This list of Day Hiking Essentials will help you stay safe and have a great time when you hit the trail. It doesn't matter how long or short the hike is, you still need to be prepared!
DAY HIKING ESSENTIALS
We've hiked hundreds of miles over the last ten years and we've encountered some interesting things on the trail from people literally trying to climb a mountain without any water or food to a hiker being carried down a trail on a stretcher because he was hiking with the flu and after a night of drinking (yes, with the flu!). Some stories just make you shake your head and others are downright dangerous.
Our hikes are anywhere from 4 miles to 26 miles but we always carry these essentials items no matter the length of the trail. You can just as easily get hurt on a four-mile trail as you can a 10-mile trail. Enjoy your hike by making sure that you are adequately prepared!
MUST-HAVES FOR YOUR PACK
Let's start by talking about the actual packs we use! Typically the length of the trail will dictate the pack we take but you certainly don't have to have multiple packs if you are just getting into hiking. We use something similar to the Osprey Daylite Daypack for our day hikes. Another budget-friendly option is the TETON Sports Oasis. You'll need a pack large enough to pack what items you need but not too large that it's cumbersome.
- Fruit (apples, oranges, or bananas - pack your peels, do not leave them on the trail)
- Protein Bars
- Rice Cakes
- Beef Jerky
- Water - We cannot stress this enough! Always take water with you!
- The article on What to Eat while Hiking provides more detailed information regarding what to eat according to the length of your hike.
- If you want to make your own snacks, we have suggestions for that too! Easy Hiking Snacks to Make for the Trail
- Map of the area where you are hiking (don't rely solely on GPS, also purchase a physical map)
- Small First Aid Kit
Check the weather for the area where you will be hiking. Just because it's warm and sunny at your house doesn't mean the top of the mountain will have the same weather. Temperatures can vary and change drastically and quickly so always dress in layers. For more detailed information about what to wear according to the weather check out the following posts:
For Warm Weather:
- Light Jacket
- Change of Socks
For Cold Weather:
- Ear Warmers
ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO CONSIDER:
- Back-Up Battery Charger
- Water Filter (optional for shorter hikes but a must-have for long and/or overnight hikes)
LOOKING FOR MORE HIKING INSPIRATION? KEEP EXPLORING:
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- Hiking Etiquette 101
- Top 5 Tips for Visting National Parks
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Hike
- Our Trip Recaps
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