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Hiking Gear for the Day Hiker

So you want to go on a day hike, you don’t think that you need a lot, after all, you are only going to be gone for a few hours or maybe even the full day but think again. Amazon is a great place to look for hiking gear for the day hiker without breaking the bank and prime makes it easy and fast.

So many things can change in a second in the mountains or wherever you choose, so in order to have an enjoyable time, you such always be prepared.

I know you really don’t want to make your backpack heavy, after all, you aren’t backpacking, you’re just out for the day. I usually hike with my husband and we each carry our own backpack. But who I’m I kidding, he carries the heavier pack and I always take the lighter one even if it’s not mine!

But there are things you need to bring with you on your day hike.

One of the benefits of hiking is that it’s not an expensive sport. You will need a few things to get started but once you have them, it becomes a free thing to do while on vacation or anywhere you may roam.

You get to see some of the most beautiful places on earth once you get on that trail.

Here are a few things that will make your hike memorable without literally without breaking your back or your wallet:

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Since you don’t need much for a day hike you really don’t need anything that big. A good light-weight durable pack will do the job.

I do however, recommend one with a top hook to make the weight more even.

This backpack will get the job done at a very reasonable price too.


Always bring plenty of water with you. How much to bring? Will that depend on how long of a hike you’re taking. It is recommended by the most hiking clubs to bring 2 cups of water for every hour you will be hiking. A good guide book will let you know the average time for each hike.

We always bring some kind of lunch as we usually start our hikes in the morning and have lunch when we get to our destination either waterfalls, ridgelines, mountain summits, lakes, etc.

In addition, we usually bring some kind of fruit, granola bars or trail mix. Some kind of snack with protein to give you the energy you need to finish the hike is recommended.

Some hikers will bring tablets to treat water. We have carried them in the past but never used them so we stopped carrying them, but that’s up to you.

Hiking Shoes/Boots

A good comfortable pair of hiking shoes/boots will make you have a good day or a bad day. Always use sturdy shoes. Here is what we use and have used for years.

Hiking Socks

I know you can wear any socks but I prefer hiking socks since the whole idea is to be comfortable. These socks absorb sweat and keep your feet dry as well as help with preventing blisters.

First Aid Kit

We always carry a small first aid kit with us in the woods. I know if we really get hurt it won’t help but having some basics things with you always can come in handy for minor injuries. I’ve used mine many times over the years and I’m sure you will too.

I always carry Afterbite tube with us also for bug bites that start to bother you.

A Hat

Most hikers wear some kind of hat while hiking. This is done for several reasons including keeping cool from the sun, keeping the sun out of your eyes and keeping the bugs especially ticks off of your head. 

There are several types you can choose from, here are some:

Trekking Poles

One afternoon we were hiking a summit trail in the White Mountains. It was steep going up, but the issue was the way down. I recall I was taking my time watching every step when an older woman, maybe in her late 70s early 80 was hiking behind us and told me I was holding up the trail. She told me that I would do better with trekking poles.

Even since then, I always use them especially on steep descends.

Rain Gear

I’m been day hiking for over 20 years and always used ponchos for rain gear. I guess if the weather is really bad we just don’t go hiking. But last year we took an overnight trip to Isle Royale National Park. It’s an adventure just getting there and of course, it was raining. So we were determined to hike no matter what. Well after that trip, we come home a brought rain gear.


Did you ever get lost in the woods, well I did! On a short day hike in West Virginia, I took a wrong turn and went off the trail by accident. It took us over an hour to get our bearings and find the trail back again.

I agree that most trails are well marked but you never know. It’s best to always know the direction you start out this way you can always find your way back.

I know most cellphones these days have compasses but it’s tiny and weighs nothing at all, bring the compass, most times you will never use it but if you need it, you have it. It is scary being lost in the woods, especially if it’s close to dusk.


I would always carry a flashlight in the backpack because you never know and you don’t want to be in the woods in the dark. But now we use headlights and they are so much better than flashlights.

Although more expensive we use the Milwaukee and have had it for years. We also use it for many other tasks besides hiking. It’s also rechargeable.


You should carry a whistle so if you get lost or hurt you can use it so people will hear you and know you are in trouble and need help.

It is also useful when you are hiking with kids. When my daughter was younger, she would love to run ahead of us on the trail and look for the trail markers so she could tell us which way to go. I always made her wear a whistle and so did I. She used it if she got scared. I used it if she ran to far ahead of us and I couldn’t see her anymore. She knew to stop immediately if I blew my whistle.

Multi-tool or knife

You don’t think you will need a knife on a day hike but think again. 

The first time we hiked Gulf Hugas in Maine, we needed to forge a river at the beginning of the hike. It was rough going about 20-foot-wide and boy the water was cold. This is a beautiful hike in the 100-mile wilderness of the Appalachian Trail.

I rolled up my pants not to get them wet and with the cold of the river my leg swelled almost instantly. Afterward, my pants tighten around my leg, and yes it needed to be cut, thankfully my husband had a knife with him.

Here are a knife and multi-use tools that will do just fine. Here are a few styles:

Related Post

10 Incredible Hikes in Maine

Easy Day Hikes in New York

Suntan Lotion and Bug Spray

Other things that you need before you start your hike is sun protection and bug spray. Ticks are a real problem everywhere these days and precaution is needed especially when hiking.

So Go Take A Hike

As you can see there is not much hiking gear for the day hiker that you will need. So what are you waiting for, get on that trail, and enjoy your hike!

Kathy xoxo

Here are some beautiful places to go hiking:

Shenandoah National Park Hiking

Bear Lake Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park

Isle Royale National Park

person hiking in the woods

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5 thoughts on “Hiking Gear for the Day Hiker”

  1. This is a great list. Especially I have never thought to bring a whistle, but what a great idea. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I love hiking, it’s a great form of exercise and at the same time you get to enjoy nature. I really like the backpack and the whistle is an essential when it comes to hiking.

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