Do you ever wonder what to pack for a day hike? How much should you bring? Should you actually bring a backpack? These are all questions we will explore below. While I have done my fair share of day hikes, I don’t consider myself an expert but I do like to think that I am fairly experienced in the area. Here is my personal hiking checklist.
Good hiking boots/shoes
First and foremost, what you are wearing on your feet is probably the most important thing to think about when you prepare for a hike.
Please leave your white converse shoes at home! And your Birkenstocks, leave them at the pool!
Let’s face it, hiking shoes are probably the most important part of your hiking gear. They are what keep your feet stable and what is going to keep you from slipping down that cliff. If I had to choose between investing in hiking shoes or investing in a hiking backpack, I would choose the shoes. Here are the best hiking shoes of 2019 according to Outdoor Gear Lab.
I am on my second pair of Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX and I would highly recommend investing in those shoes. Next to hiking shoes, there are a handful of things you should consider bringing with you on a hike. Here is AdventureSmart’s survival packing list for day hikes.
According to AdventureSmart, these are the essentials that you should always have with you on any hikes. I would like to emphasize on the snack part. I love snacks and I always bring extras!
- Flashlight + spare batteries
- Matches/lighter, fire starter/candle
- Signaling device: mirror or whistle
- Extra food and water
- Extra clothing
- Pocket knife
- Paper map
- Hiking boots/shoes
- Sun protection: glasses, hat, sunscreen
I agree with everything in the above list, but here are a few things I like to add in my hiking backpack. I have learned with experience that a cellphone doesn’t last very long when you are hiking in out of service areas. If you forget to put your phone on airplane mode, it’s constantly going to be looking for service and therefore using your battery life without you even knowing. That’s one thing you can do when you start your hike: set your phone on airplane mode and enjoy your time amongst nature.
Battery pack and cables
If you are like me and you like to take a thousand pictures on every adventure ( I have over 20K photos on my phone…), then your phone battery won’t last very long. I always bring a battery pack for my phone, with the appropriate charging cord! I also bring a charging cable for my GoPro instead of an extra GoPro battery – think about the weight you are saving! If you are looking to get yourself one of those lifesaving battery packs, have a look at the list of best battery packs for your adventures according to PC Mag.
Best battery packs for your adventures:
- Anker PowerCore 10000
- Anker Power Core 5000, Ultra-Compact 5000mAh
- Anker PowerCore 26800 Portable Charger
- Solar Charging Hiluckey 25000mAh Solar Power Bank
- Belkin Pocket Power 5K Power Bank
First Aid Kit
When I go on day hikes, I also bring my own personal first aid kit. You can usually get some simple ones at your local pharmacy or order the best rated first aid kit right here.
One time I was hiking with this family and one of the girls got stung by a bug. She didn’t get to see what it was but it started swelling. She wasn’t too panicked and she wasn’t allergic to anything. We think it might have been a bee. That’s when I clicked that I had after-bite wipes in my first aid kit. I gave her one and right away she could feel the sting go away. Sometimes it can be as simple as a bee sting on a non-allergic person but you never know when it could be worst so be prepared and bring a first aid kit with you!
A couple more things…
I like to bring an extra pair of socks. Why? Because there is nothing better than having dry feet. Your feet sweat when you hike so take your shoes off when you stop for a snack break. Once you are done, change into your fresh pair of socks there you go, your feet are now happy and ready to hike back home.
On most of the hikes I’ve been on, there wasn’t anywhere to dispose of your garbage. And that’s the beauty of hiking in the mountains, there is no metal box in the middle of nowhere. Bring a garbage bag with you in your hiking backpack, and use it to store your rubbish after snacking or pick up the garbage you might find on the trails.
I think this is it for my personal hiking list for a day hike. I will talk more about hiking backpacks and hiking sticks in my next blog post. Stay tuned! Let me know if I forgot anything and if adventure gear reviews interest you, leave a comment below – I would love to know your questions!