I was thinking today on what should be on a hiking gear checklist for hikers who are just starting out.
With that in mind I created the list below as general guide to what you should be looking to acquire when getting your hiking gear together for a day hike.
Hiking Trousers or Hiking Shorts
Suitable hiking trousers are a must. Waterproof is always a good idea. I like ones with air vent’s in them which can be opened to allow better air circulation in to keep your legs dry as your sweat is allowed to wick away from the skin. I also like hiking trousers with detachable bottoms so they can easily double up as shorts.
A must for cooler temperatures. A good hiking fleece will keep you warm and dry under the right Waterproof hiking jacket.
You need to be sure you have adequate base layers. The first base layer is next to your skin so, like your hiking trousers, you want breathability to let sweat wick away comfortably. The colder it is, the more layers you need. Always good to carry an extra one or two with you just in case.
If you will be wading through marsh, water, snow, etc. Gaiters are really useful to help keep your feet and your boots drier.
If it’s cold when you’re hiking a good woolen hat is a great addition to have. Worn under the hood of your waterproof jacket, it will keep your head nice and toasty! Alternatively, if it’s blistering hot and the sun is beating down, a baseball hat or beach-style hiking hat will protect you from any harmful rays.
These need to be waterproof, wind resistant and ideally leaving you with some mobility in your hands for grasping, opening, etc.
Good socks are as important as good boots. It is worth getting good hiking socks that complement your hiking boots or shoes to ensure maximum comfort and avoid the dreaded blister!
Day or Technical pack
You of course need something to carry your extra gear and some basic supplies in so a comfortable day pack on your back is a must.
Hiking Boots and Shoes
Of key importance when hiking. You need the right hiking boots or shoes for the climate and weather you are hiking in. It needs to be a good fit and your boot or shoe should be well broken in. It is a good idea to break them in, in your house or around the block before ever using them on a hike. Always wear your hiking socks when breaking a hiking boot in!
Waterproof Hiking Jacket
Really depends on what climate you are hiking in but invariably it will rain at some point so you need to have the right waterproof hiking jacket with you. There are many options to choose from, many of which have detachable layers and so can be adapted to be used all year-round.
Extra Hiking Clothing
Extra clothing is a must if you are moving in and out of different temperatures and weather which can happen very easily as you ascend further up a mountain. Always good to have a bit more than less I think.
This list is not exhaustive but it does list out some of the key things you should be taking with you on your day hike. Being as prepared as possible will ensure that you have as comfortable and enjoyable a hike as possible.