Free Hiking Essentials Checklist
Hiking is a great outdoor activity to keep our bodies in good physical shape and our minds sharp. However, preparing for your hikes can be time-consuming, from picking your trail to packing all the essentials for your trip. We created a free printable hiking essentials checklist to make sure you don’t forget the essentials on your next hiking trip.
These hiking essentials are meant to help you enjoy your activity more and provide you with basic safety gear. Whether you are going on a day hike or a multi-day hike, here are our basic hiking essentials any hiker should always carry in his or her backpack:
These aren’t for the backpack, and you should never go hiking in sneakers! Maybe bring an extra pair of socks in your backpack if the weather is bad or it’s snowing to keep your feet dry. Getting the perfect hiking boots takes time and patience. If they are new, make sure you break them in well before going on your day-hike.
Many national and state parks now provide trail maps via app downloads. Go ahead and check the state’s website for an app download and preload it on your smartphone with the trail map. But make sure you carry a paper version of the map as well. You never know when you will be without service or worse…battery.
Make sure you carry an adequate amount of water for yourself and whoever is coming with you. The recommendation is two quarts per person. You have to stay hydrated! If you are bringing your dog, don’t forget to get your pooch some water, too!
Never go out hiking without some food and snacks. Even go as far as bringing something sweet, in case someone’s blood sugar does down or a diabetic which sugar level drops below the recommended level.
Medication, First Aid Kit, Multi-Purpose Tool, Matches
If you or someone else takes medication, remember to bring the prescriptions. Also, it’s a good idea to have a small first-aid kit and some basic safety gear like a multi-purpose tool and matches.
Rain Gear, Sun Screen, and Insect Repellant
As mentioned before, if the weather is not great, bring extra clothes to change – never stay in wet clothes – and a poncho to keep dry. If its the summertime, wear sunscreen to block the sun’s harmful rays and an insect repellant to keep the bugs and flies away.
Compass, Flash Light, Hiking Sticks
The iPhones come with a Compass app and on Android, there are multiple free Compass apps for download, but you can always for an old-fashioned compass tool to make sure you know the direction you are going in. Of course, a flashlight should also be kept in your backpack. For those that use hiking sticks, make sure you attach them to your backpack!
Check the forecast, Emergency Numbers
Before heading out on your hike, check the weather. Keep up to date with any oncoming storms. Also, let someone know where you are going and for how long. Write down any important or emergency numbers and keep them safe.
Napkins, Bags to collect trash
At one point or another, your hands will get dirty, so bring some napkins or paper towels to clean up. Also, make sure what you carry-in you carry-out as well. So, bring a bag and collect your trash as well as your dog’s trash.
Phone Solar Power Charger or Power Battery Bank, Camera and its accessories
If you going to be gone for more than a few hours, it’s a good idea to get a solar charger or a battery bank for your smartphone. It’s never a good idea to be unreachable, and with a dead cell phone battery. If you a photographer, don’t forget the camera and its accessories, including the extra batteries.
Download Your Free Hiking Essentials Checklist (PDF)
Not everyone likes to check off things online, so for those that are old school like myself, we provided the checklist in PDF so you can download it and print it for your convenience. Download your hiking essentials checklist here for free.
Hiking Ideas in New Jersey
If you are in New Jersey or plan to go, some awesome day hike ideas are legging it up to the High Point Monument in Sussex County or the abandoned Van Slyke’s Castle in Ramapo Mountain State Forest. For the more experienced that love a longer outing, check out the Appalachian Trail that goes through New Jersey from Maine to Georgia.