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Modern Ten Hiking Essentials

Walking outside can do wonders for your body by keeping you in shape—and it can even boost your mood. Peep these 10 hiking essentials for beginners or, really, anyone and stock up. The wild calls. Opt for something that can take a beating and keep your footing, like these excellent boots from KEEN.

No one wants to be lost in the dark in the middle of nowhere, so be sure to add these to your hiking checklist.

The 10 Essentials of Hiking

It also does so much more, including tracking your burned calories and heart rate. This one fits the bill nicely, with a durable bag and everything you need to survive in the woods, from alcohol wipes to safety pins and beyond. When hiking you are responsible for your own safety, and any one of these ten items may help to save your life. Carry each one and know how to use them. In addition to these items, know your limits and be sure you leave an itinerary with friends or relatives.

What to Bring

Always carry a detailed map of the area that you are hiking in and a compass even if use a GPS or smartphone. The 15'' Green Trails maps are great if you're staying on trail. If you're planning on leaving the trail it's best to have 7. Both kinds are available at most sporting goods stores.

Keep your maps in a plastic bag to protect them from the rain and know how to use them. GPS units are great, but they are not substitutes for knowing how to use a map and compass. The GPS can point you in the right direction, but it's the map that tells you if you can go that way. It doesn't matter how fancy your compass is, but if it doesn't have a compensation setting for true North, make sure you know how to convert magnetic to true North.

It is essential to drink a lot of water while hiking. Without water, your body doesn't perform as well and you could grow more susceptible to heat stroke, hypothermia and altitude sickness. Any water source can harbor tiny organisms that would make your life unpleasant later, so purify all water with a water filter or purifier, chemical tablets or boiling before drinking.

Tips, Tales and Trip Reports

Carry at least one extra day's worth. It should be something that stores for a long time, requires no preparation and is high in energy.

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Many people choose things they really dislike so they won't be tempted to break into their emergency rations unless they really need them. If you're hiking with kids, you'll likely need more snacks than usual for the hike, so be sure to plan, and have emergency food in addition. You can read our post on the Outdoor Adventure Photography Gear we use if you want details on the cameras we recommend for outdoor photography, but also you can't go wrong these days with your phone camera either. Your choice! For day hikes I don't worry about this too much unless there is some uncertainty in the forecast.

You can get a little rain pack cover for you bag, or I used to use a trash bag for the longest time. Its cheap and does the job for a day hike! If your trail requires a permit, make sure to print it out or pick it up from the ranger station before your hike! It's filled with 14 pages of hiking, backpacking and rock climbing tips, techniques and inspiration to help you hone your outdoor adventure skills and become the ultimate outdoor badass. You can get immediate access to it below.

What are you waiting for? Another important thing to consider when you go hiking is what to wear and what to bring for emergencies.

Hiking essentials

In short, think of layers as an essential component to your overall hiking outfit. There are also a few clothing hiking accessories you might bring depending on the weather conditions. I will wear one pair and I will pack the second. Why are socks important? Having dry feet is one of the key ways to prevent getting blisters on a hike.

Ten Essentials

So if you are hiking and start noticing your feet are sweaty, take some time to swap your socks, and let the sweaty pair hang off of your pack to dry. I like them both. You could wear a t-shirt or tank top, but these days I like wearing a light weight long sleeve like Patagonias Lightweight Capilene Shirts.

It helps to protect me from the sun and they are super breathable. What is the overall low? Sometimes if hiking to a peak or summit, it can be even colder up top. Unless its a super warm place, its usually safe to pack a nice mid-layer light jacket. Mid layers are usually like a lighter but breathable jacket. My go-to mid layer is my old purple Patagonia Nano Puff. I've had mine for about 8 year now, and it has a few rips in it, but it is still going strong!

I'm not talking mountaineering down jacket, thats for another post, but I usually pack my thicker Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket.

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I usually pack my Patagonia Alpine Houdini Jacket because it is super light weight, wind and rain resistant. Hiking Pants: breathable and quick drying As nerdy looking as they may seem, a nice light weight, breathable pair of hiking pants are awesome!

I particularly love them when I am backpacking, but also sometimes wear them on day hikes. If it is cooler out, consider adding a thermal wool under layer as well. Beanie: Pack a beanie to keep your head warm if it is cold out! I love the Carhartt beanies, functional and inexpensive. Hat: I also like to bring a hat with me on hikes to keep the sun out of my face, and usually my hair is a bit ridiculous from camping, so hats cover that up!

Ten Essentials: The Classic List

Gloves: If it is cold enough, consider bringing some gloves with you! I go back and forth between my Ahnu hiking boots which I love , my 5. Also, if you have trouble with your ankles, you may want to go for a boot with ankle support. Or if you are looking for a good wide toe box shoe , check out this review on wide toe box hiking shoes. Get into a habit of checking your gear list before you go out and then you'll never leave without the essential things you might need!

Please leave me a note in the comments below if you have any questions! Looking for even more hiking and backpacking related tips? Check out these articles on the site! The Best Gifts for Hikers. Or get Inspired to go on one of these amazing hikes! Please take a moment to share it on Pinterest or other social media! Are You More of a Visual Learner? Essential Hiking Gear List: The below hiking supplies list is my own personal recommendations for day hiking gear.