10 Essentials for Hiking: What to Pack!

  Are you planning a (day) hike and wondering what you’ll need to bring? Whether you are an experienced hiker or a novice hiker, having the right gear is essential for a successful and safe hike.

  We’ve put together a list of gear and tools, including 10 essentials for a day hike, because packing the right gear can make all the difference. Some of these things you may never need, but it’s better to be careful than sorry!

  In this article, we’ll cover basic hiking gear and things you’ll need to hike so you can be prepared for anything on the trail. So grab your backpack, strap on your boots and let’s get started!

  The 10 essentials for a day hike are a group of items that every hiker should have in their backpack, no matter the length or difficulty of the trail.

  Some of the items on the list are just there to make your trail experience more comfortable.

  Everything else is packed in case you need it. These are tools you hope you never have to use. However, no matter how big or small the adventure you’re planning, it’s best to come prepared!

  While most items work all year round, some, like sun protection, are most useful in warmer climates or during the summer months. Even so, they’re good to keep in your hiking backpack.

  Below is a short version that you can use as a checklist before you go. Below we discuss in more depth each requirement for a daily hike.

  Navigation: If you get lost on the road, a map and compass (and the knowledge to use them) can be a lifesaver.

Local map


GPS unit

Sun protection: Sunscreen, sunglasses and hats are essential to protect skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.


Hat or hat


Uv protection suit

Insulation and rain: Even on warm days, temperatures can drop quickly in the mountains or at night. Bring a warm piece of clothing, such as a fleece or puffy jacket. Also, wearing a shell jacket when it rains will keep you dry.

Warm intermediate layer (fleece for puffa jacket)

Hardshell jacket: A hardshell jacket or raincoat

Gloves (Low temperature)

Cap (at low temperature)

Lighting: A flashlight or headlamp with a spare battery/power bank can help you navigate in the dark and signal for help if needed.

A flashlight


Powerbank (s)

First aid supplies: A basic first aid kit with bandages, gauze, and preservatives to help treat minor injuries on your trip.

Outdoor first aid kit

Rescue blanket

Start a fire: A match or lighter in a waterproof container can help you build a fire to keep warm or to signal for help.

Matches or lighters

Waterproof container


Repair Kit and Tools: A multi-tool, duct tape, and your gear repair kit can help you solve unexpected problems on the trail.

A Leatherman, Gerber or Swiss knife

Duct tape


Nutrition: Pack enough food and snacks for the hike, plus a little in case of an emergency. High energy snacks like trail mix and energy bars are great choices.

Energy bar

Energy gel

Hydration: Bring as much water as you need for the entire hike, plus an emergency fee for a hydrating bladder or water bottle to hold water in.

Insulated beverage bottle

Hydration reservoir

Fill the flask quickly

Emergency Shelter: Lightweight emergency shelters like space blankets can help protect you if you get lost or injured while traveling.

Emergency shelter, blankets and sleeping bags

 A map and compass is one of the 10 essentials for hiking, even if you’re on a well-marked trail. They can help you stay oriented if you get lost or your path becomes blurred.

  However, navigating with a map and compass can sometimes be challenging. Therefore, it is recommended to practice and train the skills of how to use these tools in advance.

  Make sure to keep your maps and compasses in waterproof containers to protect them from outside elements.

  GPS devices and smartphone apps are also helpful, but they should not be used as the only navigational tool. Electronic devices can stop working because of dead batteries or other technical problems.

  Therefore, simulation tools such as local hiking maps and compasses are a good backup. You can buy a map or download it and print it yourself. You can find more information about printing topographic maps of the United States here: USGS EU Visit here.

  Hiking products we use and recommend:

  Garmin Fenix series GPS navigation



A day in the sun can quickly lead to sunburn and dehydration. Make sure to pack sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and apply it liberally throughout the day. Even in the mountains in winter, on a blue bird sunny day, you need sunscreen!

  Sunglasses and hats with brims can protect your eyes and face from the sun’s harmful rays.

  In addition, UV protection clothing can protect your entire body on sunny days. Wear long sleeves and pants with spf50 + for optimum protection.

  Products we use and can recommend for hiking:

  POC eats sunglasses


  Synthetic or wool materials are preferred because they retain heat when wet. Keep the insulation in a waterproof bag or plastic bag to keep it dry.

  It’s also good to have an extra dry layer, like a synthetic T-shirt, in case what you’re wearing gets wet.

  To keep out the wind and rain, carry a shell jacket with you so you can pack easily and not take up too much space in your backpack.

  The holy trinity of outdoor layering is: the base layer (synthetic fiber or wool), the middle layer (synthetic fiber or wool), and the shell.

  Depending on the weather and activity, you can adjust your temperature by adding or subtracting a layer during your hike.

  Hiking products we use and recommend:

  High performance helium jacket

  Patagonian velvet coat

  When choosing headlamps and flashlights, be sure to check the specifications of the product. When hiking or running at night, make sure you have plenty of lumen. A headlamp of about 300 lumens or more will do the trick. Battery life and the ability to connect to an external power source (such as a power bank) while in use are also important features to consider.

  That said, make sure you have at least one power bank or spare battery on the go.

  You’ll want to carry your headlamp in an easily accessible pocket in your backpack, such as a hip pocket.

  Hiking products we use and recommend:

  BioLite Headlamp 425

  BioLite Charge 20 power banks


  This can help you treat minor injuries from your trip until you can get more advanced medical care. Make sure you know how to use the items in your first aid kit before you hit the road.

  When you’re stuck overnight for some reason, an emergency blanket can save your life and help prevent hypothermia.

  But it can also be used to prevent high heat in very hot environments. The emergency blanket has two sides (gold vs silver). Depending on which side of the inside, the blanket can hold body heat and also help dissipate heat.

  Hiking products we use and recommend:

  Emergency blanket

  Outdoor first aid kit


  A match or lighter in a waterproof container can help you build a fire to keep warm or signal for help. Dryer lint, tinder sticks, or cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly can be used as tinder.

  It is important to check fire restrictions in the area you are hiking in, as some places may have rules against lighting fires. For example, be careful when lighting a fire when the chance of a forest fire is high.

  Hiking products we use and recommend:

  Ignition device


  Multiple tools are available in a variety of models and sizes. We always carry a Leatherman with a knife, pliers, file, screwdriver… These things will do most of the work.

  Duct tape can be used to repair a crack in a tent or to repair a broken hiking pole.

  Hint: You don’t need to carry it with you. Just wrap some duct tape around the strap of your backpack or hiking pole and pull it off when you need it.

  Finally, a paracord or piece of paracord is always useful when you need to tie things together.

  Hiking products we use and recommend:

  Leatherman Multitool


  Backpacker food is a good option if you’re craving a decent meal on the go and don’t take up much space in your backpack. Note that you need to be able to add hot water to prepare it. A thermos bottle with hot water at home can also do the trick.

  Hiking products we use and recommend:

  Clif bar Energy Bar

  Backpacker dry food


  It’s a very handy hydrator because you can drink while you go without having to stop to put down your backpack.

  Also, having an insulated bottle is great for keeping your liquids cold or hot for a long time.

  Also, it’s useful to keep a quick storage bottle handy. When it’s empty, you just fold it, it doesn’t take up much space.

  Hiking products we use and recommend:

  Moose Trough Mag Insulated Steel Cylinder

  Hump Water Reservoir

  As mentioned above (5), an emergency blanket can provide protection if you get lost or injured during your trip.

  In addition, there are lightweight emergency shelters made of the same fabric that can help keep you safe. You can use them as sleeping bags or tents.

  It’s important to pack your emergency shelter in an easily accessible place in your backpack, just in case.

  A large canvas bag or emergency tent is also a good option for staying overnight or in inclement weather areas.

  Hiking products we use and recommend:

  In addition to the 10 essentials for hiking, you should also pack some important gear, such as hiking appropriate shoes and clothing:

  Hiking Poles


Hiking shoes

Clothes for the hike