Planning a day hike but not sure what to bring hiking? We’ve all been there at some point. And unfortunately, many of us have learned the value of proper packing for a hike the hard way! This packing list for day hikes will equip you with everything you need on the trails so you can head out for your next hiking adventure confidently!
*Recommended items for hikes less than 8 hours only*
A hiking pack:
The first asset for a successful day hike is a backpack! You will have several core items you need to bring along (those coming up next), so having a pack to carry the load is crucial. We recommend getting a backpack that has hip support, like the one shown here! This prevents your shoulders from taking the brunt of the weight, and makes for an overall more comfortable day.
Plenty of water:
You never want to find yourself unprepared in the H2O department when on a hike. Even if it doesn’t seem like too long of a trail, or it’s not that hot out, we urge you to still come prepared. You never know when you could take a wrong turn, or the weather could change. The best way to pack sufficient water is by filling up a water bladder to put in your pack. This gives you more water storage than a water bottle can, and allows for easier access to drinking from the hose mid-hike.
Dry-fit, durable pants:
Wearing the right type of pants for a hike ensures that the fabric can support any terrain you find yourself in, and keep you dry in case of rain/intense heat. Find a pair of quick-dry, moisture-wicking pants because they let you enjoy the trail without fussing with your clothes. ideal choice for the trails! Look for ones made with performance in mind, that can withstand ripping, and are lightweight to regulate temperature. A bonus feature would be zippered pockets which allows for secure phone storage on hikes. We recommend these Women’s Dry-Fit Hiking Pants.
The right types of snacks:
For a day hike, we recommend bringing snacks that are heavy in protein and carbs that are easy to digest. The last thing anyone wants is to feel bogged down or bloated on a hike! So consider packing tried + true snacks that you know fuel you well without any unnecessary ramifications. For a longer hike (5+ hours), we recommend packing more substantial foods such as a sandwich, tuna packets, or multiple heavy-duty protein bars.
A rain jacket:
It’s always a good idea to come prepared with the right layers in case of a turn in the weather. Especially in high altitude hiking areas, mountain storms are extremely normal. Pack a rain jacket that will do the job if a storm rolls in. Here are a few brands that we recommend:
As a general rule of thumb, always sunscreen up before hitting the trails. The sun can be extremely intense in mountainous areas so project that skin! Sun protection can also include bringing a hat and/or a long sleeve lightweight sun shirt. This Women’s Quick-Dry Shirt is a great option!
While a trail may appear completely easy to navigate, all it takes is one fallen tree covering the path to veer off course. It’s always best to bring along some sort of map, where it be physical or digital. If you are bringing a digital map, ensure you have the map downloaded for if you lose service, and charge up that phone before heading out! For more extreme hiking, we recommend investing in a GPS device that can operate out of service and admit an emergency alert if needed.
Hopefully this checklist helps you feel prepared to take on some new adventures! Feel free to leave us any packing questions you may have.