Backpackers.com — We’ve all made a backpacking checklist before heading out on the trail. Usually it’s a little lined notepad that says things like, “rope,” “bug spray,” “hat,” and “wool socks.” Often it’s specific enough so you don’t forget your key items, but does little more than that, especially when you crumple it up or forget it in the car after you return.
Andrew Skurka, world-renown backpacker and adventurer traveler, takes his backpacking gear checklist to a whole new level. Skurka has led guided wilderness trips for many years, and over time he had to help his groups assemble comprehensive gear checklists. This sort of meticulous detail is best for extended hikes with potentially dangerous conditions — but part of backpacking is that you’ll never know what nature has in store for you.
Over the years Skurka’s multiple lists became one unified template, and on November 23 he decided to share the backpacking gear checklist template with all of us. Literally, though — he put his incredibly detailed, exact template for free on his website, saved in a bunch of formats. You can find the two editable formats below.
- Google Sheets
- Microsoft Excel (with some lost formatting)
Skurka made the template in Sheets, so it works best there. But, to each their own. Skurka says of the template,
“… I strived to keep the gear list user-friendly. For example, included product types are streamlined, and organized into intuitive categories. Explanations and examples are provided. It calculates pack weight, of course. There is room for the inclusion of pre- and post-hike insights, which make it a more helpful reference for future trips. And it functions as a checklist during the final pack-up…” (bold added)
First, the backpacking world says a giant “THANK YOU!” to Andrew for his selflessness in this regard. His experience is invaluable, and releasing something like this to the public, specifically for the public to use, is the highest expression of generosity we can imagine.
Second, Skurka goes even further with his post, explaining in detail how to use the template. He asks users who have any additions to contact him directly, and we recommend that as well. Please see his post if the template confuses you at all, and read it in general because … you know, he wrote it!
Third, and this is one of the more interesting points, Skurka’s template contains his usual checklist. If you open up the Sheets or Excel doc above, you’ll see hyperlinked items that Skurka has included. He encourages people to wipe these cells and replace with their own gear, which you can do if you have a bunch of gear and just need to organize for a trip.
But for many backpackers looking for a place to start, or for those in need of gear advice, check out what Skurka uses. He’s an expert, after all, and probably uses some pretty sweet gear.
Once again, a thanks goes out to Andrew Skurka for this gem of a resource in the backpacking community. And to our readers, may your trips be a little more organized!
Featured image: Backpacks Hanging courtesy Hodgepro and Pixabay
Body image: Andrew Skurka via Wikimedia Commons