Plane Restrictions (TSA Rules) to Consider Before Leaving for Your Thru-Hike

a pile of different lighters on a table

Lighters

Disposable and Zippo lighters are allowed in carry on bags.

Disposable lighters with fuel are allowed in checked bags if they adhere to the Department of Transportation exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a DOT approved case.

Carry On Bags: Yes

Checked Bags: Yes with restrictions

pile of multiple different types of tent stakes

Tent Stakes & Tent Poles

Tent stakes and poles are not allowed in carry on bags. However, they are allowed in checked baggage. Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent any injuries.

Carry on Bags: No

Checked Bags: Yes

hiking poles leaning against a wall

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles are not allowed on carry on bags. However, they are allowed in checked baggage. Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury.

Carry on Bags: No

Checked Bags: Yes

knives laying on scale

Pocket Knife

Sharp items like a pocket knife can be packed in your checked baggage, but are not allowed in your carry on bags (no matter how small they are). Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury.

Carry on Bags: No

Checked Bags: Yes

Five different backpacking stoves attached to five different fuel canisters

Stove Fuel

Stove fuel is not allowed in carry on baggage or checked luggage. If you are using a stove on your thru-hike or backpacking trip you will need to pick up fuel at your destination.

Carry on Bags: No

Checked Bags: No

a photo of power banks on a desk

Battery Power Banks

Battery power banks or portable chargers containing a lithium ion battery must be packed in carry on bags. Lithium ion batteries cannot be packed in checked bags.

Carry On Bags: Yes

Checked Bags: No

A can of bear spray with with an arrow pointing to how many ounces are in the can

Bear Spray

Bear spray is not allowed in carry on baggage or checked luggage. If you are using bear spray on your thru-hike or backpacking trip you will need to pick up at your destination.

Carry On Bags: No

Checked Bags: No

multiple travel sized bottles of shampoo, mouthwash, and soap

Liquids Rule

You are allowed to bring liquids, gels, creams, aerosols, and pastes in a quart sized bag in your carry on. Each container in the quart sized bag is limited to travel size of 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less. If you have a larger than 3.4 ounce (100 ml) container then it must be packed in with the checked baggage. (It is the size of the container not the amount of liquid that counts.)

Carry On Bags: Yes with restrictions

Checked Bags: Yes

Summary

When you get ready to leave for a thru-hike or a backpacking trip, you have to prepare all of your gear and make sure you pack everything you need to take with you on your trip. However, if you have to fly to your backpacking destination, then you need to make sure everything you packed is allowed on an airplane, whether that be in carry on or checked baggage.

It is important that you check with the most current TSA rules prior to flying. This article should only be considered as a general guideline.