Summer Adventures Wilderness Explorations

 4 + Day Trips – Pack List

Part of the challenge of a backpack trip is carrying a full pack. Another is discovering what is essential and what is not. When starting to pack, first check for detailed weather forecast at NOAA or Weather Underground. Plan and prepare using their forecast and this pack list as a guide. We will let you know ifthere are any other adjustments to this list based on the weather forecast and trip itinerary.

Every trip pack list we create has essentials that we expect will be needed in the wilderness. Note: Though a lightweight pack can minimize discomfort on the trail, you know your tolerance for other discomforts (such as cold, wet, bugs, etc.) so use your common sense and pack with consideration of your particular needs.

Important Reminder! For outdoor adventures, cotton is rotten! No cotton clothing!

Please compile everything on this pack list well in advance of your trip. If you need loaner gear or clothing, please contact us. Goodwill and other thrift stores can be an inexpensive source of outdoor clothing. 

What to bring to the Pre-Trip Meeting

Bring everything except departure day’s lunch. We will go through packs together and decide if anything is missing or can be eliminated.

Our Goal: A backpack with a base weight (without group gear added) that is less than 18 lbs.  Remember! Packs alone can weigh 3-5 lbs.


  • Socks: 3 pair

Medium-weight, wicking (synthetic or wool-blend).

  • Underwear: 1-2 pair

Lightweight, wicking (synthetic or wool-blend). Tip: Bring one pair. Turn inside out or wash mid-trip.

  • Sports Bra: 1 (if needed)
  • Base Layer (bottom and top)

Wicking (synthetic or wool-blend) long underwear bottom and long-sleeve top.

  • Pants (or pants and shorts): 1 pair

Quick-dry, zip-off pant/short style or lightweight, quick-dry hiking pants and separate shorts.

  • Warm Pants: 1 pair

Warm fleece pants or extra pair of heavyweight wicking (synthetic or wool-blend) long underwear.

  • Rain Pants: 1 pair
  • Tops: 2 pair
    • 1 lightweight, wicking (synthetic or wool-blend) short-sleeve shirt.
    • 1 lightweight, wicking (synthetic or wool-blend) warm long-sleeve sweater or fleece mid-layer.
  • Jacket: 1

Warm, synthetic (ex. fleece) jacket or down jacket. Note: Down is 50% warmer than synthetic and considerably lighter weight and compressible, but more sensitive to moisture - and more expensive.

  • Rain Coat: 1

Waterproof, hooded rain jacket. Tip: Wash and re-waterproof before trip if needed.

  • Hats: 1-2
    • Warm, lightweight hat.
    • Hat: brimmed, lightweight for sun protection (sun hat, visor, or baseball cap).
  • Gloves: 1 pair (required for advanced trips or high elevation trips)
  • Swimsuit / Swim Shirt: 1
  • Bandana and/or Buff : 1


  • Backpack

50-70 liter backpack with waist belt and chest strap. Note: Smaller capacity packs may be better for smaller backpackers.

  • Hiking boots or trail shoes (unless you have ankle issues): 1 pair

Lightweight, comfortable and well-worn prior to trip!

  • Water / Camp Shoes: 1 pair

Lightweight, closed toed. Tip: Crocs are preferred by many, as they're waterproof and can be worn as camp shoes with socks. 

  • Sleeping Bag

Rated to 20 degrees F or less. Non-cotton. Note: Down is warmer and considerably lighter weight than synthetic and compressible, but more sensitive to moisture - and more expensive.

  • Sleeping Pad

Closed cell foam or self-inflating. Note: Closed-cell foam pads weigh less than inflatable pads (but aren't as comfortable). Tip: Closed–cell pads can be cut down to torso length to save space and weight.

  • Headlamp or Lightweight Flashlight/Batteries (New and Fresh): 1

Trust us when we say new batteries are essential. Those who haven't heeded this advice have regretted it!

  • Water Bottles or Bladder: 2-32 oz (1 liter). Note: If you plan to bring a bladder, please make sure the second is a bottle in case the bladder leaks, malfunctions, or gets punctured.
  • Pack Towel: 1

Small-medium size, quick-drying.

  • Mug: 1

Lightweight, heat-proof.

  • Bowl: 1

Lightweight, sturdy, plastic reusable container with a screw-top or secure lid for storing uneaten food. Small, heat-proof reusable container (ex. Rubbermaid, Tupperware, etc.)or Talenti (brand) gelato containers work well.

  • Utensil: 1

Lightweight, sturdy spoon or Spork.

  • Plastic Bags: 2-1 gallon freezer-weight (1 for mess kit, 1 for toiletries).

Helps reduce clutter in packs and keeping bear hangs organized.

  • Journal/Pencil: 1

Small, travel-size notebook and pencil stored in a small plastic bag.

  • 550 parachute cord or similar cordage (BOYS only)

Lightweight, nylon cord. 10 feet. 1/8" - 3/16" diameter.

Personal Items

  • Toiletries (Travel Size)
    • Toothbrush (toothpaste provided)
    • Sunscreen (extra, if needed)
    • Lip Balm w/ sunscreen
    • Insect Repellent (extra, if needed)
    • Glasses and/or contact lenses/solution
    • Medications (Note: Medicines must be in original containers with labels that show participants name and dosage. Medications will be collected on day one and administered as needed by staff). Please bring completed Medications forms with you.
  • Lunch

Large lunch, snacks, and water bottle for day one en route to trailhead.  No candy or junk food please!

Optional Items

  • Liner Socks: 1-2 pairs

Synthetic or wool-blend for blister prevention. Note: Liner socks help wick sweat away from your feet, preventing the friction between your skin and outer socks that can lead to blisters.

  • Sunglasses: 1
  • Extra Bandana (lots of potential uses)
  • Gloves (warm): 1 pair
  • Hiking Poles: 1 or 2 (strongly suggested for all advanced trips)
  • Large, Heavy-duty, Plastic Trash Bags (pack liner and/or pack cover): 2-3 large
  • Mosquito Headnet: A good investment as kids can really suffer from the skeeters and anything we can do to help them suffer less is a good thing. 
  • Eyemask (or Cotton Headband)/Ear Plugs
  • Post-trip Clothes (for ride back to Bellingham). Cotton OK.
  • Small amount of spending money for pit stops and coin-operated showers (if available post-trip)
  • Nylon Stuff Sacks: 2

Note: Compression sacks with straps can be used instead of regular stuff sacks to minimize space.

Important! Please do not bring:

  • Cell phones, cameras, iPods, or other electronics.
  • Valuable items that may get lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Medications or vitamins of any kind that are not listed on your health form.

Wild Whatcom will provide:

  • Tents/Rainfly/Stakes
  • Water Purification System
  • Stoves/Fuel/Matches
  • Pots/Pans/Cooking Utensils
  • Food and Beverages (except first day lunch)
  • Critter hang bags plus rope for food storage (if not using bear canisters)
  • Gear Repair Kit/Other Tools
  • Whistles
  • First Aid Kits
  • Map/Compasses
  • Hand Sanitizer/Biodegradable Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Toilet Paper/Trowels
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Emergency Spot Device (Communications)
  • Permits

Important! All participants will help carry group gear (ex. tents, stoves, pots/pans, food, etc...). The amount of weight/gear added beyond a participants base pack weight will be based on the individual's height, weight, and abilities.

4 Day Trips - Pack List - Print Copy

Questions? Need to borrow loaner gear or clothing?