DnD Equipment Packs – A Complete Guide With Options

Character creation can often be one of the most fun parts of the game in D&D 5e – you get to make a ton of choices that will define your role in the party for the campaign’s entire duration.

It can also be super confusing and unintuitive for newer players.

The most common area of confusion in choosing your starting equipment is equipment packs. What even is a “Dungeoneer’s Pack”? And is it better than an “Explorer’s Pack”?

What Is an Equipment Pack and How Do I Get One?

The most common way to acquire an equipment pack is during character creation when you get to choose your starting gear. This appears under the “Equipment” section for your class in the Player’s Handbook.

Each equipment pack is a backpack containing a selection of common adventuring tools and supplies, based around a particular use case.

For example, the Explorer’s Pack contains a selection of tools and supplies that might be useful for overland travel. You can find the contents of each pack listed on page 151 of the Player’s Handbook.

Your DM might also allow you to buy equipment packs from merchants and shops in-game, but there’s not usually much reason to do this.

Everything contained within equipment packs can also be purchased separated, and there are some items, for example, the backpack itself, that you’ll rarely need to repurchase once the campaign has started.

You might choose to purchase an equipment pack if your equipment has been entirely destroyed or if you want to quickly outfit a new NPC follower.

What Equipment Packs Can I Choose From?

Your choice of equipment packs is defined by your class – you can find which options you have under the “Equipment” heading for your class in the Player’s Handbook.

Most classes have two options but some, for example, Barbarian, only have one option.

Explorer’s Pack

Includes a backpack, a bedroll, a mess kit, a tinderbox, 10 torches, 10 days of rations, and a waterskin. The pack also has 50 feet of hempen rope strapped to the side of it.

Player’s Handbook, page 151

The Explorer’s Pack is one of the two most common packs, alongside the Dungeoneer’s Pack.

It contains a collection of equipment primarily geared toward over-land travel and doesn’t give you many additional tools for dungeon-delving.

That said, it’s the only equipment pack that contains a bedroll, which can provide your character with some comfort during nights away from home.

The usefulness of the Explorer’s Pack is heavily contingent on your group’s playstyle. Many groups choose to handwave concerns like daily rations and camping supplies – if your group doesn’t track these things granularly, then the Explorer’s Pack may be almost useless.

Dungeoneer’s Pack

Includes a backpack, a crowbar, a hammer, 10 pitons, 10 torches, a tinderbox, 10 days of rations, and a waterskin. The pack also has 50 feet of hempen rope strapped to the side of it.

Player’s Handbook, page 151

The Dungeoneer’s Pack is another very common pack, and it gives you several very useful tools.

It won’t allow you to travel in the same degree of luxury that the Explorer’s Pack will, but it still contains 10 days of rations, and the tools it provides are all incredibly useful for dungeon-delving.

The crowbar and hammer are ubiquitously useful tools with infinite possibilities within a dungeon (so long as you remember that you have them!).

Pitons are useful for climbing and will allow you to reach alternate entrances and explore areas that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Pitons are also useful for nailing doors shut and preventing possible ambushes, which may come in particularly handy when playing with old-school DMs.

Burglar’s Pack

Includes a backpack, a bag of 1,000 ball bearings, 10 feet of string, a bell, 5 candles, a crowbar, a hammer, 10 pitons, a hooded lantern, 2 flasks of oil, 5 days rations, a tinderbox, and a waterskin. The pack also has 50 feet of hempen rope strapped to the side of it.

Player’s Handbook, page 151

The Burglar’s Pack is available only to rogue and can be considered a more extreme version of the Dungeoneer’s Pack. You only receive five days of rations but, in exchange, you receive even more useful tools.

If you’re interested in an item-focused playstyle where there’s something in your inventory for every given situation, this is the equipment pack you want.

It’s worth noting that items like the bag of ball bearings and the flasks of oil have predefined combat mechanics – you should make a note of how these work on your character sheet or on an ability cheat-sheet so you know exactly what they do.

Diplomat’s Pack

Includes a chest, 2 cases for maps and scrolls, a set of fine clothes, a bottle of ink, an ink pen, a lamp, 2 flasks of oil, 5 sheets of paper, a vial of perfume, sealing wax, and soap.

Player’s Handbook, page 151

The Diplomat’s Pack is one of two packs, alongside the Entertainer’s Pack, that’s only available to bard.

The diplomat’s pack is particularly useful if you want to be the party’s cartographer, although this is also possible with the cartographer’s tools.

Items like sealing wax and perfume might not sound useful if you’re accustomed to dungeon-delving combat-heavy games, but these items are fantastic for intrigue-heavy games where making a good impression is key.

These items are particularly useful for ingratiating you with the nobility.

This pack also contains flasks of oil. These can be used in the lamp, but they also have specific rules for use in combat.

Entertainer’s Pack

Includes a backpack, a bedroll, 2 costumes, 5 candles, 5 days of rations, a waterskin, and a disguise kit.

Player’s Handbook, page 151

The other bard-exclusive pack is the Entertainer’s Pack. This one is focused more on performance. If you want to make an impression at the local tavern or street theater, this pack will give you the tools to do it.

The disguise kit and costumes may also be useful for stealth and subterfuge. If you need to sneak past guards or impersonate a high-ranking official, these items will come in handy in a wide array of situations.

Priest’s Pack

Includes a backpack, a blanket, 10 candles, a tinderbox, an alms box, 2 blocks of incense, a censer, vestments, 2 days of rations, and a waterskin.

Player’s Handbook, page 151

The Priest’s Pack can be chosen by clerics or paladins. Most of the items it contains are useful primarily for roleplay.

If you want to give last rites for a dying companion or conduct a religious service for local townsfolk, this pack has everything you need.

Scholar’s Pack

Includes a backpack, a book of lore, a bottle of ink, an ink pen, 10 sheets of parchment, a little bag of sand, and a small knife.

Player’s Handbook, page 151

The Scholar’s Pack is available to warlocks and wizards (although not to sorcerers or artificers). Like the Priest’s Pack, use of the Scholar’s Pack is likely to happen primarily in roleplay.

Some DMs may allow you to use the book of lore to learn information using investigate checks, similarly to how you would in a library.

The Scholar’s Pack may also give you useful tools to perform a scribing role within the party, recording the history of your adventures.

General Points

You should also be aware that some equipment packs, specifically the Diplomat’s Pack, Entertainer’s Pack, and Scholar’s Pack, contain items with slightly higher gold value.

This difference only amounts to around 20-30 gold, which is insignificant in the long term or even in the medium term for most campaigns.

That said, if your campaign begins near a shop, then you may be able to sell some of these more expensive items for a bit of extra initial gold. Selling a disguise kit, for example, might allow you to buy a mastiff or a pony.