Backcountry Camping Gear Checklists

Backcountry camping, also known as wilderness or primitive camping, involves staying in remote and undeveloped areas away from established campgrounds and amenities. It often involves hiking or backpacking into nature to set up camp in a natural setting, with minimal human impact on the environment.

Backcountry camping requires more planning and preparation than traditional camping since no amenities, such as running water, toilets, or shelters, are usually available. Campers must bring all their equipment, food, and water and practice the Leave No Trace principle to ensure they do not leave any trash or damage to the natural environment.

Backcountry camping can be a rewarding experience for those who enjoy outdoor adventure, solitude, and a deeper connection with nature. It can also be a challenging and potentially dangerous activity, so it’s essential to be well-prepared, informed, and experienced before embarking on a backcountry camping trip.

Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities in Ontario for anyone new to the idea of backcountry camping.

Backcountry Checklist

Here’s a basic checklist of gear you’ll need for a backcountry camping trip:


  • Tent or hammock
  • Tent stakes
  • Tent footprint or tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad


  • Stove and fuel
  • Cookware (pots, pans, utensils)
  • Water filters or purification tablets
  • Cooler or food storage container
  • Water bottles or hydration system


  • Base layer (tops and bottoms)
  • Insulating layer (fleece or down jacket)
  • Rain jacket and pants
  • Hiking boots or shoes
  • Socks 7 underwear (wool or synthetic)
  • Hat and gloves
  • Sunglasses


  • Map and compass
  • GPS device (optional)
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Extra batteries


  • Backpack
  • Trekking poles
  • First aid kit
  • Multi-tool or knife
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Bear spray (if in bear country)
  • Trash bags and zip lock bags for waste management
  • Emergency whistle or signal mirror

Remember to check the weather forecast before heading out and adjust your gear accordingly. It’s also important to research the specific backcountry area you’ll be camping in to ensure you’re adequately prepared for any unique challenges or regulations.

In time you’ll develop your own list but remember to pack light as you’ll carry it in and back out again.

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