Packing for a Day Hike: the ultimate list for day hiking essentials

Packing for a day hike - the ultimate list for day hiking essentials by BoozingAbroad

Packing for a day hike isn’t as easy as you might think.  As the day approaches, you might wonder “what do I bring?” While hiking doesn’t necessarily require any equipment, it’s recommended to bring some things with you to enjoy a safe and comfortable hike.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered for all the best things to pack for a day hike, no matter the weather. 

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Best Day Pack For Hiking 

Women’s Daypacks

Packing for a day hike; half dome, yosemite, hiking gear - women's daypack

Osprey’s Tempest 20L

  • Pros: lightweight, lots of space 
  • Cons: no magnet for hydration bladder hose (can be added separate

When you’re packing for a day hike, the first thing you need is, obviously, a backpack. The Osprey’s Tempest 20 women’s day pack is unique in that it’s lightweight but still can carry a ton of items.

The backpack has a large main compartment as well as multiple pockets on each side of the pack, both mesh and zippered. There’s also a trekking pole attachment, a helmet attachment, a hydration sleeve, and more.

Keep in mind that while the shoulder strap is adjustable, the torso strap isn’t, so be sure to order the correct size.

This is the backpack that Sam uses on all of our hikes and it works great! It almost feels like Hermione’s bag from Harry Potter with how much she can fit in her pack. 

*Osprey has recently updated this backpack model and you can check out prices/reviews here

Men’s Daypacks

Packing for a day hike; glacier national park montana - hiking gear - men's daypack

Gregory Miwok 18

  • Pros: lots of space 
  • Cons: no rain fly 

Gregory Miwok 18 day pack is sure to get you through even the most strenuous of hikes. The backpack includes a large front mesh pocket, two dual-side pockets on each side of the bag, a trekking pole attachment, a hydration pocket, hip belt pockets, a sunglasses quick stow system, and more.

The shoulder strap and torso strap are both adjustable for maximum comfort and security.

Chris uses this backpack exclusively for hiking and loves how comfortable and roomy it is. 

Hiking Apparel

While you don’t necessarily “pack” hiking boots and pants, we strongly believe you need the right shoes and pants when you hike. We’ve been on hikes where we weren’t dressed appropriately and wore the wrong hiking boots and we’ll be the first to tell you, it was miserable. 

Below are our favorite hiking shoes and pants that we HIGHLY suggest owing if you are getting into hiking or are looking for new hiking apparel. 

 

Hiking Boots, Sandals, and Shoes

hiking shoes, yosemite np; Packing for a day hike

If you’re wondering what the differences are between hiking sandals, trail runners, and hiking boots, look no further!

We’ve broken down some key differences as well as some of the best hiking shoes on the market. 

Hiking Sandals

Hiking sandals are great for two main reasons: first, sandals allow your feet to breathe and move around more freely, which can prevent blisters and, second, wearing sandals as opposed to boots, significantly reduces the amount of weight that you’re carrying around.

However, since your feet are more exposed, you need to be a little bit more cautious due to things like sunburn, the cold, sharp rocks, poisonous plants, and snakes. 

We only wear our hiking sandals when we know there will be a water crossing or if we are doing water activities like floating down a river. 

It’s rare that Chris and I both have the same shoes, but KEEN has some incredible hiking sandals that we both love. 

Women’s: KEEN Women’s SOLR High Performance Sport Closed Toe Water Sandal

keen sport sandals

  • Pros: waterproof, lightweight, machine washable
  • Cons: can cause feet to sweat, can run a smidge small

These KEEN sandals are perfect for any kind of hike, but since they are waterproof, they are especially great if you have to cross through lakes or rivers.

The sandals are also made with rubber that provides great traction in slippery places and doesn’t leave marks on the floor when you’re indoors. There’s even a rubber toe bumper to keep you protected. There are a few open toe options, but for the types of hikes we do, we prefer closed-toe. 

The best thing about these shoes is that even with all of these features, they’re still extremely lightweight, allowing you to move around freely. 

Personal preference here, but we typically don’t prefer to wear sandals on our longer hikes, so we’ve used carabiners to clip them on our backpacks for easy transition for water crossings. Added bonus to doing this is that they dry quickly and don’t get your pack wet. 

Amazon has a “try before you buy” option with these so it’s easy to see what size works best for you. To break them in, be sure to wear socks so you don’t get blisters (or use the blister block below!). 

Men’s: KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal Water Shoe

keen mens snadlas

  • Pros: waterproof, lightweight, machine washable
  • Cons: runs a little small

Similar to the women’s shoe, these KEEN sandals are closed-toed, so you can keep your toes protected without having to wear a bulkier, warmer option, like boots.

Some other great features that these sandals include are waterproof leather with quick-dry lining, great traction, and a supportive arch. They’re also machine washable!

If you’re looking for a convenient, lightweight, and sturdy pair of hiking sandals, consider these while packing for a day hike. 

Trail Runners

Trail runners were only used by runners in the past, but they’re starting to gain popularity among hikers.

Trail runners are similar to sandals in that they’re lightweight, but they provide more protection and support.

Some are even waterproof. However, the lightness of trail runners means that durability is decreased and they can wear out quite quickly.

Women’s: KEEN Women’s Explore Waterproof Hiking Shoe

hiking shoe

  • Pros: waterproof, lightweight, variety of colors  
  • Cons: can be too narrow for wide feet 

If you’re looking for a sturdy and comfortable pair of shoes, these KEEN trail runners are for you. They’re made with waterproof material, a contoured heel lock, removable insoles, and even a stability shank to keep you safe on rough terrain.

The shoes also have multi-directional rubber lugs on the soles for excellent traction. Another great feature of these shoes is that they’re stylish and come in over 10 colors!

Men’s: Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

merrel-packing-for-a-day-hike

  • Pros: durable, breathable, variety of colors 
  • Cons: not waterproof 

The Merrell trail runners are quite popular (they’re even a #1 best seller on Amazon!) and it’s not hard to see why.

While durability can sometimes be a problem in trail runners, these shoes are built differently. They’re made from suede leather and thick soles with strong grips for traction.

Even though they’re durable, they’re still breathable, made with a mesh lining and a foam tongue to help keep moisture away.

Oh, and did we mention that they come in nearly 20 different colors? Overall, these shoes are great for a variety of hikes, but they’re not waterproof or warm, so it’s best to only use them in warmer months and keep them away from water. 

Hiking Boots

Low Profile Hiking Boots

Packing for a day hike keen boots

Women’s: KEEN Women’s Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe Boot

  • Pros: waterproof, durable 
  • Cons: can cause feet to sweat

These KEEN Targhee hiking boots are strong, durable, and will keep you safe and comfortable, no matter the hike. These shoes are packed full of convenient features like waterproof leather, multi-directional lugs for traction on any kind of terrain, and a leather mud shield.

The shoes also include a removable footbed, a compression-molded midsole, and a toe bumper for maximum comfort. 

Even though they’re quite breathable compared to other hiking boots out there, some people find them hot in the warmer months, so be sure to plan accordingly. 

Men’s: Low-cut: Columbia Men’s Crestwood Waterproof Hiking Shoe

Packing for a day hike; columbia shoe

  • Pros: waterproof, lightweight, durable, affordable
  • Cons: runs small, not for winter 

If you’re looking for an all-in-one kind of shoe, the Columbia Crestwood shoes are for you.

First, these shoes are quite durable, made with high-quality materials like suede, special waterproof technology, and extra toe and heel protection to avoid wear.

Second, these shoes are made with special omni-grip soles that provide excellent traction for all terrains during spring, summer, and fall.

Finally, they’re comfortable. They’re made with thick cushioning along with breathable, lightweight midsoles.

Due to their great traction and waterproof technology, you can wear these shoes in most environments, but keep in mind that they are not made for the heavy winter.

High-Ankle Hiking Boots

KEEN Women’s Targhee 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

  • Pros: waterproof, durable
  • Cons: can cause feet to sweat 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say these were one of my favorites. They have made me very brand loyal to Keen and I can’t say enough awesome things about them. 

These KEEN boots offer all the same great features as the Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe Boots. They’re waterproof, provide great traction, have a mud shield, and they’re very comfortable.

However, these boots have one additional feature which is that they’re high-ankle. This can be great for high levels of water, snow, or just if you want some extra ankle support during your more strenuous hikes.

Keep in mind that high-ankle boots can mean more warmth and weight, though, so it might be better to keep them for the colder months.

It took me about a week to really get them broken in at home, but I’ve exclusively used these on the majority of our hikes for the past several years. I tend to be a bit clumsy and these really help give me the extra support I need when we hike. 

Men’s High-Ankle: Columbia Men’s Crestwood Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot Shoe

Packing for a day hike columbia

  • Pros: waterproof, lightweight, durable, affordable
  • Cons: runs small 

The Columbia Crestwood Mid shoes offer all the same features as the low-height Columbia Men’s Crestwood Waterproof Hiking Shoes in that they’re made with the same high-quality materials like suede and waterproof technology, have omni-grip soles for good traction, and have thick cushioning and lightweight midsoles for comfort.

However, these shoes offer one added feature: they’re high-ankle, which can be great if you’re going to be hiking through deeper water and don’t want any water getting into your shoes, or if you just want a little more ankle support during your hikes!

Hiking Pants 

KUHL women's-Packing for a day hike

Photo Credit: KÜHL

Women’s: KÜHL Weekendr Tight

  • Pros: lightweight, breathable and pockets
  • Cons: sizing runs a little big

At first, I was skeptical about the fabric on the KÜHL Weekendr Tight Hiking Pants as I tend to prefer cotton, but these pants have changed my mind for the better.

If you like to wear form fitting leggings on the trail, these are perfect for you as they combine comfort, flexibility, and just the right amount of stretch into a pair of hiking pants. 

These pants pass as regular tights (great for a Target run), but they are high performance, well-ventilated and water resistant which makes them ideal for hiking. There is also a mesh lining for those super hot days, but you might want to consider a thicker pair for colder weather hikes. 

Overall, these are great for everyday or for hiking when you need longer pants for warmer temps. 

KUHL Men's-2 - Packing for a day hike

Photo Credit: KÜHL

Men’s – KÜHL FREE RADIKL

  • Pros: versatile, durable, flexible, comfortable, plenty of storage/pockets 
  • Cons: a wee bit expensive

When Chris determines his list of what to pack for a day hike, you can bet these comfortable KÜHL FREE RADIKL pants are on that list. 

These pants are extremely lightweight yet still remarkably durable, which makes them the perfect pants for hiking. And while the pants aren’t completely waterproof, they are quick to dry and offer UPF 50 sun protection so they’re great even in the hot and sticky summer months.

Because of their flexibility and some built-in stretch, you can even throw on a pair of longjohns underneath for those cold-weather hikes and still have room to move freely. 

The bulk of the fabric is cotton (68%) which keeps these pants light and breathable, but they’ve also got nylon (for the strength and durability you need in hiking pants) and just a bit of spandex to provide that touch of stretch.  This pant also has knit panels around the knees for extra flexibility and durability.

And if you’re running out of room in your backpack to carry your essentials, the FREE RADKIL pants have you covered with 6 different pockets (two each in front and back like normal, plus two stealthy cell phone pockets on either thigh.

While these pants are certainly great for the hiking trails, they are also stylish and versatile enough for everyday wearing too. 

There are 6 different colors to choose from in two types of fits (classic fit and a more modern tapered fit) and in numerous different waist/inseam combinations.

If you’re looking for your next pair of hiking pants, look no further than KÜHL FREE RADIKL!

Rain Gear 

Women’s: Eddie Bauer Women’s Rainfoil Packable Jacket

Packing for a day hike; eddie bauer

  • Pros: doubles as a travel pillow, lightweight 
  • Cons: doesn’t provide a lot of warmth on chilly hikes 

When packing for a day hike, especially during the rainier months, it’s essential to bring a high-quality rain jacket, and the Eddie Bauer Women’s Rainfoil jacket has it all!

The jacket has special double-layer waterproof technology and a high collar that protects your neck/shirt from getting wet. The best part is that even though the jacket is 100% waterproof, it’s still breathable, with a lightweight mesh lining.

The jacket is quite convenient as well, since it has two secured pockets, a hanger loop for clipping the jacket onto something, and it can even be folded down into a travel pillow!

Men’s: Columbia Men’s Glennaker Lake Rain Jacket

Packing for a day hike; columbia

  • Pros: can be packed into pocket, lightweight 
  • Cons: doesn’t provide warmth on cold hikes

If you’re looking for a durable yet lightweight rain jacket that will last you many years to come, then the Columbia’s Men Glennaker rain jacket is for you.

The jacket is made with special waterproof nylon fabric that protects against rain, wind, and stains. You can also enjoy plenty of convenient features like a stow-away hood, two secured hand pockets, and an adjustable hem.

And, you can even pack the jacket away into its own pocket for easy storage! Finally, you can choose from over 20 different colors (solid or two-toned).

Emergency Heat Ponchos

poncho-Packing for a day hike

  • Pros: keeps you warm and dry, folds up nicely after use
  • Cons: negative points for style

If you are looking to save some space when packing for a day hike and don’t give a s*** about looking cute on IG, we recommend these Emergency Heat Ponchos.

We’ve used these DOZENS of times on hikes, sometimes for rain, other times for snow and cold temps. They are small, portable and are easy to pack.

It’s a no brainer to have these packed on your day hiking essential list.

First Aid/Navigation/Safety 

With hiking comes experience and we’ll be the first ones to tell you: plan for something to go wrong. From minor scrapes to getting lost or unpredictable weather, it’s SUPER important to be prepared for anything.

These items below are day hiking essentials that we carry in our backpacks on every hike, no matter the length. 

First Aid Kits

Packing for a day hike - first aid kits

  • Pros: has all the essentials
  • Cons: won’t cover severe injuries

Being prepared for anything is essential when packing for a day hike. When picking out a First Aid Kit, we consider the difficulty of hikes and also length. If you are just going for a day, having a big kit might not be necessary. 

We prefer this smaller First Aid Kit for day hikes and this Larger First Aid Kit for long day hikes or overnight camping. 

Blister Block Kits

block - Packing for a day hike

  • Pros: Creates a protective layer like magic
  • Cons: none, they are perfect

There is literally NOTHING worse than being on a 16-mile hike and ripping open your heel (or toes) with a blister. It’s happened to us and it’s debilitating.

We’ve personally tried every bandaid, tape, etc. on the market and nothing compares to these Compeed Blister Kits.

Funny story with these actually. We were hiking and saw a lone hiker rummaging through their pack in search of Band-Aids for their blisters. Since we had 2 packs, we offered him one of ours. He thanked us and we continued on our way.

He ended up catching up with us at the summit and came over to us to get a picture of the product box. He said they were the BEST thing he’s ever used.

Even if you never get blisters, these are super small and lightweight. Just put a couple in your first aid kit when you hike. You never know if you (or someone else) might need them!

Sun protection

chapstick

ChapStick Moisturizer 

  • Pros: 8-hour moisture, SPF 15, inexpensive 
  • Cons: easily misplaced (when was the last time you used an entire Chapstick before losing it or putting it in the wash?)

Chapstick is one of the most important things to pack for a day hike. The last thing you want is to be stuck on a long hike with dry and chapped lips!

This chapstick is simple, unflavored, and is made with a new and improved formula that keeps your lips moisturized and protected from the sun for 8 hours, thanks to 11 different hydrating ingredients like SPF 15, Vitamin E, Aloe, and more. 

Sunblock

Banana Boat Sport Ultra Sunscreen Lotion

lotion sunblock

  • Pros: non-greasy, reef-friendly, lightweight 
  • Cons: easily misplaced

The last thing you want is to come home from your hike and find that you’ve been kissed a little too strongly by the sun!

Luckily, this sunscreen is travel-sized and highly effective against UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen protects not only against the sun but stays on in the water and while sweating too.

Plus, the formula is lightweight, non-greasy, and won’t clog your pores! 

Compass

compass

  • Pros: lightweight, compact, inexpensive 
  • Cons: doesn’t come with instructions…and it only points North 😉

If you’re worried about getting lost in unfamiliar territory while hiking, a compass is a great way to ease your nerves.

This compass has a 360-degree rotating bezel and the magnetic needle is filled with real oil, plus the compass comes with a ruler and magnifying glass on it.

The compass also features a flat, small, and lightweight design that can easily fit into your pocket!

Personal Locator Beacon / GPS

plb

  • Pros: lightweight, durable, no subscription required 
  • Cons: expensive to buy 

Personal locator beacons (PLB) are expensive and aren’t typically needed while packing for a day hike, but they can give you the peace of mind that if something catastrophic happens, someone can find you easily.

Once you activate the ACR ResQLink View PLB, it sends a distress signal with your location to Search and Rescue forces anywhere in the world, no subscription required.

You can also do a self-test with a customized message if you’d like.

The PLB is buoyant and includes an oral inflation tube clip, a belt clip, and a strobe light. Despite all of these features, the PLB is small, lightweight, and can easily be clipped to your backpack.

The PLB is very easy to activate and can even be done with one hand, and a flap covers the button to avoid accidentally pushing it. The PLB has many mounting options as well so you can clip it to your jacket, belt, backpack, and more.

Garmin eTrex 22x, Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator

nav

  • Pros: durable, 8 GB of memory, up to 25 hours of battery life 
  • Cons: expensive 

Like personal locator beacons, this Garmin GPS navigator is expensive and isn’t typically needed for day hikes but they can help out a ton if you ever get lost. 

The GPS comes preloaded with Topo Active maps but has 8 GB of memory to download more maps.

The GPS also supports GPS and GLONASS satellite systems that provide tracking for most environments. The GPS is handheld but you can also mount it wherever you’d like.

Hydration and Nutrition

Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottle

nalgene

  • Pros: sturdy, easy to wash, environmentally friendly 
  • Cons: takes up a lot of room, can be hard to clean

A water bottle is definitely something you don’t want to forget while packing for a day hike, especially during the warmer months! We love these so much we actually own several for both everyday use and hiking. 

The great thing about a Nalgene water bottle is that it is extremely sturdy so you can buy it once and won’t have to replace it for many years.

The bottle is also quite large and can hold up to 32 ounces of water, great for longer hikes.

Finally, this water bottle is extremely convenient since it’s easy to wash in the dishwasher, has measurements on the side to know how much water you’re drinking, and can be clipped to your bag. (It’s also made with environmentally friendly materials!)

Osprey 2-3L hydration bladders

Packing for a day hike bladder

  • Pros: detachable hose, magnetic clip that can be attached to strap
  • Cons: can be hard to clean 

The Osprey hydration bladder is perfect for long hikes where you need to stay hydrated without slowing down.

The bladder holds plenty of water (2-3 liters) yet it can still fit into most backpacks while remaining flat. We suggest a minimum of 2 liters for a standard day hike. If you are preparing for a longer hikes (10+ miles), we’d suggest a 2.5 liter or 3 liter bladder. 

The bladder also is very convenient. It features a bite valve with an on/off switch, a carrying handle, and a magnetic clip that can be attached to the strap of your backpack so the hose will stay out of your way!

While there are various brands to pick from, we’ve had no issues or leaks with our Osprey bladders and we’ve continued to buy Osprey when we purchase different sizes. 

Water Purification

WELLFAST Survival Straw Water Filter

  • Pros: portable, small
  • Cons: can’t be used with saltwater 

It’s never a bad idea to add a water purification straw to your bag while packing for a day hike as you never know when it could come in handy!

This water purification straw is small, portable, and removes 99% of harmful particles in water such as lakes, rivers, and creeks.

Keep in mind that the straw isn’t capable of desalinating water, so it’s not suitable for saltwater. The straw is not only good to keep around for hiking, but for any emergency situation.

Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets

  • Pros: can treat a lot of water at one time, easy to use 
  • Cons: takes time to work, can change the taste of water  

These water treatment tablets are a great option for when you want to treat a lot of water at one time, as the bottle can treat up to 25 quarts, or 1 tablet per 500 mL of water.

They’re extremely easy to use as well since you just drop them into the water and then shake the container. However, you need to wait 30 minutes until the water is safe to drink.

Once the water is ready, though, you can have peace of mind since the tablets are effective against viruses, bacteria, and cysts. It can have a slight after taste, but it’s worth it for not dehydrating. 

Cold Weather Hiking Essentials 

It’s no secret that cold weather hikes change the items you pack for a day hike. The most importnant items are the ones that keep your extremities warm while you summit.  When we hike, we always have these items in our backpacks. 

Cold Weather Hiking Gear - Sequoia NP

Gloves

Winter Warm Work Gloves 

  • Pros: waterproof, 6-layer structure 
  • Cons: can runs small 

When hiking in colder weather, warm gloves are a must-have and these Winter Warm Work Gloves won’t let you down!

They have a unique six-layer structure that provides warmth down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The layers consist of a windproof and waterproof layer, polar fleece, and more.

There’s even special Thinsulate insulation in the gloves that provides extra warmth while keeping away sweat.

Despite the six layers, the gloves are still lightweight and comfortable and they’re made with durable synthetic leather. 

Hat/Earmuffs 

Women’s: Tough Headwear Women’s Beanie Winter Hat

  • Pros: affordable, variety of colors 
  • Cons: not lined

The Tough Headwear Beanie hat is perfect for any outdoor activity, or if you just want to add a bit of style to your outfit on a cold day!

The best thing about this hat is that it’s super comfortable since it’s made of 100% acrylic yarn which is warm and durable yet still lightweight, itch-free, and stretchy.

The hat is also cute and stylish with a Scottish cable knit pattern that comes in a ton of different colors.

Women’s: TrailHeads Fleece Ponytail Hat with Drop Down Ear Warmer

  • Pros: versatile
  • Cons: doesn’t come in different colors 

If you have long hair and usually struggle with hats, then this Ponytail Hat with Ear warmers is for you!

A unique thing about this hat is that it’s ponytail friendly since you can easily loop your ponytail through the back without messing up your hair. The hat is warmer than other hats as well since it has a flap you can pull down to warm your ears and neck.

If you get too warm, just flip it back up! The hat is made of stretchy polyester and spandex fleece so it’s extremely soft and comfortable and can fit most head sizes. 

Overall, this hat is great for any activities where you’ll need to stay warm in the cold, and it’s especially useful for rain or snow since it has a curved bill that helps keep things away from your face. 

Men’s: Vgogfly Lined Men Beanie  

  • Pros: affordable, lined, variety of colors
  • Cons: N/A

Guys, if you’re in search of a warm and stylish hat, consider the Vgogfly Lined Beanie one for your next winter hike.

The hat is made out of 80% acrylic and 20% wool fiber, which not only makes it great quality but extremely warm and soft too (and non-itchy!).

The fleece fiber lining stretches around your head which provides extra warmth and keeps the hat in place.

Besides being warm and comfortable, the hat is stylish with a slouchy fit that comes in over 20 different colors making it not only a great hat for outdoor activities but for any time that you’d like to add a bit of style to your look.

Crampons

Everyday Crampons: Snow and Ice Non-Slip Overshoe Rubber Anti-Slip Crampons 

  • Pros: lightweight, removable magic tape straps
  • Cons: runs big 

These over-the-shoe crampons are a great tool for those who love to hike in the winter and want peace of mind about hiking on ice or snow. 

The crampons are made of Thermoplastic Elastomer material which is durable, lightweight, and can stretch over most shoes and boots. Plus, the removable tape straps provide even more stability. 

On the bottom, there are 24 multi-directional steel spikes that provide excellent traction in many weather conditions like ice, rain, snow, and mud. 

Finally, the crampons are lightweight, portable, and come with a storage bag.  

Extreme snow/ice/weather: Sportneer Ice Cleats, 19 Spikes Stainless Steel Anti-Slip Climbing Crampons

  • Pros: affordable, adjustable strap 
  • Cons: unattractive design

Whether it be climbing, hiking, ice fishing, or just taking a walk on an icy day, these stainless steel crampons are a great product to buy if you’d like a bit more safety during harsh weather. 

The crampons are made of stainless steel and TPE rubber, which is crack-resistant and durable even on the coldest days. The 19 spikes on the bottom provide great grip, and they’re tightly held together by the stainless steel chains. 

The crampons can fit trail runners, hiking shoes, fishing boots, and more, and there’s even an adjustable strap that you can use to secure the crampons even further to your foot!

Hand Warmers

HotHands Toe, Hand, & Body Warmer Variety Pack

  • Pros: up to 10 hours of heat, odorless 
  • Cons: takes time to activate, single-use

Hand warmers are one of the best things to pack for a day hike on a cold day, or for any outdoor activity where you’d like a bit more warmth. 

A great thing about these hand warmers is that they stay warm for up to 10 hours to get you through even the longest hikes. 

They also come in a variety pack that includes toe warmers (8 hours of heat) and body warmers (18 hours of heat) so you can keep your entire body warm. They’re very easy to use as well! You just remove it from the package, shake to activate, and then apply it directly to your skin. 

Ice Axe

Petzl Technical Ice Axe

  • Pros: lightweight, durable
  • Cons: expensive

Okay, okay.  So maybe an ice pick isn’t at the top of the list of things you would typically include while packing for a day hike. 

However, they can come in handy for extremely cold weather and depending on the type of hike you are planning. This Petzl ice pick is designed well with a curved shaft for clearance, a rubber grip on the handle, and a steel pick with teeth that is secure in both hard and soft snow. 

The pick also comes in 3 sizes: 52 cm, 59 cm, and 66 cm. 

Neck Protector

BUFF EcoStretch Multifunctional Headwear and Face Mask

  • Pros: 12+ ways to wear, breathable
  • Cons: can fit loosely

A neck protector is a great way to add a little bit of extra warmth in the wintertime without overheating. This neck protector is made out of 95% recycled microfiber and 5% elastane which is lightweight, breathable, seamless, stretchy, prevents sweat and dries quickly.

A unique thing about this neck protector is that it can be worn 12+ ways like a half mask, full mask, balaclava (ski mask), beanie, hood, and more. You can also choose from over 30 different colors.

Warm weather hiking gear

Cooling Towel

FROGG TOGGS Chilly Pad Instant Cooling Towel

  • Pros: absorbs a lot of water, dry to the touch 
  • Cons: becomes hard when dry 

When packing for a day hike during the summer, a cooling towel is definitely something to consider. 

This towel is made from special hyper-evaporative material that holds up to 8 times its weight in water yet it still feels dry, so you won’t have to deal with water running down your back! 

Once you wet the towel and expose it to air, it will activate very quickly and stay cool for a long time. If it starts to become warm, just re-wet it and wring it out to activate it again. 

These towels are not only great for hiking, but for the beach, the gym, hot flashes, a fever, and much more. 

TowelMISSION Cooling Neck Gaiter

  • Pros: 12+ ways to wear, cool for 2 hours, lightweight 
  • Cons: N/A

This cooling neck gaiter is great for any summer activities where you’d like to stay cool with little effort or adjustment. 

This neck gaiter is made out of 90% polyester and 10% nylon so the material is very lightweight and stretchy. The neck gaiter can be activated in three simple steps: wet it, wring it, and snap it three times. 

Once it’s activated, it stays cool for up to two hours! Another great thing about this neck gaiter is that it can be worn in 12+ ways including a mask, headband, balaclava (ski mask), and more. 

Depending on the style, it can protect against the sun, dust, or dirt as well!

Moisture-wicking socks

Low profile shoes: Feetures Elite Running Socks

  • Pros: seamless toe, arch support 
  • Cons: expensive 

If you struggle with sweaty feet, you need to add these Feetures Socks the next time you’re packing for a day hike. 

These socks are made with special moisture-wicking fibers that keep your feet dry all day, no matter the activity. But, the benefits don’t end there! The socks also have targeted arch compression and a tab on the ankle which prevents blisters. 

They’re also left and right specific for a custom-like fit, and they have a seamless toe to provide more comfort. 

Women’s: Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Sock

  • Pros: seamless, cushioned, durable 
  • Cons: expensive 

These Darn Tough socks are comfortable and will last for years to come. The socks are made of 59% merino wool, 39% nylon, and 2% lycra spandex which provides comfort, stretch, and durability. 

The best thing about these socks is that they’re seamless and cushioned at the bottom to give your feet the comfort that they need on long hikes and even though the socks are cushioned, they’re still lightweight and wick away moisture and odor. They’re not too warm either, and they regulate according to the weather. 

Darn Tough prides itself on its durability so you can replace the socks anytime if they wear or tear. 

Men’s: YUEDGE Men’s Moisture Wick Hiking Socks

  • Pros: cushioned, durable, breathable 
  • Cons: N/A 

These YUEDGE moisture-wicking socks are great for hiking, or any outdoor activity where you would like your feet to be comfortable and supported. The socks are made from 80% combed cotton, 17% polyamide, and 3% spandex, which makes the socks comfortable, durable, and breathable. 

There’s a ribbed arch and extra cushion on the heel and toes which provides more comfort on long hikes. There are also elastic rubber bands throughout the socks which help the socks keep their shape and fit closely to your foot. 

You don’t have to worry about getting too warm either, because the socks are breathable and moisture-wicking. 

Miscellaneous

Multi-purpose knife

Basic: Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman Pocket Knife (Red)

  • Pros: multifunctional, sturdy, lightweight 
  • Cons: can be difficult to clean and sharpen 

This basic Swiss Army knife has everything you could ever need in a knife, and much more! The most impressive thing about this knife is that it has 15 functions including a can opener, screwdriver, corkscrew, scissors, tweezers, a toothpick, and a bottle opener (or favorite), just to name a few.

Plus, the knife is still incredibly small and lightweight at less than 4 inches long. 

You don’t have to worry about the quality, either. The knife is made in Switzerland with stainless steel and there’s also a lifetime guarantee!

While this Swiss Army knife is a great tool for hiking, it can come in handy for so many different situations like camping, sawing wood, opening a wine bottle or can of soup, and much more. 

Advanced: Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, SwissChamp Pocket Knife

  • Pros: multifunctional, sturdy, lightweight 
  • Cons: expensive, can be difficult to clean and sharpen 

This advanced Swiss Army knife has all the features of the basic knife, except that it has an additional 18 features, for a total of 33!

Some of the extra features include a wire stripper, a fish scaler, a magnifying glass, a ruler, a nail cleaner, and much more.

Despite having 33 functions, the knife is still compact and can easily fit into your pocket, as it’s only 3.6 inches long. As with all Victorinox knives, the knife is made from Swiss stainless steel. 

Trekking poles

Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles 

  • Pros: inexpensive, lightweight, compact 
  • Cons: N/A

While trekking poles may not be an essential thing to add to every day-hike packing list, they can be useful for numerous situations like hiking on rough terrain, hiking up or downhill, or just if you want to relieve some pressure off of your knees. 

The best thing about these Cascade Mountain trekking poles is that even though they’re made from high-quality materials and are highly durable, they’re still lightweight and easy to carry, weighing less than a pound. 

They’re also extendable (up to 54 inches) and have a quick lock so you can adjust them to your desired height. The cork grips and adjustable wrist straps provide great comfort as well.  These were a MUST when we hiked through Patagonia!

Quick Dry, Microfiber Towels

When we were buying our day hiking accessories, we made sure we had a small microfiber towel. These have come in handy when we were filling up our hydration packs in the water on hikes as well as a multitude of other things. 

We liked that these had a small loops for hanging off our packs to dry as well as a mesh pocket for storage.

Lady’s Only – Female Urinary Director

  • Pros: small, compact, easy to clean
    Cons: none, takes a few seconds to figure out how to aim

All joking and awkwardness aside, the Female Urinary Director is the BEST hiking accessory you can buy as a female. Sam first purchased hers for our Patagonia hiking trip and she’s never hiked without it since.

It’s easy to use and saves you from having to squat awkwardly with your pants down in a forest and hope to GOD no one passes you on the trail.

Thankfully, this device allows you to stand (like a dude) and relieve yourself without having to attempt to balance, pee and not get it on your clothes.

Ok, that’s probably enough visualization and potty talk for one day. In short, this will change the way you pee on hikes and for the better.

The #2 most important item that compliments the Female Director (pun intended) is biodegradable toilet paper. This pack is small and perfect for hiking so it won’t take up much room in your pack. Don’t forget to pack a small trash bag for the used pieces.

Overall – Packing for a day hike

If you’re new to hiking, or just looking to expand your equipment, we hope that this list has helped you decide what to bring when packing for a day hike.

All of these items can easily be found on Amazon and are meant to provide comfort and convenience to your hikes so you can focus on the hike itself and not any issues that may come up.

And, if you have friends that like to hike, these all make great gifts as well!

Ready for adventure?

Click on the picture below to start planning your next hiking adventure:

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Everything you need to know about Big Bend National Park hikes and travel guide by BoozingAbroad.com
The Complete Hiking Guide for Monte Fitz Roy Trek from El Chaltén, Argentina by Boozing Abroad
15 Incredible day hikes in Yellowstone National Park by BoozingAbroad

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About Boozing Abroad

We are Samantha & Chris and we are Boozing Abroad (literally). Both stateside and overseas, we are connecting people with local cultures through local booze!

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