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How to Prepare Gear for a Day Hike – Hiking Essentials

The practical guide on how to prepare gear for a day hike to ensure you enjoy the hiking trip and stay safe. From the comfortable pack to nutritious snacks and more.

By Cody | @Cody

Updated on Aug 05, 2019

Hike is a great way to get close to nature and wildlife with yourself, friends or family. A day hike is easy to get started and you don’t need to pack a lot of gear. The thing is some people don’t know what is the essential gear for a day hike. This post should help you.

Gear for Day Hike

Hiking gear is dependent on location, trail distance, weather forecast, and what the activity really is. For the most part, there are a few important gear that you should always bring every single time on a day hike if it's more than a mile.


As you can see there is really not much gear needed for a day hike, so you want to carry a small backpack. A 36L backpack is totally enough for a day hike to hold everything you need. If you want to reduce the base weight, it is recommended to get an even smaller backpack because a smaller pack give you the mindset to keep the gear minimum.

Drinking Water

Obviously, it is essential to stay hydrated as you will lose water walking on the trail. If the weather is hot, water can cool you down. If you are hiking in hot weather, you should also bring some hydration powders which are electrolyte mixes. You can mix them with water to replenish your salts and electrolytes you lost through sweat.

Stay Hydrated

For a day hike, I usually bring 2 liters of water. If the weather is hot, I would bring more water. In that case, water may be the heaviest thing in your pack. As it is widely believed that the lighter your backpack is, the more you will enjoy the hike, that’s why a lot hiker tries very hard to reduce base weight. If you know you can find a water source in the trail, you can bring a lightweight water purifier, so you don’t have to bring that much water all the way.

Food and Snacks

When preparing for a day hike, you’ll want to bring enough food to make sure you have enough energy to sustain for a long day hike. Some hiker even brings the cooking kit to cook on the trail. That is not recommended because that will dramatically increase the base weight.

You can bring some hiking food like salty snacks, dried fruits, nuts, couscous, and jerky.

When choosing food for hiking, we suggest picking the food that is lightweight, ready-to-eat, high-level nutrition, and shelf-stable. In case you will plan for a very long day hike, for example, more than 20 miles, you should bring some extra calorically-dense food like black chocolate.

Navigation and Communication Device

You certainly don’t want to get lost in the trail, so you need to prepare a navigation device. If you know how to use a compass and map, bring them. They are durable, reliable, lightweight, and you don’t need to worry about batteries.

However, if you don’t know how to use them, then a dedicated GPS tracker device like GoFindMe for the backcountry is your best option. As you know, your phone’s GPS app most likely will not work in the backcountry. GoFindMe GPS tracker shows you the real-time GPS location of yourself and your companies on the trail without cell service. Connected to your phone via Bluetooth, GoFindMe also allows you to communicate with other GoFindMe users via text message and voice message.


Extra Jacket

Extra clothes are always recommended even when the weather is not cold. Even if you have checked the weather forecast but as it is said A storm may arise from a clear sky. It is necessary to pack extra clothes in case of changing the weather or an unplanned night out. Rain jacket is recommended if you feel there is a small chance of raining.

First Aid Kit

First aid kit is a must for any hike long or short or any outdoor activity. If you have no idea what to include in the first aid kit, you can buy a pre-packaged first aid kit from Amazon. It should include a lightweight and reliable setup for minor ailments. Some serious hikers always prepare their own hiking survival kit.

First Aid Kit.jpg


Hikers usually bring a lightweight multi-tool and basic gear repair equipment on any trip. Multi-tool comes in handy in many situations on the trail. You should include a knife, a lighter in case you need to make a fire, and Duct tape or tenacious Tape for repairing gear in the field

Optional Stuff

In case you lose track of time and you need to spend the night on the trail, you should also bring a reliable headlamp or another illumination gear. If there is a lot of downhills and uphills on the trail, it is highly recommended to bring hiking poles because they help reduce knee stress and make you go faster on a pace.

Depending on the weather, you may also want to bring a moisture-proof shirt, bug repellent, rain gear, etc.


You don’t need to bring all these when you prepare your gear for a day hike. You'll need to decide exactly depending on your own situation. You are lucky enough as you are going to spend time in the wild with yourself, family members, or friend, forget the worries if you have and live in the moment.

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