Top 25 Essential Gear for any Hiking Checklist

You finally set aside some time to go hiking. Locked in the day, Googled the heck out of the mountain you intend to climb, obsessed on the weather, and invited your more adventurous friends. But now it’s time to get your gear ready and you're feeling like an amateur...

Did you get ahead of yourself here?

The extensive list below covers the kind of supplies that will prepare you for any day-hike situation in the spring, summer, or fall. Well, except for encountering a pack of wolves – you’re on your own for that one.

Also, since day hikes can turn into overnighters, and since getting lost or injured in the wilderness can be fatal – we've rounded you off with some emergency supplies.

Even if you’re the experienced, “I-hiked-Mount-Whitney-five-times” kind of guy, you might find something new and cool on this list. If not, or if we missed something, let us know in the comments!

Note: While you're at it, you might want to check out our 20 Awesome Camping Gadgets.

Chia Surge Energy Gel Packs
fave 4 Faves
  • 234 bought
High Performance endurance gel is perfect for extreme activities, sports, or outdoor adventures.
First Aid Only Outdoor First Aid Kit, Soft Case, 205-Piece Kit
fave 3 Faves
  • 434 bought

4.40 stars

This small, outdoor first aid kit has everything you need... in case the odds are against you.

  • Full-fledged, easy-to-tote first aid softpack
  • Contains essentials
  • Educational cards explain injury treatment

When on any outdoor adventure - better safe than sorry! Here's the thing, leaving any injury to fester is just plain stupid. It always makes sense to clean it up and care for any wound as best as you can. And this small pack offers a lot of assistance in that regard.

What Reviewers Say:

  • This kit is wonderful. It has so many useful items in it, which I believe, on what you must have at least, in every First Aid kit! I have noticed most injuries do happen outside. Maybe it's a cut, scrape, sting from an insect, etc. The kit also has contents that also apply to in-door "accidents" as well.
  • I've come to realize that there is no such thing as the "perfect" first-aid kit, with absolutely everything one needs in it. However, this is a very good kit as a "starting point". Other reviewers have documented what is included in the kit, so I won't rehash that. What's included is of good quality- be sure to check the expiration dates, when applicable, and replace as needed. I check monthly to make sure all is up-to-date & not used up.
  • This is exactly the kit I was looking for to keep in my ATV. It contains a generous supply of the basics for injuries and minor wounds that might occur in remote areas. Although it contains two small rolls of medical tape, I've found that a large roll of tape sufficient to wrap sprained ankles, wrists or to bandage a puncture wound always comes in handy. Add that item. This kit is light-weight and fits perfectly into an ATV saddle bag. The flexible nylon container allows for extra items that might be desired - and the bright-orange color keeps it easily visible in the woods if you are working an emergency away from the vehicle, so you will not lose it in the leaves.
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ASICS Men's Favorite Short Sleeve Top
fave 1 Fave
  • 92 bought
Don't underestimate the good value of a simple, yet effective short-sleeve shirt. This lightweight, breathable short- sleeve is perfect for any active sport or exercise. Easy to move about in and has 50+ UPF protection.
UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers
fave 3 Faves
  • 177 bought
In case of the [unlikely] chance of you being stranded outdoors for a night, it is always better to be prepared and have a case of waterproof storm matches, to ensure that you can still build a fire. Better safe than sorry!
 SmartWool Hiking Medium Crew Sock for Men
fave 2 Faves
  • 99 bought
Socks can make a significant difference in any outdoor activity. Even for a simple day hike, you want to be sure you have comfortable, warm and durable socks to keep your feet protective all day long.
Prana Stretch Zion Convertible Pants
fave 2 Faves
  • 203 bought

Why People Love It

  • Abrasion resistant
  • Features the original Stretch 'Zion' fabric, with added durability andwater repellent
  • Quick dry stretch nylon performance fabric

The best part about these pants are the convertible option - can be made into shorts!

We love these pants because they are comfortable, versatile for either sports or casual wear, have great pockets, and are always a perfect fit. 

What Reviewers Say:

  • I have several pairs of these, shorts and long pants. I wear them almost exclusively. Excellent fit (I'm a 34" waist and wear a medium) and no need for a belt ever. Ideal for getting through airport security with one hassle fewer. I almost never use the "roll-up" feature, so I could live without the snaps, but all in all, my favorite pants ever. Wouldn't mind if they went back to having cargo pockets on both legs, either.
  • I bought a pair of PrAna hiking shorts and really loved the way they felt. So, I bought these hiking pants and wore them on a 5-day backpacking trip. First, let me say that they were the most comfortable pair of hiking pants I have ever worn. Ever. They are snug, yet breathable. Next, I was very pleased to find that I was able to get them clean. After 5 days of sitting in dirt I came home, sprayed them up with a stain remover, and threw them in the wash. They came out as good as new.
  • These are my new favorite pants. Not just hiking pants, but overall. They are just so comfortable. I really like the stretch in the material as this allows them to be slim fitting yet allow great range of movement. I actually love the built in belt. It snugs them up perfectly without the weight of another belt. They are light weight and soft also. I haven't had them long enough to comment on durability, so hopefully they live up to their ranking. I tried several other brands of convertibles (Kuhl, Columbia) and one thing I really like about the Prana Zion's is the fabric is quiet. The Kuhl's made the swish-swish noise with every step, kind of ruining a peaceful stroll through a quiet meadow. If I had a beef, it would be that the shorts are long. I know this is the modern fit, but I would like them 1 inch shorter and I wish the bottom had a zipper. Overall, my favorite hiking pant after a long search. I'm thinking about getting some of the regular (non-convertible) pants for everyday wear.
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Rab Stretch Neo Hardshell Jacket
fave 2 Faves
  • 136 bought
This highly rated hardshell jacket has crossover chest pockets, 2 large interior mesh pockets for storage, and a hood that is compatible for a helmet. Perfect for ice and alpine climbing.
Dorcy LED Waterproof Flashlight
fave 2 Faves
  • 150 bought
The waterproof design is made with a rubber coating that gives it a slip-free grip and extra cushion to absorb shock. It's built to float, in case it is accidentally dropped into the water. It also comes equipped with a tail cap carabineer clip that makes it easy to secure so you know where it is when you need it.
North Face Hedgehog Guide Tall GTX Hiking Boot - Men's
fave 2 Faves
  • 1897 bought

We love the North Face Hedgehog hiking boots as it's a lightweight option. It has the Gore-Tex membrane, for waterproof protection and performance. Tough, durable, with synthetic leather, and also has the added ankle support for rugged terrain.

Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottle with 3.0 Sport Cap
fave 2 Faves
  • 94 bought
We love this water bottle because it is perfect for daily use. It's durable, has a metal interior so it doesn't hold mold or taste. It's perfect for day hikes, sports, camping, or just to carry around with you everyday.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
fave 4 Faves
  • 264 bought

4.70 stars

Small, awesome, easy to use and carry water filter. This personal, award-winning device has been used by millions around the globe.

  • Removes bacteria and parasites 
  • Filters up to 1000 liters 
  • Stores perfectly

It can filter up to 1000 liters of contaminated water without using drops, iodine, chlorine or other chemicals. It comes in a sealed bag, so it's perfect for emergencies.

Silva Explorer Compass
fave 1 Fave
  • 180 bought
This classic compass is great for hikers, as it's a smaller size, fitting comfortably in your hand. Includes two-degree dial graduation, luminous points and a red lanyard.
Buck Trio Folding Pocket Knife
fave 2 Faves
  • 177 bought
3-blade folding knife is convenient for hiking, fishing or an outdoor adventure. It has classic woodgrain handles, and comes with Lifetime warranty. Great for a gift as well!
Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat
fave 3 Faves
  • 201 bought
This is not just any regular hat. This hat is specifically designed and created for your Sunday afternoon adventures - whether that be hiking, fishing, or exploring, the oversize flap will protect you from the sun but still keep you cool.
Keen Targhee II Mid Waterproof Boots
fave 2 Faves
The Keen Targhee hiking shoes are perfect for backpacking and day hiking. They weigh a little over 2 lbs so depending on your taste these might be perfect. They're waterproof with a breathable membrane. These boots have a very roomy toe box with a folding point above the toes.
Chili's First Rate Polarized Sunglasses - Men's
fave 2 Faves
  • 240 bought
These are affordable polarized sunglasses for men that are sturdy, a good fit, comfortable and provide protection. Good for a outdoor camping trip, as they are rugged and still stylish!
Suunto Vector Outdoor Sports Watch with Altimeter Barometer & Compass Functions
fave 2 Faves
  • 253 bought
$219.00 | Save: $63.03 (29%)
Keep track of your rest periods between sets, count the minutes in your HIIT workout, or see how long you can hold that plank position. This outdoor altimeter watch is also useful for backpacking, trekking or mountaineering. Has a nice face and display, which makes it easy to read in intense light. Measures elevation, has an altitude log, and can log your total number of runs.
MSR Pocket Rocket Backpacking Stove
fave 1 Fave
  • 193 bought
This pocket stove is very compact but it doesn't make any compromises for your hiking and outdoor treks. Being lightweight, it fits into the smallest corner of your pack and is very simple to use. No need for preheating - just turn on, light and start cooking!
REI Men's Revelcloud Jacket
fave 1 Fave
  • 221 bought
This synthetic insulated jacket is lightweight, so can easily be stuffed into your backpack for your next outdoor adventure. This outdoor jacket provides lightweight warmth during cold, dry days on the trail. Durable and packable, water and wind resistant!
Leatherman Squirt PS4
fave 1 Fave
  • 412 bought

4.60 stars

The Squirt stands out for its compact size, which is perfect if you are hoping to pack light.

  • Stainless steel
  • Outside-accessible tools
  • Key ring attachment

Even though it is the smallest in the Leatherman world, it's just as strong as its bigger brothers and the blades are just as sharp.

Princeton LED Headlamp
fave 3 Faves
  • 84 bought
Your headlamp for your night hike! Shock resistant with LED lamp type, this is a perfect headlamp for hiking and outdoor activities.
Bushnell Binoculars H20 Waterproof 10x26
fave 3 Faves
  • 100 bought
Compact pair of binoculars are perfect for an outdoor adventure. 100% waterproof, lightweight, and easy to hold when wet, you will never miss a closer look again!
Camelbak Products Dart Hydration Backpack
fave 2 Faves
  • 148 bought
Maximize your time outdoor with this compact hydration kit, holding up to 2 L of water.
 Black Diamond Distance Trekking Pole
fave 2 Faves
  • 274 bought

4.60 stars

If you are planning a rigorous hike, taking along trekking poles would be a great idea!

  • A versatile and affordable 
  • Durable aluminum 
  • Lightweight

These hiking poles are versatile and have the stable Z-Pole design to hold up everyday-use by hikers, trail runners or backpackers.

Osprey Comet Day Pack
fave 2 Faves
  • 152 bought
This awesome convenient day pack is comfortable and perfect for day hikes. This Osprey Comet Pack has multiple pockets, including a side zip access panel, stretch woven side pockets for water bottles or shades.
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Top 25 Essential Gear for any Hiking Checklist
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