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Keep it light

How you pack your backpack could make or break your trip. In general, carry no more than 30 percent of your body weight. For an overnight trip on a Florida trail, a 25-pound pack should suffice. Your heaviest item will be water, so keep it in the top compartment, close to your back. It will help maintain your natural center of gravity.

Backpacker's checklist

What you carry into the woods is a personal decision. But here are a few items you don't want to be without.

1. Raincoat

2. Tent

3. Poncho

4. Towel

5. Food

6. Stove fuel

7. Water

8. Trash bag

9. Stove

10. Cooking kit

11. Sunglasses

12. Toilet tissue

13. Sunscreen

14. Insect repellent

15. Trowel

16. Matches

17. First-aid kit

18. Toiletries

19. Pocket knife

20. Plastic cup

21. Fork/spoon

22. Water tablets

23. Dried food

24. Foam pad

25. Plastic tarp

26. Clothing

27. Nylon cord

28. Flashlight

29. Compass

30. Whistle

31. Map

32. Sleeping bag

OPTIONAL ITEMS

Camera

Binoculars

Notebook/pen

Field guides

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