What Not to Bring on a Backpacking Trip

Seeing the natural world from a firsthand point of view is an amazing experience that many hope to achieve through backpacking. Whether you are hiking in Yellowstone for a couple of hours or going on a multiple day excursion, there are certain essentials you definitely need to bring in order to be fully prepared.

On the other hand, there are certain items that many people believe are essentials but in actuality are just extra weight. When getting ready for backpacking trip, here is everything you should leave at home:

What Not to Bring on a Backpacking Trip


After a long day of hiking and sleeping under the stars, chances are, you are going to want a cup of hot coffee the next morning. However, instead of bringing a mug with you, bring a thermos instead. Not only are these thermoses light weight, they are also insulated, which can keep your coffee warm.


Despite how comfortable sleeping on a pillow is, bringing a pillow is not all that necessary. It takes up much needed space and is slightly useless when you can use your sleeping bag as a pillow instead.


Unless the forecast calls for rain or some other type of inclement weather, it might be a wise idea to leave the tent at home, especially if you are hiking for a few days. The added weight of the tent, not to mention how bulky it can be, can take up valuable space in your pack and slow you down. Plus, there is nothing like sleeping out under the stars.

Too Many Clothes

While you do not necessarily want to be underprepared with hiking clothing, packing too many clothes can add excess weight you do not need when hiking up a few switchbacks. There is balance between making sure you have enough clothes and undergarments to be sanitary and warm but not so many that your pack is filled with items you will not use. Your best bet is to think in terms of layers. If the weather is supposed to be cold, invest in lightweight, thermal items, including jackets, beanies, and hiking pants. On the other hand, if the weather is scheduled to be warm, stick with lightweight clothing items that breathe well, as it can keep you cool instead of sticky and sweaty.

Multiple Pairs of Shoes

Wear appropriate hiking shoes depending upon the terrain you are hiking. For instance, if the trail has spots where you will be climbing rocks or going through areas where you will need good shoe grips, wear the right type of hiking boots. But, if you are hiking a relatively mild area, consider wearing comfortable athletic shoes that are lightweight and waterproof.

If you are wearing the appropriate shoes, you will not need to bring more than one pair of shoes. Chances are, your athletic shoes will work just fine for most trails, and if you bring along your hiking boots, you probably will not use them, and their hefty weight will just get in the way.


Apart from your phone, GPS, or walkie talkies, there is not much need to bring along electronics. They are bulky, heavy, and take up a lot of space in your pack. Only bring the necessary electronics that can help pinpoint where you are if you get lost and help you find your way back onto the trail. Additionally, electronics can distract you from the beauty of nature, which, essentially, was the reason you went hiking in the first place.

Heavy Camera and Lenses

Unless you are a photographer, consider leaving the bulky camera and lenses at home, instead bringing with you a quality point-and-shoot. A smaller, thin camera will be able to capture the memories of the trip without adding four to five pounds, if not more, of extra weight. Plus, you will not have to worry about your expensive equipment being damaged or lost. However, if you are adamant that you must have a DLSR and lens, try to bring only one lens, as it will help to eliminate the extra weight.

Backpacking is one of the most beautiful ways to see nature and other breathtaking views, thus you want to enjoy the experience and not be weighted down by items you do not need.

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