What to Bring Hiking: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you gearing up for an exciting hiking adventure but unsure about what essentials to pack? Don’t fret! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the must-have items that should accompany you on your outdoor escapades. From safety gear to nourishment and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.

Safety Essentials

1. Navigation Tools

When venturing into the wilderness, it’s crucial to bring navigation tools such as a reliable map and compass. These tools can help you stay on track even when technological devices fail or lose signal. Familiarize yourself with their usage before setting off on your hike.

2. First Aid Kit

Accidents happen unexpectedly, so always carry a well-stocked first aid kit. Include bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, tweezers for removing splinters or ticks, adhesive tape, and any personal medications required.

3. Emergency Shelter

Weather conditions can change rapidly while hiking; therefore, packing emergency shelter is vital for unforeseen circumstances like getting lost or injured during inclement weather. Consider lightweight options like a tent tarp or emergency bivy sack.

Clothing and Footwear

1. Comfortable Clothing Layers

Wearing appropriate clothing layers is key to remaining comfortable throughout your hike – be prepared for temperature changes along the trail by dressing in moisture-wicking materials that are breathable yet insulating if needed.

– Moisture-wicking base layer
– Insulating mid-layer (fleece jacket)
– Waterproof and windproof outer layer (rain jacket)

2. Sturdy Hiking Boots/Shoes

Selecting the right footwear is essential for a pleasant hiking experience. Invest in sturdy boots or shoes with ankle support and excellent traction to prevent slips or sprains on uneven terrain.

3. Hats, Sunglasses, and Sunscreen

Protect yourself from harmful UV rays by bringing along a wide-brimmed hat that shields your face and neck. Don’t forget sunglasses to safeguard your eyes, as well as sunscreen with a high SPF rating to avoid sunburns at higher altitudes.


1. Hydration System

Staying hydrated during hikes is paramount; pack an adequate hydration system such as a water bottle or hydration bladder depending on personal preference.

2. Nutritious Snacks

Hiking can be physically demanding, so refueling your body with nutritious snacks is crucial. Pack lightweight options like energy bars, trail mix, fresh fruits, or jerky to keep you energized throughout the day.

3. Meals (if applicable)

If you plan multi-day hikes or overnight camping trips, bring lightweight meals that require minimal preparation – think dehydrated backpacking food or canned goods specifically designed for outdoor adventures.

Emergency Preparedness

1. Headlamp/Flashlight

Don’t find yourself stumbling around in complete darkness if your hike extends into dusk or nightfall unexpectedly – stash a dependable headlamp or flashlight in your backpack for emergencies.


The above items should always accompany extra batteries as per their requirements.

Miscellaneous Items

While not necessarily essential for every hiker’s packing list, these miscellaneous items may enhance comfort throughout your journey:

– Trekking poles
– Insect repellent
– Multi-tool/knife
– Whistle (for emergencies)
– Camera to capture stunning views


Now that you know what to bring hiking, it’s time to prepare for your outdoor adventure. Remember to pack safety essentials, choose appropriate clothing and footwear, prioritize nourishment and hydration, be prepared for emergencies, and consider any additional items that may enhance your hiking experience. By packing smartly and being well-prepared, you’ll have a memorable journey exploring the great outdoors!