Adventure How To: Checklist for a Day Hike

Whether you're going to hike for an hour or all day, follow this gear checklist so you are prepared for whatever your adventure brings. The following checklist is by no means exhaustive, but these are the items I ALWAYS carry with me when I head out for a hike. You might initially think this is a lot of stuff, but it's pretty minimal when you consider that you could easily be spending the night if you get lost or injured. 

Leave No Trace's #1 Principle is PLAN AHEAD & PREPARE for a reason. With this checklist, you will at least have the basics covered. 

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, for which commissions are paid, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.


  • Day pack: a day pack is anywhere from 10 litres to 40 litres depending on what you need to carry. Check out Osprey Daylite 13L BackpackOsprey Talon 22L Backpack or Arc'Teryx Altra 33L Women Backpack
  • Water: 2-4 litres per person and likely more in hot weather or for longer hikes. I prefer water bladders for easy access but Nalgene's are great too. 
  • Sturdy shoes or hiking boots: sturdy soles with 3-4mm lugs for traction, waterproof recommended. Check out my reviews of hiking boots here
  • Appropriate clothing: dress for the weather and ALWAYS take a dry, warm layer and wind/waterproof jacket.
  • Flashlight/headlamp and extra batteries. MEC has a great selection here
  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Fire starter: dryer lint, or other easy to light materials in waterproof container/bag.
  • Pocket knife: great research by here if you're int he market for a new one. 
  • Whistle: fox 40's are the best. Fox 40 Pearl Pealess Whistle - Buy Here
  • Cell phone or other communication device
  • Food: trail snacks such a cereal bars, trail mix, fruit etc. and take a lunch if out longer than 3 hours. 
  • First aid kit: size depends on the number of people in your group. Be familiar with how to use each item in your kit. Great first aid kits here
  • Sunscreen and bug repellent
  • Map and compass, perhaps GPS if you're familiar with it's use. Buy Folding Map Compass
map and compass
hiking boots
rain gear
emergency supplies
first aid kit

Optional Items

  • Binoculars: great for wildlife viewing! Great selection here. I have the Bushnell Trophy's. 
  • Camera
  • Tarp and Rope: for lunches in the rain and emergency shelter
  • Gators: keep the mud and shrubs out of your boots. Mine are MEC
  • Hiking Poles: reduce the impact on lower joints as well as add upper body cardio to your hike! My fav are BLACK DIAMOND TRAIL WALKING POLES PAIR (63.5-140CM)
sun protection
tarp and rope
bathroom supplies
black diamond poles

What does your Day Hike Checklist include? Anything you would add? Comment below!

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