A partnership of the National Park Service and the United States Forest Service.

What to Pack…

Everyone brings different equipment when they head into the Sierra Wilderness. Your experience level and the type of trip you’re planning will play a huge role in determining what gear you bring, but here are some basics to consider when packing for any overnight wilderness trip in the Sierra.


  • Hiking boots – should be broken-in and waterproofed.
  • Rain jacket and pants
  • Thin wool or synthetic pants
  • wool sweater, lightweight down or synthetic jacket
  • Wool socks
  • Liner socks (if you like liners)
  • Synthetic underwear, synthetic t-shirt (no cotton)
  • Quick drying shorts or pants
  • Wool or synthtic cap
  • Wool or synthetic gloves or mittens
  • Lightweight hat with brim
  • Bandanna


  • Backpack with pack cover
  • Map of your route, and compass or GPS (and the ability to use them)
  • Appropriate food for your trip, plus some extra
  • Bear canister allowed for use in the area you’re visiting
  • Sleeping bag and waterproof stuff sack
  • Tent or tarp with ground cloth
  • Sleeping pad
  • First-aid kit – don’t forget moleskin
  • Stove, cook-kit, mug, utensils, and fuel
  • Matches or lighter
  • Lightweight eating gear – cup, bowl, spoon.
  • Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • Garbage bags
  • Water bottle and water treatment or filter
  • Collapsable water container for camp
  • Mosquito repellant or bug net
  • Chapstick and sun screen
  • Toilet paper in a plastic bag
  • Trowel for digging cat holes (for human waste)
  • Toiletries - toothbrush/paste, glasses or contacts, personal medications
  • Repair kit
  • Decent sunglasses
  • Watch
  • Duct tape
  • Maybe some more duct tape

Other Ideas:

  • Sandals or camp shoes
  • Journal and pen/pencil
  • Fishing gear with a fishing permit
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Hiking poles
  • Book or magazine
Setting up Camp

Pam Meierding setting up camp in in the Yosemite Wilderness ~ Photo: Lincoln Else