hiking gear list


  • Think about the weather, terrain, altitude, and environment where you will be hiking. Arid, hot southwest hikes require more water and less insect protection than cooler, humid midwest hikes. Modify your gear as needed based on the environment.
  • Buy what you need, but not more. If you will only be on groomed trails, don't spend money on gaiters that are unnecessary, but make sure you get them if your trek takes you through rough brush. Buy a light, inexpensive headlamp rather than one with eight different brightness levels and a flashing mode - unless you really need that for some reason.
  • Get Advice. Ask other hikers for recommendations. If you see someone on the trail with a piece of gear you're interested in, ask how its been working for them.

Essential Gear

___ Day pack or Fanny pack
___ Compass
___ Map
___ Water
___ Water filter
___ Water-purification tablets
___ Water bottle(s)
___ Headlamp or Flashlight
___ Food
___ Matches
___ Backup Fire Starter
___ First-aid kit
___ Knife
___ Sunscreen
___ Sunglasses
___ Whistle
___ Insect repellent


___ Boots/shoes adequate for terrain
___ Gaiters
___ Hiking socks


___ Convertible nylon pants/shorts
___ Fleece jacket
___ Polypropylene underwear (shirt & pants)
___ Wide-brimmed hat
___ Long-sleeved shirt
___ Hooded rain jacket and pants
___ Gloves


___ Key & I.D.
___ Money
___ 50-foot nylon cord
___ Plastic garbage bags
___ Resealable plastic bags
___ Toilet paper
___ Hiking Poles
___ Lip balm (with sunscreen)
___ Repair/sewing kit
___ Pencil and paper
___ Bandanna
___ Watch

Gadgets & Extras

___ Cellphone
___ Camera

___ GPS
___ Weather radio
___ Field guides
___ Binoculars
___ Hiking Books
___ Pocket Stove

Hike On: Hiking Boots

 Mar 29, 2012 - Doug
I agree--this is a great site for anyone who wants to get out on the trail.  I am planning a thru-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail for May and I've been referencing it frequently as I begin to prepare.  The one thing you talk about is the loneliness people feel on a long hike and I'm wondering how it's going for you.  I've read your posts and it seems like you're having a bit of people contact, but tell me:  How's the loneliness factor, and how are your dealing with it?  Here's hoping you make the 800 miles on the AZ Trail.
Apr 24, 2012 - Cody Doyen
you forgot to add hatchets, climbing ropes, and water proof bags.
May 30, 2012 - Barry
Great summary, really like the way you've broken it down into different sections! We'd forgotten about a sewing kit so thanks for the reminder!  We're just about to leave on our round the world trip, and have just finalised our packing list so we're very excited!  If you'd like to see our list, you can at www.worldlynomads.com/index.php/backpacking-packing-list/ we'd love some feedback on anything we may have missed!
Sep 23, 2012 - Lyndall
Great Help to check I had everything for a list I wrote up for a hike with scouts but you seem to have not written down the basics of a sleeping bag or a tent, ect.
Sep 29, 2012 - Hiking Dude
Lyndall - those items are needed for a hike, they are needed for camping.  I would only take those things if I planned to be out more than a day hike.
Nov 04, 2012 - mnach
Add SPIKES SPIKES SPIKES, depending on season

Easy to carry, wish I had them, mount washington mid october.

Feb 01, 2013 - Redzuan Rasul
dont forget your power bank to recharge your gps and cellphone. If you from another country, bring some power converter suit to country socket and power supply. try to minimise tools, choice the multi-purposed tool. water resistence bag is very useful. study early the place you want to go hiking carefully.
Feb 26, 2013 - matt
yea who needs food anyway...
Mar 29, 2013 - Pocquette
I completely agree with you're gear list I'm 14, live in northern minesota and do a lot of hiking out in my back yard and I just wanted to fine tune my gear kit. and found out I was missing a couple items. Thanks!!!!!
Sep 16, 2013 - Iris
What's in your first aid kit? I assume plasters, desinfectant, blisters-plasters, small scissors, few painkillers. Anything else?
Sep 18, 2013 - Hiking Dude
@Iris - if you look at the "Hiking Safety" link, it has first aid kit contents.
Dec 07, 2013 - vic
First thing I bought that you didn't mention was an emergency blanket.  It only weighs a few ounces and can also be used for first aid, shelter, ground tarp, and gear cover not to mention it reflects 90% of your body heat back to you in cold weather.
Feb 23, 2014 - Wium la Cock
Excellent info. I am from South Africa, know the bush and yes, you have your list right on the button, in my opinion.I do however have a small("tea-")candle, pocket pack Kleenex, wound closure strips, 2 steri-pak scalpel blades and 2 Rehidrat sachets in my fanny-pack as well. We have a product here in South Africa called "Soak-it" eco wipes. It is basically a type op wipe that is compressed (disk of 1/2 in thick by 3/4 inch circ.) of and when exposed to water, unfolds/ unravels  to a square wipe of 12 inches x 12 inches. I also keep three of these in my fanny pack. When wet, they wipe anything, as can be imagined, and when dry, they even serve as excellent kindling, especially with a fine coat of Vaseline Lip-Ice to retard flammability. Hope this helps. Keep on hiking dude, keep on hiking.

Apr 17, 2014 - B H
Great information. I love all the posts, I really enjoyed, I would like more information about this, because it is very nice, Thanks for sharing. I like the site best.

Jul 04, 2014 - Alan Learned
These were the biggest mistakes I made on a recent AT section hike:
1) I over-estimated how far I could go in a day. I relied too much on official maps and guidebooks that proved inaccurate, often conflicting, and were subsequently confusing.
2) I did not carry enough water containers. One water bladder is NOT enough, especially in summer hiking prodigious hills where springs are less reliable in warm dry months, even after rains.
3) I brought too many clothes. You need much less than you think. It's okay to stink after a couple of days. Not even your just as stinky partner will care.
4) I carried an overly ample first aid kit. Unless it's the apocalypse, it will prove unnecessarily heavy.
5) I did not know what and where everything in my pack was. Despite their best intentions, do NOT let anyone else pack your things! Nor should you pack theirs.
6) And this I thought was surprising: Not bringing enough food. Snacks only get you so far. Nothing beats a hot meal, even in summer.

Dec 10, 2014 - Zarem
My 1st kit is as follows:
Benadryl. Antacid tablets, Antibiotic Ointment,Antiseptic Towelettes, Bandages, Gauze or Moleskin,Medical Tape, Ace Bandage, Safety Pins, Eye Drops,Tweezers,Scissors,Balm,Nail Clippers & File.

You don't need excessive amounts, mine fits in a small pencil pouch for about $1.

Some hikers may think it's a bit excessive, but I rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.  

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