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If you’re packing up and heading out on a cheeky day hike soon, I’m sure you’re gear bag is filled with things like a few energizing snacks, a compass, and your phone to use as a map (or heck, maybe even a real map!). But while those things are all fantastic, there are a few day hiking essentials you need to pack that most people don’t think of! Keep scrolling to see the list.

Psst, this post contains affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

A few weekends ago, Dan and I hiked up Blencathra Peak via Sharp Edge, which is on the northern edge of the Lake District National Park.

As we traversed this incredibly challenging hike, I admired the wildly awesome views of far-off mountains and endless green hills, and said 3 words I never ever thought would leave my mouth…

“I LOVE HIKING.”

Seriously.

As someone who was born and raised in the flat, pancake lands of Northern Minnesota, who literally hadn’t actually done a *real* hike until the ripe age of 19, I never thought I’d become an avid hiker.

But here we are.

And over half a decade later after my first hike, I’ve tacked on endless miles, hiking all over Southeast Asia, England, Wales, and the United States.

Throughout those years, I have thoroughly fallen in love with the outdoors! I now crave regular escapes to nature, usually in the form of a day hike at a gorgeous national park or in the beautiful countryside.

That said, no matter where I’m heading out to for a day hike, there are a few essentials I always remember to bring with me!

So, if you’re venturing out soon and wondering what you should pack for a day hike, here are my 7 essentials I always remember to bring along.

7 ESSENTIALS TO ALWAYS PACK FOR A DAY HIKE

1. Buff or Multi-Purpose Headband

One of my personal favorites items for any sort of hike, small or big, a Buff is great for a whole variety of uses.

Whether you need to mop up some sweat, keep hair outta your face, wipe away any snot, put your hair up in a ponytail, or simply keep your face warm on a chilly, winter or fall hike, these babies seriously come in handy.

Want one for yourself? Grab one here from Etsy or Amazon.

I’m using my handy dandy Buff as a neck warmer here!

2. Extra Socks

Without a doubt, an extra pair of socks come in handy no matter where you’re going! Because who doesn’t love dry and fresh feet, amirite?

I mean, think about it — what if you accidentally step in a deep puddle and your sock get sopping wet?

Or what if you’re hiking during the winter and you simply need to swap your wet socks for dryer socks to keep your feet warm and cozy?

Whatever the case, an extra pair of socks is always a good idea!


3. Filtering Water Bottle

…or at least a water bottle. But personally, I always travel and hike with a GRAYL, which is a filtering water bottle.

This handy dandy hiking essential makes it easy to drink fresh, clean water no matter where I am. (As long as there’s a water source to tap into, that is!)

Even better, with the GRAYL, I can fill up friend’s water bottles, too!

It’s SO important to stay hydrated when on a hike, so if you grab yourself a filtering water bottle, I have no doubt it’ll be on your list of essentials to pack for a day hike, too.

Grab a GRAYL filtering water bottle here.

Filtering some fresh mountain water with my GRAYL!

4. Packable Jacket

I absolutely adore my Columbia Womens Arcadia II Jacket.

It’s incredibly lightweight, super packable (packs away in the pocket), waterproof (great for drizzly hikes), wind resistant, and breathable!

No matter where I’m going or what sort of day hike I’m heading out on, I always make sure to bring along this jacket to prepare for unexpected weather.

Curious to see this jacket for yourself? Take a look at the Columbia Womens Arcadia II Jacket here.

Wearing the my Columbia jacket here!

5. Backpack Rain Cover

Ensure any valuable items in your day pack (or hiking backpack) don’t get ruined if you’re caught unprepared in a torrential downpour!

Bring along a high-quality backpack rain cover to stick over your pack when hiking to keep your things dry and safe.

Personally, I use this one.

It packs away into a tiny little square, yet is big enough to fit over my 40L Osprey Backpack (which I use for long-term backpacking adventures) and small enough to fit over my smaller 15L Osprey day pack.


6. Lightweight, Microfiber Towel

Sweating up a storm, hiking in heavy rain, or maybe going for a spontaneous swim?

A microfiber towel that’s easy to pack, lightweight, and dries in a jiffy is a must in situations like these.

I don’t know about you but when hiking on a hot day, if I come across a lone lake in the middle of nowhere with zero people in the vicinity, I’m going in for a quick dip to cool off!

Sounds crazy? Maybe. But it’s worth it!

There are so many times I’ve been grateful for a lightweight, microfiber towel on a day hike. And if you have some room to pack one for your own adventure, I highly recommend it.

Check out this lightweight, microfiber towel here. (Which is highly rated!)


7. Toilet Paper

Last but not least, toilet paper is a must when packing for a day hike.

Not just for those necessary wilderness pees (or poos — no judgement here), toilet paper comes in handy for clearing a runny nose and wiping away sweat. (Or if you’re like me in cold weather, drying my watery eyes.)

To be an eco-friendly hiker, always take your toilet paper garbage with you and discard it properly. (Don’t be a litter bug — that’s icky and rude to mother earth.)

Additionally, try to buy plastic-free toilet paper to reduce your plastic consumption. I can personally recommend Who Gives a Crap, which is what Dan and I use in our home!

Psst, toilet paper came in VERY handy on this hike!

With these 7 essentials to pack for a day hike, you can rest assured you’re ready for any adventure!

Personally, I try to keep a hiking day pack in the closet that’s already stocked with these items to ensure I’m always ready to go and don’t forget anything.

Tell me, what else do you take with you on a day hike? Do you have any must-have day hike essentials? Share in the comments below!

Sophie xx


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If you're packing up and heading out on a cheeky day hike soon, I'm sure you're gear bag is filled with things like a few energizing snacks, a compass, and your phone to use as a map (or heck, maybe even a real map!). But while those things are all fantastic, there are a few day hiking essentials you need to pack that most people don't think of! Keep scrolling to see the list. #Packing #Packlist #dayhike #whattopack #hikingessentials
Need some ideas on what to pack for a day hike? If you're packing up and heading out on a cheeky day hike soon, I'm sure you're gear bag is filled with things like a few energizing snacks, a compass, and your phone to use as a map (or heck, maybe even a real map!). But while those things are all fantastic, there are a few day hiking essentials you need to pack that most people don't think of! Keep scrolling to see the list. #whattopack #packinglist #dayhike #hikingtips #hikingessentials

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