What to Pack for A Quick Day/Hiking Trip

If you’re like me, the city can sometimes feel overwhelming. Cities are crowded and people are everywhere, with few trees in sight. Having grown up in an athletic, active family, we often went on hikes and other outdoor adventures, which as an adult has inspired to do some adventuring on my own. I love hiking and have come to appreciate any chance to get my blood pumping and become one with nature.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those extreme outdoorsy people. I’m not about to backpack the Appalachian Trail, or even camp overnight in the middle of the woods (I’m too scared of the dark). If anything, my hiking trips are glorified walks, rarely lasting more than a couple of hours. I find short paths or local trails to explore and will spend a day leisurely walking the trails, enjoying the day and looking for cool sights.

But just because these day trips are relatively short, doesn’t mean I don’t come prepared. Even on the easiest hikes, I remember to bring the basics with me, just in case.

So what does one carry on a day hike? An emergency tent? A stick for whacking wild bears? A satellite phone and distress beacon? Don’t worry, it’s nothing that extreme.

First on my list is always a simple backpack/daypack. Mine has two pockets and a couple of mesh cup holders on the sides. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and you really don’t need to pay more than say, twenty bucks, for a decent daypack.

So what goes in the bag? For hikes that are relatively short and/or easy, I pack only 6 things:

  • My phone in case of emergency
  • A small pocket knife
  • A full water bottle
  • Rain jacket/poncho
  • Sunglasses or a hat
  • a snack (granola bar, trail mix, or some crackers and maybe an apple)

This is a pretty complete list for a day hike, but I also recommend sunscreen for any time you’re going outside. Not only is it enough to prepare you for pretty much anything you might need, whether it’s a change in the weather, you feel in danger, or you need some extra energy to keep you moving. This list is more than enough to keep you prepared while keeping your bag light. The last thing you want on a hike is to get tired out by the weight on your back, or to hurt yourself unnecessarily.

Bonus: Besides carrying supplies to be prepared, always know where you’re going. Find a map or ask people who have been to the area you’ll be hiking for advice/recommendations. And always tell someone where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. Short hikes are relatively safe, but nature is full of surprises, like this guy:

Originally published at TravelPRIDE.