As any good backpacker knows, you gotta have a checklist.

I combed the farthest reaches of the galaxy looking for one that did what I needed and was light and fast.  I found some that were close, but they were always missing something.

In the end, I created one.

The inspiration for this came from a number of places:

Love and Trails – This was my primary model. I liked the aesthetic and the “database” functionality.  I grew weary of the Google Sheets application, however.  The script (which was pretty awesome in its elegance) that did some of the heavy lifting for the picklists sometimes worked and sometimes, when working offline, it was just . . . gone.  I didn’t understand what was going on AND the file itself is held cryptically on my local machine in some HTML5 index or something.  Apparently it’s like Google’s search algorithm:  TOP SECRET!  I can’t abide NOT being able to control the storage of my own files and knowing where they are.  An export as an Excel or Open Document sheet destroyed the picklist functionality.

Erik The Black – I liked the fact that he added cost (not sure how that helps me backpack, but I felt it was nice to keep track of) and the graphs.  I was looking for more database type functions, though.  I don’t want to have to enter my gear over and over again.  Enter it once and then pick from the list as required.  His does allow for a “list” of sorts as you can choose which items to include and exclude.  But, again with the Google Sheets.  Of course it can be downloaded as other file types and his sheet will work because there’s no Google specific scripting going on.  I liked it and thought about including his include/exclude feature.  In the end I chose not to as I had problems getting the functions to work the way I wanted in mine.

Andrew Skurka– I looked at Andrew’s first and originally tried to model one off his.  It’s overly comprehensive and I just felt there was too much data to be managed.  This clearly works for him because he’s ultra-successful, but it just was too big for my needs.  I felt it was kind of the opposite of “Go light and go fast” in the backpacking world.  In the end, I may find that his was what I was looking for after all, but at this moment, it’s not.

I have Filemaker Pro.  It’s kind of “heavy” and I don’t have the version where I can create a database application.  That means that if I wanted to share it, everyone would have to have Filemaker Pro.  I think we all have better things to spend $300 on.

I looked at using Excel, but just about all software creators are migrating to this “annual use license” type junk.  Who wants to be locked into that forever?  Plus, my version is 2008.  It’s getting long in the tooth and doesn’t support Retina displays.

I have Apple’s iWork, but that’s not in wide use (comparatively), and let’s face it, Apple likes to radically tweak (read that as change completely) or simply just drop applications on a regular basis.  (Aperture anyone??)  And, it just doesn’t support the functionality I was in search of.

I’ve already expressed my reservations about Google’s application suite.

I finally chose open source.  It’s “free” to use, but it’s certainly not free.  Thousands and thousands of volunteer hours go into it.  It is certainly not the most polished software, but it works and . . . I suppose . . . could be considered vegan software.  Is that a thing?

I used LibreOffice 5.  One could use Apache Openoffice also.  They are the same thing and at the same time not the same thing.  It’s complicated.  I did not test this sheet in OpenOffice.

So, I would like to introduce the Emet Backpacking Gear Checklist v1.o.


My Categories tab


Gear Locker tab.  Use the picklist to select the Gear Category and then add an Item Name/description, Item Weight (we use the metric system ‘roun here), and Cost (but we don’t use Euros).


The Backpacking tab is where the fun is. For each section, choose your gear. You can duplicate and rename this tab for multiple trips: “Dayhike”, “CDT”, “Trip to Allegheny”, etc.


Use, abuse, modify, freely distribute, and let me know what you would like changed or what does or does not work right.

Emet Gear Checklist v1.0

Published On: 2018 February 9

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