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Backcountry Camping Loop, White Sands National Monument
Backcountry Camping Loop, White Sands National Monument

It’s not always easy to fit an extended camping trip into a busy schedule, but these longer trips make for truly singular experiences. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail or canoeing through a network of lakes requires planning and fortitude, but can create memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. Our Advanced Camping Gear Guide sets you up for success and covers all the bases whether you’re sizing up your first big excursion or a veteran of the outdoors.

This will outfit you for an extended wilderness experience with hiking and/or canoeing or rafting, where there may not be potable water available nearby. Weather will potentially be adverse, terrain may be extreme in places, and there is an enhanced degree of personal risk. If you’re preparing for something a little less intense, check out our other gear guides for the NewbieNovice, and Intermediate camper.

No matter what you’re setting out to do, always start with a detailed itinerary to share with your team and with Rangers.





Sleeping Bag


The further you get from the parking lot, the less forgiving nature is. Make sure to pack smart and give yourself plenty of layers to work with. Preparing for inclement weather isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessity. Just because you’re courting risk with a more intense camping experience doesn’t mean you should risk being a statistic.

  • Hiking Boots (Well Waterproofed)
  • Snowshoes (If you’re a true woods-person, like Joe Robinet, but if you’re doing that, it’s unlikely you need this list.)
  • Camp Shoes and/or Sandals
  • Wet Shoes
  • Wicking Shirts
  • Leggings
  • Pants
  • Shorts (To wear around camp)
  • Sock Liners
  • Sleeping Clothes: It may be an extra pound or two, but having something that doesn’t smell like woodsmoke and is guaranteed to be free of poison ivy is worth it.
  • Wool Socks
  • Long-Sleeved Shirt
  • Hoodie/Jacket
  • Snowsuit/Snowpants
  • Heavy Jacket
  • Heavy Gloves
  • Hat
  • Long Underwear (Those nights at high altitudes are literally frosty, and you’ll probably want to answer the call of the wild before that has a chance to burn off.)
  • Swimsuit
  • Microfiber Towel
  • Raingear (Full Suit)
    • Gaiters




Just because you’ll be out in the woods for several days doesn’t mean you have to forego eating well. With a little planning, a balance can be struck, alternating between some fresh-cooked meals on the first day or two with MREs or dehydrated meals later. Pasta or rice are always great bets.

For the more advanced camper, outback cooking can be a fine art. J has had pizza, blueberry cobbler and fresh-caught fried fish dozens of miles from civilization.

  • Bear Bag (This doesn’t have to be too fancy. So long as it holds all of your food and can be hoisted over a high branch, you’re solid. Remember that nature’s creatures were here first. Be smart and be kind, but most of all, be careful. A curious bear can leave you starving or worse.)
  • Cook Kit
  • Tea and/or Cocoa
  • Flask
  • Smaller Water Bottles
  • Trail Snacks (Be aware of where you are in relation to animals. If you’ve just seen some bear scat, maybe don’t break out the trail mix just yet!)
    • Peanut Butter
    • Honey
    • Cured Meat
    • Kind Bars
    • Gorp/Trail Mix
  • Dr. Bronner’s Soap
  • Wet Naps


Playing Cards

There’s a lot of hours in the day, and an extended camping trip is a perfect time to finish a book or share some laughs over a game of cards. Along with your survival, you’re also responsible for your own entertainment out in the woods.



Especially when penetrating deeper into the wilderness, it’s important to be mindful of your impact on nature. Be aware of water systems, and be respectful of your surroundings so that they may stay places where future campers may enjoy them. Remember, animals are attracted to new and exciting smells, so leave the AXE body spray behind.

  • Biodegradable Toilet Paper
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dr. Bronner’s Soap
  • Ziploc Bag(s)
  • Unscented Lotions and Skin Care Products




Out in the wilderness, you’ve got to be able to solve problems on your own. While there is such a thing as overpreparing, the miscellaneous items in your backpack are often the difference between an unforgettable experience and a comedy of errors. Don’t overlook the little details, and make sure to cross your eyes and dot your T’s.

  • Duct Tape
  • Camera
  • Telescope
  • Binoculars
  • Handkerchief 
  • Sunglasses
    • Croakie
  • Notebook 
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Portable Seat
  • Backpacker’s Kite
  • Fishing Gear
  • Rescue Whistle (Bears also hate whistles.)
  • Star Map
  • Pack Guitar/Harmonica
  • Spare Paddle

This list will outfit you for just about anything you may find in the wilderness, but for those looking for a less extreme experience, check out our Novice or Intermediate Camping Gear Guides.

Click here for a printable PDF version of this guide

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