A Hike Packing List

So, you’ve decided where you want to walk on your first hike, but what do you take?

Knowing what equipment to take is a very important part of a hike’s preparation. Start with a basic list and adapt it over time to the hikes you do and your own needs. Take into account factors such as:

  • where you’re planning to hike
  • types of accommodation available
  • how many people you’re hiking with
  • and how much you’re prepared to carry.

As examples:

  • if you’re planning to hike in a warm dry place, wet weather clothing is unnecessary and just extra weight to carry
  • if there are huts to sleep in at the camp sites you may not need a tent
  • and other factors similar to these.


The basic packing list below is a guide only and doesn’t take into account item weights, which is discussed in a later post. It’s important to get a feel for the types of items you should take and work from there.

If you’re unsure what the items on the list are for or why you should take them, check the notes at the bottom, or the more detailed descriptions in future posts.

The list is grouped into sections for convenience based upon when they are required.

Base Equipment

  • Hiking Pack
  • Walking Poles
  • Camera and Carry Case
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Mat
  • Water Bladder
  • Whistle
  • Plastic Trowel*

Day Clothes

  • Hiking Boots
  • Boot Collars*
  • Socks Wool
  • Sock Liners*
  • Underwear
  • Hiking Pants/Shorts
  • Hiking Shirt
  • Hat/Bandana
  • Sunglasses

Easy Access Equipment

  • Compass
  • Money/Cash Card
  • Maps, Itinerary
  • Duct Tape
  • Toilet Paper
  • Alcohol Based Hand Wash
  • Insect Repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Head Torch
  • Pen and Paper
  • First Aid Kit including Survival Blanket
  • Pocket Knife
  • Pack Cover
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Empty Plastic Bottle
  • GPS/Emergency Beacon

Night Clothes

  • Wool Socks
  • Underwear
  • Thermal Shirt
  • Thermal Pants
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Beanie
  • Flip-Flops
  • Gloves
  • Hiking Towel

At Camp Equipment

  • Cooking Stove
  • Cooking Pot, Lid & Handle
  • Plastic Mug
  • Pocket Knife
  • Gas Cylinder
  • Deodorant
  • Cutlery
  • Water Treatment Tablets/Device*
  • Lighter
  • Matches (Waterproof)
  • Scourer
  • Sewing Kit
  • Lightweight Durable Cord*
  • Spare Batteries
  • A Book
  • Toothbrush/Paste
  • Wet Wipes
  • Small Lightweight Garbage Bags*


*Plastic trowels are for digging latrine holes if no toilets are available or for water channels if it’s likely to rain heavily at a camp site.
*Boot collars prevent small stones and sand from getting into your boots.
*Sock liners are a small lightweight pair of socks worn under hiking socks to help prevent blisters.
*Water treatment tablets/device should be used if you’re in any way unsure of water quality.
*Durable cord is useful in a number of ways: hanging food bags, extra tent support in windy weather, back up shoe laces, washing lines etc.
*Garbage bags are best used for keeping other bags dry within your pack and for carrying garbage.

Food is also an important, but as there are several options, details are provided in a future post.

Always check your equipment against you list at least twice before leaving home to ensure nothing is forgotten.

The Lone Trail Wanderer


2 thoughts on “A Hike Packing List

  1. This is good advice you’re offering. Unfortunately, the trouble with good advice is that people have to use their brains. If you’ll forgive a very brief rant, people are used to being spoon fed, and don’t like thinking for themselves.

    You’re right to stress that what you bring should be based on where you’re going, what conditions you expect to find, and your own personal needs. Too many people take “the ten essentials” as a literal checklist, and think that as long as they carry these ten specific things, they have nothing to worry about (and don’t need to think for themselves).

    As an example, I usually leave the sunscreen behind on day hikes in the mountains near Seattle in November and December. It’s more likely that I won’t see the sun all month, than that I’ll get a burn, and even on those exceedingly rare good weather days, we get 16 hours of darkness and 8 hours of light. On the other hand, you won’t find me without plenty of warm clothing. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment and of course you are correct. My intention was to provide a base list to take when you are hiking with the intention about writing about differing conditions in the future. However, I think it is prudent for my next post to be addition lists for differing conditions on top of the basic list.

      And, I take sunscreen on every hike no matter what, just in case.

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