5 Things You Need On a Day Hike

day hike

This is a question most people want to know! What should they bring on a day hike?

Where the confusion lies typically is that people don’t know how much is too much on a day hike- so they bring a water bottle and leave it at that. For a day hike of three to five hours or less, these are the 5 essentials you should be bringing with you.

too much for a day hike!

This is too much to bring on a day hike 😉

Keep in mind, different places around the world require different things. For example, I would carry bear spray on my day hikes, whereas my sister in Australia requires a snakebite kit. Someone in a hot or arid climate would require different clothing choices than someone who lived in a cold climate.

Also something to think about- you could bring a lot more than this if you were going bushwhacking through unknown territory armed with a topo map. Fire starters and emergency shelter, for example. But for a simple day hike with a defined trail, here’s what you should be bringing with you.

1. First Aid Kit

A small one will do fine. Recently, on a short day hike, I cut open my middle finger. Nice to have a quick bandaid to stick on top so it doesn’t get infected and some alcohol swabs if things get crazy. Cuts and scrapes are easy to acquire in the bush- play it safe. You can get a lightweight and inexpensive kit here

2. Water/ Snacks

If you are gone for only a couple of hours, you don’t need to bring full meals with you. Just make sure you eat beforehand to give you energy, and toss in a couple of granola bars. You will need water however- in any season. Bring a water bottle with you. It’s also handy to have a way to purify- but that’s beyond the scope of a short day hike.

3. Knife or multi tool

Always handy to have around. I never do anything outdoors without bringing my knife with me. If you’re not sure what kind to get, you can ask your local outdoor store. My favourite knife is the Columbia River Knife and Tool’s M21-14 SFG. CRKT makes really great knives.

4. Whistle

or another type of basic signalling device. Not only is this handy if you were lost, but it’s also a good wild animal deterrent, particularly if you are alone.

5. Rain Gear/ Extra Layers 

Again, this is going to depend on where you are! I bring my lightweight hiking jacket no matter how long I’m gone. If you’re in a hot climate, bring a hat. If it’s a cold climate, wear layers. This is going to vary greatly dependent on your location!
And there you have it! The five essentials for your day hike. Is there anything that you see missing? What do you bring on your day hikes? Comment below!!

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