For some folks, packing is a frantic, last-minute chore that involves near-zero planning, tossing a bunch of “stuff” in a suitcase or backpack, and hoping for the best. Others prefer a more methodical approach. If you like lists, being prepared, and making sure you never leave anything at home while you’re away, you need a reliable packing tool. Here are the best sites and mobile apps to properly pack for any outdoor trip.
Available for Android
PackTeo is a favorite of ours for travel packing. Its versatility, however, also makes it a great planning tool for everything from grocery shopping to camping trips. The built-in packing list templates include a wide variety of activities (like cycling, kayaking, and hiking) and climates (desert, tropical, and high mountains), making it easy to browse and quickly add items to build a complete list for any trip. Every detail can be customized, or users can opt to create their own unique lists from scratch. Lists can also easily be saved as templates for easy reuse in the future.
Available for iOS
Despite its boring name, Packing List Checklist is a straightforward app with a solid mix of manual and automated packing list creation features. That versatility makes it ideal for preparing for any outdoor trip. The built-in catalog includes hundreds of items in dozens of categories, or users can opt to build a list from scratch. Lists can easily be shared with friends or fellow hikers by PDF, email, messaging apps, and more. Most of the app’s features are available in the free version, but $2.99 unlocks premium add-ons like reminders and iCloud sync/backup.
For hikers — especially thru-hikers and those who favor long-distance trails — weight is everything. The lighter the pack, the more enjoyable the trip. As its name implies, LighterPack is a weight-focused packing tool with a no-nonsense website that hardcore backcountrymen have relied on for years. It’s designed to help users quickly build lists of essential gear with particular attention to the weight of each piece. Everything can be easily categorized, and lists can be printed for easy offline reference. Registration isn’t required, although it is free.
Packfire is another web-based packing and pack-building tool to help plan for any outdoor trip. The interface is bright, colorful, and easy to read. Users can build custom lists or select from Packfire’s database of currently available gear on the market with predefined weights, prices, and other essential info. The site promises seamless collaboration with fellow hikers, including the ability to share packing lists and comment on other packs within a group. For group hikes, this makes it easy to divvy up shared gear to balance out the overall weight. The site is currently in beta, so it’s yet to officially launch, and there’s no companion smartphone app (yet).
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