Day Hiking Checklist
(Beginner and Intermediate)
THE TEN ESSENTIALS
- Navigation: Map, Compass (GPS optional)
- Hydration: Water, Container/Bladder, and Treatment Method
- Nutrition: Extra Food for emergency (extra nutrition bars)
- Sun Protection: Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat, Lip Balm
- Insulation: Hat and Gloves, Light weight jacket, Extra layers
- Warmth: Lighter/Matches, Fire starter or Stove and Fuel
- Illumination: Headlamp/Flashlight, Extra Batteries
- First Aid (for self and gear): Bandages, Knife, Medicine, Duct Tape, Zip Ties, etc
- Shelter: Tarp, rain poncho, umbrella
- Safety: Whistle (For emergency signals)
(There is no need to pack extra clothing, with the exception of layers)
- 2 pr. Wool Socks and liners (one you’re wearing, one dry)
- Hiking Boots
- Wicking T-Shirt or tank top (wear the same one)
- Light weight durable pants (avoid jeans and shorts)
- Fleece/Long sleeve silk or wicking shirt
- Light weight jacket or vest
- Hat and gloves (weather dependent)
- Trash bag/Rain poncho (also to cover pack in rain)
(Gear is dependent on length of hike, difficulty level, and chance of getting lost or injured)
- Day-Hiking Backpack (an ordinary school bag with across the chest straps works)
- Water Bladder/Water Containers
- Water Purification Method (Discuss sharing a method with other hikers)
- Navigation (See Above)
- Sun Protection (See Above)
- Illumination (See Above)
- First Aid Kit (Discuss sharing with other backpackers)
- Mole Skin or Duct Tape
- Bandages, balm, antiseptic wipes, ointment
- Pocket knife/Rope
- Individual Medical Needs (inhalers, prescriptions, etc)
- Personal Hygiene Needs (Discuss sharing some items with others)
- Toilet Paper/Paper Towel/Feminine Hygiene Products (Optional)
- Handkerchief/Tissue Paper (keep in mind no garbage is to be left on the trails)
- Extra Batteries (Make sure non-battery operated devices are fully charged)
- Extra Zip Lock bags
- for water damageable items (cell phones, papers, tissues, electronic devices)
- to store trash items
- used to line inside of shoes on wet trails
- Hiking Poles (Optional, but recommended on strenuous uphill hikes)
- Bandana/Hair Ties (Optional)
- Camera (Optional)
- Watch (Optional)
- Bug Repellant (Optional depending on season)
(Pack light, but remember that more is better than not enough)
- Snacks (Power Bars, Cliff Bars, Granola, Trail Mix, Jerky, Powder Drink mix, etc)
- Lunch (Pouched Tuna/Chicken/etc, Sandwiches, Fruit, etc)
NOTES AND TIPS
- Socks that are too loose will cause blistering, so make sure you have good tight socks and liners, and good hiking boots. Also make sure you have extra socks because wet socks will cause blistering and add weight to your shoes.
- Bring a change of clothes (to leave in the car) that you can change into for the ride home.
- Bring gas money for your carpool driver, and for meals or emergency use.
- Bring proper forms of identification (drivers license/state ID, insurance card, ID bracelet, etc. Provide any medical information in a sealed envelope to keep on you, only to be opened if you should need medical assistance)
- On the trail, take note of landmarks in case something goes wrong and you have to backtrack. Also, be sure to know what your start and end locations are (i.e. trailhead names, road names, town names) in case you get separated from the group and someone outside of the group is trying to assist you. Keep an accurate map of the trail with you.
- Make sure any items you bring are double duty. For example, a bandana can be used as a hair tie, potholder, shade to keep the sun off your neck, and as a bandage for injuries.
- Brimmed hats are great for sun and eye protection from branches, spider webs, etc.
- Keep in mind basic leave-no-trace guidelines. Trail etiquette is not just “don’t leave trash behind.” An easy one to remember always step on durable surfaces (rocks, roots) whenever possible, instead of dirt, moss, etc. It’s not just a don’t-hurt-the-plant-life thing, but it helps keep down erosion of the trail.
- Be sure that at least 2 other people know where you are and when you will be expected back. Also be sure that your trip leader has your emergency contact information, any known allergies, and a list of prescription drugs that may be needed to save your life on the trail.
- Finally, know your group members’ names, and never be afraid to ask the group to stop for a rest or to slow down during a hike.