September 03, 2020 5 min read

 Table of Contents
• Backpack
• Map
• Snacks
• Face Covering
• First Aid Kit
• Water
• Hand Sanitizer
• Camera
• Proper Clothing
• Bathroom Essentials


National and state parks are reopening and people are venturing out to trails to breathe in the fresh air. When planning for a hike it’s important to make sure you carry all of the essentials with you to make your hiking experience the best it can be.

Being safe is one of the most important things to keep in mind when hiking. Now more than ever, carrying the right gear is imperative. Keep reading this guide to learn about the 10 things you should always pack with you when hiking.

1. Backpack

A backpack is the number one most important item to always have when hiking, as it will be hard to carry all of the other gear you need to make your hiking trip an amazing adventure without one. Backpacks range in size depending on the length of your trip. If you are planning on back-packing overnight, packs ranging from 35-55 liters are recommended. However, if you are hiking for simply a few hours, a daypack is ideal.

2. Map

Whether navigating a new trail or a well-loved path that you’ve ventured on many times, it’s important to always carry a map with you. While there’s nothing more old-school than carrying a printed map, there are many other options if you’re someone who prefers a digital map. The Hiking Project organizes hikes and trails based on the state you’re planning on traveling to. You can sort trails by family friendliness, city, and even by national/state park. After searching, you can choose which hike suits you best and then print the map out.

If you want to discover new trails that can be easily accessed from your smartphone, AllTrails is the app for you! AllTrails features over 100,000 trails that include images, ratings, and reviews from other hikers. Plus, if you discover a trail of your own, you can upload the route to the app and share it with other explorers such as yourself.

3. Snacks

Don’t be surprised if you feel a little extra hungry during or after your adventure. It’s important to pack protein-rich snacks with you in your backpacks like organic and raw nuts or seeds. Instead of using non-reusable plastic baggies to store your snacks in, try a cotton cloth or a reusable container, as these are good for the environment and your wallet!

4. Face Covering

Even though you’re outside in the wilderness, sometimes trails can get crowded. And while there’s nothing better than everyone enjoying the magnificent scenery, it can be hard to stay 6 feet away from other people. Packing a face covering will ensure that you don’t spread germs and keep yourself safe around other explorers. Banas is a great face-covering option, especially when hiking. Banas can be worn around the neck and used as a sweatband, and then pulled up to cover your mouth and nose if you find yourself less than 6 feet away from other hikers. Plus, banas have a UPF rating of 35, so you can keep the sun off your neck and prevent yourself from getting sunburned.

Zion National Park

5. First Aid Kit

Safety first! From accidental blisters (that’s what happens when you don’t break in your hiking boots) to walking through unsuspecting poison ivy, it’s always a good idea to have first aid essentials with you at all times. Now, you don’t need to go crazy with an entire box full of medical equipment, but having a few band-aids and ointments on hand will not only give you peace of mind but prepare you just in case something goes awry. Not sure what to include in your hiking first aid kit? Here’s a list of the top 10 essentials:

  1. Antiseptic Cream
  2. Gauze
  3. Bandages
  4. Pain-Relief Medication
  5. Tweezers
  6. Safety Pins
  7. Insect Sting Treatment
  8. Moleskin For Blisters
  9. Poison Ivy Cream
  10. Aloe Vera Gel

6. Water

The sun is shining and the air is warm: Summer is here! Make sure you’re prepared for the heat by carrying a water bottle or two with you when you venture out to the trails. Sweating can cause our bodies to be depleted of hydration and water, so it is important to sip on water while you’re out hiking. Many of the National Parks now have water stations to cut down on the use of plastic. If you are hiking overnight you will want a water filtration system since carrying the amount of water you’ll need will be heavy.  Always take more than you think you will need!

7. Hand Sanitizer

Unfortunately, bathrooms are still closed at most national and state parks. While you may have to find creative ways to use the restroom, don’t rely on simply a towel to keep your hands clean. Hand sanitizer is the best way to keep germs away while still traveling light. If you’re having trouble finding hand sanitizer at your local market, create your fragrant sanitizer from scratch by using natural essential oils and other pantry ingredients.

Try this easy DIY hand sanitizer recipe by blending the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1/4 cup vodka or rubbing alcohol
  • 10-20 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 10-20 drops of essential oil of your choice for fragrance (we love lavender or grapefruit)

8. Camera

Make your hiking memories last a lifetime. There’s nothing better than staying present and taking in the breathtaking views without technology in hand, but sometimes, the view is too amazing to pass up an opportunity to snap a photograph: Packing a camera with you is essential. Whether using your smartphone or a disposable camera for vintage-looking images, a camera is a hiking must-have so you can remember the incredible places you went and the breathtaking views you saw.

9. Proper Clothing

When going hiking, it’s important to pack layers. For part of your adventure, you may hike in direct sunlight and for the other part, you might find yourself walking in the shade. Given this, packing layers are important as you may find you are cooler and warmer during different parts of your hike. Including a lightweight packable jacket in your daypack is a great option to put on if you find yourself feeling cold. Wearing a polyester or nylon shirt is ideal as these materials move sweat away from your skin and keep your body dry. In addition, it’s always a good idea to have a hat with you. Not only will a hat protect your face from getting sunburned, but it will also keep you cool.

10. Bathroom Essentials

Lastly, bathroom essentials are the final items you want to include in your daypack. Tissue, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes are small and easy to pack, yet will ensure you remain germ-free when using public bathrooms when out hiking. Since most bathrooms along hiking trails are portable toilets, they’re usually not as clean. You can use disinfectant wipes to clean the toilet seat and any high touchpoint surfaces. Plus, hand sanitizer will kill any germs from your hands after using the restroom.

Your Complete Hiking Packing Checklist

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