Are you new to hiking and not quite sure what to bring on a hike with you? Well, we have compiled a list of 14 essentials for hiking. Being prepared is so important when it comes to exploring the outdoors. It can be hard to know what to take and whatnot. We hope this helps you to be more prepared for your next trip.
14 Best essentials to bring on a hike
1. Bring appropraite clothing on a hike
A common mistake we’ve seen is people wearing everyday comfortable clothes, such as jeans and a cotton t-shirt. These clothing items will soak up your sweat, they’ll get damp, they’ll get heavy and they’ll cause chafing and a pretty uncomfortable experience.
Also if you’re hiking a mountain if you start at the base and you’re hiking your way up and you’re sweating your clothes are soaking in all that sweat, by the time you get to your summit they are wet and still damp and they’re going to make you very cold.
Just remember cotton kills. You should be wearing clothing that is moisture-wicking and made for being active.
2. Bring extra layers
So along with appropriate clothing, the next thing you should bring on a hike is extra layers. Temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day, whether it’s spring or fall they can change. Also if you’re at the base of a mountain the temperature at the summit of the mountain can be totally different. And storms can roll in very quickly.
So bringing an extra layer for us looks like bringing a down jacket or synthetic jacket, whichever you prefer. An extra pair of pants or leggings. And an extra pair of socks. So you don’t want to be out on the trail and get cold, so bring an extra layer.
3. Bring rain protection
So as we said storms can roll in very quickly so the next thing you need to bring is rain protection.
Even if you’ve checked the weather and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any rain there’s still a chance that there could be rain. I bring a lightweight, thin rain jacket but a $2 poncho can work just as well.
So the next thing you should bring on a hike is shoes. Hiking shoes really do make all the difference though. But if you’re just starting out and getting used to the trail tennis shoes will work just fine.
Just make sure they have a good grip on the bottom and they protect your toes and the top of your feet. Also if you’re starting out in tennis shoes make sure you are starting out on easier trails as well.
5. Bring a daypack
The next thing you need is a daypack. You can get an affordable daypack at Wal-Mart and that is actually what I started out with until unfortunately, a family member’s dog smelled the beef jerky I left in it and tore it to shreds but that worked great for the time that I had it.
Now I’m using just a hand-me-down pack until I can make it to REI to get a better, long-lasting pack. You do not need a super expensive pack to start off with.
You just need something that has two large pockets that you can put all your supplies in and outside access to water bottles.
6. Bring Water
Alright, so the next thing you need to bring is water. Hydration is crucial. You need to bring more water than you think you’ll need. Also, the day or night before you go hiking make sure you’re drinking water throughout that day so you wake up hydrated and ready to go.
Also throughout the trail you want to be drinking your water consistently not just when you start to feel very thirsty. You may also want to bring a water filtration system just in case. Such as a Sawyer Mini, a Versaflo, or a Life Straw. Any of those options are good just bring one just in case.
Also, review the trail beforehand so you know if there are water sources as well as where those water sources are. Also, it doesn’t matter what you bring your water in. We like to use Nalgene water bottles. Because we have found that the water pouches we drink our water way too fast. But it doesn’t matter. it’s your preference whatever you bring.
Just bring enough water and drink your water consistently to stay hydrated.
7. Bring snacks
The next thing is snacks. You need to bring high-energy snacks. Those can be things like beef jerky, dried fruit, nuts, or energy bars. And just like with water you’re going to want to bring more than you think you’ll need.
The rule of thumb is to bring enough snacks for an entire day. We also like to bring electrolyte packets or Body Armor to restore those electrolytes we’ve lost throughout our hike.
8. Bring a map on a hike
So the next thing is a map. You need to have knowledge of the trail you are going to do. We realize that most people aren’t going to use a paper map or bring a paper map but if you have that option it’s a great one.
There are digital options as well. Such as apps like AllTrails that you can download the map of your trail the night beforehand. There are other apps that do this as well but AllTrails is the app we like to use.
9. Bring emergency blanket on a hike
So the next thing is an emergency blanket. These can be used for so many different things. And you’re probably not going to be able to even need to use it but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Plus they’re super light and compact so you probably won’t even notice you’re carrying it.
10. First aid kit
Another thing you’ll hopefully never need but is a must to take is a first aid kit. The top things that should be in your first aid kit are an antibiotic ointment, bandaids, gauze wrap, moleskin for blisters, Tylenol, and Benadryl.
Make sure that everything in your first aid kit you know how to use and nothing is expired.
So a headlamp is also something you should take just in case that you probably won’t need but should definitely have with you. Because there are instances where you’re out on the trail and you’re on the trail a little longer than you expected and you don’t want to be out there and you can’t see and you get lost or stuck.
So take a headlamp just in case.
12. Firestarter kit
Alright, the next thing you need to take is a firestarter kit. Again this is something that you will hopefully never need but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Some options to include are waterproof matches, a lighter, a Ferro rod, and something that catches like cotton balls, tissue paper, or fireplugs. Make sure everything is in a waterproof bag.
And also personally I like to take more than one option.
13. Bring sun and bug protection on a hike
The next thing is sun and bug protection. That includes sunscreen, SPF chapstick, a hat, sunglasses, and bug spray. And you want to make sure that you reapply those things throughout the day.
14. Bring a knife
The final thing you need to take is a knife. And this is for emergencies and protection because you never know when you might be out on the trail and need it to cut some bandage or cut some rope. But another great option to take is a multitool.
Alright so I know that list sounds super long and it sounds like we’re toting a suitcase out on the trail but everything we mentioned fits into this small pack. Also everything we mentioned there is a budget option for.
We hope this article helps you feel more prepared and encourages you to get out there on the trail. Thank you for reading. Happy hiking!