Day Hiking Gear List

Getting away for a day hike gets you out of The Grind and resets your mind. And, when you have your day hiking gear all set, you can bounce from civilization at a moment's notice - fill up the water bottles, pack a lunch, and get out of Dodge. I enjoy a couple dozen day hikes each year, and it really is medicine for the soul.

On Me

  • Lightweight, quick-drain trail shoes
  • Wicking socks
  • Hiking pants/shorts
  • Wicking shirt(s)
  • Road ID bracelet
  • Technical hat
  • Hiking poles
  • Mobile phone
  • Map

In My 23L Backpack 

  • Compass/whistle/thermometer
  • 2 32-oz. water bottles
  • Lifestraw
  • 1 gal. zip-lock baggie with food and long spoon
  • 1 gal. zip-lock baggie to pack out trash
  • Multi-tool/knife
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • First-aid kit
  • Bear spray, if appropriate
  • Trowel
  • Bath wipes
  • Solar cell battery backup with caribeener
  • USB charging cable
  • Headlamp
  • 6 AAA batteries
  • Fire starter sticks
  • Lighter
  • 50-ft. paracord
  • Emergency sleeping bag/bivvy
  • Long sleeve synthetic quarter-zip shirt
  • Beanie
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Emergency poncho
  • Lightweight rain pants

Gear Favorites

  • Trail Shoes | In my experience, lightweight, quick-draining trail shoes are 100% the way to go. They're comfortable, perform brilliantly, and when crossing streams, they drain beautifully.
  • Wicking Socks | When it's warm, wicking socks will keep your feet dry - avoiding blisters and generally keeping you more comfortable. I wear Swiftwick socks and they've kept me blister-free for years.
  • Wool Socks | When it's cold, wool socks are perfect. Even if your feet get wet, your feet will stay warm, and they dry faster than their cotton peers.
  • Hiking Poles | These are great - especially for strenuous hikes when you're legs start to tire.