A Handy Day Hike Checklist

Spending time in the outdoors is good for our physical and mental health and nothing beats a good day in the mountains. But what do you need for a safe adventure in the mountains?

Here is a quick summer day hiking packing list that will ensure you don’t leave home without the items you need.

A photo of the things you might need on a day hike checklist

10 Day Hiking Essentials

Here are the absolute must-have hiking necessities for a day of Summer hiking. These are items that permanently sit in my day hiking rucksack (aside from changing the food and water!)

  • A physical map and compass (and knowing how to use them!)
  • Basic First Aid Kit (including emergency blanket/bivvy bag and whistle)
  • Extra layers (hat, rain jacket, fleece or puffy)
  • Sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses)
  • Torch or head torch (with batteries that work!)
  • Emergency Food 
  • Water
  • Multitool
  • Matches or lighter
  • Mobile phone (ideally with a power bank)
What to put in your backpack for a summer day hike?

Hiking Equipment List

Day Hiking Backpack

For day hiking in the summer, a rucksack up to 25 litres in capacity should be sufficient to fit in everything you need. Try not to get a bigger pack because if you’re anything like me, you’ll just fill it up with unnecessary stuff!

Be sure to choose a pack which fits you comfortably and is well ventilated to avoid getting a sweaty back. Ideally pick one with a waterproof cover or alternatively, buy a cover that fits over the top and pack it inside.

Water Bottle or Bladder

Staying hydrated is essential so make sure you have plenty of water for the day. Filtered water bottles are extremely useful for topping up in mountain streams. For help in choosing a filtering water bottle, take a look at this post.

First Aid Kit

You can pick up hiking specific first aid kits which include most of the things you need. Add to it pain killers, antihistamines and blister pads (second skin).

As part of the pack, include an emergency blanket or bivvy bag and a whistle.

Trekking Poles

These can be pretty handy at times and are effective at taking the load out of tired legs (and knees). Personally I prefer to have my hands free most of the time, so for day hikes I leave them at home.

Sunscreen

Choose pocket sized sunscreen which is kind to the environment like this one.

Watch

Watches can be pretty sophisticated these days but they’re still just ready handy for knowing how much daytime you have left. Before to check sunset time before you set off.

Torch

Even if you know what time the sun sets you might still get caught out. Head torches come in handy during these times.

Power bank and leads

I use my mobile for various things whilst hiking but usually for taking photos. It’s a useful supplement for navigating also. So a power bank is handy to take along as long as it’s not too heavy.

This Anker Powercore provides multiple charges and weighs under 200g.

Hand Sanitiser

Does anyone leave home without hand sanitiser these days?

Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is a must for your hiking pack list, just in case you get caught short. Don’t forget a bag to stash it in afterwards. Leave no trace people!

Hiking essentials

Day hikes form a big part of my camping adventures. Get your complete car camping packing list here!

Footwear

Sturdy boots are an essential hiking item for a comfortable day in the mountains. For UK hiking they should be waterproof and breathable to allow for the changeable weather.

Ensure the boots fit correctly and are well worn-in to avoid blisters or sore feet.

Wear thinner socks in the Summer to avoid overheating.

Clothing

Base Layer

The best clothing for hiking are materials that are high wicking, meaning they remove sweat away from your body. Cotton t-shirts absorb sweat becoming wet and heavy, so instead pick up a trekking or running top.

I always carry a mid-layer too, for when it’s not quite hot enough for a t-shirt but a hoodie would be too much.

Choose hiking trousers or leggings that are light and quick drying. Jeans are a big no no!

Waterproof Jacket and Trousers

A waterproof jacket is essential for those unpredictable summer showers. If you get wet you’ll get cold pretty quick.

Some more specialist hiking trousers are also waterproof, otherwise pack a light pair which can be quickly thrown on over the top.

Warm Jacket or Fleece

Mountain peaks are often much cooler, especially after you’ve been sweating your way to the top of it! So to avoid getting cold pack a fleece or puffy jacket. I never leave home without my puffy!

Hat and gloves

In the summer I always wear a baseball cap to keep the sun off but I often take a lightweight beanie on cooler days.

Whilst I rarely hike in gloves, even in the Winter, I always carry a pair in case of emergency.

Sport Bra

A good fitting sports bra is as essential as anything else on this list. At least for us ladies.

Spare Socks

Nobody wants wet feet so pack a spare pair, just in case.

Optional Hiking Gear List

These items aren’t essential but you might want to include them in your hiking gear checklist.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps cover the cost of running this blog. Thanks for your support!

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