What’s In Your Backpack? 5 Less Obvious Gear Necessities for a Hiking Trip

What’s in your backpack?

As I pack for my trip to Zion and Bryce National Parks coming up in less than 24 hours, I’m noticing the littler things, the more overlooked gear, that are an absolute necessity for my pack. 

Here's my list of less obvious gear:

This is a lightweight emergency water filter that acts like a straw that I carry with me at all times in my day-pack. It’s a “just in case” and it makes me feel better knowing that I can drink most any water safely.

2 - Chapstick
There’s the old story of a cowboy who drives his cattle for 100 miles, realizes he forgot his chapstick, so he turns the herd around and drives them back the 100 miles to go get it….. I am that cowboy. Cowgirl, in this case. Vital for my pack.

If you’re like me and have a massive reaction to the poisonous weeds, having a small bottle o Tecnu to smear immediately on a possible exposure will save weeks of future itchy agony. I carry a 2oz bottle with me everywhere.

4 - Ibuprofin
I have my Wilderness First Aid certificate and I’m a firm believer in listening to science. Inflammation is a cause of many things, including discomfort. I always have an emergency pair of ibuprofen pills in my pack.

5 - Luxury Item - Token of Each of My Kids
As someone who lives to get out on the trails and adventure travel, sometimes I have to leave my family behind. It’s one thing if it’s a day hike, but when I head out for multiple nights, I feel the tug of bringing something physical that I can TOUCH that belongs to each one of my kids. 

For my son, it’s a NASA patch. For one twin, it’s her tiny Eagle stuffie. For the other twin, it’s her little, teeny panda. I attach them all to a safety pin and connect them with a strap inside my backpack. So worth the extra "weight". Sob! 

Small, simple, but vital for me. What are your less obvious gear necessities? 

-Outdoorsy Mama

For more thoughts on backpacks:
6 Kinds of Backpacks for Every Kind of Adventure


  1. Great list! I carry 1, 2 & 4.. I love #5 but make do with pics of my kids on my phone. : ) For backpacking, I need a pillow (not a necessity for everyone, but so I can get a good sleep!) and for dayhikes, I bring Benadryl with the Advil.. just in case.

    Am going to look into the poison ivy/oak cleanser for our summer travels! It seems to grow well in warmer places (but not where we live thankfully).

    1. great tip on pillow and benadryl... and that poison ivy and oak is all over down here, so check it out as a preventative plan! thx -a

  2. Adventure Family ‏@adventure_fam comment from Twitter:
    @Sierratp @OutdoorsyMama bandana - so many uses!