Day hiking is great fun: great for the body and great for the soul. Make sure that you, your friends, family, and pets are properly equipped for your hike by referring to the following gear checklist before heading out. (Printer-Friendly Version PDF)
This checklist is deliberately comprehensive so you don’t forget something. Start by packing up the 10 Essentials and then refer to the items below for other things that may be necessary for your intended route, weather, or companions.
Here’s the basic gear you should carry for any hike to stay safe, comfortable, and remain self-sufficient.
1. Navigation (paper map at a minimum, plus compass, GPS, or GPS phone app)
2. Sun Protection (hat with visor, sunglasses, suntan lotion)
3. Extra Clothing (warm hat, fleece or wool sweater, rain jacket or windbreaker)
4. Illumination (headlamp, flashlight, extra batteries…your cell phone light is not sufficient)
5. Basic First Aid Kit (pain relievers, antihistamine, band aids, blister pads)
6. Fire Making Kit (waterproof matches, accelerant like vaseline and cotton balls)
7. Multi-tool and Repair Kit (swiss army knife, duct tape, safety pins)
8. Food (salty snacks, food bars, dried fruit, sandwich)
9. Hydration (water or fruit drinks, aim for 1L per person for every 2 hours up to 3L)
10. Emergency Shelter (emergency blanket, bivy, or tarp)
Footwear should be very well broken in before hiking with it to prevent hot spots and blisters. There’s a high probability that you’ll get get blisters if wearing shoes for the first time on a hike.
Always check the weather forecast before a hike to make sure you’re bringing the correct clothing. Higher elevations are usually colder and windier than valleys. Avoid wearing cotton clothing except in desert conditions because it takes longer to dry than synthetics or wool.
Dogs are great hiking companions, but when starting out it’s important that you equip your pup properly and prepare them for an environment where they’re likely to encounter wild animals, other people, and dogs. Be sure to protect their paws and bring plenty of food, water, and gear to keep them comfortable, safe, and their tails wagging.
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