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Coast To Coast Kit List: What’s In My Backpack


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Vyky Acuna



Are you planning an epic adventure and wondering what travel essentials and accessories you should pack? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to maximize comfort and practicality on your journey from coast to coast.


Whether you’re embarking on a solo backpacking trip, a camping expedition with friends, or a road trip with your loved ones, having the right gear can make all the difference. From choosing the perfect backpack to essential clothing and accessories, we’ll ensure you’re well-prepared for whatever the journey throws at you.


Traveling from coast to coast offers a unique opportunity to experience diverse landscapes, climates, and cultures. From the sandy beaches of California to the bustling city streets of New York, each destination presents its own challenges and requirements. That’s why it’s crucial to have a well-thought-out kit list that caters to your specific needs.


Throughout this guide, we’ll not only provide you with a detailed list of essential items but also offer practical tips and tricks to help you make the most of your adventure. So, let’s dive right in and explore the must-have travel essentials and accessories for your coast-to-coast journey.



When it comes to choosing a backpack for your coast-to-coast adventure, durability, comfort, and capacity are key factors to consider. Look for a backpack that is made of high-quality materials and has adjustable straps and a padded back panel for optimal comfort.


The size of your backpack will depend on the length of your trip and the amount of gear you plan to carry. For longer trips, a backpack with a capacity of 50-70 liters is recommended. This will provide enough space for your clothing, camping gear, and personal items.


An important feature to look for in a backpack is multiple compartments and pockets. This will help you stay organized and easily access your belongings without having to rummage through the entire bag. Additionally, choose a backpack with a rain cover or opt for a waterproof backpack to protect your belongings from unexpected downpours.


Ensure that your backpack fits properly and distributes weight evenly across your shoulders and hips. This will prevent strain or discomfort during long hikes or walks. Before setting off on your journey, test out the backpack’s fit and adjust the straps accordingly.


Remember to pack your essentials in lightweight, compact bags to optimize space and keep everything in order. Compression straps or cubes can be useful for maximizing space and keeping your belongings secure and organized.


Lastly, don’t forget to attach any additional accessories, such as a hydration bladder or a hiking pole holder, if needed. These small but handy additions can greatly enhance your backpacking experience.


A well-chosen backpack will become your trusted travel companion throughout your coast-to-coast adventure. Take the time to select the right one, and you’ll be ready to hit the road with all your essential gear securely and comfortably stored.



When it comes to packing clothing for your coast-to-coast trip, versatility, comfort, and layering are key. Consider the different climates and activities you’ll encounter along the way to ensure you’re prepared for any weather conditions.


Start by selecting a few pairs of comfortable and durable pants or shorts, depending on your preference. Opt for quick-drying materials that can withstand various terrains and activities. Pack a mix of lightweight and warmer tops, such as t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and sweaters, to accommodate fluctuating temperatures.


Layering is key for adapting to changing weather conditions. Pack a lightweight and waterproof jacket that can protect you from rain and wind. Additionally, bring a few versatile and breathable layers, such as fleeces or hoodies, for added warmth when needed.


Don’t forget about your undergarments and socks. Pack enough pairs to last you between laundry stops, and opt for moisture-wicking materials to keep you dry and comfortable throughout your journey.


Consider the specific activities you’ll be engaging in and pack accordingly. If you’ll be hiking or participating in outdoor adventures, pack a few sets of moisture-wicking and quick-drying activewear. For casual outings or city explorations, a comfortable pair of walking shoes or sneakers is essential.


It’s also important to pack a hat or cap for sun protection, as well as a pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes from the glare. A lightweight and versatile scarf or bandana can come in handy for various purposes, such as protecting your neck from the sun or covering your face in dusty or windy conditions.


Finally, don’t forget to pack a swimsuit for coastal areas or any unexpected opportunities for a dip in a lake or pool. Remember, the key to efficient packing is selecting items that can be mixed and matched, layered, and easily washed or aired out along the way.


By carefully curating your clothing items, you’ll be prepared for any weather conditions or activities that arise during your coast-to-coast adventure. Remember, comfort and functionality are paramount when selecting clothing for your journey.



Choosing the right footwear for your coast-to-coast adventure is crucial for both comfort and safety. Your choice of footwear will depend on the activities you plan to engage in and the terrain you’ll be traversing.


If you’ll be doing extensive hiking or trekking, invest in a pair of sturdy hiking boots that provide ankle support and have good traction. Look for boots with waterproof or water-resistant properties, as unpredictable weather can make trails muddy and slippery.


For less intense activities and urban exploration, a comfortable pair of walking shoes or sneakers should suffice. Opt for shoes with good arch support and cushioning to help prevent foot fatigue and discomfort during long walks.


Alongside your main pair of shoes, consider packing a lighter pair of sandals or flip-flops for beach visits or lounging around camp. They provide relief to your feet after a long day of hiking and allow them to breathe and recover.


Make sure to break in your footwear before your trip to avoid blisters and discomfort. Wear them on shorter walks or around the house to allow your feet to adjust to the shoes and identify any potential issues.


Don’t forget to pack a few pairs of moisture-wicking and comfortable socks. Look for socks made from merino wool or synthetic materials designed to wick away moisture and prevent blisters. Having spare pairs is essential for keeping your feet dry and minimizing odor.


It’s always a good idea to pack a small shoe repair kit that includes extra laces and any necessary tools in case of any unexpected shoe mishaps.


Remember, your feet will take you from coast to coast, so taking care of them with suitable and comfortable footwear is essential. Whether it’s hiking boots, sneakers, or sandals, choose footwear that fits well and can handle the demands of your journey.


Camping Gear

If you plan on camping along your coast-to-coast journey, having the right gear is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience. Here are some essential camping gear items to consider packing:

  • Tent: Invest in a quality tent that suits the number of people in your group. Look for a tent that is easy to set up, lightweight, and provides adequate protection from the elements.
  • Sleeping Bag: Choose a sleeping bag that is suitable for the expected temperatures during your trip. Consider factors such as insulation, weight, and packability.
  • Sleeping Pad/Mattress: A comfortable sleeping pad or mattress is crucial for a good night’s rest. It provides insulation from the cold ground and adds an extra layer of comfort.
  • Camp Stove: A portable camp stove allows you to cook meals and boil water while camping. Look for one that is compact, lightweight, and fuel-efficient.
  • Cookware and Utensils: Carry lightweight and durable cooking pots, pans, and utensils for preparing meals. Opt for items that are easy to clean and have heat-resistant handles.
  • Headlamp/Flashlight: A reliable headlamp or flashlight is essential for navigating your campsite in the dark and finding your way around at night.
  • Camp Chairs: Portable and lightweight camp chairs provide a comfortable place to relax around the campfire.
  • Multi-Tool: A versatile multi-tool comes in handy for various tasks, including repairing gear, opening cans, and cutting ropes.
  • Portable Water Filter: Depending on your route and water availability, having a portable water filter can ensure you have access to clean and safe drinking water.
  • Trash Bags: Always practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out your trash. Carry several trash bags to keep your campsite clean and minimize your impact on the environment.

Remember to check any specific camping regulations or requirements for the areas you’ll be exploring and pack accordingly. Additionally, make sure to familiarize yourself with the functionality of your camping gear before your trip to avoid any surprises.


By having the right camping gear, you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy the outdoors and create lasting memories along your coast-to-coast journey.


Cooking Equipment

Cooking delicious meals while on your coast-to-coast adventure can be a rewarding experience. Having the right cooking equipment ensures you can prepare meals efficiently and enjoy a variety of tasty dishes. Here are some essential cooking equipment items to consider packing:

  • Camp Stove: A portable camp stove is a must for cooking meals outdoors. Look for a stove that is lightweight, compact, and easy to use. Consider the type of fuel it requires, such as propane or butane, and pack enough for your trip.
  • Cookware: Pack a set of lightweight and durable cookware, including pots, pans, and a kettle. Choose materials that distribute heat evenly and are easy to clean.
  • Utensils: Carry a set of reusable utensils, including spoons, forks, and knives, for eating and cooking. Opt for lightweight and compact utensils that won’t take up much space in your pack.
  • Plates and Bowls: Pack lightweight and unbreakable plates and bowls for serving meals. Consider options made from materials like silicone or stainless steel.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: A small cutting board and a sharp knife are essential for meal preparation. Look for a lightweight and compact cutting board that won’t take up much space.
  • Cooking Utensils: Don’t forget to pack essential cooking utensils such as spatulas, tongs, and ladles. Opt for utensils made from heat-resistant materials.
  • Collapsible Water Container: Having a collapsible water container allows you to store and transport water easily for cooking and cleaning.
  • Dish Soap and Sponge: Carry a small bottle of biodegradable dish soap and a sponge for cleaning cookware and utensils. Practice Leave No Trace principles and avoid introducing harmful chemicals into the environment.
  • Spices and Seasonings: Pack a small selection of your favorite spices and seasonings to add flavor to your meals. Consider bringing them in travel-sized containers to save space.
  • Reusable Food Storage Bags/Containers: Reduce waste and ensure your food stays fresh by packing reusable food storage bags or containers. They come in handy for leftovers or storing snacks.

Remember to pack your cooking equipment securely and make sure it is easily accessible when needed. Practice proper safety measures while cooking, such as using pot holders and keeping a safe distance from flames.


With the right cooking equipment, you can enjoy delicious homemade meals and create memorable dining experiences amidst the beautiful landscapes of your coast-to-coast adventure.


Food and Water

Proper nutrition and hydration are vital for sustaining energy and staying healthy during your coast-to-coast adventure. Here are some tips for managing food and water during your journey:

  • Meal Planning: Plan your meals in advance to ensure you have a variety of nutritious options. Consider lightweight and non-perishable foods that are easy to pack and prepare, such as dehydrated meals, energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, and instant noodles.
  • Water Storage: Carry a sufficient supply of water to last between reliable water sources. Invest in a high-quality water bottle or hydration bladder with a filter to ensure access to clean drinking water from natural sources.
  • Water Treatment: If you anticipate needing to purify water from streams or lakes, pack a lightweight and effective water purification method such as water purification tablets or a water filter.
  • Cooking Water: Use water from reliable sources for cooking and cleaning. Boil water for at least one minute to kill any potential harmful bacteria.
  • Food Safety: Practice proper food safety measures to avoid foodborne illnesses. Only consume perishable foods if they have been stored in a cool environment or with proper insulation.
  • Snacks: Pack a variety of snacks to fuel you during your journey. Consider options such as trail mix, energy bars, jerky, fresh fruits, and granola for quick and convenient energy boosts.
  • Resupply: Plan ahead for resupplying food and water at designated stops or towns along your route. Research the availability of grocery stores, restaurants, or water sources to ensure you have access when needed.
  • Leave No Trace: Dispose of food waste properly and follow Leave No Trace principles. Pack out any leftover food scraps and avoid leaving behind any traces of your meals.

It’s important to strike a balance between carrying enough food and water while minimizing the weight of your pack. Regularly assess your supply and adjust accordingly to avoid running out or carrying unnecessary weight.


By properly managing your food and water intake, you’ll stay nourished, hydrated, and energized throughout your coast-to-coast journey.


Hygiene and Personal Care

While on your coast-to-coast adventure, maintaining good hygiene is essential for your comfort and well-being. Here are some hygiene and personal care items to consider packing:

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Don’t neglect your dental hygiene. Pack a small and lightweight toothbrush and toothpaste to keep your teeth clean.
  • Biodegradable Soap: Choose a biodegradable soap that is gentle on the environment for bathing and washing dishes.
  • Quick-Drying Towel: Opt for a quick-drying and compact towel for drying off after bathing or swimming.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer for occasions when water and soap are not readily available.
  • Wet Wipes: Pack a pack of wet wipes for quick and refreshing clean-ups, especially when showers are not accessible.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by packing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF rating. Reapply as needed.
  • Insect Repellent: Keep pesky bugs at bay with an effective and DEET-free insect repellent. Apply before venturing into areas with high insect activity.
  • Prescription Medications: If you take any prescription medications, ensure you have an adequate supply for the duration of your trip.
  • Personal Care Items: Don’t forget to pack other personal care items such as toilet paper, menstrual products, contact lenses or glasses, and any necessary grooming items.
  • Nail Clippers and Tweezers: Small tools like nail clippers and tweezers can be handy for personal grooming or handling minor medical situations.

Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles when it comes to personal hygiene. Properly dispose of any waste and avoid contaminating natural water sources.


By maintaining good hygiene practices, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle each day of your coast-to-coast adventure.



In today’s digital age, electronics play a significant role in travel and can enhance your coast-to-coast experience. Here are some essential electronics to consider packing:

  • Smartphone: A versatile device that can serve as a GPS, camera, communication tool, and more. Download helpful apps and maps before your journey to maximize its functionality.
  • Portable Charger: Keep your electronics powered up on the go with a portable charger. Look for one that is lightweight, has multiple ports, and sufficient capacity to charge your devices multiple times.
  • Camera: Capture the stunning landscapes and memorable moments along your coast-to-coast adventure with a dedicated camera. Choose a durable and compact camera suitable for outdoor photography.
  • Headphones: Block out noise and enjoy your favorite music, podcasts, or audiobooks during long stretches of travel with a reliable pair of headphones.
  • Portable Bluetooth Speaker: If you enjoy sharing music or having outdoor movie nights, a portable Bluetooth speaker can be a great addition to your electronics lineup.
  • E-book Reader: If you’re an avid reader, consider bringing along an e-book reader to have a library of books at your fingertips without the added weight.
  • Power Adapters and Converters: If you’ll be traveling to different countries or regions, pack the appropriate power adapters and converters to ensure your devices can be charged.
  • Backup Storage: Carry an external hard drive or additional memory cards to back up your photos and videos, ensuring that precious memories are safe and secure.
  • Fitness Tracker: If you’re keen on monitoring your activity and keeping track of your fitness goals, consider bringing a fitness tracker or smartwatch.
  • Emergency Communication Device: Depending on the remoteness of the areas you’ll be exploring, it might be worth considering an emergency communication device, such as a satellite phone or personal locator beacon, for added safety.

While electronics can enhance your journey, remember to strike a balance and don’t let them hinder your connection with the natural surroundings. Disconnecting from technology at times can help you fully immerse yourself in the coast-to-coast experience.


By packing the right electronics, you’ll be able to document your journey, stay connected, and make the most of your coast-to-coast adventure.


First Aid Kit

A well-stocked first aid kit is essential for any journey, especially a coast-to-coast adventure where access to immediate medical assistance may be limited. Here are some items to consider including in your first aid kit:

  • Band-Aids and Adhesive Bandages: Various sizes to cover and protect minor cuts and scrapes.
  • Gauze Pads and Medical Tape: For larger wounds that require sterile dressing.
  • Antiseptic Wipes and Ointment: To clean and prevent infection in cuts and wounds.
  • Tweezers and Scissors: For removing splinters or cutting bandages or clothing if necessary.
  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for managing headaches or pain.
  • Antihistamines: To alleviate allergic reactions and manage mild allergic symptoms.
  • Antacids and Anti-diarrheal Medication: For digestive issues such as indigestion or diarrhea.
  • Moleskin or Blister Pads: To treat and prevent blisters on feet caused by extensive walking or hiking.
  • Hydrocortisone Cream: For relieving itchiness and inflammation caused by insect bites or skin irritations.
  • Calamine Lotion or Aloe Vera Gel: Soothing remedies for sunburns and minor burns.
  • Medical Gloves: To protect both the patient and caregiver during treatment.
  • Emergency Blanket: A lightweight and compact blanket to provide warmth in case of cold weather or emergency situations.
  • CPR Mask: A disposable CPR mask for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation if needed.
  • Medical Information and Contact Details: Include a list of emergency contact numbers and any relevant medical information in case of an emergency.

Additionally, it’s important to familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures and techniques before embarking on your journey. Consider taking a first aid and CPR course to equip yourself with essential skills.


Regularly check and restock your first aid kit throughout the trip to ensure that all supplies are up to date and readily available when needed. It’s better to be prepared and have the necessary tools to handle minor injuries and ailments along the way.


By having a well-stocked first aid kit, you’ll be better equipped to handle minor health issues and can enjoy peace of mind during your coast-to-coast adventure.


Miscellaneous Items

Aside from the essentials, there are several miscellaneous items that can enhance your coast-to-coast adventure. While not necessary, these items can add convenience, comfort, and fun to your journey. Here are some miscellaneous items to consider packing:

  • Travel Pillow: For long drives or flights, a comfortable travel pillow can provide much-needed neck and head support for a restful sleep.
  • Travel Journal and Pen: Capture your thoughts, experiences, and memories in a travel journal. Reflecting on your journey later will be a cherished keepsake.
  • Deck of Cards or Travel Games: Entertainment options such as cards or compact travel games can provide fun activities during downtime or evenings at the campsite.
  • Binoculars: Spot wildlife and enjoy the scenic views in more detail with a pair of lightweight and compact binoculars.
  • Reusable Water Bottle and Coffee Mug: Help reduce single-use plastic waste by bringing your own reusable water bottle and coffee mug.
  • Travel Adapter: If you’re traveling to different countries or regions, a travel adapter will allow you to plug in your devices with ease.
  • Duct Tape: This versatile adhesive can be a quick fix for gear or equipment that may need temporary repairs.
  • Extra Cash: It’s always a good idea to carry some extra cash in case of emergencies or situations where cards may not be accepted.
  • Travel Insurance: Protect yourself and your belongings by investing in travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or damaged items.
  • Guidebooks or Maps: Pack guidebooks or maps specific to the areas you’ll be exploring. They can provide valuable information and help you navigate your route.
  • Reusable Bags: Bring along lightweight and foldable reusable bags for shopping, keeping your belongings organized, or storing dirty or wet items.
  • Earplugs and Eye Mask: Ensure a good night’s sleep even in noisy or bright environments with earplugs and an eye mask.

It’s important to strike a balance between packing lightweight and essential items while considering the convenience and value that miscellaneous items can bring to your journey. Choose items that align with your preferences and interests to enhance your coast-to-coast adventure.


By packing these miscellaneous items, you’ll be prepared for a more comfortable, enjoyable, and memorable coast-to-coast experience.



Congratulations! With this comprehensive guide, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to pack your travel essentials and accessories for your coast-to-coast adventure. By carefully selecting each item and considering the specific needs of your journey, you’ll be well-prepared to embrace the challenges and wonders that await you.


Remember, versatility, comfort, and practicality are key when choosing your backpack, clothing, and footwear. Pay attention to the durability, weight, and functionality of each item to ensure they can withstand the demands of your trip.


Whether you’re camping, hiking, or embarking on urban explorations, having the right gear is crucial. Consider your specific activities and pack camping equipment, cooking tools, and electronics that will enhance your experience while maintaining a balance between functionality and weight.


Don’t forget about your hygiene and personal care needs. A well-stocked first aid kit, along with an assortment of toiletries, will keep you clean and comfortable throughout your journey.


Lastly, miscellaneous items can add convenience, entertainment, and extra comfort to your adventure. Choose items that align with your interests and travel style to enhance your overall experience.


As you embark on your coast-to-coast journey, remember to embrace the unknown, be adaptable, and savor every moment. Pay attention to the natural beauty around you, engage with local cultures, and immerse yourself in the unique experiences that await.


Safe travels, and may your coast-to-coast adventure be filled with unforgettable memories and newfound discoveries!