Checklist: What to take on a hike (beginners guide)7 min read

For a successful hike, you must be prepared. Whether you’re going up a mountain or on a leisurely walk in the hills, there are some basics you will need.

When we first started going on hikes, we would always forget something. We made this hiking checklist so we don’t forget the basics and thought you might benefit from it, too.

Essential things to take on a day hike

This list isn’t all you could possibly want, but if you’re on a budget and want to get outdoors, this will help make your hike that much more enjoyable.

Hiking Footwear

You don’t need to spend a fortune on hiking boots. If you’re just getting started, you probably won’t want to commit to a £100+ pair of boots anyway.

Our first pairs of hiking boots were a cheap pair from Sports Direct. They were under £30. Something like these for men and these for women would do the job.

If you think you’re going to be doing some more extreme routes, it might be worth going for some higher boots that offer more ankle support. Remember to get some nice thick socks if you’re out in the winter months!

Hiking Backpack

You might find that you don’t need to buy a new backpack. If you’ve got one that you use for work or going to the gym, it might be okay for short day hikes.

At the least, it should be able to fit the things from our hiking checklist in and have padded, comfortable shoulder straps. If you decide you want to go out and buy a backpack, here is our advice:

  • Make sure it has pockets, inside and out. You’ll thank us when you’re trying to find your wallet or your car keys
  • It’s also really handy if it has side pockets for water bottles
  • Find a waterproof backpack or one that comes with a waterproof cover
  • If you might be carrying anything heavy, a chest strap can take the load off your shoulders

Food and Water

Arguably the most important thing on the list. Even if you’re just going out for an hour or two, make sure you take a couple of bottles of water for each person. If you find water boring, like Megan, pop some juice in the bottles, too.

One of our favourite parts of hiking is finding a spot to sit down and have a picnic. Take a packed lunch of sandwiches, crisps, fruit and anything else that you love to eat.

We love to take some snacks with us, too. Something that we can eat on the go like mars bars or a share bag of skittles. They’re a really good energy boost when you’re facing that final climb!

Clothes for hiking

Again, you don’t need to go crazy and buy loads of branded hiking gear. The most important thing to say about clothing is to dress for the weather where you’re going, not where you are.

If you live in a city and it’s 15c, it might only be 5c up in the hills. Always check the weather before you go out and if in doubt, take an extra layer with you.

For our hikes, we tend to wear either jeans or hiking trousers with a t-shirt. We’ll also take a jumper or fleece and either a thin waterproof jacket or a thick thermal jacket. Layers are definitely key to keeping warm. Plus, if you start to get too warm, you can always take off a fleece.

Basic first aid kit

It’s easy to think “nothing bad is going to happen” or “we’re not going that far”, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

You can pick up a small first aid kit from Amazon for under £10 with the essentials in. A small price to pay, even if it is only for peace of mind.

Hand sanitiser

Climbing over rocks, tieing your shoelace after walking through a stream or opening and closing gates. Your hands are going to be picking up germs and getting dirty whilst you’re out and about.

When it comes to lunch and you’re ready for some food, popping on some hand sanitiser will easily stop the spread of germs. We’d recommend keeping it in or near your first aid kit, so you can use it before putting on plasters or touching a cut or graze.

Change for parking

Most popular hiking routes have at least one car park nearby. These are usually run by local councils or often English Heritage or National Trust. We recommend taking around £5, more if you, to cover parking. You don’t want to get an hour or two drive away from home and realise you can’t park anywhere.

It’s also a good idea to have other cash on you, as sometimes in remote locations, shops and pubs don’t or can’t accept card due to poor phone signals.

Portable Charger

One of the reasons we love getting out into the great outdoors is to escape technology. However, that doesn’t mean we want to be left without it when we need it.

Whether you’re using your phone as a map, to take a picture of the view or to call for help, you don’t want to find out that the battery is flat. A small, light portable charger will give your phone that extra boost when you need it the most.

Did we miss something?

If you think there’s another essential item that we’ve missed off our list, let us know and we’ll see about adding it on. Leave a comment or drop us a message on Instagram to let us know or to tell us if you’ve used our checklist.

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