Hiking 101 – Day Hiking Gear List

To feel confident and safe on the trails, you need to carry the correct gear. It took me years to find out what that gear was. I had to go through so much trial and error, and I spent waaay too much money. But after trying so much equipment for years, I have got it down! Below I talk about my day hiking gear list! This hiking checklist includes the ten hiking essentials, what I wear, and much more. If you just started out hiking, this list is perfect for you! Make sure to download the checklist, so you never forget anything at home!

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Day Hike Checklist

Hiking Gear

  • Day Pack
  • Trekking Poles
  • Day Pack Rain Cover

Hiking Extras

  • Headlamp or Flashlight
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Knife
  • Hammock
  • Sunglasses
  • Chargers
  • Extra Batteries

Emergency Items

  • First Aid Kit
  • Lighter/Matches
  • Whistle
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Bear Deterrent

Personal Items

  • ID
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Cash/Credit Card

Food and Water

  • Food
  • Water
  • Water Reservoir/Bottle
  • Water Filter
  • Water Chemical Treatment
  • Camping Stove
  • Cutlery
  • Snacks
  • Stove Fuel
  • Cookware

Clothes in The Winter

  • Base Layers
  • Gloves
  • Warm Hat
  • Crampons
  • Gaiters
  • Snow Shoes
  • Warm Winter Jacket
  • Insulated Hiking Boots


  • Map
  • Compass
  • Route Description
  • GPS
  • Personal Locator Beacon
  • Watch


  • Bathing Wipes
  • Toilet Paper
  • Insect Repellent
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Waste Bag
  • Trowel
  • Menstruation Products
  • Medication
  • Sunscreen
  • Blister Treatment


  • Sweat Wicking Shirt
  • Pants, Shorts or Leggings
  • Lightweight Fleece
  • Jacket
  • Hiking Boots or Shoes
  • Many Pairs of Wool Socks
  • Sun Hats
  • Sandals

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Day Hiking Gear List For Beginners

Day Hiking Backpack

One of the best things to take hiking is a backpack. This item carries all of your ten hiking essentials. I am all about safety, so a pack is always with me on my outdoor adventures. Never go hiking without one. >Check out one of the best hiking backpacks!

Hiking Supplies: Hikers Pack, the Osprey

Learn More About Hiking Backpacks: 10 Best Day Packs On The Market

Hiking Compass and Map

A hiking compass and a physical map are one of the most important ten essentials. Make sure to study the map before the trail and also read up on how to study a compass. Read more about it here. >Buy My Compass Here

Personal Locator Beacon

Buying a PLB is one of the best ways to feel safe while you are hiking. This two-way satellite is fantastic! You can text people even when you have no service. You can also send an SOS signal in case of an emergency, and you can track your journey on your phone. There is a negative, though. It is pretty expensive, and you have to pay for a monthly subscription. But having peace of mind is worth it for me. >Buy A PLB Here and Stay Safe!

My Garmin Inreach


Sun protection is part of the ten essentials. You need to make sure you protect yourself from those harsh rays. Especially in desert climates! >Buy Some Sunscreen Here >Buy Some sunscreen Lip Balm Here

Trekking Poles

To have trekking poles or to not have trekking poles… That is the question.

There has been so much debate on whether you need trekking poles or not, and I honestly think it depends on the person. I tend to use them on more difficult long trails because my knees and ankles are not in the best condition. >Check Out The Best Poles In The Market

Learn More About Trekking Poles: 10 Best Trekking Poles On The Market

Day Pack Rain Cover

A lot of hiking daypacks already come with a rain cover. But if your backpack doesn’t, make sure to buy one. You don’t want a soaking sandwich for lunch. >Check Out This Rain Cover Here

Headlamp/Extra Batteries

One of the day hike essentials is a headlamp. I am all about safety, and one of the first things I bought when it came to the outdoors, is a headlamp. These babies are lightweight and super packable. There have been many times that I underestimate how long a hike will take us, and thanks to my headlamp, I was able to get out of the trail safely. >Check Out My Fav Headlamp

One of the best things to bring when hiking is a headlamp


A camera is not necessary, but I always carry one. I rarely take pictures with my phone. When it comes to landscape photos, a phone will never do the view justice. So I usually carry expensive camera equipment on the trails. But please keep in mind that your backpack might weigh significantly more. For me, I am ok with lugging heavy gear. If you are looking for a starter camera, the Sony A6000 is an excellent choice. >Buy This Outstanding Camera Here


One of the ten essential is a knife. I carry this in case of an emergency. Luckily I have never had to use it. >Check Out My Knife Here


A hammock is totally not necessary, but if you are looking to lay around lazily by turquoise blue waters, then why not? Bring a nice packable hammock with you! They have many colors too! >Get Lazy and Buy This Hammock Here


Sunglasses are part of the ten essentials! I just got some that are Sunski, and they work pretty great. I wear them on sunny day hikes all the time! >Protect your Eyes and Check Out My Hiking Sunglasses!


I tend to use apps to make sure I am on the correct trail. This means that I use a lot of my phone battery life, so I bring a charger just in case. I like how this one is super durable, and weatherproof and it has an emergency light. >Check It Out Here


I usually bring a sandwich and snacks on the hike. Some of my favorite snacks include bars, jerky, and nuts. I always bring extra food just in case! >Buy Snacks Here

Water and Water Reservoir/Bottle

Either a water bottle or reservoir is fine when it comes to hiking. But I will note that I tend to be more hydrated with a water reservoir because it is easier to access. >Check Out My Handy Dandy Reservoir Right Here

What to bring on a hike: water reservoir

Water Filter/ Chemical Treatment

Water filters are not needed, but I still carry them with me just in case. The Life Straw is pretty small and lightweight, so I just throw it in my backpack. You can always bring chemical tablets as well. They are even smaller. But let me warn you they taste terrible! >Check Out The Life Straw Here >Check Out The Chemical Tablets Here

Adventure Medical Kits

Emergency kits should have bandages and medicines in case you get hurt. The size of the kit should reflect the number of people in your group. >Check Out My First Aid Kit Here!


Matches are part of the ten essentials. Always bring matches with you. You never know when you might need them. The ones I have listed here are amazing because they are stormproof. >Buy These Stormproof Matches Here

Emergency Blanket

I feel like emergency blankets should be in everyone’s backpack. They are incredibly lightweight, inexpensive, and compact. If someone in your group ever has hypothermia, it is easy to take out and put on that person. Get one! >Get this super cheap and safe blanket here

Bear Deterrent

I love to carry bear spray with me everywhere, even if I know I will not encounter a bear. Bear spray makes me feel safe, especially when I hike solo. >Feel Safe Buy Bear 🐻 Spray Here

Bug Spray

OMG, I can attest that mosquitos have attacked me in Washington. One of the worst experiences ever! And the worst part is that I forgot to bring bug spray! We literally had to run down the mountain. It was awful. >Don’t Get Bit. Buy Bug Spray

Toilet Paper

In case you need to pee, bring some toilet paper! There is also this new cool thing in the girl hiking community called the Kula Cloth! >You Can Read All About Here

Sweat Wicking Shirt

The trick to hiking comfortably and safely is NOT to wear cotton shirts. Cotton is not breathable and soaks up your sweat. So when you are sitting and eating your lunch at a viewpoint, you might get chilly with a soaked sweaty cotton shirt. This can lead to hypothermia. I recommend wearing a workout shirt or you can also >>>Check out my super breathable Patagonia Shirt Here

Hiking must haves: sweat wicking shirt

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Pant, Shorts, or Leggings

When it comes to pants, I usually wear leggings when I hike. I feel more confident, comfortable, and I feel fabulous. But I do wear hiking pants when it is rainy or when I go backpacking. >Check Out My Fav Hiking Pants Here >Check Out These Awesome Leggings

Prana Leggings

Check Out My Fav Leggings: The 5 Best Hiking Leggings For Women

Lightweight Fleece

I usually put on a lightweight fleece when I am going downhill on a hike in the Spring or Summer. Patagonia is known to have some of the best Fleece sweaters out there. I highly recommend bringing it as a mid-layer. >Look At My All-Time Fav Sweater Here

Patagonia Fleece


A good insulated, packable jacket is something that is always in my hiking backpack. I usually wear this when I am eating lunch with a viewpoint during chilly days. I love the Ghost Whisperer Jacket because of how lightweight and packable it is. And it is extremely warm! You might see pictures all over my blog of my red Mountain Hardwear Jacket. >Check Out My Fav Jacket Here

Day Hiking Essentials: Sunglasses

Hiking Boots or Hiking Shoes

Hiking boots and shoes help tremendously when you hike. They help protect your feet, the traction is impressive, and they give great support. Please note that there is a difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots. Hiking boots tend to provide more ankle support, but they can be bulky and heavy. I try to wear hiking boots on challenging, long trails. I wear hiking shoes on easier, short trails. >Check Out My Hiking Shoes Here >Check Out My Hiking Boots Here

Learn More About Hiking Boots: 10 Best Hiking Boots On The Market

Learn More About Hiking Shoes: 10 Best Hiking Shoes On The Market

Lowa Renegade Boots with Smartwool Socks

Wool Socks

Your feet will be doing most of the work when you are hiking. Make sure you wear good breathable socks to prevent blisters! I love Smartwool Socks! They are known to be the best for hiking socks. >Check Out These Socks Here

Sun Hats

Sun hats help keep you safe from the sun! It is part of the ten essentials and should be carried during the summer. Patagonia has some of the cutest hats on the market. >Buy This Super Cute Hat Here


I don’t usually bring hiking sandals on trails, but I still listed it for people that love hiking with sandals. Also, if you hike to an outstanding beach or lake, you might want to take off your shoes to put on some comfy sandals. Either way, I have these Teva sandals, and they are outstanding! I wear them around the city as well. >Check Out My Teva’s Here

Rain Jacket

I always bring a rain jacket in case it rains. I am not about taking a chance of hiking in the rain soaking wet. It seems like a dangerous and miserable experience if you don’t have rainproof gear.

Please note that you don’t need to spend a ton of money on a rain jacket. A poncho works fine too. But in case you want to check out my jacket >Here It Is

Read More On Rain Jackets: 10 Best Rain Jackets For Women

Base Layers

I mainly wear base layers in the winter or fall time. They are the bottom layer. They can be hot, so be careful wearing these in the summer. You don’t want to get too sweaty.

I do love Smartwool base layers. They are on another level of good quality. >Check Out The Bottom Base Layers Here >Check Out The Top Base Layers Here


I only bring gloves on my hikes during the wintertime. Don’t get cold hands and bring your gloves! >Buy Some Gloves Here

Warm Hats

You lose most of your heat through the top of your head. Stay warm on winter hikes and bring a cute warm beanie. >Buy A Beanie Here

What to take hiking: A warm hat


Crampons are part of my packing list for hiking in the winter. They are great to use in super icy conditions. They are pretty lightweight and small so I usually just throw it in my backpack just in case I need it. >Buy Some Crampons Here

Insulated Hiking Boots

You should only wear insulated hiking boots in the winter. These boots are extremely warm, and the traction works better with snow than regular hiking shoes. Oboz makes some stellar winter hiking boots. >Don’t get Cold Toes, Check Out My Warm Boots Here

What to bring hiking: warm shoes

Learn More About Winter Hiking Boots: 10 Best Winter Hiking Boots On The Market

Final Thoughts On Packing List Hiking

I hope this blog post helped you on your day hike packing list. Let me know if you have any questions and check out some of the other blog posts on outdoor equipment below:

  • Hiking Gear for Beginners
  • Best Hiking Boots For Women
  • Best Day Hiking Backpack
  • Backpacking Gear Guide

Claim your FREE Hiking Checklist

Ready to start hiking? Grab my free hiking checklist and never forget anything at home!

Sign Me Up

Pin For Later: Things To Bring On A Hike

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