Heading out for a day hike is a wonderful way to explore nature with friends and family, or even by yourself. Whether you want to go deep into the mountains or stay closer to home, the places to go are numerous; many state and national parks offer broad networks for trails, as does national forest land.
To determine what you need to bring on a day hike, think about how far you plan to hike, how remote the location is and what the weather forecast has in store. In general, the longer and/or more remote the hike is and the more inclement the weather, the more clothing, gear, food and water you gonna need. If you’re just getting into day hiking, be sure to get prepared, the weather can be unpredictable and you don’t want to get stuck over night in the mountain.
1- The Essential for a Day Hiking
These items should be on your hiking checklist at all time:
- Hiking backpack
- Weather-appropriate clothing
- Hiking boots or shoes
- Plenty of food
- Plenty of water
- Navigation tools such as a map and compass
- First-aid kit
- Knife or multi-tool
A backpack is the number one piece of gear that you are going to need for day hiking. One that holds 20-30 liters of gear is about right for short, simple hikes, while something bigger is good for treks where more food, water, clothing and gear is required.
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2- Clothing & Footwear
Check the forecast and make sure to dress appropriately for the conditions. To be prepared for changing weather or an unplanned night out.
While cycling touring in Kazakhstan my friend and I stopped in Almaty for few days, we decided to go hiking for the day and while checking the weather it was clearly not a good day for taking a stroll in the mountain, I told my friend that i will not be going but he insist to go hiking anyway. Later one in the afternoon, I received a text from him telling that he felt before the weather changed and may have broken ribs. We had to contact a rescue team and it took them 8 hours to bring him back! Awful experience.
Always pack extra clothes beyond those required for the trip. It’s also important to consider how much protection your clothing provides against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. For footwear, determine what to wear based on the terrain. On gentle hikes on smooth trails, hiking shoes or trail runners are sufficient. For treks on rocky, rugged trails, boots will provide more support.
- Moisture-wicking underwear
- Moisture-wicking T-shirt
- Quick-drying pants/shorts
- Long-sleeve shirt (for sun, bugs)
- Lightweight fleece or jacket
- Boots or shoes suited to terrain
- Socks (synthetic or wool)
- Extra clothes * (beyond the minimum expectation)
Additional items for rainy and/or cold weather:
3- Food & Water
Always pack snacks like energy bars, and nuts that you can eat easily on the trail. Some people like to bring a sandwich for lunch, too. For water, you can usually start with about two liters per person for the day, but adjust the amount depending on length and intensity of the hike, weather conditions, your age, sweat rate and body type.
- Extra day’s supply of food *
Navigation is one of the Ten Essentials. The type of trip you’re taking and your personal preferences will determine exactly which items you’ll bring.
5- Emergency & First Aid
It’s important to always have a first aid kit if you planing a small day trip hiking so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries.
- Emergency blanket / sleeping bag
- Two itineraries: 1 left with friend + 1 under car seat
- Phone (Hey the new Iphone 12 pro looks awesome !)
6- Health & Hygiene
The last thing you’ll be thinking about when you’re hiking is how you look (or smell) but maintaining good hygiene when on the trail or at the campsite is not just about looks, it’s also important for your health.
Leaving no trace behind should be the most important consideration when heading into a pristine environment, and that includes your personal hygiene practices.
- Hand sanitizer
- Eco Menstrual products
- Prescription medications
- Lip balm *
7- Day Hiking Extras
These items are part of the Ten Essential systems. The exact items you take for each system can be tailored to your trip based on considerations such as weather, difficulty, duration and distance from help.