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Hiking is one of our greatest passions, and we love that it is a hobby for people of all ages and experience levels. There’s nothing better than the feeling of hitting the trailhead of a hike. Well, maybe reaching the peak and looking back at what you just climbed up is better, but hey, it’s all about the journey.

We’re sharing our personal hiking “must-pack” list (+ some of our favorite tried-and-true brands) with you so you’re always prepared and confident on your outdoor adventures. Whether you’re new to hiking or you’ve logged many miles in your hiking boots, we hope this list is a handy reminder of what you need to bring with you. 

You can download a PDF version of our hiking packing list so you can access it offline and never leave home unprepared for your next adventure!

Hiking Packing List | Go Wander Wild

We also create hiking articles to make sure you are prepared for the trail and give you pointers to watch out for. From hot springs to mountain summits, our hope is to provide the best hiking guides available so you can go confidently into nature.

Here are some of our most recommended hiking guides:

If you’re looking for our hiking guides, you can skip down to that section by clicking here.

Hiking Essentials

These items should be packed on every hike, no matter the distance or difficulty.

IMPORTANT: This list is specifically created for day hikes (not overnight or multi-day hikes). Send us an email if you’d be interested in a multi-day hike packing list, and we’ll see what we can do!

1. Navigation

On any hike, you’ll need a plan for navigation: paper map, cell phone app, GPS device, or compass. The method depends on the type of hike & your personal preference.

2. Water 

Bring more water than you expect to drink! Tip: We secure our water bottles to our backpack with carabiners. On long hikes we use a Camelbak.

> See our favorite water bottles

3. Backpack

A comfortable & supportive hiking backpack is a game-changer! Here are some of our favorites:

4. Sun Protection

Always bring sun protection: sun glasses, sunscreen, light layers and/or a hat.

5. Layers

Never go hiking without extra layers so you can stay comfortable and protected. Bring more than you think is necessary!

> What to Wear Hiking

6. First Aid Kit

Hikers should always carry a small kit with band-aids, ace bandage, antiseptic, etc. For long hikes, a bigger kit is recommended.

> See our favorite

7. Headlamp

Even if you’re not planning to be on the trail past dark, unexpected things happen & it’s smart to be prepared with a headlamp (+ extra batteries if necessary).

> See our favorite headlamp

8. Snacks

Pack snacks that will sustain your energy. On long hikes, bring more than you think you’ll actually need (in case of emergency).

> Best Hiking Snacks: Healthy & Delicious Trekking Food

Extras

This is a list of additional items that may be good to pack, depending on the type of hike.

9. Water Sterilizing System

On long hikes, bring something with which you can purify water from a stream or lake.

> See our favorite

10. Bug Repellant

Depending on the season and where you’re hiking, you may need bug repellent. We always prefer natural products in this department.

> See our favorite

11. Power Bank

A power bank will charge any devices that start to die: phone, USB headlamp, camera, etc. (Be sure the power bank is fully-charged itself!)

> See our favorite

12. Camera

If you like photography, be sure to pack your camera (+ extra batteries and plenty of SD storage space!)

13. Multi-Tool

A knife / multi-tool is small but very handy in many ways: cutting an apple, dressing wounds, opening bottles, emergency situations, etc.

> See our favorite

14. Rain Gear

A packable rain jacket is smart to bring no matter the weather (it can be unpredictable!). If rain is in the forecast, we also bring a dry bag to keep our valuables safe.

15. Lighter

This tiny item won’t take up much space, but it can be very useful in case of emergency and you need to build a fire.

16. Toilet Paper

On long hikes with no bathroom facilities, bring TP and a small bag in which to pack it out. You may also need to pack a shovel to dig a hole when going #2. 

17. Buff

Small yet versatile, a buff is good for keeping dust out of your face, holding hair back, absorbing sweat, keeping your neck warm, or using it as a towel. 

> See our favorite

18. Trash Bags

We always carry a bag for collecting trash (our own & litter we find on trails). Use any bag: one you find on the ground, a bread bag, a reusable bag, etc.

BONUS: optional / fun items!

  • hiking poles (personal preference / depends on hike) 
  • wine/beer & bottle opener (only if alcohol isn’t banned in the area in which you’re hiking) 
  • collapsible cups & utensil set (for a picnic) 
  • small notebook & pen
  • deck of cards 
  • hand sanitizer
  • sarong / lightweight towel (for picnicking, drying off after a swim, making shade, etc.) 
  • bear spray, bells, canister (for hiking in bear country)

Psst! Check out our curated list of unique gifts for hikers for more fun items related to hiking.

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