What you need to bring on a hike largely depends on where you are going and how long you plan to be out there. An overnight hike will require quite a few more items than an adventure that just takes a few hours.
To create your personal hiking checklist, first plan out what you’ll be doing and for how long. Then glance over these top categories of backpacking essentials to see what you’ll need.
1. Backpacks: Top Picks for Carrying Camping Supplies
First things first. You need a sturdy bag to carry all of your gear.
Decide what your priorities are—lightweight, stretchy, lots of pockets and compartments?
Here are some of the top trending backpacks in the hiking universe.
This backpacking pack is here for a good time—and a long time.
Take this bad boy with you when you go on an extended adventure. Whether you travel from hostel to hostel or sleep out under the stars, Osprey’s Aether Plus 100 will be your travel companion through it all.
If you’re taking a day trip through the great outdoors and want to pack light, this little pack is perfect.
REI’s Co-op Flash 22 Pack is equipped with plenty of pockets, straps, and comfort features for you to enjoy your hike without your gear holding you back.
2. Footwear: Boots Made for Walking
Since the whole idea of hiking is spending a lot of time on your feet, you want to make sure you’re well suited.
Check out these recommendations for men, women, and the younger explorers.
Great for climbing and navigating rugged terrain, the Arc'teryx Konseal AR Shoe for men will carry you through any environment easily.
The ‘All Round’ feature means that these shoes are prepared for all types of environments, and you’ll still have traction when you get them wet. With this technology, all weather is good weather for hiking.
These boots by Keen are a fantastic option if you can’t decide whether you want shoes or boots. They are lightweight and ventilated—perfect for summer excursions.
The Voyageur Mid boot is a versatile boot that you can wear on any terrain, from mountain climbing to the most rugged trails your adventurous soul can find.
Getting all of the kids’ shoes on can be a chore, and it usually takes longer than you expect.
Hit the trails faster with Salomon’s Quicklace technology that allows kids to slip into their shoes with speed.
The XA PRO 3D CSWP is waterproof, so your little ones can run through all of the mud and puddles to their heart’s content. Plus, the soles are designed for all types of terrain, so you can worry less about them slipping and falling and focus more on the fun.
3. First Aid Kits: Your Can’t-Skip Hiking Essential
While you don’t want to let the fear of the unknown stop you from going on an adventure, it’s also a good idea to prepare for the worst case scenario.
This trusty first aid kit is absolutely a hiking essential.
It has everything you need for a short trip or a long journey through whatever kind of terrain you might stumble upon.
4. Food and Drink Supplies: Recharge During Your Trip
If you’re going to be hiking and climbing, you’ll need some fuel to keep you going. Check out some of this specialized gear for holding your water and tasty snacks for the trail.
This lightweight water bottle holds one liter of water, eliminates any leakage or spills, and collapses completely when empty.
If you’re going on a long hike, you’ll want to bring some extra water to refill your bottle.
The Platy water bottle is a compact way to store 2 liters of extra hydration in your backpack.
This meal kit has almost everything you need for a two-day adventure with a buddy. All you have to add is a pot to heat up some water and a couple of basics listed on the package instructions.
Worry less about what food you’ll pack and focus more on all of the fun you’re about to have.
5. Food Preparation: Heat, Eat, and Keep Going
For an extended trip, a mini stove for food preparation is a backpacking essential.
Depending on what your cooking system comes with, you might also want to stock up on some portable pots and pans.
This portable stove and fuel kit only weighs 14.6 ounces, so you’ll barely notice it as you zip through the trails.
You can adjust the temperature to simmer or boil, and it only takes two minutes to get to a rolling boil.
This portable set of pots and pans truly thinks of everything.
The containers fit together perfectly to save as much space as possible while still providing you with plenty of serving plates, bowls, mugs, and cookware.
The entire kit weighs just 3 pounds and 10 ounces.
6. Navigation: You Can Wander, But Don’t Get Lost
Before you take off, make sure you know how to get where you’re going.
Your phone may have some great navigation apps, but if you lose cell service, you’ll want a backup option.
This satellite GPS can securely get you to your destination with ease.
7. Weather Protection: Hiking Essentials to Stay Dry and Cool
Even if you plan your hike to be in optimal weather for your area, surprises always happen.
Prepare for rain and excessive heat with this protective backpacking gear.
This waterproof lightweight jacket is advertised as “surprisingly quiet” which is a huge plus considering you’re going out in the elements for nature sounds, not the “swish swish” of your jacket.
You’ll especially enjoy the ventilation features as you start to sweat underneath the jacket. It will help you stay dry inside and out.
The men’s standard jacket weighs 12.5 ounces, and the same style also comes in men’s tall sizes, women’s standard sizing, and women’s plus sizes.
Patagonia’s Capilene line provides fantastic protection against sunburns and overheating.
Another bonus? The shirts are Fair Trade Certified, so you’re protecting the earth and the people who work with it when you purchase one.
Choose from a variety of long-sleeved and short-sleeved shirts in all kinds of color options to craft your perfect hiking wardrobe.
Time to Hit the Trails
Are you ready to pack?
Give yourself plenty of time to plan your list and order the hiking essentials you want to buy.
The more time you invest in the preparation, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the adventure and the company you bring along. Then get on out there and have a great time.
Adventure is yours for the taking.