Packing List For A Day Hike

woman hiking by a lake in the mountains in california
woman hiking by a lake in the mountains in california

Essentials To Bring On Your Hike


Day pack

I wear the Osprey Sirrus 24 day pack and I love it. It feels amazing to wear and has accompanied me on many adventures over the years.

I have scoliosis in my upper and lower back so when I was looking for day packs that was a real struggle for me. I kept trying on different packs that would hurt my back by the end of the day. Then I tried on the Osprey Sirrus and it fits like a glove.

Whether you pick this Osprey pack or not, the important part is you pick something that feels good on. For a shorter day hike, you can wear a 16L pack but for longer harder trails like Half Dome or Mt. Whitney, I recommend a 24L pack.


Trekking poles (optional)

I use Leki Makalu Lite Cor-Tec Trekking Poles. Hiking poles are optional, but I highly recommend having them. They help in water crossings, to reduce the shock on your knees and joints especially downhill, with stability, to prevent your hands from swelling, and so much more.

I recommend getting hiking poles with cork handles. They mold to the shape of your hands and they stay cool on summer hikes.


A Map and Compass

Always bring a map and a compass on hikes with you.


A GPS and Satellite messenger

You can get these together or separate. I have the Garmin InReach Explorer + which is both a satellite messenger and a GPS.

Water bottle and/or bladder

I use a bladder and a water bottle. The bladder goes in my pack and I drink as I hike. I use my bottle for electrolytes or collagen protein powder. When I need a boost of energy, I pop electrolytes into my bottle.

I have a 3 liter CamelBak bladder and a Nalgene bottle.


Water filter

I use the Sawyer Squeeze and I’ve adapted it to be able to filter water through my CamelBak. I use the Sawyer Squeeze with a SmartWater bottle.

I also have the MSR MiniWorks filter and it works perfectly with my Nalgene bottle.


First aid kit

Always carry a first aid kit and know how to use everything inside the kit. I have the Adventure Medical Ultralight First Aid Kit.



It’s always good to have a lighter. Especially if you’re bringing a stove to cook on the trail with.



Always carry a headlamp, even if you don’t expect to be on the trail that long. Things happen, you get lost, someone gets injured, or it takes longer to hike a trail then you expected. The last thing you want is to be fumbling in the dark with no vision. Bring a headlamp.

I use the Petzel Zipka Headlamp, the band is retractable so it fits really nicely in the hip pocket of my backpack.


Toilet paper and a zip lock bag for used TP

You never know when mother nature will call in the middle of a hike. Always pack out your toilet paper and don’t bury it. For that, bring a zip lock bag to put all your used TP in. If you’re worried about it being gross, just double bag it and put some baking soda in the inner bag.



It’s always good to have one. Never know when you’re going to need to cut rope or possibly defend yourself.


Food To Bring Hiking


Trail snacks

Trail mix, protein bars, cheese, jerky, candy, you name it. Something that will keep you fueled between meals on the trail.


For lunch I usually bring a sandwich or wrap, tortilla, and tuna, etc. Something with protein, carbs and fats.

Extra day’s supply of food

If something goes wrong, you want to be prepared.


Read through my blog for ideas for what to bring. 


Additional Items To Bring


ID and credit card and/or cash

You never know when you might need it.


Cell phone

I like to bring my cell phone on the trail. Some people like to disconnect and not bring it. But if you get lost, SAR (search and rescue) can track your location from your cell phone even if you don’t have cell reception. Your phone pings to nearby cell towers with or without service, so SAR uses that to get an idea of your location. And if you have cell reception you can call for help. You can also use your cell phone to take photos!


Sunscreen and SPF lip balm

Both are super important! Nothing sucks more than being burnt and yes, your lips can get sunburnt too. Plus protect yourself from skin cancer.



Your eyes need protection from the sun’s harmful rays too.


Sun hat

Sun hats provide added sun protection and it keeps you cool on hot days.


Hand sanitizer

This always comes in handy. Before you eat, after you use the restroom, etc.


Bug repellent

I cover my clothes in Sawyer’s permethrin spray before my trip to prevent ticks and mosquitos. I also wear Para’Kito essential oils bracelet to prevent mosquitos. If the mosquitos are really bad, then I also wear Sawyer’s Picaridin lotion.


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