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For those of you not familiar with the different levels of camping:
Car Camping/Walk-In - easy, drive right up to the plot, typically restroom/showers nearby
Primitive/Backcountry/Secluded - moderate, typically without restroom/showers nearby
Backpacking - difficult, you walk miles from your car with everything you need on your back

Minimum When Backpacking With AOC (Or On Your Own)

One or More Buddies!!!
Tell Someone at Home of Your Intended Route
Backpack (3,500 to 5,000 Cubic Inches)
Lightweight Ground Cloth (Tarp)* & 3 Season Tent** with Rain Flap!
Lightweight 20 Degree Sleeping Bag, Pad, and Optional Fold-Up Pillow
Eating/Cooking Utensils, Mess Kit (Plate, Cup, Bowl) Doubles as Cookware
Small Stove & Fuel
Water Bottles & Water
Water Purification Filter or Iodine Tablets
Snack Fuel Food for Hiking (Protein Bars & Trail Mix)
Freeze-Dried Meals
Flashlight or Headlamp
Camp Soap & Washcloth
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Dental Floss
Small, Hand-held Mirror
Nearby Swim Hole? Swimsuit & Towel
Sunscreen (which should be at least SPF 15 & applied 30 min ahead to be effective)
Lip Balm
Insect Repellent
Trekking Poles
Hat, Visor, and/or Sunglasses
One Change of Clothes, Long Underwear Can Double as Pajamas, Bandanna, Fleece Jacket, Gloves & Hat for Cold Weather, Plus Extra Underwear & No-Cotton Wool/Synthetic Socks (Liners Too)
Broken-In/Waterproofed Hiking Boots with Ankle Support for Backpacking & Camp Shoes
Poncho & Cover (Large Garbage Bag) for Backpack if it Rains
First Aid Kit (Bandages, Antibiotic Ointment, Prescriptions, Tweezers, Bee Sting Kit)
Women: Pack Tampons Even If Not Expecting To Use Them (Backpacking Can Do Strange Things to Your Cycle)
Contact Lens Wearers: Bring Solution & Back Up Glasses
Swiss Army Knife
Waterproof Matches
Rope, Twine, or Bear-Bagging Cord
Reading Material, Deck of Cards and/or Journal & Pen
Guide Book & Maps
Plastic/garbage bag to carry out garbage
Toilet paper (plus a plastic bag to carry it out)
Backpacking Camp Permit Information

*To protect your tent from accidental snags on rocks or roots, you should always use a tarp or ground cover under your tent! Be smart when selecting a tarp or ground cover if one is not supplied. You want your tarp/ground cover to be cut exactly to the size of the bottom of your tent. Why? Because, if it were to rain, you don't want to encourage rain to collect in pools on the tarp and roll right under your tent. You can buy a cheap tarp at a discount store and the first time you set up your tent - cut it to size. Another word to the wize - set up your tent on high ground, away from the fire pit, and not at the bottom of any slopes in the ground.

**When you go backpacking with another person that you will be sharing a tent with, it is best to have one person carry the rope and tent in their pack and the other carry the poles and the rain flap. If you were to get separated on the trail, at least you each will have parts for a make-shift shelter.

Lightweight Backpackers List
An experienced COC backpacker has provided the following advice on how to keep the weight of your backpack down:

- Best of all, is carrying a water filter (100 g - 454 g) and chemicals if you're going to be near water. Then you don't have to carry too much water.
- For dishes/cookware, a bowl and insulated travel mug are enough (don't bother with a plate), and usually one pot is plenty as you only have one burner and can only cook one thing at a time anyways. If you go gourmet, however, and don't want to eat cook in a bag stuff, you will need more pots and will have to carry a heavier pack. I have an 87 g stove that is fuel efficient so 1 sm cartridge is good for 3 days, 2 nights for sure, maybe 4 days, 3 nights. The 3-pc lexan cutlery set is durable and light and depending on what you are eating, you may be able to get away with just the spoon. Some extremists cut the handles off their cutlery and toothbrush as well as all the tags and pockets from their clothes, but I like having handles on my cutlery and how the heck could you eat if it's cold and your hands are frozen and shaking in gloves and you have no handles on your cutlery?!?! Isn't it smarter to just bring a spoon and leave the other cutlery behind? I DO bring my Swiss army knife for cutting fruits, veggies, rope, kindling etc. Very heavy but very useful.
- Purist lightweight backpackers don't bring a thermarest, but it's too uncomfortable to go without so I've compromised with a "Trail Short" which goes to my calves and is adequate for comfort in the summer/fall. For winter you would need full length to protect you from ground cold.
- For a comfortable seat, you can put clothes in a waterproof stuff sack.
- Pillow - you can stuff clothes in a stuff sack but try it out at home first - lay on the floor in your sleeping bag and put the makeshift pillow under your head. Some people aren't bothered by it, but I can't sleep like that. There is a great hollowfill pillow at MEC for less than $10 that is worth its weight in gold. Get it if you want a good night's sleep. It isn't that heavy and compresses down quite small (about the size as a Nalgene bottle).
- Sleeping bag - this will be bulkiest thing in your bag but it doesn't have to be the heaviest. I prefer down (MEC Raven, -7 bag, $135) because it's light, extremely compressible and very warm. My -7 down bag kept me warm in -8 while Oliver was shivering in his synthetic -7 North Face bag. The risk with down though is that if it gets wet, it takes forever to dry and won't keep you warm. If you buy down, make sure you've tested your tent and that it is waterproof Also have a repair kit or duct tape handy). Also, keep it the sleeping bag (any type) in a waterproof stuff sack or garbage bag while it's in your pack.
- Food - wraps are better than bread (flat so easier to pack, keep moisture and don't go stale/dry out), pitas are good too. Chopped peppers, cheese and smoked meats keep well and are great for sandwiches. Don't bring pickles! They have a strong smell and the vinegar seems to leak out of ziplocs particularly well! For dinners and breakfasts, I bring dehydrated stuff (porridge, instant soup, dehydrated dinners and apple crisp). Most people pack too much food, but if you're stranded because of weather/getting lost, extra is better than too little.

How to Pack your Backpack
An experienced COC backpacker has provided the following advice on how to pack your backpack:

- You don't want the heaviest stuff at the bottom. Put your sleeping bag in the bottom (in a garbage bag or waterproof cover), then put the heavy stuff (water, stove, pots, dishes, fuel, food) above it so the majority of the weight is above your hips.
- Above that should be clothes.
- Put your poles in the side of the pack
- Stuff the tent/fly in the top of your pack
- Put stuff you want to keep handy on the very top (rain gear/poncho, rain cover for pack, silver heat blanket, extra layers)
- Top compartment: sunscreen, headlamp, compass/gps, first aid kit, scrambling gloves, etc. Food/snacks for the day can be kept in the top compartment unless weather is warm and you think it might spoil. In that case, keep it next to your water and keep your water against your back.
- Thermarest can be strapped to the side or bottom of the pack depending on pack configuration (balance your pack's weight: if you have the poles, put the thermarest on the opposite side on the outside of the pack; if you don't have the poles, put the thermarest on the bottom)
- Tarps: I usually keep this folded and strapped to the side of my pack - handy as a group sit-upon or emergency shelter
- Shoes for water crossings can be carabiniered to the outside

- Matches & striking section should be in a waterproof container - film container works great; put this inside your cooking pot
- Put sunscreen in a ziploc (or 2) as it's prone to explode with temp/pressure changes
- Test your equipment before heading out (headlamp, stove, GPS) & ensure you have enough fuel and batteries.

Think we forgot something from one of our lists? Let us know.