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Essentials to Include in Your Day Hike Pack

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

I love to hike. It is my preferred way to exercise. It is a great way to get in nature and elevate your heart rate. Hiking is walking on trail rather than a sidewalk or street. I keep a running list of places I would like to hike. When we travel, part of my research process is to identify places where we can hike in that specific destination. All the items in this post can be found in my "Take a Hike" section of my Amazon Store. If the item is in orange and underlined, click on it and it will take you directly to that item on Amazon.

Hiking Shoes

The most important item is appropriate footwear. Nothing is more miserable than hiking with blisters. My favorite hiking shoes are Merrell Moab 2 Vent Shoes. They provide great protection in easy and moderate hiking conditions. They are light and do not cause my feet to overheat. If I am hiking in someplace with especially rugged terrain or colder climates, I have a pair of Columbia Hiking Boots. In tropical climates, I usually wear my Ecco Hiking Sandals. My favorite socks are Smartwool or Bombas.




Day Packs

I have a lightweight day pack that I use for all day hikes. I love my Patagonia Ultralight Day Pack, however it is pricey. The Venture Pal Ultralight is a more affordable option for beginners.

Essentials to Pack

My pack is filled with survival and comfort items. Once while solo hiking, I got lost in a tangle of unmarked trails. My cell phone battery was dying and I had depleted all my water. While I did get back safely before dark, it freaked me out enough to put together a lightweight survival kit that I always carry with me when I hike. These are the items I carry with me every time I hike:

Emergency Blanket - This is a true life saver, especially if you hike in the winter.

First Aid Kit - Bandages, moleskin, pain reliever, antibacterial ointment are a must.

Map and Compass- When you are in remote areas, the "old fashioned" way of navigation is your only option.

Fire Starter - Whether it is a lighter, matches in a waterproof case, or a flint, building a fire is a way to keep warm and signal others where you are. I always carry a multiple function Survival Bracelet with flint, fishing line and a fishing hook built in as well as a compass.

Whistle - Whistle sounds can be louder and travel further that your voice. It also scares away animals.

Rain Gear - Nothing is more miserable than hiking in wet clothes on a cool day.

Trail Snacks - I like to bring nuts, trail mix and/or protein bars.

Hydration - Plan for more water than you think you will drink.

Water Purification - Pack Water Purification Tablets or a Life Straw Water Bottle in case your hike goes long or you run out of water.

Bug Spray - If you are hiking in a moist or swampy area, you can encounter mosquitos even in the mid-afternoon. In some areas biting flies or gnats swarm, a neck gator can protect your nose and mouth from these annoyances.

Flash Light - Good for finding your way when hiking in the dark and signaling others if you are lost.

Sun Protection - Sunscreen, sunhat and sunglass are a must when hiking. The trail maybe shady when you start your hike, however as the day progresses and the sun moves higher in the sky a shady trail can become sunny.

Multi-tool with a knife - CaptK is a fan of multi function pocket knives. I tend to go with the simpler version.

Trekking Poles - I am not a huge fan of trekking poles. That being said, if you have steep elevation changes on a hike, they make the trip much easier on your knees.

Power Bank - Whether it a solar charger, power bank or back up power source is a must especially if you are running GPS on your phone.

Trash Bag - For your trash and any trash you may see on the trail.

Looking for more information about visiting United States National Parks and hiking,

check out these blog posts.

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