Plan for Your Day Hike With These 12 Essential Hiking Items


Whether you are going on a day trip to hike to your favorite lookout spot for a picnic or doing a more difficult hike that will test your endurance and athleticism, there are essentials that every hiker should bring with them. You never know what you will encounter in the wild and being prepared is something every hiker needs to do.

There are copious reasons to get out and explore nature and going on a hike allows you to fully integrate yourself with the great outdoors. Like any other adventure, you will want to plan your day trip accordingly by bringing the right equipment with you as seen in a lot of outdoor reviews. These things will be essential as you explore and will help you significantly along the journey.



You are going to want to bring all your essential items and have a way to store them while simultaneously hauling such items as you go about your day trip on the trails. You don't want to carry a duffle bag throughout the woods for right hours. That will leave you sore and your adventures on the trail will be far less enjoyable. There are several packs dedicated to the art of trail hiking and can carry a lot while distributing the weight in a way that best suits your mobility on the trail.

The method to the madness is being able to have what is necessary without overpacking. Sure, there are items that you will want to bring that aren't necessarily deemed essential to your physical well-being but are wanted in other ways. Narrow down accordingly and maybe you will find your pack is still light enough despite having essential and some essential items. You will want to have a pack that is accessible and able to handle those things that you haul along with you on the trip. The process before the hike is absolutely important in how you will perform while out in the wilderness. Prepare for the unexpected and be able to nourish yourself along the way. A good hike is all about exploration and finding the freedom in yourself to learn something new along the way. Nature is not only beautiful but is also mighty and should be treated with respect. Find your foot and get out there. The experience of a day hike is thrilling in so many ways and you will want to be ready for anything. A pack is the essential item that holds it all together in a sufficient way.



How many times have you been caught in the rain or other conditions that have left you wondering why you chose those particular shoes to wear? You don't want to wear flip flops on the trail, after all.

It is important that you have footwear that fits you properly. Being too snug or too big will leave you with blisters and a sprained ankle, among other injury risks. It doesn't matter how intense of a hike you are going on, the trail is not always smooth and even. Nature is diverse and you need footwear that suits the varying terrain. This is exactly why you need proper footing that is not only comfortable throughout the entirety of the hike, but also protects you on the trail.


Navigate the Trail

It's never anybody's intention to get lost, but sometimes it happens. It is important that you know where you are going while you are exploring the wilderness. Bring a compass or a physical map that shows you the layout of the land. These things will not only help you find where you want to go as far as your hike, but any stops you may need to make along the way, such as emergency situations and places to get water.

Sometimes things don't go according to plan and you need an alternative route to get you home quicker. This is where having a map and compass will come on clutch. You'll be able to know exactly what direction you are heading and travel where you need to be. Make sure you properly know how to use a compass and read a map before heading out for your next adventure. Technology is great until you don't have a charge, so although many modern smart phones have a compass application, you need to think of alternative options despite that.


Clothing that Insulates 

It doesn't matter if you are going on a warm weather hike, weather can change quickly in the wilderness. You will want clothing that you can change into if it begins to rain or the temperature drops quickly. Stranger things have happened in the wild. Staying warm and dry will keep you safe and get you feeling fine when things change on the trail. A down hooded jacket or something similar and proper rain protection are something you should include in your pack on every trip. As always, you can't fully predict the weather and you will want to be prepared for changes. These items aren't heavy and can be compressed in your pack.


Food for Nutrition

It is important that you sustain energy over the life of your hike. There is no better way to do this than using food that gives you the energy you need. There are many options that are not only easy to pack but are perfect options on the trail.

Bars are always a good option for hiking. You will have your fair share of options as far as nutrition bars, ensuring you won't get bored with them. They are easy to eat on the go and can pack a serious energy boost while trekking along. Nuts and dried fruit are also easy to eat options that don't require cooking and can be easily taken with you on your hike. Get creative and create a trail mix specific to your dietary plan and move forward from there. You want to be prepared when hunger strikes and ensuring that you are replacing calories you are burning on the go is the way you want to do things.



Water is essential to life; therefore, it is absolutely vital you have enough water when you are on your hike. Water keeps your body running and in order for it to maintain all of the critical things for your health, hydration is needed.

You will get thirsty on your hike and you don't want to drink soda and other substances that may dehydrate you. Instead, pack enough water to keep your body feeling fit and right on the hike. Look for things like water bottles or hydration bladders than can easily be accessed while you are on your journey.

It can't be forgotten that water can be heavy and you don't want to pack a load that is difficult to haul on the trail. That is why you should also consider a lightweight, water purifier that will allow you to safely drink water that you come across on your travels. This will allow you to be able to safely drink enough fluids to keep you hydrated, but not too much that will get your pack feeling like it weighs tons. Your body is a huge asset when you are exerting energy on your day hike and staying hydrated will allow it to be functioning the way you want it to during your experience.


Shelter from the Storm

You're going on a day trip, so you may not think to bring any sort of shelter to keep you protected on the hike. As aforementioned, weather can change quickly in the open wilderness. You simply never know when the unexpected is going to hit and you want to have a lightweight emergency shelter in your pack even for your day trip.

You never know when or if you will need a bivvy bag or blanket that will potentially save your life when you unexpectedly have to spend some time on the trail. Day trips can become more than that and an emergency piece of shelter is something that can be lightweight and easily be packed in your bag for your trip. Always think about the unexpected and be prepared for anything on the trail. It could make the difference in you staying alive.



Anybody who has ever spent any time out and about in the magnificent wilderness will know how important fire is for survival. It not only provides warmth, but also can be vital in boiling water and cooking in general. Being able to build a fire safely and securely in the backcountry can make all the difference.

Again, you never know what will happen on your day trip, so being prepared can never hurt. Pack some lighters and easy strike matches in a dry place. They are lightweight and small but carry much potential. Fire starter cubes may not be a bad idea either for those situations when starting a fire with the matches or lighter prove to be nearly impossible. Don't be starting any forest fires and be mindful but having fire starter supplies packed with you is important for your day hike.


Light My Way

Beyond the flames, you will also want an alternative method for light. A small headlamp or flashlight will come in handy if you find yourself hiking at dawn or dusk or want to explore something off the trail that requires a bit of light.

It isn't uncommon for day hikes to take longer than expected and having a headlamp is the perfect way to see the route and stay safe along the way. Getting left in the dark is simply not the route you want to take. Headlamps can stay on your head comfortably and along with flashlights, are lightweight and don't take up much space. Being able to see when visibility isn't the greatest is greatly impacted by light. You will be able to stay on the trail and avoid serious issues by providing yourself with light when needed on the trails.


Protection from the Sun

You may or may not associate taking a hike with getting some sun, but you will absolutely be under the shine of the sun when out exploring in the wild. Sunscreen is something that you should take with you, along with other items that protect you from the sun: sunglasses, hats and protective clothing.

The sun is powerful and can crack skin. It also reflects off snow if you are in snowy conditions in the mountains. Be mindful of the power of the sun and take proper precautions by packing items that protect you from it.


First Aid Supplies Shouldn't Be Forgotten

You can either bring a pre-packaged first-aid kit or pack one to your preference. Activity such as hiking presents plenty of risk and you never know when you may get injured. There is no way to accurately predict what sort of ailments you may encounter while exploring and having basic medical supplies will help you greatly when challenges arrive. Remember to go over your inventory before you go out on your day trip and replace any supplies you may use while you are out.


Tools and Other Useful Supplies

A multi-tool is something that can come in handy on the trails. There are many circumstances where you may need a tool to cut something or repair a bit of equipment on the go. Multitools have various uses and you won't have to haul along your entire toolbox to have a vital piece on hand.

Duct tape is another supply that will come in handy for you on the trail. Through rips, tears, punctures, and more, duct tape will help you along when things happen. A roll doesn't take up much space in your pack and surely will make a positive impact in many potential situations. Preparing yourself before the trip by packing essential items will assist every hiker.