The Backpacker’s Checklist: The Top Must-Have Tools

  • Camping Guide /
  • By Hammock Lab

If you’re planning on going backpacking any time soon, then it’s incredibly important to think about what you’re going to take. The clue here is in the name: backpacking.

The backpack is really rather central here and it is what will allow you to travel without booking accommodation and without having a backup plan at all times. In short, this is what will give you real freedom to travel however you like and to leave your creature comforts of home behind.

So what exactly do you need to take? What are the top ‘must-have tools’ for someone who is heading out onto the open road with nothing more than the bag on their back? Here are some crucial options that can make all the difference to your experience…

Torch Lantern

A torch lantern is an incredibly simple tool and yet it is one that can make a big difference when you’re out there. This is essentially a regular torch, except that it has a telescoping design that allows you to extend its body.

Doing so will reveal the transparent plastic center with the light in the middle. You can then stand it on its end and it will emit light more like a lamp rather than a torch – meaning you don’t have to hold it and point it. It’s ideal for eating dinner and getting some light, or for reading a book in bed while you relax.


While you are probably trying to ‘get back to nature’ and all that, having a way to read on the move is brilliant if you hope pass the time away on long journeys or just make that evening in your hammock a little more enjoyable.

What’s more, is that if you get an original generation Kindle (1 or 2), then you’ll be able to use the browser on it completely for free. That’s right – unlimited internet access anywhere in the world! The connection is very slow and the browser is fiddly… but when you’re desperate it can be a life-saver.

Microfiber Towel

A microfiber towel is a towel made from… microfiber. This is essentially a much thinner and lighter material than the regular cloth that most towels are made from and that means that it will dry almost instantly.

What’s more, is that it means you can fold it up into a very small and compact ball to be fitted into a coat pocket or a small section of your backpack. This is far preferable to taking up the entire thing!


A portable hammock can give you the ability to sleep wherever you may be. At the same time, it can be folded up once again into a very compact and light little ball, probably weighing no more than a few pounds.

From there, you can slip it into a bag or a pocket and give yourself a place to stay for the night when you didn’t manage to find accommodation in time. It will keep you off the floor and safe from bugs and if you get one with a mosquito net, then you can forget bug bites as well!

Not sure you’ll be likely to find any trees where you are? The good news is that it’s also possible to find portable hammock stands. These too can be constructed from a small unit that’s small enough to fit in a bag and they will then let you hang your hammock with no need for any trees!


Rope has countless benefits and while it might make you look a little sinister, it’s a brilliant thing to bring with you on any hiking, backpacking or camping trip. For example, if you’re using the aforementioned hammock then you can use rope to extend your hammock straps to make the hammock longer.

This then means it can be hung between two trees that are much further apart. You can also use rope to create a washing line, to carry things, or to fix things!

Masking Tape

Speaking of which, masking tape is also a must-have. It’s small, it’s easy to fit into your bag and it can be used to help with anything from a wound to a backpack with a hole in it!

First Aid Kit

Relying entirely on masking tapes for wounds is not a great idea though, which is why a well-stocked first aid kit is always a good idea. This should include everything from bandages, to scissors, to pill pots and help you to last until the emergency services arrive after most injuries.