Summer’s in full swing and you know what that means — it’s time to go out and enjoy nature in all of its splendor! And what better way is there to spend time in the great outdoors than with a lovely hike?  

But before you hit the trailhead, there are some items you should bring along. Even if you’re only planning on a day hike, it pays to be prepared! There can be a lot of gear needed for a hike so it’s good to have personal storage. If you are planning a longer hike, be sure to check out our blog on camping gear organization.

Want to know what to pack for a day hiking trip? Here’s a list of day hiking essentials.

#1 Your Backpack

First and foremost, you’re going to need something to carry your items. When it comes to what to pack for hiking, you want a bag and gear that helps keep your hands free. 

For that, a sturdy hiking backpack is an essential piece to any hiker’s gear. For a day hike or a short hike, look for a pack that can hold 10 to 20 liters of gear. But for an overnight hike, you might consider purchasing a hiking backpack that has a 40 to 50-liter capacity. For a backpacking trip or something longer, a backpack 50 liters or more is essential. 

Ideally, you want a waterproof day pack that’s ergonomically designed for hiking (often, these backpacks will have a built-in water pouch). 

#2 Water 

This should go without saying, but it’s vital that you bring plenty of water and it is part of every hikers day hiking essentials. As you hike, be sure to drink it liberally. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to ensure that you reach your destination. 

Also, consider bringing a portable water purifier that can be used in streams or lakes. That way, if your hike goes longer than planned, you can have fresh water at the ready. 

#3 Hiking Clothes (Insulation)

Weather can flip on a dime when you’re in the wilderness. For that reason, it’s important to always bring extra insulation, even if you expect the weather to remain suitable.

If something were to happen and a day hike goes longer than planned, having a lightweight, waterproof, down rain jacket could be greatly beneficial. Similarly, avoid wearing cotton products. Instead, stick to moisture-wicking synthetic materials, especially for your base layer.   

For footwear, be sure to include an extra pair of synthetic or wool hiking socks. And only hike in boots or shoes that are suitable for the terrain. The hiking boot or hiking shoe you choose for your hike will depend on the hiking trail and the weather conditions of the day. If your hike includes traversing through water, hiking sandals are also a great option. 

#4 Navigation

It’s easy to lose your bearings in the backcountry, especially if you get off the main trail. In that case, you can’t rely on your phone to always have a charge or signal in the backwoods. This is why a topographical map and compass are paramount for your hike. 

Before you set out, be sure to see where you are and mark where you’re going. If you get lost, you can use the map, compass, and landmarks to orient yourself and return to safety. 

#5 Sun Protection

A hat, sunscreen, and lip balm help protect your skin against the sun. Also, glasses are a great tool for protecting your eyes, especially if you’re hiking in the snow.  

#6 Food 

Food is your energy source and is part of any day hike essentials. But it can take up a lot of space. For starters, you should pack a lunch. Additionally, bring smaller protein-rich snacks like trail mix, jerky, or energy bars that are portable but pack a lot of energy.  

Typically, how much food you’re going to bring depends on the length of the hike. However, it never hurts to pack a little extra. 

#7 Safety Items 

Have you thought about what would happen if an injury were to occur while you’re out hiking? 

Although you may want to avoid negative thoughts, when it comes to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. For that reason, some of the most important things to bring on a hike include: 

  • First aid kit 
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Lighter
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Firestarter
  • Signal flare 
  • Insect repellent

#8 Trekking Poles 

If you’re planning on conquering steep terrain, a trekking pole can turn a difficult hike into a much more manageable affair, especially if the ground isn’t solid. These types of poles relieve knee pressure, help you establish a rhythm as you hike, and provide power, balance, and support.  

All it takes is one long trek to convert most seasoned hikers into lifelong supporters of hiking poles.  

Storage Solutions for Hiking Essentials

Whether you plan on going on a two-hour hike or a day-long excursion, you’ll need a place to store all your hiking gear, especially if that includes tents, larger items, or even camper storage.  

That’s where Price Self Storage comes in. 

By keeping your hiking essentials with us, you can live your  life uncluttered. Our affordable self-storage units are the perfect place to keep your equipment. That way, it’s all in one place, it’s easily accessible, and your belongings are organized. We offer a variety of storage sizes in order to fit whatever you need. 


Section Hiker. Day Hikers 10 Essentials Guide.