This 10 hiking essentials list will help you be prepared and safe on your next hike.
Who is this article for? Beginner hikers or their children who do things like forget their hiking boots on a trip up Mount Toubkal in North Africa.
Trust me, Decathlon cheapie hiking shoes don’t keep your feet warm climbing North Africa’s tallest mountain.
So use this checklist to be safe!
What You Will Learn
What are the Hiking Essentials?
Before heading out on your hike, it’s crucial to be well-prepared with the right essentials. Whether you’re traversing a local trail or embarking on a backcountry adventure, these items ensure your journey is safe and enjoyable.
10 Hiking Essentials
To confidently navigate trails, always carry a map and a compass.
Ensure your map is up-to-date and covers the area you’ll be hiking in. Some maps are organized into small waterproof books like the helpful Ciccerone guides.
Although GPS units are useful, they can fail or lose power, so understanding how to use a traditional compass alongside a physical map is indispensable. A GPS hiking watch can help you save battery on your phone.
A PLB is short for a “personal locator beacon” and is a way to signal for help when you’re lost.
Battery Pack – Portable Charger
Make sure it’s charged up ahead of time and put it on low power mode.
Mini- Charging Cords for iPhone or Android
These are awesome short cords so you can avoid having a long cord get in the way and take up space.
Don’t be like me and get one that’s too much firepower and dies quickly. Get a lightweight reliable headlamp and maybe bring a spare.
Pack a tarp or bivy sack for a light and easy shelter option. Don’t forget to include some lightweight rope to fasten your shelter securely.
Carry an emergency blanket in your pack in winter; it’s a compact lifesaver that can provide critical warmth and protection in unexpected situations.
Reusable Water Bottle
Maintaining hydration and energy is key, so a reusable water bottle or hydration system should be one of the first items in your pack. Always bring more water than you think you’ll need.
Stay hydrated on the trail with a water hydration bladder, a convenient solution that allows you to drink hands-free and carry a substantial amount of water with ease.
Tablets to Purify Water
For uber preparation, keep water purification tablets handy in your pack to ensure you can safely turn any water source into drinkable water while hiking in the great outdoors.
For nourishment, pack high-energy snacks like nuts, energy bars, or dried fruits to keep you fueled throughout your hike.
In Bear Country? Odorless Food Bag
Bring along an odorless food bag to keep your snacks secure and wildlife at bay, ensuring your provisions stay fresh and undetected on your hike.
A bear snatched a backpack right off a hiker when we were in Yosemite.
6. Hiking Clothes & Footwear
Your gear is a pivotal part of your hike. Invest in a sturdy pair of boots designed for the terrain you’ll encounter.
A well-fitted backpack is another must-have, capable of carrying your essentials while evenly distributing weight. If you are in summer weather, a hiking fanny pack can usually fit all your summer essentials.
Bring extra clothing and several layers to stay warm and dry. Prepare for any possible weather situation.
7. First Aid Kit + Blister Kit
Remember, these essentials act as the foundation for your hiking experience. Tailor your packing list to the specific demands of your chosen trail and the length of your walk to ensure a successful and memorable outing.
8. Knife – Gear Repair
Carry a multi-tool or fixed-blade knife—or both.
Ensure you’re ready to ignite a fire by packing essentials like a lighter, matches, or flint, and in certain situations, it’s wise to bring along a camp stove and fuel for cooking meals or boiling water.
10. Sun Protection
Originally crafted in the 1930s by The Mountaineers, a Seattle-based organization dedicated to outdoor adventure, the “Ten Essentials” list has stood the test of time. Over the years, it has become an integral element of outdoor learning and activity.
Regardless of the trail you choose, it’s crucial to have the 10 hiking essentials tucked away in your backpack. It’s also wise to include any additional items that enhance your comfort and assurance while hiking. While you may find small differences in various 10 essentials lists, the overarching aim of being equipped for any scenario persists.
More Hiking Travel Blogs
My Guides to Bucketlist Hikes in Europe
(That I’ve personally done and loved.)
We hope this guide filled with interesting information about the 10 hiking essentials list has given you the proper information to plan your next adventure.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.