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Backpacking checklist - What to Bring on a Hiking Trip

by Naseeb Nadukkandy 01 Jun 2021

Are you hiking to a favorite scenic spot? Or, bagging a challenging adventure is what you have in mind? No matter the reason, carrying the right equipment or gear is essential. When things don’t go as planned, as they often do, it can signify a great difference between a minor convenience and a dreadful result.

If you are a pro-hiker, you may have a number of sophisticated lists of important items you should be carrying. However, if this is your first time on a hiking trip, here is a list of day hiking gear you should bring with you on every hike.


  •  A Backpack

A good and durable trekking backpack is the first thing you will need for your day hiking trip. After all, it is what separates a tedious hiking experience from an amazing one. Almost everything you carry will go into the backpack; thus, it has to be comfortable and should serve you better for trips yet to come.

If you are not going too far, you can consider using an old one. But if you’re serious about hiking and don’t want to face any inconvenience on the trail, you will want a robust backpack.

A comfortable fitting backpack with load distribution, ergonomically designed and greater functionality overall, and it’s definitely something you want to get right as a beginner backpacker. 

Hiking backpack


  • Tent

A properly designed backpacking tent serves both as protection from outside entity and a provides safety while sleeping in the backcountry. Choosing the right backpacking tent is critical to having a great hiking trip. When selecting the right tent for your upcoming trip, keep in mind that it should be durable, lightweight and water proof. You should be able to set it up and dismantle it easily.


  • Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bag is an important thing you want after a long day on the trail. A good quality sleeping bag is quite expensive, but it can last for many years if treated and stored well. Choosing a lightweight sleeping bag for backpacking is crucial as you need to carry it during your entire trip. A properly insulated sleeping bag is very important for keeping you warm and for a comfortable sleep. Chose an all season sleeping bag that can be used in both winter and summer.


  • Sun Protection

An important thing to include in your hiking essentials list is a bottle of sunscreen, which is at the least UPF 30. It won’t even come off when you begin to sweat. It is a great way to shield your skin from the sun while you’re busy hiking.

There are other crucial things you must carry on your day hiking trip, such as SPF lip balm, protective clothing, a brimmed hat, and sunglasses. If you don’t pay proper respect to the sun’s power, you can experience bleeding cracked lips, snow blindness, and bad sunburns. All of these can be devastating for your day hiking trip.


  • Insulation

Weather can change in the blink of an eye on any wilderness trip. So it is highly recommended to bring an extra insulation clothing layer, even on warm weather hiking trips. Having a simple, quick-dry clothing system will assure you of safety and warmth when temperatures drop.


  • Food

Knowing what kind of food to bring for a hiking trip can be a bit confusing for a beginner. You have to eat well, but you also need it to be stay light weight. You burn a lot of calories during your day long walking and heavy load on your shoulder. So choosing the right kind of meal is essential for a successful backpacking trip. Make sure to stay hydrated during your entire trip. Fill up water bottles, hydration reservoirs before the trip. If possible, carry a small portable water filter, so that you can filter and fill up water on the trip as you go.


  • First Aid Kit

This is an absolute must-have! Having a first aid kit is of paramount importance and it is a loyal companion in times of need. You never know what might happen when you are on a long hike away from civilization.

The majority of backpackers prefer buying pre-packaged first aid supplies. It is a kit that provides not only a reliable but lightweight setup for ailments. A basic medical kit is ideal for minor cuts, bruises, burns, etc. This kit can really benefit you every step of the way saving life until help arrives.


  • Navigation

A map and compass are two of the most crucial components that must accompany you on any day trip into the backcountry. Not only are they durable and reliable, but they also don’t carry much weight. They will prevent you from getting lost or help you find your way again. But you should know how to use them properly or they will do no good.

Aside from telling you where you are or how far you have to go to make it to your destination, using a map, compass, or even a GPS can help you find water or an emergency exit route if required.


No doubt, heading out for a day hike is the best way to give a touch of discovery to nature accompanied by your family and friends, or even on your own. If you are looking to go deep into the mountains, you will find a myriad of places. But make sure you carry all the essential items you need on your day hike trip.

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