Planning Resources​

Please feel free to download and use any of the planning resources below. It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure you are prepared for your adventures, but we hope that these resources will save you some time and effort in organizing your planning process. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

Backpacking Gear Checklist

PDF File

This is the backpacking gear checklist Mark and Katie use for 3+ Season trips (most summer, spring, and fall conditions and locations). For winter trips, or for more extreme conditions, they change the items on this list. This list is considered “Light” but not “Ultralight”.

Backpacking Preparation Checklist

PDF File

Use this checklist to make sure you are prepared for your backpacking trip. Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to ensure you have, know, and do everything you need to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

First Aid Kit Checklist

PDF File

Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need in your backpacking first aid kit. NEVER go backpacking without a first aid kit and make sure you know how to use the items inside. See our Emergencies in the Backcountry section on the "Learn" page for more information.

Mark's Gear List

PDF File

This is Mark's personal backpacking gear list. He does not take every item on this list on every trip, and some trips require additional items that are not on this list. Take a look.

Sample Topographic Map

PDF File

This topographic map depicts a route through Sage Creek Wilderness Area in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Use it as an example for your creation of personalized topographic maps using online or downloadable software.

Sample Waypoints

PDF File

This is an example of a waypoints list you would print on waterproof paper and take with you on your backpacking trip. This particular list is a 22-mile, 3-day loop through Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

Backpacking Itinerary Template

Microsoft Word Document

Fill out this itinerary template for your next backpacking trip. Leave a copy in your car, and give a copy to someone who will be responsible for calling the authorities if you do not return by the expected date and time.

How to Pack a Backpack

Video

Another great REI resource: Packing a backpack is pretty simple, but there are some tips to make the process easier and to get you better results. Check out this video to learn how to load your pack properly.

REI Backpacking Checklist

PDF File

This is a comprehensive backpacking checklist from REI, which is one of Katie and Mark's top choices for outdoor equipment and information. Their backpacking checklist is "your tried-and-true guide to packing smart. The list is intentionally comprehensive so you don’t forget anything important."

REI Ultralight Backpacking Checklist

PDF File

Ready to take the next step in backpacking comfort? Try going ultralight. This checklist from REI will help you get started with this new and innovative style of backcountry travel.

Wilderness Medicine

Amazon Book

Katie and Mark have the privilege of calling Dr. William Forgey, MD a personal friend. He has been called the Father of Wilderness Medicine, and rightfully so. With more backcountry experience than anyone we have ever met, Dr. Forgey (or “Doc” to his friends) is the authority on wilderness medicine. His book, Wilderness Medicine: Beyond First Aid, now in it’s 6th edition, is an invaluable resource for the backcountry traveller.Katie and Mark have the priv

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