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Backpacker Checklist: Must-Haves for Sleep Outdoors

Putting your backpacker checklist together is one of the exciting pre-travel preparation tasks that gets you raring to go.

It’s vital to pack your toilet paper, lip balm, hiking shoes, and rain jacket, but have you thought about sleep? Good sleep is essential for enjoying your backpacking trips to the fullest.

However, every piece of gear you take on your backpacking adventure is something you’ll need to carry, so it’s important you think carefully about what you pack for travel.

Whether you’re packing for a long stay or shorter trips, having top-quality sleep gear is essential. A good sleeping bag and a decent sleep mat are worth their weight in gold. 

Of course, what you put on your packing list to help you sleep comes down to personal preference, but a strong backpacking essential checklist is super helpful.

That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate backpacking gear list to help you find the best sleeping equipment that’s light-weight, portable, and good quality.

Read on to learn the top sleep essentials for all types of backpacking trips.

(Note. While we earn commission from the links in this article, we only recommend the products we truly believe will improve your sleep the most. These commissions come at no extra expense to you and help us to keep providing you with expert sleep information for free.)

What’s Essential for Your Backpacker Checklist?


Travel backpacks won’t carry everything, so you’ll need to consider what’s essential backpacking gear so you can pack light. 

Below, you’ll find a complete list of travel gear inspiration to help you sleep better, but beyond that, also think about including:

  • A decent pair of hiking pants
  • Hiking boots
  • A lightweight rain jacket
  • Water bottles (in case there’s no water source when you’re out and about)
  • An insulated jacket (try not to pack a puffy jacket as it takes up lots of space)
  • A first aid kits (remember band aids, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, medical tape, and energy bars)
  • Insect repellant
  • Sewing kit
  • Something to put dirty clothes in
  • 1-2 pairs of nice socks
  • Something to keep your credit cards and money safe

10 Backpacker Must-Haves for Better Sleep While Traveling


While it’s important to think about the backpacking clothes you’ll need, you must consider your sleeping arrangements. Good quality sleep is a backpacking necessity that will help you to fully enjoy everything you’re seeing on your backpacking adventure.

Create a packing list to help you avoid packing too much and carrying around extra weight.

Check out the backpacking equipment list of sleep gear in this detailed post below.

1. A Good Pillow to Avoid Neck Ache

At first, packing a pillow might seem a bit excessive. Don’t be fooled — a decent pillow is an essential item to make sure you’re getting high-quality sleep. There’s nothing worse than spending good money on accommodation only to sleep on a paper-thin pillow.


The CBD Pillow is a must-have to add to your minimalist backpacking list. 

Not only is it a great lightweight option, but it will also help you get an incredible night’s sleep.

Featured in Rolling Stone and Men’s Health, this pillow is full of CBD micro-pods that burst while you sleep, releasing CBD to help you drift off and stay comfortable asleep.

Choose from three thicknesses: thin and light, medium, or full and firm. We recommend the thin and light option as it won’t take up too much room so you can carry it in your day pack.

2. SleepPhones to Block Out Noise

The next top sleep product for your backpacking essential checklist is a decent pair of AcousticSheep SleepPhones


Whether you’re looking at long or short term travel and you’re backpacking on a budget, you’ll, no doubt, be staying in hostels. Hostels are busy places with lots of noise. If you’re a light sleeper, it can be tough to drop off and you’ll often be woken up by people coming in and out of your shared room.

AcousticSheep SleepPhones are a great option if you’re looking to pack light as they’re just a fleece band with integrated Bluetooth headphones. The whole thing is very lightweight, which is why they’re one of our favourite items.

Beware. You will need USB ports to charge them so make sure you take an adapter.

You’ll get free shipping on orders over $25 and you’ll get $5 off for signing up to their mailing list.

3. A Decent Sleeping Pad to Avoid Back Ache


If you’re thinking of camping out or planning to take epic hikes and stay overnight in the wilderness, a good quality sleeping pad is an essential piece of equipment to add to your camping gear checklist.

The reason a sleeping pad is a backpacking necessity for those camping out, is that it stops your body from absorbing cold from the ground.

Add the Campy P3 Air Sleeping Pad to your camping gear checklist.

6-backpacker-checklist-sleep-mat-8452561Not only is it fully insulated to keep you warm, but it also has 3 inches of thickness so you’ll stay comfy. Its unique ergonomic design supports your higher and lower spine, while the 40D high-tensile nylon fabric is extremely durable.

It also has two valves so it’s super quick and easy to inflate and deflate.

You’ll also get free shipping when you order this sleeping mat.

Remember to pack a pad patch kit in case you get a puncture!

4. A Portable Hammock for Places without a Bed

When it comes to camping delights, there’s no better than sleeping under the stars. A camping hammock is an absolute necessity.

Plus, if you’re planning on overnight hikes and you find yourself needing emergency shelter, a camping hammock becomes must-have hiking gear.


Unigear Portable Hammock Set is one of our favourite items to add to this list of backpacking essentials because you can choose either a single or a double hammock. 

The double is perfect if you’re traveling as a couple or you’re a big person who likes a lot of space. Alternatively, the single is a great lightweight option.

Not only can you choose from 11 different colors, but the setup process is super easy — you’ll have a hammock hanging in three simple steps.

Don’t worry about stability. This hammock has a nice balance, thanks to the sleek alignment and heavy-duty stainless steel carabiners.

Plus, it’s super durable since it’s made from 210T high tenacity parachute nylon. This material is very breathable too, so you won’t be sweating at night.

5. A Cozy Sleeping Bag for Cold Weather Countries

Everyone knows that a sleeping bag is considered ‘must-have hiking gear’. However, it’s a backpacking necessity to choose a sleeping bag that fits the climate you’re traveling to.

You may want to pack light, but if your sleeping back isn’t warm enough, the cold nights will ruin your whole backpacking adventure.

Consider your travel style before you leave. If you’re someone looking to do a ski season, hike high mountains, or spend chilly nights under the desert stars, you’re going to need a good quality cold-weather sleeping bag.

The Relaxed Mummy Camfy Bed 50℉ Sleeping Bag protects against temperatures up to -11℃ (12.2℉). If you’re looking for a sleeping bag for cold nights, this really holds up.

8-backpacker-checklist-sleeping-bag-3758572You can choose from regular or long lengths. Super helpful if you’re tall!

While it’s got a curved bottom end, it’s perfectly designed to give lots of legroom and the drawcord adjustable hood can be pulled in tight to keep the cold air (and possible rain!) off your face.

It’s super durable, don’t worry about that. Crafted from 30D 350T polyester and high thermal performance fibers, it’s tough and soft. 

Also, it has a two-way zipper to help you control ventilation and get in and out quickly.

Plus, it comes with free shipping.

6. A Light Sleeping Bag for Hot Weather Countries

Ditto but for hotter climates.

You don’t want to be sweating in a cold-weather sleeping bag, so choose the lightweight option: Relaxed Mummy Camfy Bed 30℉ Sleeping Bag.

It still goes down to -22℃(-7.6℉) though. So unless you’re planning on seeing penguins in the wild or hiking the Arctic Circle Trail, this lighter option will likely be enough for your backpacking equipment list.

7. Travel White Noise Machine to Mask Outside Sounds

While you might not put a white noise machine on your backpacking essentials checklist, it’s a vital piece of gear for extremely light sleepers.

One of our favourite travel accessories to aid sleep on the road, a white noise machine will drown out everything from Thailand’s Full Moon party to a snoring top-bunk hippie.

Try the Travel Mini Sound Machine.


It’s small enough to fit in your day pack. In fact, it’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. So you’ll have enough room for all those extra clothes.

And if you need your day pack for daytime ventures, just leave it plugged in to charge back at base camp.

It does six sounds. Both white noise and brown noise, along with the sounds of ocean waves, a thunderstorm, a gentle stream, and dohm (we don’t know what that last one is, either). Choose whichever you find most comforting.

On top of all of that, it has a soft night light. It’s perfect for illuminating your tent or finding something in a dark hostel bunk without waking the whole room.

You can also buy a travel case to protect it as you go.

Get 10% off by signing up to their mailing list. Plus, get 15% off future purchases by recommending them to a friend (who will also get 15% off!)

8. An Eye Mask to Block Out Unwanted Light

While the ultra minimalist backpacking list might not include an eye mask, an excellent travel packing list by an experienced traveler will.

That’s why an eye mask is one of the favourite items in this blog post.

Think about it. You partied hard on the beach last night, you’re feeling the effects the next morning as the full force of the blazing sun beats through the crack in your hostel drapes. You’ll be begging for an eye mask.

The Gravity Heating/Cooling Weighted Sleep Mask is our top pick.


Not only will it block out that pesky light, but it will also cool your face in the hot climate.

However, for colder climates, where your cold nose is keeping you awake, the weighted mask will help you sink back to sleep by warming your face up.

But mostly, the weighted effect helps you to quickly fall back into a deep sleep.

If you’d prefer a cheaper option, the Copper Infused Weighted Sleep Mask still gives the relaxing effects of the weighted mask. Plus, you get an extra boost to reduce anxiety thanks to the infused copper.

9. A Night Light That Won’t Blast You Awake

Let’s keep it simple.

The Allay Lamp uses a patented green lamp to help you drift off, while also reducing the effects of blue light. 


So, you can read in your dorm room and drift off quickly. Or, you can use it to light your tent when you need to find something at night and still fall back to sleep quickly.

10. A Compact Pocket Blanket

Look, if you get caught off guard in the monsoon and it’s cold, you’re going to want more than just an emergency poncho.

Find yourself a compact pocket blanket.

Seriously, find it yourself. We can’t find a good one to recommend.

We like the Basics by Gravity Blanket, but it’s more of a weighted small throw than a pocket-sized blanket.

It’s a great little extra if you’re a bit chilly by a beach campfire — it would certainly fit on your day pack. But definitely not in your pocket, unfortunately.


You need a good sleeping bag, a noise blocker, a light blocker, and bed (hammock or pad).

Choose wisely.

If you need more help, why not just drop us an Instagram message (@snoozerville).