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Stuart Peck is a freelance writer and video producer who specializes in outdoor, travel, corporate and commercial messaging and branding.  He has written for national magazines, video copy for healthcare and other corporate videos.  He also provides production support for commercials and TV shows.  

Five things every backpacker needs that they don’t know they need.

The greatest backpacking book of all time.  

Every trek I take, into the woods, usually begins with me remembering that one item I left off my pre-hike check list.  That one item I wish I was carrying.  That one item I’m going to think about the entire trip.  Gear lists can be thorough but I’ve compiled a few things often overlooked on most lists.  I hope this helps as you plan your next backpacking trip.    


1. Two tents, three sleeping bags or five jackets

When hiking you can only use one tent and one sleeping bag at a time, but multiple jackets (see layering), so it only makes sense to have a couple spare laying around.  You’ll be glad you did... especially as you get into camp and decide you want to use the green sleeping bag with the yellow tent.  Having color coordinated gear in the middle of no where is like having many leather bound books.    

2. Those little clippy things climbers use

I would recommend carrying at least five or six to be on the safe side.  They only add a couple pounds to your pack weight and you just never know when you’ll need to clip something to the outside of your pack or climb a cliff face on your trip.  Actually bring closer to 10...

3. A hand gun

Only the most serious of backpackers carry one of these when they go into the woods for a weekend outing or a two week expedition.  The space and extra weight it takes up in your pack will be well worth it when you need it to kill your dinner or a questionable “hiker” in the shelter during the night.  Carry one when you complete your through hike of the Appalachian Trail because it only takes two clips of direct hits to take down an 800 pound grizzly.  

4. Camping chair

After a long day of hiking in the wilderness, you want to be comfortable at night... right?  The more extravagant the better.  Honestly, if it doesn’t have an extendable foot rest what’s the point of bringing it.  One of those chairs with a little roof over it to keep you dry during a driving rain is also convenient.  

5. War and Peace (first edition)

After dinner but before bed there is usually a little time to get in some reading inside one of your many tents.  No one just wants to stare at the stars or watch the sunset before going to bed.  If War and Peace isn’t your thing a brick is just as interesting.      

If I’ve left off any vital items, please list them below... I want everyone to have the most extensive list possible.