How to Pack for a Day Hike

What do you take with you on a day hike? Any time you're out in nature for an afternoon, you'll want to bring a few essential items to be prepared. Packing for a day hike is very different that backpacking but if you follow these tips you'll be prepared for a great day on the trail.


Essential Items to Pack for a Day Hike



  • Plenty of water

  • Extra food

  • Map/compass

  • Extra layers of clothing

  • Waterproof jacket

  • First-aid Kit

  • Sun protection

  • Fire Starter

  • Knife


When I pack for a day hike, I always bring plenty of water and a snack to make sure I have plenty of energy to enjoy the hike. It is also a great idea to bring an extra layer for warmth and rain protection. Weather conditions can change quickly, especially at higher altitudes, so always be prepared. Insect repellant and sun protection are also a great idea to keep you safe and comfortable.

How to Pack for a Day hike

I also suggest you carry a small first-aid kit in your backpack. In this first-aid kit, you'll want some bandages, a gauze roll, sterile pads, adhesive tape, tweezers, Aloe vera gel and a pain reliever. Be sure to restock your first-aid kit when you use items and make sure the medication is not past its expiration date.

Even if you're only planning on a short day hike, you should bring a small headlamp and a lighter just in case. I have been on hikes where the sun set long before I made it back to the car and I was happy to have a small headlamp in my backpack.

The key to a successful day on the trail is to be prepared for anything you might encounter. If you know how to pack for a day hike you'll have all of the gear you need right in your backpack. Plan ahead, be prepared and most of all, have a great time.
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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