Packing List For A Day Hike

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What do you pack when you go out for a day of hiking? We often go for walks on the Malvern Hills as they are on our doorstep. Recently though, I went on a 25 kilometre hike in London. This was a completely different experience from walking in the shady countryside near home. It got me thinking about the things it’s wise to pack for a hike.

Some of these items are relevant wherever you’re walking. Others will differ depending on where you are, how far you’re going and the weather. My hiking packing list for a day hike incorporates all eventualities, so you can pick and choose which items you’ll personally need when you go out walking.

I’m not covering the things you will be wearing in this list – I’m assuming you’re dressed for the conditions and wearing a great pair of hiking boots or trainers!

View of the Malvern Hills a good place to visit during Worcestershire School holidays
Malvern Hills

Choosing the right bag for a day of hiking

The most important thing about the bag you choose for hiking is that it’s comfortable and easy to carry. For me, this will always be a practical rucksack. I know some people prefer a shoulder bag though, particularly for shorter walks as they’re easy to access when you want to grab a drink or a snack. Whichever bag you go for, I highly recommend carrying it around a bit before you take it on a lengthy hike. There is nothing worse than ending up with red raw shoulders from the wrong bag.

Packing List For A Day Hike

I’ve put a * by the things I consider to be essential wherever you are walking and regardless of the length of your walk. The rest of these items are worthy of consideration but you won’t need them all on every occasion.

  • *Plenty of water – more than you think you will need if it’s a hot day
  • *First aid kit including a foil blanket, antiseptic wipes, painkillers and plenty of plasters
  • *Phone
  • Map if you’re going somewhere that it’s not practical to use GPS
  • Sunglasses
  • *Sun cream
  • Light waterproof jacket
  • Extra layer to wear, e.g. a jumper or long-sleeved t-shirt
  • A hat for the sun or the cold depending on the weather
  • *Snacks
  • A packed meal if you’re not stopping somewhere to eat
  • Cash and a bank card
  • Gloves (weather dependant)
  • Guidebook or link to a website with suggested routes and stops if you’re in an area you don’t know
  • Menstrual products as needed
  • Insect repellent
  • Any medication you need
  • Lip balm
  • Hiking poles if needed – there is a disclaimer from me here. I have literally never used these and can’t think of a circumstance where I might need to – but if they’re something you find helpful then they’re worth taking on a long hike
  • Spare socks
  • Light shoes or flip flops – if you are hiking from A to B and not ending up at home, I highly recommend taking something light to put on your feet when you finish walking – you are going to want to get those hiking boots off ASAP!
  • Tissues
  • Battery pack that will recharge your phone if it is prone to running out of battery
  • Torch
  • *A bag for your rubbish
I always add a swimming costume to my packing list for a day hike in case I stumble across a lake like the one pictured with a stunning sunrise and beautiful reflections of clouds in the water

Other items that you may want to consider

There are a few things you might want to add to your packing list for a day hike that may be more specific to you. Many people still recommend taking a compass with you if you’re going walking. Personally I tend to stick to trails that are well worn or within mobile signal, so it’s not something I bother with. If you’re on a relatively short walk, do consider taking litter-picking equipment with you – you’ll need gloves and a bag as a minimum. When I’m walking with the children, picking up litter is something that keeps them entertained and is obviously a great thing for your local environment too.

Think also of the things that are more specific for you. For me, a swimming costume is often on the list. I know this is not essential but as an outdoor swimmer, there is nothing worse than coming across a body of water I could swim in and not being able to do so – I have on multiple occasions ended up swimming in my clothes and walking home wet!

Likewise, as a dog owner, I always make sure I have poo bags as well as extra water for the dog. When I took Bubbles with me on the Gower Ultramarathon, we used one of these pet water bottles. Whilst it doesn’t carry enough water for a long walk, it is useful for them to drink from – you can then keep refilling the bottle itself. Alternatively, I like these travel dog bowls that are lightweight and pack right down for carrying. You can use the code NATALIE10 at the Olpro checkout for a 10% discount on these.

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