Day Hike Packing List Printable PDF and Checklist

Day Hike Packing List

Going on a day hike is a great way to spend an afternoon and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family! On our previous hiking trip, we camped, but went on day hikes every day! We had to be prepared for the cold mornings, sunny afternoons and midday rains. Having the right gear helped us stay hydrated and warm for the whole week! This day hike packing list is an easy way to check off everything you need before your trip.

Day Hiking for Beginners

To decide what you need to bring on your day hike, think about how far you are going, where you are located and the weather forecast for the day. If you’re just getting into hiking, be sure to read these tips before your trip.

1. Research the Area before You Hike

Once you have selected your trail, get the map of the area and read some reviews. There are so many online resources available. Find out if the trail is a loop, or if you’ll have to backtrack or get a shuttle or a second car. On our recent trip to the Rockies, there was a great shuttle system, so there was no problem taking one-way trails, but make sure to check all of the details. Also, note any intersecting trails that could lead you off-trail. Reed more of my reviews, stories and blog posts about the Rocky Mountains here

2. Check the Weather

Check the forecast before you go, this will give you information on how to dress and what to take with. If the weather is rainy, having a rain jacket and staying off exposed high altitudes will keep you safe on your hike!

3. Wear the Right Socks and Shoes

Painful feet can ruin a hike, so invest in high-quality hiking shoes and socks. You don’t have to have heavy boots, just make sure they are comfortable, waterproof and have good ankle support. Also go for wool or synthetic socks and pack moleskin just in case.

4. Dress For the Weather

Once your feet are ready to go, make sure to dress right. I recommend using synthetic clothing to avoid sweating and chafing. To be ready for any temperature (you may get hot while you are hiking in the sun) and the weather, wear layers that you can add or take off if you need. On my hiking trips I usually wear one light jacket to save me from wind and rain.

5. Pack Smart

Yes, take all of the necessities and be ready for anything, but don’t over-pack. Always take water on your hike, even more than you would normally need. Try to avoid packing bulky stuff, like a huge tube of sunscreen or huge camera.

Camping Tip: If you are planning to go camping, check out my camping list, since you will need to remember and pack a lot more to plan for lunches, all of the hikes and relaxing evenings around the campfire!

Are you going camping? Here are a couple useful links you should check out:

Ouzel Falls Hike

Day Hike Packing List

What to Wear on a Hike

  • Moisture-absorbing underwear – super nice to have! 🙂
  • T-shirt
  • Quick-drying pants/shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirt (for sun and bugs)
  • Lightweight jacket – like the one I mentioned above
  • Hiking Boots – good hiking boots are very important for you to be safe on your hike. Make sure your hiking boots have good ankle support and are water-resistant.
  • Socks (synthetic or wool)

Don’t Forget Extra Clothes if It’s Cold or Rainy

  • Rain jacket – it can rain any moment on your trip, especially if you are in the mountains, a lightweight rain jacket is a must!
  • Long Underwear – here is a good pair for a winter hike.
  • Warm Jacket
  • Gloves
  • Hat

Day Hike Packing List – The Essentials

Depending on your hike difficulty and length, you might not need everything on this list. However, some things are good to have regardless of how far you are going.

  • Water – always bring water with you on a hike. Especially at higher elevations!
  • Backpack – I have an Osprey Backpack and it’s super lightweight and comfortable
  • Trekking poles – very nice to have when you are going up the mountains
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • First-aid kit or supplies
  • Lighter/matches & firestarter
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Chap stick or SPF-rated lip balm

Day Hike Packing List Snacks

What to Bring on a Day Hike – Extras

  • Binoculars
  • ID
  • Cellphone
  • Camera
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Trail snacks
  • Lunch
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper
  • Baby wipes
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Blister treatments

That’s about everything you should need on a day hike! Feel free to add other things you may need to your list and print it out! 
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Day Hike Packing List

4.3/5 - (10 votes)
Hi, I'm Marina, passionate traveler and blogger, based in the United States and travelling the world. Thanks for following me on my life and travel adventures!


  1. Natalie Zamudio
    October 3, 2018

    Love these lists! Exactly the type of things I take with me on hikes.

  2. music webstore
    December 5, 2018

    Informative article, just what I wanted to find.

  3. Mirian Katowicz
    November 1, 2019

    Keep on working, great job!|

  4. Ivy
    June 7, 2020

    This is a very good and helpful list. It’s been awhile since I’ve gone hiking. I need to get back to it and this will help.

  5. Lissa
    June 24, 2020

    Great tips! We just started day hiking with our boys in the last year. There are a few things on your checklist that we need to be packing!

  6. Farah Al Zadjaly
    June 24, 2020

    This is really good and the checklist is soo helpful. It makes me realize I need to start a new hobby. Hiking might be just it.

  7. Kelly
    June 24, 2020

    I find that the proper socks are the most important whenever I hike, even for a short hike. I have worn sports socks in my hiking boots before and my feet were so sore! I have purchased several pairs of socks now specifically for hiking and they are fantastic!

  8. Agnes
    June 25, 2020

    Such great and useful tips! Proper packing to a hike is crucial. Your printable list is handy!

  9. Pam
    June 25, 2020

    This is great – I always forget something on a day hike because I think of it as a “day hike” and therefore “not a big deal” until you run out of water or wore the wrong socks. haha! definitely saving for later!

  10. sarah g
    June 25, 2020

    Definitely great tips for people who haven’t hiked much! Snacks are always of the utmost importance — especially for all your friends that get hangry.

  11. Jay Artale
    June 26, 2020

    I’m less of a hiker, and more of a rambler. Which I guess it a less strenuous form of hiking, but many of these tips are just as relevant. Hydration being the most important — oh, and really comfortable shoes!!

  12. Michelle Segrest
    June 26, 2020

    This is a very useful guide that novice and experienced hikers can find helpful. I always forget bandaids and blister creme and I always need them! It’s also a great reminder to only take what you absolutely need because those backpacks can get heavy!

  13. Michelle Segrest
    June 26, 2020

    This is a very useful and comprehensive guide for novice and experienced hikers. I always forget bandaids and blister creme, but I always need them! It’s also a great idea to pack light because those backpacks get heavy! Thanks for the very helpful guide!


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