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Day Hike Gear List

What you need for a day hike

Bringing the proper equipment will add greatly to your enjoyment, your safety, and the enjoyment and safety of the group. This stuff is essential if you are going out in the woods for more than a couple of hours. Make sure that you are comfortable with your equipment and you know where it all fits in. Do not carry anything in your hands; do not tie a jacket around your waist. Everything should fit in your daypack. Carry your wallet and keys in your daypack, at all times.

In your daypack:

  • Two quarts of water in plastic water bottles (not soda bottles)
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Rain jacket (no matter what the forecast)
  • Long sleeve shirt (no matter what the forecast)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Wool or fleece hat and gloves
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Tissues
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Small flashlight
  • Plastic bag for trash
  • Map (and know how to use it)
  • Compass (and know how to use it)


If it is not the height of a warm summer, add:

  • Warm fleece hiking sweater or jacket
  • Rain pants


How to dress:

  • Shorts and a short-sleeve T-shirt as the bottom layer.
  • Hiking boots that are well broken-in and that go over the ankles
  • Good hiking socks (not sports socks).
  • Sunhat with a wide brim
  • Bandanna which you need to keep handy


Dress in layers. Your first layer should be a short-sleeve t-shirt (synthetic, not cotton) even if it seems cool in the morning. You will warm up. Your second layer should be a long-sleeve shirt (also synthetic). If you need extra layers, you will have your warm hiking sweater and rainjacket. Shorts give you more mobility and keep you cooler; pants give you more protection from insects and brush.

Lunches and snacks:

Peanut butter, salami, bologna, small cans of tuna fish or sardines, fruit, cookies, trail snacks ...

Click here for a one page printable checklist for a day hike.

Questions, comments, additions to the list? Send to danny@hikertohiker.com

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