Hiking Trip Must-Haves

Hiking is a great way to get exercise and makes exploring nature just as fun to do alone as with friends and family. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or just starting out, many hiking trails are categorized by difficulty, so you can get started no matter your skill level. The National Park Service provides resources to help you find the best type of trail near you to start your expedition.

You want to consider things like the weather forecast, distance you will be hiking, and how remote your location is when packing for your hiking trip.

Hiking Trip Essentials

  • First Aid kit (including bug repellant)
  • Sun protection
  • Navigation: map, compass, GPS device, satellite messenger (to alert emergency personnel of your location in case of emergency)
  • Shelter
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Headlamp (and extra batteries)
  • Extra food, water & clothes

Hiking Equipment

  • Backpack: For shorter hikes, 11-20-liter capacity should be sufficient, but you may want to consider something larger when more food, water and clothing will be needed.


Dress for the weather and stay up to date with changing forecasts on the day of your hike.

  • Moisture-wicking underwear and T-shirt
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Boots/shoes appropriate for terrain
  • Lightweight fleece/jacket
  • Rainwear
  • Cold weather layers (when needed)

Health and Hygiene

Make sure you don’t leave these items at home!

  • Menstrual products
  • Prescription medication
  • SPF-rated lip balm

Food and Water

Energy bars and sandwiches are great portable foods. For water, two liters per person per day is a good start. Some trails have potable water you can use to refill during your hike and reduce how much you are carrying.

  • Water bottles
  • Trail mix/snacks
  • An extra day’s worth of food

Some choose to bring additional items, like toilet paper and identification, so use your discretion when packing and always remember to stay safe!

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