What to Bring on a Hiking Trip: 6 Must-Haves

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Alt Text: Man hikes with his back turned to us to show his hiking day pack

For many people, summer means hiking season. The sun is shining, the trees are green, and the flowers are blooming. It is the perfect time to get outside and explore the world around us. Your adventures may lead you to hikes that are short or long, remote or structured, far away or close to home. Wherever you go this summer, you’ll want to be prepared. Wondering what to bring on a hiking trip? Don’t forget these six things.

The 10 Essentials

Okay, before we dive into our six must-have items, take a look at these smaller 10 essentials. We want to start our recommendations with these essentials because they are exactly that: essential. Things like sunglasses and sunscreen will protect your eyes and skin from harmful UV rays. (Remember that when hiking in the mountains, the elevation change can put you closer to the sun than your body is used to.) A compass and map are great for remote hikes away from cell service. A first aid kit and a headlamp will help you be prepared for anything, even on a day hike. 

You get the idea. 

Be sure to check out the full article for more. Now let’s get into some of our more specific recs.

1. Hiking Day Pack

There is no point in collecting the items on this list if you don’t have a bag to put them in. There is a wide range of hiking backpacks available, from small drawstring bags to large packs. For a day hike, you need something in between. It should be large enough to fit everything you need yet lightweight enough so that it doesn’t become a burden. Consider a hiking day pack with chest straps to keep the weight distributed comfortably.

2. Insulated Water Bottle

You can survive a hike by bringing water in any old water bottle, but you can only enjoy a hike if you have cold water to drink. Nothing keeps your water cold like an insulated water bottle. These bottles keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours, helping you stay refreshed on any hike. There’s a reason for their popularity these days.

3. Camera

Capture the moment with a camera. People go on hikes for many reasons: Some people like the fresh air, others like the exercise, and most like the scenic views waiting for them at the top. You can remember the views by taking pictures. If you don’t have a nice DSLR camera, simply bring your phone and save pictures to your camera roll.

4. Portable Charger

Hiking for a long time without cell service can drain your phone’s battery. Bring a portable charger to prevent your phone from dying. Another pro tip: Consider putting your phone on airplane mode while you aren’t using it so it doesn’t waste battery looking for service. You will want your phone to have enough charge in case of an emergency.

5. Double Hammock and a Camping Pillow

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Alt Text: A woman sits in a double hammock with a view of a forested lake

Consider bringing a hammock on your day hike. This allows you to hang out in a shady spot at the end of the hike. Make it a double hammock to share with a friend, child, or significant other. Want to go a step further? Consider packing a small camping pillow to make the hiking break even more comfortable. If you’re not a fan of hammocking, pack a lightweight camping chair instead.

6. High-Protein Snacks

Last, but certainly not least, remember to bring snacks to keep your body energized during your hike. There is nothing worse than a long hike on a hungry stomach. Granola, beef jerky, fruits, and nuts are perfect to keep you going. Take a snack break on the trail or in your hammock at the end.

You’re All Set

That should do it. Once you have these items rounded up, you’re ready to go anywhere. Of course, there are other things like proper hiking shoes and a rain jacket, but we figure you already know those items. Summer is a great time to explore new places, make new friends, and check things off your bucket list. Wherever your summer adventures take you, make sure you go prepared.

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