Here’s a day hiking check list you can use for quick packing. I’ve listed the essential pieces of outdoor gear and clothing, as well as optional items depending on climate and weather.

You may not think you need all this equipment for a day hike. If you’re going for a two-hour stroll on an easy, well-marked trail in mild weather, you probably don’t.

However, for longer hikes, you need to be prepared for severe weather and emergency situations.

Proper clothing is important; weather conditions can change rapidly with increased (or decreased) altitude. Hypothermia and heat stroke are real dangers, even on simple day hikes.

And the fact is that stuff happens, from minor incidents like cuts and scrapes, to serious situations like getting lost or breaking a bone.

Chances are it won’t happen to you, but what if it does? Will you be prepared?

If you have to spend an unexpected night in the wilderness, will you survive?

With the proper preparation and knowledge, you will live to tell about it.

Day Hiking Checklist

The Ten Essentials

  • Map
  • Compass
  • Headlamp or flashlight with spare bulbs and batteries
  • Extra food
  • Extra clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • First-aid kit
  • Knife
  • Matches in waterproof container
  • Firestarter


  • T-shirt
  • Shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Pants
  • Fleece jacket or sweater
  • Rain jacket
  • Rain pants
  • Wool or synthetic hat
  • Fleece gloves or glove liners
  • Sun hat

Skin Care

  • Sunblock
  • Lip balm
  • Insect repellent
  • Alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer
  • Pocket-size tissue pack


  • GPS device
  • Camera
  • Cell phone
  • MP3 player
  • Trekking poles
  • Umbrella
  • Bear repellent
  • Guidebook
  • Binoculars

Print out several copies of your hiking check list and store them with your outdoor equipment. Then, when you start packing for a trip, you’ll know exactly what to take.

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