Hiking Gear for Short Day Hikes


Hiking, irrespective of whether it is a one day hike or of a longer duration, can be great fun; but only when it is not marred by accidents. Even though it does not guarantee being cent percent accident free, being well prepared does ensure that the chances of some unpleasant incident ruining your outing are minimal. You need to understand that there is some difference between a hike and a picnic, with the former demanding planning well in advance and due importance to the equipment that is to be used.

Essential Hiking Gear for a Short Day Hike

You need to take a few things into consideration when preparing for your hike. These include the duration of the trip, where you are going, what time of the year it is, etc. Just because it is a relatively easy and short day hike, it doesn’t mean you should take it for granted. Obviously, differentiating between the equipment you would carry on a short day hike and camping will help you strike out things that are of no use for your short hike; but will only add to your burden.

Though important, footwear and clothes are by far the most underrated components of your hiking gear. It is important to take into consideration the terrain and weather of the region where you are heading to, in order to decide what clothes to wear. Hiking boots, along with socks made of wicking material, which will keep your feet dry, will ensure safety of your feet. If you are off to a region wherein it rains or snows, or some place wherein you have to wade through water, you need to make sure that you are wearing waterproof footwear.

As with the footwear, even the clothes to wear when going hiking have to be chosen in accordance to the place you are visiting and time of the year. Wearing shorts and cotton clothes will be ideal for summer, but in winter it will turn out to be a disastrous choice. During winter you don’t just need to protect yourself from cold, but also protect yourself from snow. Instead of wearing a thick sweater in winter, it is better to wear two thin sweaters in layers; as this will make it easier for you adapt to the environment when the weather changes. If the chances of rainfall or snowfall exist, it is wise to carry your rainwear and an extra pair of clothes along. (Click on the table to print)

Essential Day Hiking Gear Checklist
Glucose supplements
Water purification tablets
Maps of the trail
GPS device
Cell phone with ICE*
First aid kit
Insect repellent
Plastic bags
Snack bars

*Store your emergency contact number as ICE i.e., In Case of Emergency.

Even if it’s a day hike, carrying matches or lighter, tinder (easily combustible material), a flashlight, etc., are of utmost importance, as the chances of you falling behind the schedule cannot be ruled out. You can also carry a camera and swimming gear along to make the most of your hiking escapade. Overall, it isn’t a lengthy list as such, and hence a small backpack, which is specially designed for short outings, will be sufficient for your day long trip. A backpack with a hip belt, which takes load off your shoulders would be ideal, but it is not a necessity as you won’t be carrying much load on such a short trip.

Other than carrying all these things, you will also have to carry your mind along with you. As funny as it may sound, most of the untoward incidents that occur in the wilderness only occur because people leave their mind at home and do something that they are not supposed to do. There is a thin line of difference between bravery and foolishness, and disrespecting the nature is nothing but foolishness – which is bound to leave you in deep trouble.

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