Many experienced hikers tend to pack their backpacks from memory, but it may not work in some cases. Even if you are a seasoned adventurer, it may not be easy for you to remember everything that you may need while you are hundreds of miles away from your house.
You need to make sure you have a Hiking Packing List
all the important things are in your backpack before you leave your house. This will save you a lot of hassle while you are out there. Make sure you have an elaborate packing list for your next hiking trip.
Packing for hiking and business trips has a prominent feature or requirement: you need to carry the backpack with you throughout the journey. When preparing for the trip, keep in mind the three most important things:
- Lightweight – remember: you are going to carry everything on your shoulders. So, each item should be as lightweight as possible.
- Compactness - it’s more convenient to walk around with a small backpack than a large one.
- Replaceability - the more universal your equipment, the fewer things you have to take with you.
- Listed below are 30 not-to-forget pieces of hiking gear for a comfortable experience.
1. Hiking Backpack
It’s not convenient to hike with a wheeled travel bag or a slew of plastic bags, is it? You need a quality backpack designed to suit your travel style.
When it comes to size, for summer hiking, you may go for a 35 to 45 liter backpack. However, the colder the weather, the more massive the rucksack you need. So, it’s better to get one 50-60 liter backpack for your first hike. Usually, first-time hikers prefer big enough bags because they are easier to pack.
2. Sleeping Bag
Luckily, there are a lot of lightweight and compact sleeping bags available in the equipment stores nowadays. You just have to decide on one based on the temperature range in area you are heading for. Don’t overestimate the daytime heat as it can be 10-15 degrees lower at night.
Bear in mind that summer and winter hiking packing list require different sleeping bags. Most hiking enthusiasts keep at least two for each season.
3. Sleeping Pad
Having a quality sleeping pad is important. If the mat fits your dimensions and is soft enough, a pleasurable sleep will lead to an enjoyable journey.
You can go for foam and inflated pads but they differ by price and features. Although inflated sleeping pads are convenient, very compact and protect you from the cold, be careful with them. Since it’s easy to pierce inflated mats with sharp rocks, you have to choose your sleeping place meticulously. Generally, inflated sleeping pads are just perfect for snowy and grassy surfaces.
Your tent is your shelter for the duration of the hiking trip, which means that the tent has to be secure and waterproof.
Of course, you can share the tent with your hiking mates. While a 2-person tent is excellent for a romantic couple, larger tents are great if you need to accommodate a group of hikers.
5. Hiking Shoes
Never compromise on the quality of your hiking shoes. Uncomfortable shoes may cause calluses on your feet ruining your trip.
You should be serious when choosing a pair of trekking boots. Ideally, they must be high, dense, with a rubberized nose and strong ankle fixation. A pair of sneakers is a good choice for a weekend hike.
6. Sandals or Flip Flops
It’s better to have a pair of open-toe shoes when hiking. They can refresh your feet after a long, tiring walk. Also, you can put them on when taking a forest shower.
Sandals are preferred over flip-flops during the warm season because you can wear them when the path is not too steep. However, flip-flops are lighter and take less space in your backpack.
7. Comfortable Socks
Don’t underestimate the importance of socks. It’s recommended to buy trekking shoes that are durable and protect your feet from unwanted calluses.
Together with regular socks, take a pair of woolens to warm up your feet in the evening.
Comfortable underclothes ensure an easy hike. Ideally, a sign of good undergarments is that you won’t feel them on you. Don’t hesitate to include a set of thermal underwear so you can sleep well at night.
Your best bet is to pack at least 2-3 t-shirts for the entire trip. Synthetic t-shirts are suitable for hiking, while cotton t-shirts are the most comfortable for sleeping at night.
10. Warm Clothes
There can be a significant difference in temperature during the day and at night. The temperature difference is so significant that if you get sunburn in the afternoon, you might catch a cold at night unless you put on warm clothes.
Check the weather forecast beforehand. You will probably need a warm hat, a scarf and a pair of gloves in addition to your coat and pants.
11. Trekking Pants
Trekking pants shouldn’t squeeze your body when you are moving around. Besides, the pants should be made of a durable material, such as nylon or spandex. Quality, comfy pants will serve you for many years to come. Add it to your hiking packing list.
12. Membrane Jacket
A jacket is a must-have item in every hiking backpack. Even if it is not cold in the valley, mountain ridges are usually quite windy. A windproof coat can save you from many undesirable consequences.
If your jacket is both windproof and waterproof, it can be a great lifesaver. Also, the coat has to allow air to pass and be lightweight. It is best to use a membrane jacket when hiking.
Caps and bandanas protect hikers from the sunburn, wind and light rain. However, caps with visors are best for hiking since they protect your face as well as head.
14. Rain Cover
Rains are pretty common in the mountains, so having a rain cover in your backpack is a good idea. Ideally, you should take two rain covers: one for you and the other for your backpack.
A headlamp is extremely valuable in the evening. There is no way to look for the trail if you are lost or when you need to look for something inside your tent if you don’t have access to a reliable flashlight. Don’t rely on the lamp of your mobile device - it can’t light much distance and consumes a lot of battery power. Instead, It’s much better to carry more batteries for your headlamp.
16. Sunscreen & Sunglasses
When hiking, be aware of the sun. It’s way more dangerous in the mountains, so you will need to protect your body and eyes from the excessive ultraviolet rays of the sun.
To be on the safe side, apply a bit of sunscreen with a high Sun Protection Factor on your nose and other open areas of your body.
17. First-aid Kit
A first-aid kit is one of the most important items for outdoor activities. Based on the complexity of your hike, anything can happen to you and your companions.
If you need help, you can ask an experienced hiker to help you prepare a first-aid kit for your trip. However, having a first-aid kit is enough. You should learn to use each item in the kit.
18. Backpacking Stove
Fireplaces are not allowed on most hiking routes, so don’t forget to mention a compact stove on your list. There are two main types of backpacking stoves – one is powered by gas and the other by petrol.
On the one hand, gas stoves are more convenient and don’t require additional cleaning. On the other hand, gas is more expensive and not allowed on airplanes.
19. Plates, Cups, Cutlery
Obviously, if you are going to carry a backpacking stove, you need other items as well, such as plates, cups, and cutlery, to name a few. Plastic and metal are equally good materials for carrying around and eating in.
Get to know the most delicious recipes suitable for hikers and enjoy every meal like at home!
Needless to say, you should keep your documents with you at all times, especially your ID card and passport. If something bad happens, the documents will help identify you so you can get help you need as soon as possible.
When you are getting ready for hiking abroad, don’t forget to double-check the list of essential documents and visa requirements.
Evidently, you can’t buy anything in the wilderness, so you are independent as long as you are away from shops and stores. However, on the way to the trail, inside campsites and after the hiking trip, you may need some cash. So, aside from a credit card, it’s a good idea to keep some extra cash for an emergency.
Although hiking is considered an outdoor escape, you may need to make or receive important phone calls. Your friends and relatives probably may want to give you a call from time to time to make sure you are all right. Switch on your phone at least once every few days to let the world know that everything is okay.
We bet you will be amazed by the fairy landscape along your hiking trail. That’s the reason you are going outdoors, isn’t it? You can take tons of breath-taking shots, and one of them may make an ideal profile picture for your social media accounts.
It's recommended to use an action camera, such as GoPro or Xiaomi. The quality of shots and videos with action cameras is good enough unless you are a professional photographer.
24. A Great Book
Great books can be your best friends when hiking. They can help you take short cuts and save time. Furthermore, story books will keep your mind occupied when you are traveling at night and find it hard to fall asleep. With an exciting and adventurous book, your hiking trip will become twice as spectacular.
Hiking tip: save books or novels in the form of PDFs on your mobile if your phone battery can last long enough to help you read those books. It will save weight and space in your backpack.
25. Trekking Poles
Trekking poles are highly desirable while hiking. They will support your body when climbing stones or descending a slippery grass trail after the rain.
Before the trekking poles became widely available in equipment stores, tourists used to walk with natural trekking sticks. Any convenient stick or a branch of a tree you can find in the forest can become your support, but professional trekking poles will make your hiking experience much more comfortable.
When it comes to sunglasses, know that they are really important when you are walking on a glacier. Also, sunglasses are useful on a sunny day. Take only those sunglasses that don’t miss ultraviolet rays. In fact, wearing cheap glasses is of no use as they don’t protect your eyes from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
27. Waterproof Bags
Any raincover could miss some droplets in a heavy rain. In this case, a waterproof bag can be handy. Keep your sleeping bag in an impervious area of the backpack and take another one for your clothes.
Also, plastic bags are always helpful when hiking. They cost almost nothing and can protect your stuff from getting wet. Take a couple of spare bags in case one of them is broken.
28. Personal Hygiene
Wherever you go out there, it’s vital to observe proper personal hygiene. You can’t go without soap, toothpaste, shampoo, wet wipes and toilet paper. But take only the amount necessary for the trip; otherwise, you are going to be carrying excessive weight.
Hiking tip: if you are going for a hike with friends, you can share some of your personal hygiene products with the whole hiking team.
29. Bottles of Water
It’s necessary to drink at least 3 liters of water daily when hiking. Usually, water is not available all the time on hiking trails, so a 1-1.5 liter bottle of water will be enough to keep you hydrated while you are there in the heat of summer. Whenever you feel thirsty, stop for a while and drink from the bottle.
By the way, you can always refill your bottle from any small nearby spring while you are walking in the forest.
30. Lightweight Games
Fun games can unite a team like no other. When hiking with a bunch of friends, don’t forget to think of some exciting activities or even take games with you. How to choose these games? You can take any game with you as long as it is lightweight, waterproof and fun.
Keep in mind that this packing list can work for easy to medium level hiking tours. If you want to on one a hiking trip that involves climbing up snowy peaks, you will obviously need some serious equipment. Thus, never hesitate to discuss your packing stuff with experienced climbers and upgrade the equipment for your particular trip.