Day Hike Checklist

Keeping short and sweet hikes short and sweet

Download Checklist as Adobe PDF

Day hikes are a great way to explore the natural surroundings. Whether you drive to a local trail for a few hours or hike from your campground, these treks can be short, sweet and very rewarding. Even if you plan on sticking to established paths, you'll need to keep your orientation wits about you. Just because you're on a popular trail doesn't mean you can't get lost. Don't forget to pack your map and compass alongside your common sense.

While forgetting essential gear isn't unusual, many day trekkers err in the other direction and take too much. Bring what you need, but remember that you'll be carrying everything - all day. Being loaded down with excess gadgets or rations will take the fun out of a hike faster than an angry grizzly.

Parents on family hikes often act like pack mules, so be sure to divvy up the goods before heading out. Not only will this save your shoulders, it will give the kids a reality check. Hiking is more than a walk in the woods, but if you use our list, you'll have what you need without taxing yourself.

Before You Go

  • Make sure all electronic devices are fully charged
  • Leave your itinerary with family, friends or park officials
  • Check the weather forecast

Pack in Your Day Pack

  • Map(s)
  • Compass and / or GPS device
  • First aid kit
  • Swiss army knife or multi-purpose tool
  • Extra food and water
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Matches (stormproof or in waterproof container)
  • Fire starter(s)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (preferably SPF 30 or above)
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone or PDA (fully charged)
  • Camera (film or extra memory card)
  • Extra batteries

Clothing and Footwear

  • Hat
  • Shorts or pants (depending on weather conditions)
  • Short-sleeved shirt(s)
  • Long-sleeved shirt(s)
  • Sweater (fleece or wool)
  • Warm pants (fleece or wool)
  • Raingear / warm coat
  • Gloves
  • Warm hat (fleece or wool)
  • Hiking boots or hiking shoes (depending on terrain)
  • Extra socks
  • Extra laces
  • Hiking stick / pole
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