Summer is getting closer and closer, which means you’re probably getting ready to get out of the house and hit some trails. Wherever you are in the world, no matter the weather, and no matter your hiking experience level, we’ve got the Ultimate Hiking Gear Checklist for you! The last thing you want is to forget something super important, and not realize it until it’s too late. Take this checklist with you, or print it off while you’re packing, and you’ll be ultra-prepared for whatever sort of trip you’ve got planned. Our list starts with necessary items for day trips and goes from there. Remember that all of the necessities from the day trip list apply to extended hiking trips as well!

Day Hikes

Things you absolutely need

  • water bottles or hydration system
  • water filters
  • sunscreen
  • lip balm
  • sunglasses
  • day-pack
  • money/ID
  • navigation
    • map
    • compass
    • route description or guide book
    • copies of trip itinerary left with friend AND under car seat
    • GPS (optional)
    • altimeter (optional)
    • field guide (optional)

Clothing

Warm Weather – Even in warm conditions, it’s a good idea to layer. Sometimes you may need long sleeves for protection from the sun or bugs, and you never know when it may cool off while you’re on the trail.

  • wicking t-shirt
  • wicking underwear
  • quick-dry pants or shorts
  • lightweight long sleeve shirt
  • sun-shielding hat
  • insulating jacket or pull over
  • mosquito net clothes
  • belt
  • hiking shoes or boots
  • appropriate socks

Cold Weather – Layering is even more important in cooler weather; you have to have base layers to wick away sweat, insulating layers to keep your body heat, and outer shell layers to keep the elements out.

  • wicking long sleeve shirt
  • wicking underwear (long)
  • hat, cap, or headband (synthetic or wool)
  • insulating jacket or vest
  • shell, waterproof jacket
  • waterproof pants
  • appropriate hiking boots or shoes
  • mittens or gloves
  • gaiters
  • socks (preferably wool)
  • balaclava
  • sandals
  • belt

Rain Gear – Most places you’ll go hiking can be unpredictable in terms of weather, and rain gear isn’t very heavy, so it’s a good idea to have it with you just in case. *Remember to buy gear that is waterproof, rather than water resistant.

  • waterproof outer shell
  • waterproof rain pants
  • wide-brimmed hat (also waterproof)
  • waterproof pack cover

First Aid Kit

This is an extended list of what could be in your first aid kit. Go ahead and tailor it to your trip; you might not need everything!

  • personal medications
  • gauze
  • roll bandages
  • band-aids
  • sterile compresses
  • ace bandages
  • antiseptic wipes
  • butterfly bandages
  • twine
  • tweezers
  • safety pins
  • scissors
  • thermometer
  • latex gloves
  • tissues
  • plastic bags
  • small mirror
  • soap
  • eye drops
  • burn ointment
  • antibiotic ointment
  • disinfectant cream
  • allergy medications
  • bee sting kit
  • snake bite kit
  • aspirin/ibuprofen
  • poison ivy cream & cleansers
  • heat/cold packs
  • extra contact lenses (or disposable contact lenses)
  • extra pair of glasses (or old pair of glasses)
  • emergency iodine tablets to purify water
  • contact information

Things that will make your shorter trip more comfortable

These are things you don’t NEED to have, but might be nice if you have the extra space.

  • lunch
  • snacks/protein bars
  • energy gels
  • sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade
  • hand sanitizer
  • bug spray
  • toilet paper
  • binoculars
  • trekking poles
  • moleskin (for blisters)
  • cord/paracord
  • useful electronics
    • multi-function watch
    • phone or satellite phone
    • camera/camera case
    • two-way radios
    • personal locator beacon

Extended Hikes

If you’re going on a longer trip, whether it’s a weekend exploration or a full-week intense hiking trip, you should add the list below to the items from the previous list.

Additional Packing & Safety Necessities

  • compression sack
  • stuff sacks
  • headlamp/flashlight
  • extra batteries
  • fire starter
  • matches/lighter
  • waterproof container (to keep fire-starting tools dry)
  • knife/multi tool
  • repair kits for tent/air mattress
  • bear spray (if in bear country)
  • zip-seal bags
  • whistle
  • permits

Camp Accessories

  • tent/hammock
  • sleeping bag/sleeping pad
  • tarp/ground cloth
  • tent tarp or reflective blanket
  • toilet paper
  • sanitation trowel
  • plastic bag for garbage
  • camp stove with fuel
  • cups
  • utensils

Extended Trip Extras

Stuff you can probably live without, but why would you if you have the room and it’s not too heavy?

  • chairs
  • camp shoes
  • insulated cup
  • toothbrush/powder
  • fishing gear
  • fishing license
  • cards/games
  • reading material
  • pot scrubber
  • large blade fixed knife or folding saw
  • swimsuit
  • towel
  • sit pad

Looking for a printable PDF version of our Hiking Gear Checklist? We’ve got you covered:

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