Day hiking may not require camping gear or extreme sports equipment, but you still need the right clothing, hydration options, tools, and safety items to do it right. Most of all, it is important to pack for any possibilities in order to avoid serious problems or emergency situations. This essential guide will help make sure you have everything you need when day hiking.
What to Wear for Day Hiking?
You might think any outfit and a pair of sneakers is fine for day hiking, but these do not provide the comfort and support needed. Footwear is the most important part of your hiking gear and should be comfortable to wear for hours on end. Choose hiking boots or shoes or trail runners to give support and protection. Socks help keep your feet warm and dry, as well as giving you an extra layer of protection against moisture and friction that causes blisters.
Hats can keep your head from getting cold and can also protect against the sun and rain. Finally, layers are necessary in order to stay warm and dry, as well as protect your clothing from the elements. Is a t-shirt and jeans good enough? Not if you want to stay comfortable and prevent issues if something goes wrong or the weather changes. Invest in hiking pants, shirt, and sweat-wicking underlayers. Always bring a windbreaker or waterproof layer just in case.
The Best Hiking Hydration Pack (and Snacks!)
Everyone knows water is essential on hikes of any length. However, too many think one single bottle is enough for a whole day’s excursion. Do not make this mistake. You will need more water to drink than you expect, especially if the weather is warm, dry, or you hike to a higher elevation. A hiking hydration pack is a great idea for day hikes because it can help you stay hydrated on the go. The larger reservoir ensures you have enough to drink, and the comfortable straps and balance weight distribution will not get in your way of exploring nature.
Bring along some snacks that will provide energy and nutrients for the day, too. A granola bar or trail mix is a perfect choice for this type of hike, as they provide a lot of nutrients that give you energy and help you feel fuller longer. Of course, you can also pack a lunch in an insulated bag or case in your backpack. Focus on calorie-dense and lightweight options with limited wrappers to make eating on the go a breeze.
Other Hiking Equipment for Safety
Dedicated hiking equipment outperforms regular, everyday items when you are on the trail. You do not have to spend a lot of money to get what you need. Also, not all of the items on this list are right for everyone. For example, some people enjoy using trekking poles as they explore the great outdoors. Other people find them cumbersome and unnecessary. However, there are some essential day hiking items you should never forget to include in your daypack or backpack.
Make sure your phone is charged and ready to call in case of an emergency. Sometimes you will not have a signal, however. Bring a separate GPS to prevent getting lost. Bring an old-fashioned compass and make sure you know how to use it properly. An emergency beacon of satellite messenger can help, too. Of course, always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. If you go to a park or other maintained trail that has a log book or check-in at an office or ranger station, always do that before you begin the hike.
The next safety gear every hiker should bring is a well-equipped first aid kit. It should include everything you need to treat both minor and more serious injuries and help others during your hike. This includes bandages, antiseptic solutions, wound care products, and more. A compression bandage will help if you twist your ankle. Depending on where you take your day hike, also consider things like snake bite kits and special treatment for poisonous plants or allergic reactions.
Other safety options to consider include a water treatment kit just in case your hydration pack runs dry before you get back to civilization, a multi-tool or Swiss Army knife, emergency blanket made of reflective mylar, waterproof matches or lighter, a whistle to blow if you get lost, and bear spray. Remember that the best way to stay safe is to learn about where you take your day hike and how to avoid potential problems along the way.
Day Hiking Extras and Comfort Items
A sturdy pair of hiking shoes, a hat, hydration pack, and a granola bar may seem like all you need for a day out in nature, but the bare minimum may leave you with bad memories. While you do not want to load up your daypack with too much stuff, there are some important comfort items you will love to have with you.
Sunscreen is a must no matter where you hike. This, of course, also protects your health from the harsh UV rays that can even filter through heavy tree cover. Sunglasses help keep your eyes safe and comfortable as you hike. Insect repellent also helps you avoid annoyances and itchy bug bites. Do not forget lip balm and a small pack of cleansing wipes to wipe your hands before eating or if you accidentally lean in some mud.
Day hiking offers an amazing opportunity to explore nature and the world around you. Most locations have many unique trails and wilderness areas to explore. No matter where you go, always make sure you have the right hiking equipment with you for safety and comfort. Expect the best while preparing for the worst. That way, you will have only positive memories from your hiking adventures and plenty of pictures to share with others after you return home safely once more.