Backpacking Essentials for a Weekend in Yosemite

I recently took my first trip to Yosemite and spent three days trekking through the backcountry.

While it was physically tough, it was an unforgettable experience! I learned a lot about planning for my backpacking trip and what essentials were needed to be completely prepared for Yosemite’s backcountry.

Here’s my guide to backpacking essentials for a weekend in Yosemite!

• • • Essential Gear • • •

Gregory Cairn Backpack


The Gregory Cairn 68 is my personal travel backpack. It’s designed specifically for the female body and is built for organization and easy access!

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag

This sleeping bag is my favorite for comfort, warmth and it is lightweight for packing purposes!



You really want a light tent for backpacking, and the MSR HUBBA HUBBA NX is light and spacious enough for two people.

Tent Footprint


To reduce the wear and tear on your tent, and to protect the bottom from condensation, bring a footprint for your tent floor.

Backpacking Sleeping Pad

Sleeping Pad

I learned that a sleeping pad is an absolute essential for a backpacking trip. They’re compact and lightweight but provide serious comfort after a long day of hiking.

Solar Charger

Solar Charger

solar charger is the best way to charge any must-have electronics during your trip! Just strap it to your backpack and it’ll charge your devices while you hike.

Backpacking Down Jacket

Portable Speaker

For campfire entertainment, don’t forget a portable speaker. The FUGOO Sport Speaker is wireless, waterproof and holds a charge for 40 hours!

Backpacking headlamp


An LED headlamp is an absolute essential for navigating in the dark (especially for “when nature calls” at midnight!)

Camping Burner

Portable Burner

This portable burner has a compact design that folds up so you can travel light but still enjoy hot water and a cooked meal. Make sure you don’t forget the fuel!

Backpacking Cookware


This portable backpacking cookware set is perfect for any overnight camping trip, and is made of lightweight aluminum.

Enamel Camping Mug

Coffee Kit

For coffee snobs, a backpacking trip is no reason to skimp. Pack an enamel mug, an aeropress and an airtight container of nice coffee for an early morning pick-me-up.

Backpacking Flask


While this is totally optional, it’s totally worth the extra weight to bring along a flask with whiskey to keep you warm on cold nights.

Water Filter for Backpacking

Water Filter

Probably the most important thing you need for backpacking the backcountry is a water filter to collect drinking water from lakes.

Vapur Water Bottle

Water Bottle

I love Vapur Water Bottles for all types of travel, but they’re great for backpacking since they hold 1L of water and collapse when empty. (Bring 2!)


You will need a bear can to store any food and fragrant items while in the backcountry. But don’t worry about bringing your own. Ranger stations rent them for only $5 and have easy drop off stations for returning them at the end of your trip.

• • • Essential Accessories & Supplies • • •

Resurgence Case

iPhone Case

Stay charged and protected throughout your trip with the OtterBox Resurgence Case! I also turn my phone on airplane mode to make the battery last all weekend- even with lots of picture taking.


SPF Lipbalm

Especially in the higher elevation, my lips always get chapped. I don’t go anywhere without Sugar Lip moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 15.

Conscious Coconut

Coconut Oil

Conscious Coconut oil can act as face wash, moisturizer, shaving cream, itch relief and so much more throughout your trip!

COOLA Sunscreen


I love COOLA sunscreen products. Pack an SPF 30 Sport Spray and their Matte Finish Face sunscreen for organic protection sun protection.



For blisters that may arise during your journey, moleskin is the best solution. It’s also worth packing a travel sized bottle of baby powder to keep your feet dry.

Flexible Cutting Board

Cutting Board

For preparing meals fireside, make sure to pack a flexible cutting board and a sharp knife for easy prep!

Stall Mates Wipes

Wet Wipes

Stall Mates wipes are Flushable, portable, eco-friendly bathroom wipes. They’re individually wrapped so they’re perfect for backpacking!

Sandwich Bags

Plastic Bags

Ziploc baggies are perfect for snacks, organizing items and for carrying out any dirty wipes. You’ll also need at least 1 small trash bag for any trash.

• • • Essential Apparel • • •

Hiking Boots

Hiking Boots

If you are going to invest in one item, it needs to be hiking boots! These boots are supportive and made of breathable material.

ALALA Leggings

Active Wear

I love ALALA‘s line of leggings and tops. They’re stylish but practical athletic tops, bras and bottoms from NYC and I’m obsessed.

Backpacking Down Jacket

Down Jacket

A down jacket that can be folded into a tiny ball will be your best friend. I love the Eddie Bauer down jackets- plus they have so many pretty colors!

Polarized Sunglasses Blenders


Polarized sunglasses are your eyes’ best friend! Grab a pair that’s inexpensive and stylish from Blenders Eyewear.

Wool Socks for Hiking

Wool Socks

While they’re a bit pricier than cotton socks, you want wool socks when hiking. They wick away moisture and keep your feet dry.

What are your essentials for backpacking?

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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.