money.

In this ultimate overnight hiking checklist, you’ll find answers to common questions, a list of the hiking gear we swear by and budget-friendly alternatives where necessary.

Standing in the Australian Alpine equipped with all the essential hiking gear

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A Beginner’s Guide To The Hiking Essentials

What Are The Top Essentials For Hiking?

When you’re starting out, it’s easy to get bogged down in research and figuring out what items you truly need versus the ones you can hold off on or skip altogether. You may have heard of the 10 essentials for hiking before, which is a list of items that will keep you safe in the outdoors if you run into trouble.

Hiking through the Western Arthurs on an overnight hiking trip in Tasmania

These essentials differ slightly depending on what source you find, but the general gist stays consistent. The 10 essentials for hiking are:

  1. Navigation tools – a map and compass or a GPS tracking device (this can be an app on your phone and our favourite is Alltrails)
  2. Sun protection – a hat, sunscreen, SPF lip balm and protective clothing
  3. Headtorch
  4. First aid kit
  5. Fire – matches or a lighter to start a fire if necessary
  6. Insulating and weatherproof clothing and appropriate footwear
  7. Multi-tool or knife – this is best coupled with a small repair kit
  8. Shelter – in the instance of overnight hiking, this can be your tent
  9. Hydration
  10. Extra food

We’ll go into detail about these items in the hiking essentials list below, but for safety, this is the list you want to double-check before stepping onto the trails for any hike – whether it be a day hike or a multi-day trek.

However, the 10 Essentials list doesn’t completely answer your question about the top essentials you need for an overnight hike. For our hikes, we follow a basic checklist containing the 10 essentials, plus non-negotiable items we bring on every trip.

Extra Essentials For An Overnight Hike Packing List

Cooking on a hiking stove while camping in Kosciuszko National Park

This additional overnight hiking checklist serves as a general guide and for each specific backpacking trip, we create a new list tailored to its requirements.

The list below is our basic overnight hiking checklist.

  • The 10 essentials
  • Emergency beacon
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Hiking stove and gas
  • Cup, bowl, spoon
  • Trowel and toilet paper / or a poop tube
  • Basic toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser
  • Portable charger and cables
  • Water purifying system

We’ll elaborate on each of these items below, but as long as you’re packed with these hiking essentials then you’ll have everything you need to stay safe in the outdoors overnight

Of course, there are items that we carry that I haven’t added to this list – such as a pillow, sleeping bag liner and tent footprint. But these are things that you can do without, to begin with, to keep your pack light and your budget lower until you decide that you’re 100% invested in overnight hiking.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Into Overnight Hiking?

This is one of the biggest roadblocks that many adventurers face when they’re ready to transition from day hikes to backpacking trips. And we won’t lie, it is an investment.

Camping on Mt Tyndall in Tasmania during a beautiful sunset

It’s nearly impossible to write the exact price that it will cost you to start overnight hiking as there are too many options and factors to consider.

But a very broad estimate that you can expect for everything on our basic overnight hiking essential list above, plus a backpack, is $1,500 AUD. This is assuming you need to buy everything from that list aside from clothing and food.

While this sounds like a huge amount, most of the gear that’s included in this price should last you for a long time. Of course, you could cut costs by buying a cheap tent from Kmart – for example – but the likelihood of it failing when the weather turns is extremely high!

This price range we’ve calculated above is also much lower than the sum of what we own now. We feel this is important to share because many people fall into the trap of thinking they need the best of the best to start.

But that’s just not true.

Only after 5 years of intense hiking have we decided it’s time to upgrade some of our gear to accommodate our bigger and often colder adventures. And we are still building up our overnight hiking gear list slowly to add everything we need!!

Hiking Gear You Can Save On

Cooking dinner on a mountain wearing affordable hiking gear

There are certain items that you can easily save money on in the beginning, especially if you’re planning most of your trips in summer and at lower elevations. It’s only when you begin to hike in colder or more adverse weather conditions that you’ll start to need more durable and warm gear – which also increases the price range significantly.

The hiking gear that you can save on without running into trouble includes clothing – you can purchase an awesome down jacket for roughly $150, hiking stoves, sleeping bags and other miscellaneous items such as a pillow and sleeping bag liner – which you can even hold off on buying until you decide you love backpacking.

Below, we will go into further detail about each item and offer a budget option for gear that you can save on. However, we won’t suggest anything that we don’t think offers enough support or protection – so it won’t be the cheapest gear out there, but instead, the best value.

Note: Remember that buying poor-quality gear to start with will end up costing more in the long term and contribute to unnecessary waste. There is a big difference between budget-friendly and poorly made, cheap gear and we’ll guide you on how to differentiate them below.

Hiking Gear You Should Invest In

Camping at Brewster Glacier in New Zealand

While you can get away with a cheaper down jacket and sleeping bag when you’re just starting out – unless you plan to jump straight into cold climate hiking, there is some hiking gear that we strongly suggest investing in from the beginning.

A great question to ask yourself to determine whether a piece of gear is important to invest in is this: If this piece of gear fails me, will I be in danger? For example, if a tent fails then you’ll potentially be exposed to extreme weather conditions that could cause you significant harm.

The gear that we recommend investing in and spending a little longer choosing is a backpack, tent, rain jacket and hiking shoes or boots. Let’s quickly explain the reasoning behind why these items are the most important.

  • Backpack – Your first hiking trip is unlikely to be enjoyable without a supportive backpack. A cheap, structureless backpack can quickly lead to back and shoulder pain, significantly impacting your experience and potentially causing injury.
  • Hiking Shoes or Boots – Just as a supportive backpack is crucial, owning hiking shoes or boots that provide ample support and fit well can make or break your hiking experience. Low-quality hiking shoes often lead to blisters and holes in the fabric after just one use.
  • Tent – A durable tent is essential for protection against the elements. Even if you plan your trip during fair weather, there’s still a possibility of facing strong winds or rain. It’s imperative to have a reliable tent that can handle all conditions to avoid potential trouble when it breaks.
  • Rain Jacket – A rain jacket that quickly soaks through is the last thing you want. An ineffective rain jacket could even lead to the risk of hypothermia if you can’t warm up and dry off. Luckily, it’s easy to find a good-quality rain jacket for an affordable price.
HIking on Cascade Saddle with all of the hiking essentials for overnight hiking

Renting Gear For Your Overnight Hike

If you’re not sure whether backpacking is for you, the best thing to do is rent gear or borrow from a friend for your first trip. Unfortunately, it’s not super easy to find rental gear unless you live in an outdoor-focused town. But you may be surprised to learn that some outdoor shops will also offer rental gear.

For the US, you can use REI’s rental gear location finder to easily grab some gear nearby. But for those in the southern hemisphere, it takes a little more research to hunt down rental options.

Here are a few companies that offer gear rentals in Australia and New Zealand:

Buying Hiking Gear Second-Hand

Another way you can save money on your overnight hike packing list is to buy second-hand gear. You’ll likely find some things floating around Facebook Marketplace, or you can often score great deals through some retail stores, such as Wildfire Sports, final clearance products.

For Americans, you can utilise Gear Trade, which is an awesome organisation that makes selling old gear and buying second-hand gear easy and safe. Sadly, there is nothing like this in Australia yet, but we’re hoping that changes!

How Much Should My Backpack Weigh For Overnight Hikes?

Hiking with fully packed hiking packs in Tasmania

While it’s a common concern for beginner backpackers that they won’t be able to carry everything they need on their backs, you’ll be surprised just how much you can manage if you have a supportive backpack that fits correctly.

A general rule of thumb that you’ll find online is to carry no more than 20% of your body weight. But this isn’t always practical and there are several flaws to this rule.

A better guide is to try and keep your pack weight between 12 – 15 kg initially and if you plan to extend your trip lengths or hike in colder climates, you can build up to 18 – 20 kg

I weigh 65 kg and generally carry 15 – 18 kg depending on the length of the hike. Dylan weighs 72 kg and usually carries between 20 – 23 kg. Keep in mind that our gear weighs more than your average hiker as we have extra camera gear and often hike in sub-zero temperatures.

With all that said, it’s actually easier than you think to keep your pack weight between 12 – 15 kg without having to buy expensive ultra-lightweight hiking gear. We will provide a weight guide to stick to for the main hiking essentials below to help you stay within the 12 – 15 kg range.

The Ultimate Overnight Hike Packing List

  • Socks & Underwear
  • Thermals
  • Hiking Shirt
  • Hiking Pants / Shorts
  • Fleece Jumper
  • Down Jacket
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain Pants (optional)
  • Beanie
  • Neck warmer (winter)
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Backpacks
  • Rain Cover
  • Waterproof Pack Liner
  • Hiking Shoes / Boots
  • Hiking Poles
  • Reusable Water Bottle
  • Water Bladder
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Microspikes (winter)
  • Tent
  • Tent Footprint (optional)
  • Sleeping Mat
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Bag Liner (optional)
  • Pillow (optional)
  • Hiking Stove
  • Fuel
  • Cooking Pot
  • Bowl (optional)
  • Mug
  • Spork
  • Matches & Lighter
  • Food
  • Sponge
  • Biodegradable Soap (optional)
  • Tea Towel (optional)
  • Rubbish Bag
  • First Aid Kit
  • Emergency Beacon
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Utility Knife / Multitool
  • Electrolytes
  • Water Purifying System
  • Emergency Meal
  • Gear Repair Kit
  • Map
  • Compass (optional)
  • GPS (advanced)
  • GPS Tracking App
  • Shovel (Trowel)
  • Toilet Paper
  • Poop Tube (alpine / winter)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Biodegradable wipes (optional)
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Zinc (optional)
  • SPF Lip Balm
  • Sunglasses (optional)
  • Mobile Phone
  • Portable Charger
  • Charging Cables
  • Headtorch
  • Insect Repellent
  • Camera
  • Cards
  • Book
  • Microfibre Towel
  • Collapsible Day Pack
  • Earplugs
  • Camp shoes

Clothing For Overnight Hike Packing Lists

Hiking in New Zealand

The number one rule to remember regarding hiking clothes is to avoid cotton! Cotton absorbs water and retains it, keeping you soaked in sweat even after you’ve cooled down. This can cause problems if you start to get too cold and can’t warm up.

The best materials to wear hiking are merino wool, polyester, nylon (or a blend) for your base layers and fleece or down for your warm layers. We always wear merino shirts and base layers while hiking and both fleece jumpers and down jackets for our warmer layers.

Socks & Underwear

The best socks for hiking are a blend of merino wool, nylon/polyester and elastane. A blend is essential because the merino wool wicks moisture, the nylon reinforces high-wear areas, and the elastane offers a little extra stretch for comfort.

XTM hiking socks, perfect to add to your overnight hike packing list
XTM Otway Hiking Socks
XTM camping socks for backpacking
XTM Heater Camp Socks

Our go-to hiking socks are:

For warm socks to wear at camp, merino wool is a favourite choice yet again – or a polyester blend. We recommend packing a pair of warm socks no matter the weather you expect to experience. I find that my feet are always the first to get cold while camping!

Our favourite warm socks for camping are:

Merino wool underwear is also beneficial for hiking, especially on long multi-day treks. However, we have yet to splurge on these items and haven’t had any issues wearing regular underwear.


Thermals

A set of thermals is a staple item for backpacking and is primarily used as a base layer for warmth at camp and while sleeping. They are categorised into three different weights – lightweight, midweight and heavyweight – that describe their warmth.

Midweight thermals are our top recommendation for most applications. Lightweight base layers are more suited for wearing while hiking and heavyweight are only necessary if the temperatures dip into single digits.

While merino wool is again our top suggestion for material, you can also find some great synthetic options such as Patagonia’s Capilene Midweight thermals.

XTM hiking thermal, an essential item for your hiking checklist
XTM 230 Thermal Top
Hiking thermal bottoms for camping in the backcountry
XTM 230 Thermal Bottom

Our favourite thermals for hiking are:

  • XTM Merino 230 Wool Thermals – these thermals are on the cusp of midweight and heavyweight and are the primary pair we take everywhere. They’re warm, affordable, comfortable and durable.
  • Icebreaker 260 Tech Merino Thermals – these heavyweight thermals are our go-to for winter expeditions, but they are a little more expensive.
  • Icebreaker 200 Oasis Merino Thermals – slightly better suited for mild weather conditions, but they are more expensive than the XTM 230 thermals for less warmth.

For more information on how to choose the right thermals for you, check out our guide on the best base layers for hiking.


Hiking Shirt

Our ultimate recommended material for hiking shirts is a merino blend that offers superior breathability, durability and moisture-wicking and odour-resistant capabilities. However, buying a dedicated hiking shirt isn’t necessary, you can save some money by grabbing any activewear you have – just remember to avoid cotton!

To protect yourself from the sun and unnecessary rubbing from your backpack, we suggest wearing t-shirts – or long-sleeve tees in cooler weather.

Check out our guide on the best hiking shirts for women for more information and suggestions.

hiking tee shirt, a great shirt to bring hiking
long sleeve hiking shirt to add to your overnight hike packing list

Our favourite hiking shirts are:

Overpacking on shirts is very common when you’re starting out. We generally take just one hiking shirt for up to 3-day trips and two for anything longer. The only time I will take more than one is if I want to take a long-sleeved and a short-sleeved shirt due to changing weather conditions.


Hiking Pants / Shorts / Tights

For your hiking pants, tights or shorts, durability, flexibility and breathability are the top factors to consider. Nylon is best for durability but polyester generally offers a little more mobility and breathability.

The style of bottoms you wear hiking will depend on your preference. I like to wear either tights or pants and only wear shorts if I know that the trail won’t be overgrown. Dylan’s go-to is convertible pants so he can alternate between shorts and pants while on the trail.

The benefit of pants over tights is increased breathability, but the right tights can offer more warmth without restricting movement. 

To save money, you can easily get away with wearing your running shorts or yoga tights. Just remember, avoid cotton!

hiking zip off pants, a great addition to any hiking packing list

Our go-to hiking pants, shorts and tights are:


Fleece Jacket

A fleece jacket is a fantastic mid-layer that offers a superior warmth-to-weight ratio and is incredibly comfortable. The best thing about fleece is its ability to keep you warm even while wet and their super-fast drying time.

There are several styles of fleece jackets to choose from that offer various functions. But to begin with, you can grab a basic budget-friendly light or mid-weight fleece jumper to wear over your hiking shirt for cooler weather.

For further information about the various styles of fleece jackets and how to choose the right one for your climate, check out our guide to finding the best fleece jackets.

Midweight hiking fleece, a versatile jumper for hiking in Australia
XTM Solo Fleece
Lightweight hiking fleece jumper, perfect for backpacking trips
XTM Seawool Fleece

Our favourite fleece jackets are:

  • XTM Solo DWR Fleece Jacket – this heavyweight fleece jacket is our favourite winter, offering plenty of warmth and just enough breathability to wear on super cold hikes. But it is heavy and bulky, so when we can we will take a lightweight fleece instead.
  • XTM Milanesia & Marengo Fleece Jacket – this lightweight fleece is sustainably made from Seawool. We’ve found it to be the perfect weight for hiking in winter or adding an extra layer at camp in summer.

Note: Even though a fluffy fleece jacket offers incredible comfort, it is usually much heavier and bulkier. Unless you need superior warmth, you can save weight and space in your backpack by choosing a lightweight or midweight fleece that weighs under 400 g.


Down Jacket

A down jacket – or synthetic down jacket – is an insulating layer that will keep you warm and cosy at camp or when you stop for a break on the trail. The benefits of a down jacket are endless, with a staggering warmth-to-weight ratio and the ability to pack down very small at the top of the list.

If you are tossing up between starting with a fleece jacket or a down jacket, we recommend getting a down jacket first as it offers more warmth and versatility.

Check out our guide on how to choose the best down jacket for more information.

Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, our favourite down jacket for you backpacking list
Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody

Our favourite down jackets are:

  • Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody – I’ve had this jacket for over 4 years and it is my top recommendation for the ultimate warmth-to-weight ratio. Read my full review on the Down Sweater Hoody for more information.
  • Macpac Halo Hooded Down Jacket – this is the best budget-friendly down jacket. While it’s quite bulky and slightly heavier than my top suggestion, it offers fantastic warmth for a very affordable price.

Rain Jacket

A reliable rain jacket is essential for backpacking. There is nothing worse than enduring a rain storm on the trail with a subpar jacket that soaks through within the first few minutes – trust me, we’ve been there!

But that doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend a fortune on the top-rated rain jacket. There are plenty of affordable options that will keep you sufficiently dry without making you sweat profusely underneath.

Many factors contribute to a good rain jacket, which we’ve explained in detail in our guide to finding the best rain jackets.

Rain Jacket for hiking, a hiking essential that you need to pack for every hike
XTM Tarkine

Our go-to rain jackets are:

  • XTM Tarkine Rain Jacket – this is an incredibly affordable and reliable 2.5-layer rain jacket that has kept us dry and comfortable on most of our hikes in Tasmania and New Zealand. Learn more from our XTM Tarkine Review.
  • Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Rain Jacket – we haven’t personally tested this jacket, but it is a favourite among hikers for an affordable yet highly capable 3-layer rain jacket.
  • The North Face Dryzzle Futurelight Jacket – while this isn’t a cheap jacket, it has superior breathability and comfort. Dylan was surprised by how good this jacket felt to hike in, but the downside is that the outer layer absorbs moisture quickly. You’ll stay dry underneath but it takes a long time for the outer layer to dry. Find out more in his review on the TNF Dryzzle.

Rain Pants

Rain pants aren’t necessarily an essential item for hiking. While they’re great to have, if you plan your trips around the weather, you can easily get away with not needing a pair.

It took us a while to bite the bullet and purchase a pair of rain pants – but living in rainy Tasmania finally made them essential! The same factors that you’ll consider for rain jackets apply to rain pants, except you don’t need to worry quite as much about breathability.

The main things we considered before buying a pair of rain pants were their waterproof abilities and whether we could put them on without taking our shoes off.

For more details on other factors to consider, take a look at our guide to choosing the best rain pants.

Hiking Rain Pants, good for hiking in bad weather
Patagonia H2No

Our go-to rain pants are:

  • Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Rain Pants – these were the first pair of rain pants we purchased and they’re still going strong years later. They’re highly packable, durable and sufficiently waterproof.

Cold Weather Add-Ons

Some extra pieces of warm gear that are essential when the temperature drops are a beanie, a neck warmer (aka buff) and gloves. We always throw a beanie into our packs, no matter what the weather forecast predicts, as they’re small and are incredibly efficient at warming you up quickly.

Merino beanie, a great item to pack on your overnight hikes
XTM Scree Beanie
Mittens for hiking in cold weather, a great item to add to your overnight hike packing list
XTM Ascent Mittens

Here is a list of cold weather gear we own and take with us when we head into the alpine:


Trail Essentials For Overnight Hikes

Hiking on the shotover saddle packed with all the hiking essentials for an overnight hike

Overnight Backpack

One of the most important pieces of hiking gear that you’ll purchase is a hiking backpack and getting the right one is essential. I started out with a cheap Blackwolf backpack and it caused me so much grief thanks to the lack of support.

The two main factors you’ll consider when choosing your backpack are the pack size and the load range – how much weight the harness can efficiently support.

The most common backpack volume that will be sufficient for 1 – 5 night hiking trips (or maybe more if you’re a savvy packer) is a 65-litre backpack. Some people prefer a 55-litre pack to start with, but you’ll quickly realise that if you want to spend longer in the mountains or you start hiking in cooler weather, it won’t be big enough.

On the other hand, if you are hiking alone or packing for your mini-me, you may want to consider a 75-litre backpack.

Note: Remember, if you buy a top-quality backpacking pack, the compression straps will cinch down tight and keep the load comfortable even if it isn’t packed full. We both have 85-litre packs now and don’t notice much difference compared to our old 65-litre packs – except how much space we have!

We highly recommend taking your time with this decision, trying on backpacks with weight in them, and choosing one that fits you perfectly – without causing any pulling on your shoulders or neck. Our favourite brand that we swear by is Osprey, we have never had an issue with these packs and they offer incredible support.

You can use our guide on finding the best hiking backpacks for more information on what to look for in a suspension system, along with plenty of other helpful tips and suggestions. Or check out our full review of the Osprey Aether Plus.

Hiking Backpack, an essential item to bring hiking on backpacking trips
Osprey Aura
Overnight hiking backpack, an essential item to pack for overnight hikes
Osprey Aether

Our Favourite Backpacks are:

  • Osprey Ariel / Aether – you can purchase this pack in various volumes and it is the best backpack for support with a heavy load. We have the 85 plus, but I used to have the Ariel 65 which has lasted me over 6 years and is still going strong.
  • Osprey Aura / Atmos – this is the most popular Osprey backpack and is slightly lighter, with an incredibly breathable yet supportive suspension system. However, it is the most expensive and only rated to carry a maximum of 18 kg.
  • Osprey Renn / Rook – the best budget-friendly alternative to the above is the Renn and Rook backpacks, they offer good support for loads between 12 – 18 kg (though we recommend trying to stay below 15 kg). These packs don’t come with as many bells and whistles but are sufficient for beginner hikers and casual weekend trips.

Daypack

While getting the absolute perfect fit for a daypack isn’t quite as important as it is for your overnight backpack, we still highly recommend choosing a pack with a thick hip belt, chest strap and some sort of suspension system.

The size we recommend for a daypack is between 25 – 34 litres. This allows you to have enough room to pack some food, your first aid kit and some layers for a day on the trails. Anything smaller than 25 litres can cause frustration when you want that extra layer or to bring other items like your camera.

To save money, you can use any old backpack you own, but your shoulders may not be happy with the lack of support after a few hours on the trail. The minimum support I suggest is a non-padded waist belt, this still takes some weight off your shoulders.

Check out our resource on the best daypacks for hiking for more information on how to choose the best one for you.

The best hiking daypack, a great bag for hiking in Australia and New Zealand
Osprey Mira
A day pack for hiking
Osprey Stratos

Our top choices for daypacks are:

  • Osprey Mira 32 / Manta 34 – this pack offers exceptional quality for its price, even coming with a 2.5-litre water bladder for free! I love the suspension system on this pack and find it super comfortable even when packed full. Read my full review of the Mira 32 for more information.
  • Osprey Sirrus 36 / Stratos 36 – this is the other daypack I was deciding between when I purchased the Osprey Mira. It’s slightly cheaper and the only reason I didn’t choose it is because I wanted a 32-litre and the top lid was too high to wear comfortably on my front while travelling.
  • Osprey Daylight Plus 20 – this is the best budget-friendly option, while still offering a small amount of support. It’s a bit smaller than I would recommend, but a benefit of the Daylite Plus is it can be attached to many of Osprey’s backpacking packs at the front for more volume while travelling.

Pack Liner & Rain Cover

A liner to pack you overnight hiking gear in to keep them try
Waterproof Pack Liner
A rain cover to keep you overnight hiking backpack dry
Pack Rain Cover

We recommend buying a backpack that has a rain cover included – which is common for most options. But if you find the perfect pack that doesn’t provide a rain cover then you can purchase one from stores like Macpac.

Even with a rain cover, we always pack our gear into a waterproof pack liner for extra protection. We use a Sea To Summit 60-litre waterproof pack liner and stuff everything inside. I can’t find any online right now, but we also own some Macpac dry bags and they work just as well – and cost a little less.

For a cheaper alternative to a dry bag for when you’re starting out, you can buy a durable garden garbage bag of the equivalent volume as your pack – but this is a less sustainable option.


Hiking Shoes / Hiking Boots

Another crucial piece of hiking gear is your shoes. Having a good pair of hiking shoes or boots that keep your feet supported and blister-free will be the difference between enjoying your hike and hating it!

Every foot is different, so while we have lots of tips and suggestions for what to look out for, we recommend visiting an outdoor store and trying on a few different pairs of shoes before making your decision.

Pro Tip: You can almost always find a cheaper deal online, so after deciding which pair of shoes you want, we suggest ordering them online instead – unless the store is willing to match the cheaper price you find.

Regarding the choice between hiking shoes and hiking boots, this is also dependent on each individual. I have weak ankles and bad knees so I tend to wear hiking boots on almost every hiking trip. However, Dylan prefers lightweight hiking shoes as his feet sweat and he doesn’t require as much support.

If you’re planning to stick to well-groomed trails with a light pack weight, then hiking shoes will most likely be sufficient. However, If you want to progress to more technical trails and longer treks, then you may want to consider a mid-range hiking boot.

Read our guides on choosing the best hiking shoes and hiking boots for more information.

Hiking shoes to pack for and overnight hike in Australia and New Zealand
Salomon X Ultra 4
Midweight hiking boots, an essential item to pack for overnight hiking trips
Lowa Mauria

Here is a list of our top recommended hiking shoes and hiking boots:


Trekking Poles

Trekking poles will be your best friend when you start hiking with a heavy backpack! They offer incredible support for your knees and ankles while also helping you stay balanced on uneven terrain.

If you haven’t hiked with hiking poles before, we highly recommend you give it a try. Dylan has even been convinced to use them on overnight treks – which I never thought would happen!

We have recently upgraded our hiking poles to a durable set that will be sufficient for our more technical adventures. But you can easily get away with an entry-level set from a reputable brand like Black Diamond.

Pro Tip: We recommend going for aluminium over carbon poles. Firstly, they’re cheaper and secondly, they’re less prone to failing completely. Alloy material will bend whereas carbon will snap.

Trekking poles, a staple item for an overnight hike pack list
Black Diamond Trail Cork

These are our current hiking poles and a budget-friendly alternative:

  • Black Diamond Trail Cork Trekking Poles – these are a moderately priced set of poles that offer good durability and all-day comfort with a cork grip. However, to save money, you can purchase the EVA foam grip version – which is just as good.
  • Black Diamond Expedition WR3 Trekking Poles – these are a pair of four-season trekking poles that offer superior durability – which is overkill for most hikers. We got this pair for our winter pursuits and endeavours into mountaineering.
  • Mountain Designs Tread Plus Trekking Poles – a budget-friendly option that will still get the job done. The telescopic twist-lock design isn’t as reliable as the flick lock and these don’t collapse as small, but they’re a great entry-level option.

Hydration

We always hike with a hydration bladder and a reusable water bottle each. Hydration bladders are invaluable while hiking, allowing you to sip as you walk. But to refill them, it’s so much easier with a water bottle.

There are several styles of hydration bladders, but our favourite – which seems to be the least prone to leaking – is the top slide-seal as opposed to Camelbak’s twist cap in the centre of the bladder.

hiking water bladder
Osprey Water Bladder
A tough reliable waterbottle for your hiking packing list
Nalgene Water Bottle

These are the most reliable water bottles and water bladders we have tested:

  • Osprey Hydraulics Hydration Bladders – we have a 2.5 and a 3-litre Osprey Hydraulics Hydration Bladder and they have been incredibly reliable and durable. You can easily replace parts on the hose and the bite valve if necessary.
  • Nalgene Water Bottles – the ultimate water bottles for durability and customer service. No matter the reason, if they break, you’ll get a replacement! But the best thing about these water bottles is the fact that you can put boiling water in them to make a hot water bottle – which is not possible for most hard plastic water bottles.

Gaiters (Optional)

Gaiters are an optional piece of gear that you may want to consider if your adventures take you away from the groomed trails. Gaiters are a durable fabric guard that covers the gap between your hiking boots and your pants. They act as an extra layer of defence, preventing mud, water and debris from entering your shoes.

While gaiters are handy to have in your pack, they’re not a piece of essential hiking gear and can be added to the wish list for the future. However, if you consistently hike in muddy and wet conditions, then they may be more of a necessity as they do wonders at keeping your feet dry – which in turn, keeps you warm and happy.

Hiking Gaitors, a great addition to your overnight hike packing list for muddy trails
Sea To Summit Quagmire

These are our top suggested gaiters for hiking:


Microspikes (Optional)

Microspikes are compact chains with small dull spikes that slip over the bottom of your shoes to improve your grip on icy and packed snow surfaces. They are compatible with all hiking boots and shoes and pack down super small.

If you know you’ll be encountering snow or ice on your adventures, then these are an invaluable piece of gear to throw into your pack. However, if you don’t plan to walk on snow then you can disregard these completely.

Microspikes for hiking boots, great to pack for hiking in the snow
Kahtoola Microspikes

Sleeping Gear For Your Overnight Hiking Packing List

Cooking in our Tent while camping in New Zealand

Tent

Along with your hiking backpack, choosing a tent is one of the most important tasks for overnight hiking. It can be overwhelming thanks to the endless options and vast price range, but it’s worth taking the time to research and find a tent that will withstand the conditions you plan to camp in.

We have had the Macpac Duolight Hiking Tent for over 5 years and it has never missed a beat, even when severe winds threatened to flatten it and us inside! This is a highly durable and spacious tent that we can’t recommend enough. But it is on the more expensive side if you’re just getting into hiking.

As we touched on, having a reliable tent is paramount and directly linked to keeping you safe. There’d be nothing worse than your tent failing when you’re days away from your car. This is why we recommend investing in a high-quality tent.

To help you narrow down your choices, here are some helpful tips:

  • Choose a freestanding tent. They are more durable and easier to set up.
  • Go with a 3-season tent. Even if you’re planning to only hike in summer, a 3-season tent is often designed to withstand heavier rain and wind – which are also common in summer.
  • Pick a tent with double doors for couples. This makes your life so much easier for entry, and exit. And if it’s bad weather, you have two vestibules to discard wet gear.
Lightweight hiking tent, a hiking essential for backpacking trips
Macpac Duolight
An ultralight hiking tent, great to add to your overnight hike pack list
Nemo Hornet Elite

Here are our top recommended tents:

  • Macpac Duolight 2-Person Hiking Tent – our trusted companion through any weather conditions. It may be slightly on the heavy side but the durability, space and reliability are worth it.
  • Nemo Dagger Osmo 2-Person Tent – this is a high-end, incredibly sustainable tent that doesn’t sacrifice durability and comes in a lighter package compared to the Duolight. This would be our choice for our next 3-season tent.
  • Nemo Hornet Elite Osmo 2-Person Tent – if you’re searching for an ultralight tent and money is no object, then this is the one. For a semi-freestanding tent, it’s impressively light at only 935 g! Just take care of this tent as I’m sure durability will have been sacrificed to some degree.
  • Explore Planet Earth Spartan 2-Person Tent – this is a good budget-friendly option that is a similar size to our Duolight. For an entry-level tent that doesn’t sacrifice durability, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything cheaper than this.

All the tents above, aside from the Duolight, are available in a 3-person version. A 3-person tent will generally be large enough for a family with two small children – though it will be quite cramped.


Tent Footprint (Optional)

Hiking tent footprint, a great addition to your overnight hiking checklist for added durability

Even if you purchase a tent with a thick and durable floor, we still suggest purchasing a tent footprint – also known as a ground sheet. They increase the longevity of your tent as well as add extra waterproofing from the ground.

You can often find tent footprints designed for a specific tent, but these are generally quite expensive. It’s worth considering if you know you’ll encounter rocky surfaces but if not, you can get away with buying a SOL Emergency Blanket – which is what we’ve used for the past few years.


Sleeping Mat

A sleeping mat is an essential item for hiking, offering insulation and protection from the cold, hard ground. You’d be surprised just how much warmth leaches out of you and into the ground if you don’t have a sleeping mat.

There are three types of sleeping mats to choose from – a self-inflating mat, air mat or foam mat – and while each has its place, we recommend choosing an air mat for multiple reasons.

An air mat is much lighter and compact compared to a self-inflating mat and much more insulating and comfortable compared to a foam mat. 

Along with your choice of sleeping mats, you must also choose an insulation rating – which is described as the R-value. For 3-season camping in mild climates, we recommend finding a sleeping mat with an R-value of 3 – 4. Anything over 4 isn’t necessary unless you plan to camp in temperatures below 0℃.

There are other factors to consider – such as the durability of the fabric, weight and packed size – which you can learn about in our guide to finding the best hiking sleeping mats

Ultralight hiking sleeping mat for overnight hike packing lists
Sea To Summit Insulated
Exped Ultra 5R for camping in winter
Exped Ultra 5R

But for a quick answer, here are our favourite hiking sleeping mats:

  • Sea To Summit Insulated Ultralight Air Mat – I couldn’t recommend this sleeping mat enough. I used this mat for over 6 years before it got a slow leak – only after enduring a hard life of rough terrain and heavy use. It’s super lightweight, comfortable and affordable.
  • Sea To Summit Ultralight Air Mat – if you want to save money and only plan to sleep in warm weather conditions, then this non-insulated version of the above sleeping mat is our top suggestion.
  • Rab Ionosphere 5.5 Air Mat – this is my current sleeping mat as I needed extra insulation for winter expeditions. It feels very durable and it’s warm, but it isn’t as comfortable as Dylan’s Exped below.
  • Exped Ultra 5R Air Mat – this is Dylan’s current sleeping mat – purchased for the same reason – and while the material feels slightly less durable than the Ionosphere, it is more comfortable.

Sleeping Bag

Aside from warmth, the major factors to consider regarding a hiking sleeping bag are its weight and packed size. If your sleeping bag of choice doesn’t have a photo or measurements for you to determine the size, we suggest seeing it in person first.

To choose the right warmth for your sleeping bag, determine the coldest temperatures you expect to camp in and then take off another 3 – 5℃. Next, search for sleeping bags that have a comfort warmth rating (not lower limit) of the temperature you came up with.

Although you can find cheap (unsustainable) sleeping bags at Kmart or Anaconda, I would be wary about the rating they boast and add an extra 5℃ to their suggested warmth. Furthermore, ensure you check the packed size and weight – a sleeping bag with a warmth rating above 5℃ should weigh less than 1 kg.

For more information about insulation options, durability and much more, read our detailed guide on how to choose the best hiking sleeping bags.

Lightweight Sleeping Bag for overnight hiking in New Zealand and Australia
Macpac Serac 1000 Alpine Sleeping Bag, the best bag for cold conditions hiking in Australia and New Zealand

Here is our go-to sleeping bags and some budget-friendly options we recommend:

  • Macpac Dusk 400 Down Sleeping Bag – this option is the most similar to the Macpac Overland 400 sleeping bag that we’ve had for several years, and it has served us exceptionally well. It’s sustainably made, relatively affordable and offers good durability. The comfort rating is 3℃, making it a good choice for summer and mild spring/autumn adventures.
  • Sea To Summit Trailhead Synthetic Sleeping Bag – this is a good synthetic budget-friendly option that still offers an adequate warmth-to-weight ratio. You can get this bag with a comfort rating of 5℃ or -1℃.
  • Macpac Serac 1000 Down Sleeping Bag – this is the current sleeping bag I own, which I purchased for Nepal and winter hiking expeditions in New Zealand. This is a high-end and extremely warm sleeping bag that I would only recommend if you plan on camping in very cold conditions.
  • Neve Gear Waratah Down Quilt – this is Dylan’s current sleeping quilt, a super lightweight and customisable option from a small Australian company. So far, he loves the freedom of movement it provides. However, he’s yet to test it in super cold conditions to see if the quilt will be as warm as a sleeping bag.

Sleeping Bag Liner (Optional)

A sleeping bag liner is used to keep your sleeping bag clean and add extra warmth to your sleep set-up. A sleeping bag liner isn’t an essential item, but it is beneficial to have once you start hiking more.

The most common sleeping bag liner materials are silk, polyester, cotton or merino wool. Silk and cotton are a great option for summer when you don’t want to add much warmth. Polyester and merino wool are used to increase warmth.

Sleeping bag liner for overnight hiking in Australia and New Zealand
Sea To Summit Reactor

These are the sleeping bag liners that we love and a budget-friendly option:


Pillow (Optional)

There are many options for hiking pillows, but the lightest, cheapest and smallest option is an inflatable pillow. If you don’t want to buy a pillow just yet, you can stuff your clothes into your sleeping bag cover and use it as a pillow – Dylan did this for quite a while before finally buying an inflatable pillow!

Hiking pillow, a great addition to your overnight hiking packing list
Macpac Inflatable Pillow

This is the pillow that we own and love:

  • Macpac Inflatable Pillow – this is a tiny and very cheap pillow that is super comfortable. The size is also customisable by inflating it as much as you desire.

Cooking Equipment For Overnight Hikes

Cooking on a Jetboil Flash, a great stove to pack for overnight hikes

Hiking Stove, Fuel & Cooking Pot

Having a means to cook a hot meal after a long day of hiking is essential! Luckily, it doesn’t have to be too expensive either. For a long time, we used the 360 Degrees Furno Pot Set from Anaconda. It served us well until we needed something bigger and that could handle freezing conditions.

For more information about the various options for stoves, check out our guide to choosing the best hiking stove for your needs.

Hiking Stove and cooking set for your overnight hiking checklist
360 Degree Furno Set
Jetboil flash hiking stove, a great hiking stove for cold weather
Jetboil Flash

These are our top recommended hiking stoves – which come with a cooking pot included:

  • 360 Degrees Furno Pot Set – this is all you need to get started and it is very affordable – especially if you sign up to be a club member at Anaconda, which is free.
  • Jetboil Flash – we have the Jetboil Sumo, which is big enough for our hungry bellies, but the Flash is a great option and a fair amount cheaper. This hiking stove is more efficient in windy or cold conditions compared to the 360 Degrees Furno and faster at boiling water.

Dinnerware

It’s very common for beginner hikers to go out and buy a bowl, plate, spoon, knife, fork, cup and mug. But it isn’t necessary. We only pack a bowl, mug and a spork (a fusion between a fork and a spoon) and sometimes, we don’t even need to use the bowl!

Collapsible hiking bowl for packing on overnight hikes
Sea To Summit Collapsible Bowl

These are our go-to options for dinnerware:

  • Sea To Summit Collapsible Mug and Bowl – we recently purchased these to save some weight and space in our packs and we wish we had done it sooner.
  • Sea To Summit Spork – don’t be fooled into buying an expensive titanium spork, this is more than enough for hiking and only costs $2.50!

To save money, you can grab a cheap and lightweight plastic bowl and a metal mug from Kmart. However, this is a less sustainable option and its durability is questionable.

Pro tip: Avoid bamboo bowls and cups and metal bowls. Bamboo breaks easily – we’ve seen multiple bowls broken on the shelves in Anaconda! Metal bowls get extremely hot and hard to hold.


Matches & Lighter

We like to take both matches and a lighter – even for a push-igniter stove as they often fail. This ensures that if the matches get wet or it’s too cold for the lighter to work, we won’t go hungry!


Food

Learning what to bring to eat for an overnight hike can be stressful to say the least! But once you go on your first couple of trips, you’ll quickly discover how much you need to eat and what works well for you.

Freeze Dried Hiking Meal, perfect to pack for an overnight hike
Freeze Dried Hiking Meal
wet meal, great food for hiking shorter distances
Wet Meal

This is a quick list of the basic food we take on most of our hikes:

Breakfast:

  • Coffee sachets OR instant coffee and milk powder
  • Tea
  • Oats with cinnamon, dates and brown sugar OR Uncle Tobys breakfast bar

Lunch:

Snacks:

  • Dried fruit and nut mix
  • Muesli bars
  • Miso soup sachets

Dinner:

  • Continental Side Dishes (usually pasta) with dried peas and dried mushroom – the cheapest option
  • Freeze-dried meals – a more expensive option but easier and more nutritious
  • Ramen noodles with miso soup packet and dried peas and mushrooms – requires more cooking, but delicious

Check out our article on the best cheap and tasty backpacking meals without a dehydrator for more ideas.


Cleaning Supplies

Biodegradable Wash for hiking
Biodegradable Wash
  • Biodegradable Soap and scrubber – we don’t often bother with soap but if you do want to bring along some, make sure it’s biodegradable.
  • Tea Towel (optional)
  • Rubbish Bag – to save on waste, re-use a zip-lock bag that you have brought along to store your food in.

If you bring along all freeze-dried hiking meals, then you will have little need for any cleaning supplies except for a rubbish bag.


Electronics For Backapcking

There aren’t too many electronics that you’ll need while hiking, but it’s essential to keep what you have charged if you’re venturing into the wilderness for longer than two days. We always take a power bank (portable charger) with us so that we can keep our mobile phone and headtorch charged.

Portable charger, perfect to keep you phone charge while hiking in the backcountry
Portable Charger
  • Mobile Phone – your phone isn’t only beneficial for taking photos, but you can download GPS apps to help you navigate (more on this below).
  • Power Bank – a 10K power bank is more than enough to charge your phone approximately 2 – 3 times, depending on your phone.
  • Charging Cables – don’t forget to bring all the charging cables you need for charging! We have forgotten ours on more occasions than I’d like to admit.

Headtorch

While you can get away with using your phone torch if you’re confident you won’t need to hike at night, investing in a good headtorch is very beneficial to keep you out of trouble and keep your hands free while you’re at camp.

The minimum amount of lumens that you should look for in a headtorch is 100. This will allow enough light for cooking at camp and navigating to the toilet. However, we recommend choosing one with at least 300 lumens for hiking at night.

Headtourch for hiking, an essential item for you overnight hiking checklist
Black Diamond Storm 500

Here is our recommended headtorch:


Survival Essentials For Overnight Hiking

Hiking on the Western Arthurs Traverse in Tasmania

First Aid Kit & Emergency Blanket

No matter the hike, I always throw in my first aid kit for peace of mind. You can find plenty of hiking-specific options online, just make sure that it is stocked with everything you’ll need.

Most hiking first aid kits don’t come with an emergency blanket, which we highly recommend adding to your kit. These blankets are compact, inexpensive, and invaluable for preventing hypothermia when necessary.

Hiking first aid kit, and essential for hiking and always to take on your backcountry trips
AKA First Aid Kit

My top suggestion for first aid kits is the AMK Mountain Series due to their handy organisation. However, there are a few items that they forego that I’ve listed below and highly recommend including.


Emergency Beacon

A PLB, essential for hiking safety and you overnight hike pack list
GME PLB

An emergency beacon is another invaluable piece of hiking gear if you’re venturing away from civilisation. It’s not essential if you’re confident you’ll have phone service for your trip, but for the majority of backcountry adventures, you can’t rely on having reception.

We have the GME MT610G Personal Locator Beacon and while we can’t comment on its performance, we love the durable case it comes in.

If you don’t want to invest in an emergency beacon just yet, you can hire one from any Macpac store in Australia or New Zealand. This is a fantastic way to stay safe until you choose to invest in your own.


Utility Knife / Multitool

Multitool for hiking in Australia and New Zealand

While we’ve never actually used our multi-tool – aside from cutting carrots – it’s a good addition to have in case you need to fix some of your gear.

When you’re choosing a multi-tool, we recommend choosing one with a mini screwdriver as it can be a lifesaver for fixing gear like trekking poles or cooking equipment. Also, choose one with a knife sharp enough to cut through fabric.


Electrolytes

Electrolite for hiking, an important thing to pack for you overnight hikes
Koda Electrolite

Dehydration is common on the trail and electrolytes can be a massive saviour to a throbbing headache after a day in the elements. It doesn’t have to be a sunny day to feel the effects of dehydration, which is why we always carry a pack of electrolytes, no matter the season.

Our favourite electrolytes are Koda Nutrition because they aren’t packed with a boatload of sugar! However, they are quite expensive compared to Hydralyte’s – which is our backup choice.


Water Purifying System

Water filter for backpacking and overnight hiking
Sawyer Squeeze

Often the water sources you’ll find on the trail aren’t suitable to drink without purification. There are several ways to purify the water in the tanks at campsites or the rivers and streams along the way, the cheapest of which is to simply boil the water before using it.

The most sustainable and best value for money is the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter Kit. This is what we use now and we love how easy it is to use. Not to mention, if you keep the filter clean, it will last you a lifetime without needing to be replaced.


Emergency Meal

Packing an extra meal in case you’re stuck out in the wilderness for longer than anticipated gives you the freedom to wait out a storm or stay put if you get lost

We generally take an extra packet or two of two-minute noodles and a Continental pasta dish – very lightweight meals that will instantly warm you up.


Gear Repair Kit

When you’re venturing out into the wilderness for longer than a night or two, it’s highly beneficial to ensure you have the means to repair broken gear on the go.

Along with a multi-tool, we recommend packing some extra bits and pieces that could help you keep broken gear going until you can properly get it repaired. Most sleeping mats and tents will come with a mini repair kit that is handy to bring with you.

But the most invaluable item for repairing gear on the go is duct tape. The list of its uses is endless, from covering holes in tents, sleeping bags and sleeping mats, to strapping together broken poles.

Here is a list of other items you can add to your make-shift repair kit:

  • Cable ties
  • Rope (to replace guy ropes)
  • Safety pins

Navigation Gear For Your Overnight Hiking Checklist

Reading a topographical map in the snow, looking for the best hikes near me

Map & Compass

Navigation has become a whole lot easier now that there are several GPS tracking apps that you can use – some even for free! However, knowing how to navigate using a map and compass is a very handy skill to have

Hiking Compass
Compass

For bigger trips, we like to purchase a topographic map to get a better sense of the landscape and as a backup in case our phone battery dies. While you don’t necessarily have to know how to use a compass if you’re following a marked map on well-defined paths, it’s beneficial to learn the basics if you intend to venture into rougher terrain.


GPS Tracking App

A GPS tracking app lets you download an offline map of your hike route and track your progress. It’s super useful for retracing steps if lost, or simply following the pre-marked route on the app.

Our favourite GPS tracking app is AllTrails, who offer a free and a paid version. The free version lets you navigate on the trail, but remember to open the app and load the route before losing phone service. By doing so, you can continue tracking your location as long as you keep the app open.

Alltrails map of Gillespie Pass Circuit
Alltrails map of Gillespie Pass Circuit

If you predominantly hike in areas with semi-reliable phone service, the free version is sufficient enough. But if you often find yourself with no coverage (which is almost every hike in Tasmania), investing in the pro version is incredibly helpful. The current price for the Alltrails Pro membership is $36 AUD a year.

Other popular GPS tracking apps include Gaia GPS and Maps.me. They are both very similar to Alltrails, except Maps.me is much better suited to exploring cities.


GPS (advanced)

Hiking GPS for advanced hiking trips
GPS

For serious hikers that venture off-grid often, purchasing a GPS like the Garmin GPSMAP or Inreach is the next step above using a GPS tracking app on your phone. However, for beginners and casual hikers, these are quite expensive and unnecessary unless you’re planning to make your own route through rugged terrain.

We don’t have a GPS just yet, but it will be something we will purchase before setting out on more unmarked trails through New Zealand.


Toiletries To Pack On An Overnight Hike

Pooping in the snow while apline camping in the mountains in Australia

We don’t need to give you an explanation about hand sanitiser and the rest of the obvious toiletries, but what’s important to remember is that this is a category where many beginner hikers overpack.

For overnight hikes, all I take is a toothbrush, toothpaste and hand sanitiser. For longer hikes, I will include a Konjac sponge (I don’t like using wet wipes) and sometimes a hair brush.

If you can’t fathom going a few days without your usual morning and night routine, see if you can cut down as much as possible. You’d be surprised just how heavy toiletries can be!

Toilet Paper & Shovel

Hiking trowel for digging holes on your overnight hikes
Hiking Trowel

Even if you’re camping at campsites with toilets, don’t rely on finding toilet paper there. We always pack our own toilet paper and a shovel to dig a hole when there are no toilets available.

If you need to dig a hole, remember to move 100 m away from any water source, dig a hole at least 15 cm deep and do your business. Once you’ve finished, fill the hole back up and pack out your toilet paper.


Poop Tube (alpine / winter)

Screw top Nalgene Container for use as a poop tube
Nalgene Container

When you’re camping in fragile alpine areas, near multiple water sources, or in the snow, you will need to use a poop tube. Honestly, this sounds worse than it is, it’s actually easier to use a poop tube as you don’t have to find a suitable place to dig a hole!

The best container to use as a poop tube is one with a screw-top lid and a solid construction. They are sometimes hard to find in regular stores, but this Nalgene Container is the perfect example – you just need to determine what size is best for you.


Sun Protection

Keeping yourself protected from the sun is not only essential to avoid burning, but it also prevents you from getting dehydrated and risking sunstroke.

Nivea SPF 50+ sunscreen for hiking in the sun

Here is a list of sun protection gear you want to bring on your hikes:

  • Hat – I rather wear a cap over a wide-brimmed one as I find it annoying with a backpack
  • Sunscreen & Zinc – for Australia and New Zealand, we always wear SPF50
  • SPF Lip Balm – don’t forget about your lips, the dry alpine air, strong winds and sun make quick work of drying out your lips and causing cracks
  • Sunglasses (optional) – I don’t like walking with sunglasses on, but they’re essential for hiking in the snow.

Miscellaneous Items

Now for the optional items and those that don’t quite fit into a category!

Whether you include the gear on the list below mostly comes down to personal preference. But the items that we highly recommend throwing in your pack are camp shoes, earplugs and insect repellant – especially if you’re hiking near Milford Sound or Wanaka in New Zealand!

Hiking Sandals for camp, A great item to add to your hiking checklist
Teva Sandals
TNF Down Booties for backcountry hiking in winter
TNF Down Booties
  • Camp shoes – I recently purchased a pair of Teva Hurricane xlt2 and I love them! I couldn’t recommend them highly enough for camp shoes. I also recently found the TNF Down Booties. OMG! For winter expeditions these are such a luxury.
  • Insect Repellent – unfortunately, DEET is the only thing that truly works on the sandflies in New Zealand
  • Earplugs – we always have some earplugs stashed in our sleeping bag pocket for when we have noisy neighbours and annoying wind gusts
  • Camera
  • Cards – it’s always handy to have a deck of cards for when the weather turns sour
  • Book – this is where an e-reader like a Kindle is super handy to have
  • Microfibre Towel – I very rarely pack a towel, even if we’re swimming often, and simply dry off or use my t-shirt
  • Collapsible Day Pack – some hiking backpacks like the Aether and Ariel Plus come with a removable lid that doubles as a day pack, though we very rarely use this.

Final Thoughts

Holy moly, this turned out to be a massive resource! But once I started writing, there was just too much knowledge that I had to share!

The main thing to remember is to try and break down what you need to pack to avoid getting overwhelmed. Start with the hiking essentials, ask your friends to borrow their tent and other big-ticket items and slowly build up your horde of hiking gear.

We hope that this guide has helped you start your journey into backpacking and cleared up any concerns you have about your overnight hike packing list. If you have any questions or would like to talk through some of your decisions, please feel free to reach out via email or Instagram.

Happy Hiking 🙂

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