Gear up for a Day Hike with This Checklist

Going on a day hike? We’ve put together a checklist to make sure you have the right gear going out the door.

Every time we go out on a short hike, these are the bare essentials that make up our gear list. Here are a couple of guidelines to remember:

  1. Two is one, one is none
  2. It is better to have it and not need than to need it and not have it


  • Lightweight, waterproofed 25-40 liter backpack
  • Map with route drawn on it
  • Compass (we use the Suunto Navigator)
  • GPS
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • Lighter or Waterproof Matches
  • Sun Protection (lip balm and sunscreen)
  • Polarized Sunglasses
  • Headlamp or Flashlight*
  • First Aid Kit (recommend BooBoo kit by ITS tactical)
  • Blister Kit (check out our guide on how to build one)
  • Nutritious, salty foods such as trail mix or meal bars to keep your energy levels up
  • Water bottles 2-3 L (1 Nalgene = 1 L)
  • Waterproofed camping tarp or makeshift shelter
  • Lightweight woobie blanket with zipper
  • Cat hole tool or mini-shovel
  • Package of baby wipes
  • Cell phone and camera (waterproofed)
  • Trash bag (do your part!)

Clothing Items

  • Moisture-wicking T-shirt or Base Layer
  • Moisture-wicking, supportive underwear
  • Extra set of socks (1 for every 3 miles, depending on terrain)
  • Breathable, moisture-wicking pants/shorts (Athleta or Arc’Teryx)
  • Mid-layer fleece (Polartec) or vest
  • Headband/Bandana
  • Beanie
  • Waterproofed rain/wind shell jacket (an absolute must)
  • Hiking boots or shoes with gaiters (broken in)

Optional Items

* Anytime you have a battery-powered device with you, always have extra batteries in a waterproof bag

Disclaimer: We receive compensation from some of the companies whose products are linked in this post. This allows us to point you toward the best gear and products for the job. We test and use each product and will give high marks to only the best. Field Athlete is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.