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How to Pack a Backpack for Day Hiking

Hiking can easily be one of the most heart-pumping and at the same time relaxing activities. Any adventurous spirit can easily get quenched by a day or two of hiking. However, you need to prepare for it well. In this article, I will try and give my take on how to pack a backpack for day hiking, day hiking backpack essentials, and in general, the essential things to bring in hiking.


Essential Things to Bring in Hiking



Before putting on your shoes and setting off, you need to consider a number of things. When talking about how to pack a backpack for day hiking, you need to mainly consider research or simply asking avid hikers.

You need to prepare yourself and bring the necessary equipment needed for the hike. Preparations regarding yourself will involve you doing short stretches or a warm-up walk or jog. Regarding equipment, you need to pack day hiking backpack essentials. Here are some of the essential things to bring in hiking:

Most important hiking gear: hiking backpack


how to pack a backpack for day hiking


Hiking backpacks will hold most of the essential things to bring in hiking. You can’t expect to carry all of your food and miscellaneous stuff on your hands or in your pockets. The size and type of the backpack are what matters. The size will depend on the amount of stuff you’re planning on bringing. It also needs to be easy to carry for your sake, since hiking can get very tiring. With regard to the type of backpack, usually, people get ones that have a lot of pockets for proper and efficient space management. I personally get ones that have a sufficient number of pockets and give priority to ones that are durable.

Proper clothing

Hiking will involve walking. A lot of walking. You will definitely get sweaty. Though I know of some people who really don’t sweat easily, even during hikes. Nevertheless, you need to wear clothing that is easy to more in. When talking about how to pack a backpack for day hiking, you need to consider clothing that can easily be kept without taking up too much space. Not only that, you need clothing that won’t get too hot or stuffy but will hold up well in the rain. My suggestion will be to wear dry-fit clothing and to bring a well-fitting jacket for when it rains. Both items should easily fit in your backpack for storage if needed.

Hiking boots or shoes


As I mentioned earlier, hiking will involve a lot of walking. Most likely, the ground will be uneven and if it rained recently, it will even be slippery. You need to wear the proper hiking boots or shoes to keep yourself safe from injury or even greater harm. These types of shoes have hard soles that can protect your feet. They also have the proper traction needed so you won’t easily slip or fall when walking.

Extra clothing, hiking boots, or shoes

Bringing an extra pair of hiking boots or shoes and clothing is one of the more important but often neglected things to note whenever people go hiking. When talking about how to pack a backpack for day hiking, most, if not all websites or avid hikers will tell you to bring extra clothing and hiking boots or shoes. The reason for this stems from the fact that accidents may happen. People often fall and dirty their clothing so an extra pair will be very welcome.

Navigational tools

Navigational tools are one of the most important day hiking backpack essentials. A map and a compass will be your most trusted companions during hikes. You need to familiarize yourself with the use of your map and compass. Cell coverage often doesn’t reach hiking trails and if they do, the signals will be awful. Bringing and knowing how to use a map and compass will help you stay in the right direction.

Light and durable flashlight 

One of the most essential things to bring in hiking is flashlights. Their use mainly revolves around nighttime or in areas where light becomes a bit too dim. Aside from being able to see better at night, flashlights can also be used to get attention from other people. If an accident were to occur, waving a flashlight will make it easier for rescuers to find and help you.

Try and get a small but durable and easy-to-use flashlight. It doesn’t have to be some fancy or expensive flashlight. Get ones that are both durable and have a high lumen output. The higher the lumen output, the brighter and more useful your flashlight will be. Also, don’t forget to bring extra batteries.

Sun protection

When talking about how to pack a backpack for day hiking, sunscreen would be one of the top things that people often neglect to bring. Sun protection is one of the essential things to bring in hiking. The reason comes from the fact that you won’t really feel the sun bearing down on your skin since you’ll be too busy being tired or minding your steps. With sun protection, you’ll be able to avoid sunburns. Plus, most sunscreens nowadays have the added benefit of keeping your skin moisturized and healthy.

First aid kit

I never go anywhere without a simple medical kit in my bag. Accidents can happen and no matter how careful you get, they can and will often happen. Simple medical kits are a staple to day hiking backpack essentials. You only really need the basic paracetamol in case of fevers and painkillers from when you or someone you’re with gets injured. Also, the best medical kits include a tourniquet or simple cloth to slow down any bleeding.

Easy to use multi-tool

Day hiking backpack essentials won’t be complete without multi-tools. Most modern multi-tools are packed with a lot of tools. Having a knife will always come in handy in any outdoor situation. You can easily use it to cut the rope, sticks for a small fire, or for general protection.

Having a fire starter will come in handy as well when you need to make a quickfire for food or warmth. A fire starter will be essential in long hiking trips where you need to cook your food. Matches can easily become useless when they get wet.

Food and water

In all the guides regarding how to pack a backpack for day hiking, food and water will always make the list. Although, you only really need to bring enough depending on the length of the hiking trip. When planning on a long hiking trip, you may need to also bring cooking equipment. Usually, a pan will be more than enough, along with food that won’t need too much work to become safe to eat.

Water on the other hand, you need to bring a lot of it. I actually consider water as among the top of the most essential things to bring in hiking. You need to keep yourself hydrated during the hike since you’ll be sweating a lot.

Other essential things to bring in hiking

You can’t forget to bring your identification with you. Whether it’s your driver’s license or a work ID, having identification is important when going out. Another miscellaneous thing would be bringing plastic or waterproof small bags for when it rains. It is for when you need to keep the wet clothes you changed out of somewhere safe. Lastly, bring an extra pair of socks. People often neglect the importance of wearing a dry pair of socks. Aside from being more comfortable with a dry pair, it is safer and hygienic.

Day hiking backpack essentials

The most important day hiking gear for me would be proper shoes, clothing, sunscreen, and water. Depending on how short a hike you’re planning, you can easily make do with these three things. Though again, it would be best if you packed properly for each and every hike. However, these are essential things to bring in hiking that you cannot forget or neglect.

In summary, when talking about how to pack a backpack for day hiking, you need to do your due diligence in both research and packing. I’ve shared the general or what people normally consider as the essential things to bring in hiking. Different places or situations may need different preparations. For example, if you plan on going for a long hiking trip, it will be best to get more food, water, or even a sleeping bag for overnighters.

Keep safe and have fun

Make sure to do your due diligence in packing and checking the details of your hiking trip.  When talking about how to pack a backpack for day hiking, proper backpack space management will be key. Another one of the essential things to bring in hiking that people often neglect is comfort. You need to be comfortable with what you’re wearing or carrying during the hiking trip.

During the trip itself, you also need to consider the fact that no matter how prepared you are, things can still go wrong. You can be extremely diligent regarding the essential things to bring in hiking, but a situation may come up where you need something you weren’t able to bring. However, you should not let these potential events stop you from going out and enjoying the world. Just deal with things as they come. One of the best mottos in life is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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