What To Bring On A Day Hike: The Complete Checklist Of What You’ll Need


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There’s something about the simplicity of a day hike that we absolutely love. To be outdoors in nature and getting some real good exercise, whilst also taking in amazing views and challenging yourself is what makes us happy.

We think that hiking is good for the mind, body and soul and we try to get as many hikes in as we can wherever we travel to, as not only do we love it, but our dog loves it too.

As much as we love hiking we also like to make sure that we’re prepared with everything that we need so that we can all enjoy our hikes safely. So how do you prepare for your own day hike? Read on to find out.

Plan a little bit ahead of time

Let’s start with the basics: You should always plan a little bit ahead of time. It doesn’t have to be a precise itinerary, but you should have a rough idea of what you want to accomplish and how long you’ll be gone.

Ideally, you want to know where you’re going and how long it’ll take to get there and back, so you can factor that into your plans and make sure you’re prepared for everything you want to do.

All Trails

An app that we use to help us plan our hikes is All Trails. All Trails is a fitness and travel app which is commonly used to find trails for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and climbing. It has over 300000 of the best trails all over the world, and we use this app for pretty much every day hike that we go on.

All Trails allows you to follow the trail map directly which decreases the risk of getting lost and it also contains user reviews so that you can read what other people have to say about the trail that you’re thinking of doing. It gives trails a rating – easy, moderate and hard.

It is a very user friendly app. You can search for trails close to where you are and you can also filter trails by things such as the length, difficulty, whether it is dog friendly and much more, so it is very easy to find the perfect trail for you.

All Trails also allows a trail to be downloaded for offline use so that you don’t have to worry about losing signal or draining your phone battery, meaning you could be at risk of getting lost if you don’t have access to the trail.

This feature is only available when you pay for the pro version of the app which is £29.99 a year, so only £2.50 a month. We pay for this feature and we think it is well worth it as it helps to ensure our safety when we’re out on hikes.

day hike

Day Hike Checklist

Below is a list of everything that we carry with us on all of the day hikes that we do –

  • Maps
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Appropriate Clothing
  • Good Shoes
  • Hand Warmers or Gloves
  • Sun Hat or Woolly Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun Cream
  • Insect Repellent
  • Rucksack
  • Trekking Poles
  • Torch
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Toilet Roll
  • Power Bank
  • First Aid Kit

Don’t forget the basics

You don’t need to bring a bunch of fancy equipment on a short hike, but you do need to remember the basics.


First of all, you’ll want to bring a map, so you can know where you’re going and how long it’ll take to get there (you’ll also want to know how to get back if you’re going to somewhere new). Most of the time you will probably use the maps in your phone, or an app like All Trails as mentioned above.

If you do use your phone for your maps, then you may want to bring a portable charging bank too, as you will want to make sure that your phone doesn’t run out of battery.


Then, you’ll also want to bring water. You don’t want to go hiking without water as it’s really important to keep yourself hydrated when hiking. It’s also a good idea to check whether there’s anywhere that you may be able to refill your water bottle on your route, such as if you pass through a town or village, or a pub or café.

Having a filtered water bottle is a great idea as it means you can refill your bottle at water fountains or even mountain streams and be assured that the water is safe to drink.

If you’re hiking with a pet then it’s important not to forget about them too. We always bring a collapsible bowl with us for our dog Lottie to drink out of, especially good for when it’s a long hike and she may not always get the chance to drink out of streams or lakes.

LifeStraw Go 2-Stage Water Filter Bottle, Blue

Must have filtered water bottle for hiking and travel

  • Carbon filter reduces odour, chlorine and leaves zero aftertaste
  • Highest filtration standards: removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne Protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns
  • LifeStraw filters polluted water without using any chemicals


You’ll want to bring a few snacks with you, since you’ll probably get hungry while you’re hiking.

Snacks are also essential for keeping your energy levels up, so you’ll want to be taking snacks such as nuts and seeds, fruit, cereal bars and protein bars.

What to wear on a day hike

What you wear on a day hike will depend on several factors such as where you are hiking and the weather, but there are a few things worth noting.


First, trousers are almost always a must, no matter what time of year it is. While they may not be required in some areas where the season doesn’t see much fluctuation, they’re a great way to protect your legs from brush and other things lurking on the ground such as insects. Most trousers are suitable for hiking, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

If you’re going for a day hike in the winter and there’s a chance of snow, you’ll want trousers with some good thermal protection so that you don’t catch a cold when you walk through snow. You’ll also want a pair that’s water-resistant or even waterproof, since you’ll likely come across some water – same goes for if you’re hiking in rainy weather. You’ll also want to make sure your trousers are breathable, so they don’t get too hot.

If you’re hiking in the summer then you may not want to wear trousers, or at least not for the whole hike, and there are some outdoor trousers available that actually zip off at the knee so that you can wear them as shorts if you get too hot, which we have and we think they’re super handy.


We always find that layers is the best way to go when hiking. Rather than wearing a really big thick coat that you’ll probably get too warm in once you start walking, you may want to consider more thin and breathable layers that you can then strip back if you start to get too warm, and put back on if you get cold. It also means you aren’t wearing anything too heavy. The less weight the better on a day hike.

Sports clothing is great to wear on a hike because the material is lightweight, breathable and doesn’t absorb sweat so much. We always wear sports tops when we hike, and if it’s cold you could wear a short sleeve and a long sleeve and layer up.

You will also want to wear some good quality, breathable socks too, and always best to pack a spare pair just in case your feet get wet, you really don’t want to be hiking with wet feet!


Your rucksack is probably one of the most essential items that you’re going to be taking with you on your day hike, as it’s carrying everything else that you need.

When choosing a rucksack, you need to make sure that you choose one that is comfortable, not too heavy and fits you well.

You will also want to choose one that is well ventilated, otherwise, your back is going to be getting pretty sweaty, and that’s really not enjoyable when out hiking.

We have these Osprey rucksacks which we use for travelling, but the detachable day sack is perfect for hiking and this is what we use. They are comfortable and have plenty of space to carry everything that we need.

Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack

91SkgkZpNIL. AC UL1500

A mesh backpanel improves ventilation and the mesh on the harness and hipbelt reduces chafing under load

  • Stowaway harness and hipbelt
  • Lightweight and tough
  • Comfortable fit

Which shoes to bring hiking

Okay, so you know what to wear, but what shoes should you bring with you on your hike?

Whether we’re hiking in the summer or winter, we always wear a pair of good quality walking boots. It’s important that your feet are comfortable and protected whilst you’re hiking. You don’t want to be getting blisters or sore feet, as this is really going to ruin your hike.

It’s also a good idea to invest in some waterproof or Gore-Tex walking boots as there’s nothing worse than getting wet feet when you’re on a hike.

Walking boots also provide good ankle protection which is also important when hiking. We rarely hike in anything other than our walking boots as we want the best protection when we’re out hiking all year round.

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Hiking on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

What to bring with you on a hike

Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s talk about what you’ll actually be bringing with you.

Winter Hiking

If you’re hiking in the winter, you’ll want to bring some hand warmers with you. They’re not only great for keeping your hands warm, but you can put them in your shoes, too. You may also want to bring a warm hat and some gloves.

We very rarely wear gloves when we hike as we find our hands get too warm, but it’s great to have them in case of an emergency, especially if you’re on top of a mountain where the temperatures can drop so much.

Summer Hiking

If you’re hiking in the summer then you will want sun cream, sun glasses, a sun hat and possibly some insect repellent too.

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles are amazing for taking some of the load off tired legs, or if you have issues with your knees like I do, they’re especially helpful when you’re coming downhill and there can be a lot of pressure on the knees.

Also if you’re not very confident with hiking, and struggle coming downhill when its steep, the poles provide a little bit of extra support.

I have some collapsible, lightweight poles which I think is important so that they’re not getting in the way when you’re hiking.

Collapsible Telescopic Walking / Hiking / Trekking Poles

71jngTFLCwL. AC SX450

Easy, everyday hiking for everyone

  • Less stress for wrists and knees: lower impact, anti-shock trekking poles
  • Light foam EVA handles which mould comfortably to your hand shape for security and endurance.
  • Advanced comfort for all terrains and treks: adjust the walking sticks to suit all terrains and conditions


A torch is always handy to carry with you on a hike just in case you end up hiking into the dark, it’s really important to be able to have a source of light so that you can see where you’re going and don’t stray off track. Most smart phones now come with a torch built in, however if there is ever a problem with your phone or it runs out of battery, having a physical torch is always handy to have as a back up.

Toilet Roll

I would say we don’t have to explain the requirement for toilet roll too much! You may not always be hiking in an area where you’re going to come across toilets, in fact on most of the hikes we do, there are not any toilets at all.

This is when toilet roll comes in handy, as if you’re hiking for hours and hours, and drinking lots of water to keep hydrated, it’s likely you’re going to need to go to the toilet at some point.

Remember to bag up any waste afterwards, this is where if you have a dog, poo bags come in handy! And leave no trace.

Hand Sanitiser

Hand sanitiser is always great to carry on a hike, for the reason mentioned above. These small refillable bottles with clips are great to attach to your rucksack.

Hand Sanitiser Gel Bottles with Clips

51uIVaSyFDL. AC SX679

Leakproof Travel Bottles

  • Made of BPA free PETG plastic
  • These mini bottles are handy and leakproof
  • Perfect for hiking, travel, camping, business trip, etc

Power Bank

If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably be using your mobile phone for a lot of different things whilst you’re hiking. You may be following maps, listening to music or taking photos and videos, all of which are going to drain your phone battery.

This is why it’s really important to carry a power bank with you to keep your phone charged.

First Aid Kit

A First Aid Kit is also something that you should consider carrying with you when you’re out hiking, especially if you’re going to be climbing mountains or doing a more adventurous hike. It may seem a bit extreme, but you never know when you may need it, and it’s always better to be prepared when it comes to your health and safety.

Lifesystems Trek First Aid Kit

91Z1Hit3J4L. AC SX679

Specifically Designed for Hiking and Outdoor

  • This is for basic treatment and includes all essentials for minor injuries
  • Made from a tough, rip-stop outer material this kit is rugged and lightweight to withstand the elements
  • The interior is designed for quick and easy access


Now that you know what to bring with you on a hike and how to prepare for it, you’re all set to go on your next adventure.

The idea of a day hike can be pretty daunting to some people, especially if it’s something that you don’t have much experience in, but as long as you take the steps that we’ve listed above, and put in the preparation to ensure you have everything you need, then it’s nothing to worry about, you just have to get out there and enjoy it!

Remember that no day hike is ever the same and you should always be open to new experiences, so don’t be afraid to try something new.

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You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice (threeasabird.com)

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About us Ryan

I have always wanted to travel and luckily I always got to travel to some amazing countries while I was growing up with my family and this really encouraged me to continue this and get out into the world on my own when I was older.

My goal growing up was really to see as much of the world as I could, but then I started going to work and really concentrating on my career and travel took a back seat. I still tried to get away a few times a year but I always knew there was an end goal which was to travel as much as possible.

So I got my head down and worked as hard as I could as an e-commerce manager. I have always been techy, I love computers and websites, so that’s where it gave me the idea to start this blog and also have my own web design agency. If you want to check it out or need any help then please take a look rrwebdesign.co.uk (shameless plug there)

But after covid, we both knew this was now the right time to take the leap and go and see the world after being trapped inside our house and working from home for a couple of years. We realised more than ever that you only get one life and you really need to make the most of it and do what you love!

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