When embarking on a day hike, whether it’s long or short, it’s important to ensure that you’re prepared.
At the very least you will need some water with you but, if you’re anything like me, you’ll head out on a short wander and end up turning it into a long hike!
But maybe that’s just me.
If you’re not too sure what you should take, you’re in luck!
I’ve compiled a list of items that I consider to be essential for a day hike.
Disclaimer: These items are based only on day hikes that I have done in the past. If you’re heading out for more than one day or into a dangerous area then you will need more than this. Please be sensible and do some extensive research before heading out for anything more than a simple day hike. 🙂
I absolutely love my hiking boots and always regret it if I go walking without them.
A comfortable and sturdy pair of boots will make the world of difference if you’re out hiking for the day.
They provide support in all the right places and help prevent twisted ankles on unstable and uneven ground.
I recommend going to a good outdoor shop and trying on a few different types before purchasing them rather than buying them online.
This means that you can feel which type is best for your feet and most good shops will have fully trained staff to measure your feet and make recommendations to suit you.
Take some time to wear them in on shorter walks before attempting a longer hike.
I own a pair of Hanwag Alta Bunion boots, which I bought in store in the UK and have seen me through a lot so far.
I expect them to last me a long time.
There’s no point buying a good pair of boots without a good pair of socks to wear with them.
I usually wear them over a pair of regular cotton socks for extra padding and comfort.
If it’s a cold day or there’s a bit of a breeze, it’s easy to forget that you could be getting sunburned while you’re hiking.
Make sure you’re covered with sunscreen before you set off and bring some extra to reapply along the way.
A sunhat is also a great idea if you’re going to be spending all day in the sun.
This is extremely important so make sure you have plenty of water with you.
Preferably more than you think you’ll need, just in case.
There are several different types of water containers you could take, from bottles that clip onto the outside of your pack to water bladders with a drinking tube.
Choose whatever works best for you, just make sure you drink plenty of water!
Of course, in order to carry all these items you need a good day pack.
As with the hiking boots, you need to make sure that your pack is comfortable and suitable for your needs.
Remember, you’re going to be carrying it all day with plenty of water, so it needs to sit properly on your back and shoulders without weighing you down.
Again, I would recommend going to an outdoor shop and trying out a few to get the perfect fit.
I’m currently using a Macpac 26L day pack, which I love.
It is always a good idea to have a waterproof coat with you, even if it’s not due to rain.
These coats are also great at fighting off any wind chill, as an extra layer if the temperature drops, or even just as something dry to sit on while you have lunch.
In my experience, the weather can change at any moment when you’re hiking, especially if you’re at a higher altitude, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Along with the raincoat, make sure you are wearing plenty of layers as well.
You can always take a layer off if you get too hot, but if you get caught in the cold with nothing more to put on, you could find yourself in real trouble.
First Aid Kit
These days, you can buy ready made first aid kits in very manageable travel size bags so that they don’t take up too much space, but are easily reachable if anything happens.
Bandages, plasters, antiseptic wipes and creams and some painkillers are good staples to have with you, as well as a small pair of scissors and some safety pins.
You can never predict what’s going to happen, so always be prepared.
While you may only plan to be out for a few hours, you might lose your way or get waylaid out on the track and find yourself out after dark.
I always bring a head torch with me, just in case.
Make sure you have some form of torch or flashlight with you, other than your phone.
If you’re going to be out for most of the day, then of course you will need to bring food.
I usually bring sandwiches as well as some high energy snacks such as fruit and nuts.
Again, it’s good to prepare more than you think you’ll need, just in case.
These items are what I consider to be essential for a hike.
With my pack full and sitting comfortably on my back, and my boots laced up and ready to go, I can’t wait to get started!
And knowing that I’m covered for most eventualities, I don’t have a care in the world.
I don’t know about you, but this list has got me itching to hit the trail again soon.
Let me know where you’re planning on hiking next, or if you have any favourite items to recommend!
Want more hiking articles? Check out these day hikes:
- Snowdon Summit Route: The Pyg Track
- Great Barrier Island’s Most Beautiful Day Hike
- Mount Taranaki Summit Track
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