The Federal Forest Service has a fantastic guide that gives a great general overview of backpacking, and it touches on most of everything discussed below. I would start here if you are new and need a comprehensive overview.

Pre-Trip Checklist: Feel like you’re forgetting something? Use this checklist to make sure you don’t leave something important behind.

Safety:  We want you to be safe! Consider these links before heading out on your journey.

  • Red Cross First Aid Courses
  • Wild Animal Safety: Educate yourself; avoidance is the best protection from encounters. Bear spray can be a great investment, but it will not help you if you don’t know how to handle the situation properly. Please educate yourself before hiking/camping in a wilderness area. Don’t let this deter you from being outside; this knowledge will prepare you so that you can enjoy an anxiety free experience!


Regulations: Don’t spread invasive pests with your firewood! We have been losing many of our trees and other organisms to invasive species, which are brought in from many sources, including firewood. Make sure your firewood adheres to these policies! Most major parks sell certified wood or can direct you to a certified seller; call the park beforehand to ask about firewood availability.
In addition, use these links below for State and National Park rules that include waste disposal, permitted camping distances from water sources, alcohol, firearms, and other general rules.