A day hike is a great way to escape from all the pressure and chaos from the workplace to our daily life. It is a quick-relief that we all need after some time. Let’s assume you have researched and found out the best nearest hiking trail from your place.
Now you are ready to gear up and go for the hike. But wait! Are you sure what are the day hiking essentials you need to have to go for a day hike? What are the things that should keep you safe on the trails? What should I pack for a day hike?
Worry no more! You are not alone in this. Many people suffer from this problem. There are dozens of gear and accessories lists on the internet to answer this particular question. But as it’s very difficult to find the perfect answer altogether, we have done the research and came up with a list that you need on a day hike.
Whether you are an experienced or a newbie hiker, there are the essentials you should pack before going on any day hike.
8 Day Hiking Checklist You Must Follow
A decent backpack is very important for any kind of hike. You can get away with using your regular backpack but we do not encourage you to do that. For a day hike, you need something robust and decent in size. For size, 20-35 liters is good enough to hold your day hiking essentials very easily.
The backpack should have an interior pocket for a water bladder, that will make drinking water easier. A hip belt is very important to have in a backpack that will place the load on your hips but not on the shoulder. And of course, a sternum strap will prevent the pack from shifting while hiking. These are the key features you need to look for while buying a backpack.
#2. the right hiking layers
The most important gears are those that you wear on the hike. The gears need to be comfortable and also have to ensure safety.
You can start with a sweat-wicking base layer, like wool, it will ensure breathability and will regulate the body temperature. In the winter season, wet cotton does not provide insulation, and in the summertime, it traps the warmth so you should avoid cotton layers. You can go with a T-shirt in the summer and a heavier long sleeve in the cold.
A lightweight raincoat can save your life sometimes, so don’t forget that. If you think the weather can get chilly then you might take a hat and gloves. You can keep a bandana also; it serves multipurpose so many hikers love it.
Choose a pair of sturdy hiking boots for your feet and a pair of wool socks that can handle whatever situation you are in. when choosing boots to go for lightweight that can protect your ankle in a tough situation.
#3. First aid emergency kit
Nobody knows when an emergency situation will occur. But we should be prepared for that situation. That’s why a lightweight first aid emergency kit is very important. Things like blisters, cramps, and minor cuts can happen anytime anywhere.
I would suggest that including a small knife and a matchbox in that emergency box will be genius.
#4. Flashlight or Headlamp
On a day hike, you might wonder why carry a Flashlight or headlamp? But in case you get caught in the trail after dark, it will be very difficult to find your way back to the trailhead. So, I would suggest at least carry a small flashlight in case of emergency. Do not forget to check if the batteries are fully charged or not though.
#5. Trekking poles
For experienced hikers, on a day hike trekking pole is not important. But if you are a beginner a trekking pole will save you from a lot of trouble. It will take the pressure off your knees, give you more power on the ups, and help maintain a rhythm while you’re hiking. So, carry a pair of trekking poles. I can guarantee it is worth the weight.
#6. sun protection
Sun protection is a day hiking essential that will help you to prevent any kind of injury that comes from the sun’s rays. It will shield your skin while hiking. Carry a bottle of sunscreen that is at least UPF 30 and will not come off when you sweat. Bring a pair of sunglasses that are not fragile enough to break while hiking. Do not think sunscreen and sunglasses are only for the summer season. Even in the winter if you are hiking in the snow, sunscreens, and sunglasses are important as the sun reflects off the snow and sends some pretty strong rays back at you.
#7. MAP / NAVIGATIONAL TOOLS
There are so many apps in the market for finding trails. You can download one that will allow you to see your location in real-time on your phone.
Many people rely on their smartphone’s advanced GPS to navigate on a trail but I will encourage you to carry a backup map and a compass. In many hiking places, there is no Wi-Fi or cell reception and your phone’s battery can also die. If you happen to get lost and find yourself with a dead smartphone also you can lose your phone in the trek then that could be a real safety concern. So, always pack a waterproof and tear-proof map, plus, a compass to help you find your way.
#8. lots of water and energizing snacks
We cannot function in our bodies without drinking water. In lots of hiking trails, there are no sources of pure water so you have to bring water, if possible, bring extra. Staying well-hydrated can help you avoid dehydration or even altitude sickness.
Bring enough food to go through the day, bringing extra would be awesome in case of an emergency. Nutritional snacks that are packed with protein and fiber are best for day hiking. You can bring snacks like jerky, sturdy fruits, and veggies like apples or carrots that won’t get squished in your bag. Also, classic good old’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a great fit for hiking snacks.
It is really important to carry enough drinking water and snacks on a day hike. You will be burning more calories than a normal day so bringing extra food is always great.
In this article, we have talked about all the essentials you need to have in your backpack for a day hike. These are the things you must bring otherwise you might get into trouble. Going on a day hike is an amazing feeling. It gives us immense joy, but we should not forget to take care of nature as well. As humans, we create lots of waste so carrying a waste bag is very important. We should head back from the trail with all the wastes we made and thus we will leave nature as it was before.
Andy Allan, a well-known fishing enthusiast and hiking professional, runs the blog. Andy is a Georgia-based outdoor enthusiast. He has hiked throughout the United States and parts of Australia.
He is also well-known for his passion for fishing, particularly for bass, steelhead, and salmon. Andy discusses his adventurous life, fishing and hiking equipment reviews, and blog posts on hiking and fishing tips and tricks in Outdoors Activity.