What Do I Need for Hiking (Basics of Hiking)

The right gear is essential whether you’re just hiking to a favorite waterfall or climbing a challenging peak.

Properly answering the question “what do I need for hiking,” is all you need to prepare adequately for your adventure, especially if you’re a beginner.

This can mean the difference between a slight nuisance and a disastrous outcome when things go wrong, which they frequently do.

Setting up the necessary hiking gear is a vital element of pre-trip planning for novice and experienced wilderness travelers.

When you know what equipment you need, hiking is a safe and fun pastime. The minimal minimum includes things like first aid supplies, sun protection, and navigational aids.

In this article, I will go over our thoughts and preferences for some of the most important hiking gear.

What Do I Need for Hiking (10 Hiking Essentials)

Whether you are a beginner or you have been on a few hikes, you should know there are essential items you must carry with you on a hike.

Here are ten of the most important items you must have with you listed below:

1. Navigation

You should always bring a topo map and a reliable compass when going into the backcountry. They are guaranteed to never run out of batteries and are dependable, lightweight, sturdy, and compact.

So before leaving on your next adventure, learn how to use a map and compass as well as how to avoid getting lost.

GPS devices and mobile apps are great tools to use in addition to a map and compass.

2. Sun Protection

Even when the weather forecast calls for clouds, sun protection is a crucial component of any trek into the backcountry.

Every hiking journey should be deemed to require the use of sunscreen, SPF lip balm, sunglasses (ideally polarized), a brimmed hat, and protective clothes.

3. Insulation

Even during the warm seasons, the weather in the woods can change quickly. Therefore I always suggest bringing an extra layer of insulation.

A simple, easy-to-dry clothing system will ensure your safety and comfort when temps dip.

Avoid cotton products for your wardrobe because they take a long time to dry and absorb heat from your body.

4. Lighting

Always pack a dependable headlight even if you don’t anticipate hiking after dark. A hike can occasionally take longer than expected, and being lost in the dark can quickly make things worse.

You’ll be glad you have a headlamp to guide you home if you ever find yourself suddenly in the backcountry while the sun is setting.

5. First Aid Supplies

You should always carry a complete first aid kit when venturing into the backcountry.

Most travelers purchase prepackaged first aid kits, which offer a portable and trustworthy arrangement for mild illnesses. You’ll be able to modify your first aid kit as you get more hiking expertise to suit your particular needs.

As soon as you get home from your excursion, make sure to replace whatever you used.

6. Fire

Being able to construct a fire in adverse conditions can be a life-saving outdoor ability.

Small lighters usually do just fine, but if you want, you can bring a small fire flint.

Additionally, some hikers create their own inexpensive and simple fire starters, but I typically prefer the simplicity and ease of store-bought supplies.

7. Repair Kit & Tools

Tenacious Tape is excellent for patching up problems like holes in puffy clothing, tears in tent fabric, punctures in sleeping pads, and more.

Duct tape is a terrific all-purpose repair material that can be used to patch eyewear, splint broken tent poles, and even stop blisters from forming when your foot feels heated.

8. Nutrition

When packing for a hike, be sure to include enough calories to keep you energized during a full day of exertion.

While hiking, I frequently eat dried fruits, almonds, jerky, and energy bars.

I advise packing additional calorie-dense food if you’re going on a long hike in case it takes longer than you anticipated.

9. Hydration

To keep your body’s vital systems functioning correctly while you’re out on the trail, it’s imperative that you stay well hydrated.

While hiking, water will keep your muscles and joints functioning normally, allowing you to stay cool when it’s hot outside and warm when it’s chilly.

Pack enough water to last the entire journey, or pack a portable water filter and be aware of where water sources will be along the way.

10. Emergency Shelter

You’ll already have shelter in your bag if you’re going on a multi-day hiking trip. However, I advised packing a small, lightweight emergency shelter for day hikes in case you had to spend the night outside.

Emergency blankets are light, inexpensive choices that can well save your life if you ever find yourself in a life-threatening situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need for beginner hiking?

All you need for your first hike are some sturdy shoes, breathable clothing, and extra layers for warmth and rain.

What should you not bring hiking?

On a hike, you shouldn’t bring anything that is prohibited by the trail’s rules.

Pets, for instance, or drones in an area where it’s not allowed. Additionally, don’t bring anything on a hike that you’re worried will get lost or soiled!

What equipment do you need for hiking?

Hiking boots, water, a rucksack, proper outdoor attire, a first aid kit, hiking poles, and food are considered basic necessities.

Shelter, additional clothing, food, camp shoes, a headlamp, and a separate bag can be some extra equipment you need for your hiking adventure, depending on how long the journey will be or what it will be used for.

What is the most important item in hiking?

While they are useful, phones and GPS systems aren’t always accurate in the backcountry. As a backup, think about bringing a paper map and compass and being familiar with how to use them.

Are sneakers OK to hike in?

Even a pair of city sneakers can manage it if the trail is paved. You can get waterproof trail-running shoes as well, but if you plan to hike in chilly, rainy circumstances, a strong boot may provide you with more warmth and protection.

Is it better to hike in jeans or leggings?

For short, straightforward day treks, leggings are frequently the ideal option; conversely, longer walks or multi-day adventures may call for more tough clothing.

What is the best hiking food?

On the route, hiking snacks are essential. They’ll provide you with the energy you need to reach where you’re going and keep you going throughout the day.

What are the 5 Essentials for Hiking?

Food and water: You need to make sure you have enough food and water to last you the entire trip.

Depending on the length of your hike, you may need to pack more or less food.

The same goes for water. It is important to know how much water you will need per day and plan accordingly.

Shelter: A tent or tarp can provide much-needed shelter from the elements.

If you are hiking in an area with a lot of trees, you may be able to find some natural shelter like a cave or rock overhang.

First-aid kit: A first-aid kit is essential for any type of outing, but especially when hiking in remote areas where help may be far away.

Be sure to pack supplies for common injuries like blisters and scrapes as well as more serious items like snake bite kits or splints.

Navigation tools: A map and compass (or GPS device) are essential for navigation in unfamiliar territory.

Make sure you know how to use them before setting out on your hike!


These hiking essentials are all you need for a fun and safe adventure. Depending on factors like the weather, the difficulty, the length of the trip, and the distance from support, you can adjust the specific items you pack for the hike.

Hopefully, this hiking packing list has clarified the necessities for those who are new to the activity.

And if you’ve already worn out your hiking boots, perhaps you’ve found a brand-new essential piece of equipment. Regardless, have fun on your upcoming journey, and safe travels!

With any luck, this advice will keep you secure and at ease on your upcoming hike in a remote area.

If you found this advice valuable, don’t hesitate to forward it to your friends.

Chloe Jeffreys


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