Hiking Checklist


Hiking Checklist

There are not many things more enjoyable in life than spending a day wandering through the great outdoors. However, the items you do or do not bring can affect how much you enjoy that day. As far as what those items are will depend on things like your skill level, your experience, the duration of your hike, the weather conditions you will encounter, etc. So, while there will always be a core set of items that you will want to pack, every hike will require a few things that are unique to that outing. Additionally, you may not go Hiking enough to justify keeping a fully packed daypack sitting around and ready to go at all times. So, keeping a Hiking Checklist handy to make sure you have not forgotten anything can provide you extra peace of mind.

Why do I need a Hiking Checklist?

There is no worse feeling than getting to your first rest stop realizing you forgot a crucial item. Having the necessary supplies and equipment can make a significant difference in your overall enjoyment and experience while Hiking and checklists are a great tool to help with your organization. To help you relax during a day on the trails, we have put together a fairly extensive Hiking Checklist. You can add or remove items to build out a custom list that will suit your individual needs.

What are the different types of Hiking?

If you are looking for a list that outlines the various types of Hiking, then feel free to follow the link below and check out the list we have put together. Some of them you may or may not have heard of, and others you may just know by a different name. While our list is certainly not definitive, we feel it is a good guide and starting place to help Hikers (and future Hikers) understand the full breadth of Hiking scenes and settings that are available to them.

Types of Hiking

Could I possibly need anything other than what is listed here?

That is certainly a possibility. We have tried to put together a comprehensive list that will cover anything you could potentially need regardless of the environment, conditions, or duration. However, we cannot predict everything. There may also be a piece of gear that you use that we have not come across before. We are constantly learning just like you, and we promise to keep this list as up-to-date and relevant as possible. If you have something that always finds its way into your pack that you cannot find listed below, then please Contact us so that we can add it for future readers.

Table of Contents

This list outlines the various categories of items that you may or may not need when preparing for a Hiking trip. You obviously do not need everything on this list. Every trip will have its own challenges and require its own items. However, hopefully, this list contains everything that you could potentially need. If you do end up needing something that is not on this list feel free to Contact us and let us know so that we can update this list for others in the future.

Hiking Checklist Categories:

Hiking Basics

This is what we like to think of as the TLDR Hiking Checklist. You will see all the items here listed again in the other sections down below, but most of these will go into more detail. However, if you just need a quick, peace-of-mind check, then this section is a good reference. For more information about some of these items, continue down to the other sections or navigate directly to one of them using the Table of Contents.

  • Hiking backpack
  • Weather appropriate clothing (moisture-wicking and layers)
  • Hiking boots or shoes
  • Trail running shoes or boots
  • Plenty of food
  • Plenty of water
  • Navigation (i.e. map & compass)
  • First-aid kit
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Sun protection
  • Insect repellent

Hiking Gear

Hiking Gear

If you are going hiking, you will likely need something to carry everything. Depending on the duration of your hike and how many people are going will determine the size of the daypack that you need. The majority of the items in this section are optional. However, if you are going to be tackling some difficult terrain, then trekking poles may not be a bad idea. We personally like the telescoping trekking poles. Mainly because if you end up not needing them, then you can collapse them down and just strap them to your daypack.

  • Daypack

Nice to haves:

  • Rain cover (for daypack)
  • Trekking poles
  • Variable sized stuff sacks (waterproof or regular)

Clothing & Footwear

When picking your clothing just remember that you are always better off having too much than not enough. Make sure you pack the right gear to match against the type of conditions you are going to be facing. If there is a chance for rain, then pack a rain suit and gaiters. If there is going to be snow, then make sure you pack all your layers.

The saying I was taught growing up is, “It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”

  • Moisture-wicking underwear
  • Moisture-wicking t-shirt
  • Quick-drying pant/shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirt (for sun/bugs)
  • Lightweight fleece/jacket
  • Hiking boots/shoes suited for the terrain
  • Socks (synthetic or wool)
  • Extra clothes (beyond the minimum)

Nice to haves:

  • Trail running shoes/boots
  • Rainsuit (jacket and pants)
  • Long underwear
  • Insulated jacket/vest (down or synthetic)
  • Fleece pants
  • Insulated gloves/mittens
  • Warm hat
  • Bandana/Buff
  • Gaiters

Hiking Gear - Food & Water

Food & Water

For most hikes, a few snacks and a full water bottle will be enough. In the event of longer hikes, you may need to pack a single meal, and energy foods and drink mix come in handy for hikes with a lot of elevation change. Finally, things like extra food and water treatment supplies are needed for the worst-case scenario (getting lost). Always plan for the worst and you will never be surprised.

  • Water bottles and/or bladder (reservoir)
  • Water filter/purifier or chemical treatment
  • Trail snacks
  • Extra food

Nice to haves:

  • Energy food and drinks (bars, gels, chews, trail mix, drink mix)
  • Meal (breakfast/lunch/supper)

Always try to do your due diligence for a hike and have as many tools as you can to ensure you stay on the right path. I personally try to have a printed map of the area I plan to be in or a saved picture on my phone that I can zoom into. For extra insurance, I have a Garmin Fenix series watch that I am able to use to cross-reference the map and track the distance that I have traveled. This has proven to work quite well to help me know where I am at all times.

Additionally, before you set out on your trip, you should always spec out your route and leave it with your emergency contact. This can also help you to have an idea of various landmarks and where switchbacks are along the way, which will allow you to have a better idea of where you are going.

  • Map
  • Compass
  • Route description or guidebook
  • Check the weather before the hike
  • Call the ranger station before the hike to check trail conditions and regulations

Nice to haves:

  • Altimeter watch
  • GPS
  • Satellite messenger/PLB (personal locator beacon)

Emergency & First-Aid

For a quick reference, we have listed some of the First-Aid Supplies that you need while Hiking. However, for the full list of items that we recommend please feel free to check out our comprehensive list of First-Aid Supplies by following the link below.

First-Aid Supplies Checklist

  • Band-aids of various sizes
  • Anti-biotic ointment
  • Gauze pads
  • Medical tape
  • Latex gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • Moleskin (blister prevention)
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidiarrheal
  • Blister treatment supplies
  • Whistle
  • Lighter, matches, or fire starter (in a waterproof container)
  • Two trip itineraries (one for you and the other left with your emergency contact)
  • Personal and emergency contact info on your person

Nice to haves:

  • Emergency shelter
  • Emergency blanket or bivy

Health & Hygiene

This is definitely not a section you want to skip on. Depending upon how remote your hiking location is going to be and the people in the group, you may need to have every item in this section in your daypack.

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Prescription medications
  • Feminine products
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Ballcap or sun hat
  • Insect repellent

Nice to haves:

  • SPF lip balm
  • Toilet paper or baby wipes
  • Urinary products
  • Sanitation trowel
  • Alcohol or antiseptic wipes

Tools & Repair Items

Usually, hikes do not require too much for this section. You really just need the basics.

  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Small repair kit (i.e. duct tape, super glue, zip ties, etc.)
  • Stormproof matches and/or fire starter

Personal Items

Hopefully, you will not need any of these items while you are Hiking. However, you always need to plan for the worst, and in the worst-case scenario, you are going to need some or all of these items.

  • Hiking permits (if applicable)
  • Credit card(s) and/or cash
  • Personal identification
  • Health insurance card
  • Car keys
  • Cell phone

Additional Items

These are items that do not necessarily fit anywhere else. However, depending on the trip and the conditions you could potentially need some or many of the items in this section. As mentioned previously, make sure you do your due diligence before your hike and know the situation that you are walking into. That research will dictate the additional items that you need to take.

  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Camera
  • Ziploc bag to pack out any trash
  • Small quick-drying towel
  • Bear spray (if applicable)

Nice to haves:

  • Interpretive field guide(s)
  • Field journal with pen/pencil
  • Binoculars
  • Two-way radios
  • Lightweight hammock
  • Backpacking stool/chair
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Waterproof camera case


If you are new to Hiking or it has been a while since your last trip, a checklist like this is a great way to make sure you have everything you need to be prepared. Alternatively, even if you are an experienced hiker, we are only human and we all forget things. Going through and checking boxes on a checklist is a great way to make sure you have packed everything on your list. Furthermore, different items are needed depending on the duration of the hike. So, once again a checklist comes in handy to make sure you have everything you need.

As we mentioned at the beginning, if there is anything that you think we may have missed, then please Contact us. We would be happy to add additional items to this checklist to help other hikers in the future, as well as you the next time you use this Hiking Checklist for reference.