The Ultimate Hiking Gear Guide

Love hiking? Us too!!

If you’re in the market for hiking gear, we’ve created a list you’ll find useful (we know we have!).

Keep in mind that this list is for day hiking. If you’re going to overnight, you’ll need a much bigger backpack and additional supplies.

Side note: This guide is mostly for hiking in the Eastern part of the United States where we have humidity (not my favorite), a green canopy shading the trail and mostly non-venomous snakes. If you’re hiking somewhere where the temperature spikes for no reason, you’re in constant sun because there no trees and things kill you with one bite, you’re going to need to expand on this list.

Hiking Clothing & Apparel

I suggest lightweight clothing because hot stuff is just hot. I know, rocket science. If you’ve never hiked in jeans when it’s hot and humid, fair warning that it’s miserable.

Hiking Gear

While some may not agree that you need all of the items listed below, I will take a minute to explain why I suggest them all.

I recommend trekking poles for difficult hikes. There’s been times when I have walked a difficult rated trail and not needed them. There’s also been times when I pulled them out to save my knees. With my hiking backpack, they hook right in and I don’t have to carry them in my hands. Oh, and trekking poles are amazing when you’re the first person on the trail and spiders have decorated it with their webs overnight.

Water…. I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have been out on a trail and people were either out there without water or had ran out. That’s why I carry water AND a water filter. On super hot and humid days, there’s no way I am getting stuck out there without water or the ability to refill it.

Which brings me to the blanket. Now, I don’t take it when I am on a trail I know. BUT, if I am hiking a trail I don’t know where there’s a possibility I’ll get lost (not likely, but hey), I will have more emergency gear on hand, including an emergency blanket.

Other Hiking Essentials

Can you hike without these things? Yes. Should you? Why not. Will I? Nope.

If you’re carrying a backpack, there’s no reason to leave these things at home. I honestly under pack compared to some, but these are must-have items for me. Likewise, there are other day hikers who go all out on this category and expand well beyond this list, but I am not one of them.

Drawing salve might seem like a stupid thing to take on the trail, but have you ever had ground hornets come up out of the ground, attach to your sock and proceed to light you up? No? Well, I have. Three stings for me and one for my daughter later – the salve was half gone. You’re going to want it, just in case.

And, as if the essential oil recommendation below didn’t make you gasp in disbelief, I am also going to recommend a few homeopathic remedies. As I am not a physician, I recommend you research these before using them. Basically, arnica for sore muscles and depending on what else happens, Ledum or Apis for things that sting, bite or otherwise leave you itchy (hello stinging nettles).

Finally:

  • Sugar, salt, something with protein.

Maybe your blood sugar, electrolytes and everything in between doesn’t take a hit while you’re hiking. Maybe it does. I usually have jerky (salt and protein), something sweet (hard candy) and something to nibble on (almonds, walnuts, etc). You can also pack in fruit, but it smells and attracts things. Make sure it’s packed in a way that will keep it smell-free. Apples and oranges are my go to (and pack out your trash, including peels). I love raspberries and blueberries, but they tend to not like the pack as much as me. They get hot and start to produce juices. Juice in my pack makes me sad. Therefore, things that produce juices when they get warm stays in the cooler for when we get back to the car.

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