What To Pack For a Day Hike

day hike

If you’re relatively new to hiking, then you’ll no doubt be looking to do a day hike or two. With that in mind, there are a few things you’ll need to bring with you to ensure you have a comfortable hike.

Day Hike Backpack

First of all, a small backpack is essential.

You could probably get away with a non-hiking backpack, however, most day packs have several pockets to hold all your gear.

As well as a few other features that make it more efficient than your regular backpack.

My daypack is a Denali Hydro Ridge Hydration pack which has two storage compartments as well as side mesh pockets.

The hydration bladder that comes with it isn’t the best, so if you already have one then use that instead.

Food & Water

A pretty obvious one. Regardless of how long you are heading out for, in my opinion, you should always take at least 2 litres of water with you and plenty of food.

Bottles of water are more than suitable, however, if you’re really keen on hiking more regularly you might evolve into hydration bladders or something similar.

I take a 3 litre Source Hydration bladder with me whenever I go on a day hike. It’s efficient and I can take 3 litres of water with me even if I know I probably may not drink it all.

It’s my belief that you can never have too much water with you.

First Aid

Some sort of first aid kit should be the first item you put in your backpack before you head out. In fact, it should always be in your backpack.

You don’t necessarily have to go out and buy a pre-made kit. Put together what you feel is necessary and over time what you include will evolve.

Some of the items I include in mine are:

  • Band-Aids or blister pads
  • Scissors
  • Elastoplast tape
  • Panadol
  • Wet Wipes
  • Dettol
  • Bandages
  • Hydrolyte sachets
  • Antiseptic cream

Clothing for a Day Hike

This will all depend on the weather that awaits you. If I know it’s going to be cool where I’m going for my day hike, then I’ll always pack a fleece jumper.

Obviously, if you know it could potentially rain then a rain jacket will be required.

There is nothing worse than getting out there, have the weather turn on you and not have the right gear with you.


This is particularly important if you don’t know the area that well. You may not need to bring a compass with you, but at the very least you should bring a map of the where you are going.

You might also want to let someone know where you’re going on your day hike and give them a copy of the map as well.

Other Bits & Pieces for a Day Hike

  • Hiking poles are handy for hills as well as testing the depth of any rivers or streams you might come across.
  • Portable battery for when you need to charge your phone or camera.
  • A good pair of socks; preferably merino. Refrain from wearing cotton as it holds onto moisture and can create blisters.

Is there something I’ve missed here for a day hike gear list? Or perhaps there is something you like to bring with you on your day hikes? Either way, let me know in the comments section below.

13 Responses
  1. Thanks for the post. I went over to CO lost year and did Princeton and forgot sunscreen. Luckily, I met two girls who were on their way down that let me use some. Sunglasses would be a good idea too.

    1. John Feeney

      Yeah there’s always something that you forget hey?! Sunscreen is an example of something you should probably always have on you during a day hike, but may not necessarily fall into the essential category. Could go either way I reckon.

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Eileen, good suggestion. I personally don’t take it with me on day hikes but I can see why you might need it ;). But I do take it with me on multi-day hikes. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  2. Nat

    Full coverage hat and sunscreen, nothing worse than sun coming out harsher than expected and walking for hours in one direction with sun burning your neck. I wear a cap but take a Sunday Afternoon hat just in case.

    A whistle – cheap and handy if you do need to attract attention.

    A spare water bottle if you use a bladder. If the bladder busts you have a back up to fill or accept donations of water from others. Also, if you need electrolytes they will make your bladder mouldy, so it’s god to have an easy to clean bottle to which you can add electrolytes.

    Hanky and chapstick but that’s just me…

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Nat!

      Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and comment. Really appreciate it and love your suggestions. I think the great thing is that the principles behind your suggestions are all based on safety, comfort and practicality with slight differences based on personal preferences.

      Thanks again!

  3. Lou

    PLB – I don’t leave home without one. Even a well known trail can lead you astray or you may stumble and injure yourself

  4. Janette Bennett

    My first aid kit always includes some salt, to assist with leech removal. I’m in Victoria. I gather tick removal in other states can be an issue? Maybe tweezers?

  5. Carol

    Hi John
    I also carry a whistle, torch, rain poncho, silver blanket, sunscreen, insect repellent, notebook and pen, a ladies scarf. Most of these items don’t take up much space or weight

    1. John Feeney

      Some great suggestions there, Carol, and all very handy given they are lightweight!

      Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and respond. Much appreciated.


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