Exploring 101

Hiking Checklist: The Ten Essentials

Written by L & J

We won’t take credit for this list, it’s been around for a long time but it’s always good to have a reminder of what things are essential to bring on any day hike. Plus, we’ve put our own spin on this list of the 10 things you most definitely should have on every hike.


What falls under this category includes a MAP and a COMPASS. Forget your cellphone or GPS, they die, have no service and break. I mean you can bring them sure but they are not reliable. It is essential you learn how to read a map and compass. These two things can literally save your life.

Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)

Winter or summer, its imperative you bring sun protection. It’s easily forgotten especially in those dark winter mornings but packing sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat is equally as important as packing water. Protect your skin, your head and your eyes. You would miss them if you didn’t have them.

Insulation (extra clothing)

It may be hot when you start off hiking but chances are if you are gaining elevation the weather changes quickly. Plus what happens if you get stranded and have to stay overnight. Extra layers must be packed in your bag. Socks, shirts, jackets. Pack them.

Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)

Remember that time you thought you would be back down before dark but got lost and now you are stranded in the woods without light? Nope, we don’t remember that time either because we always pack a headlamp or flashlight with EXTRA batteries. Even if we are only planning on a day hike.

First-aid supplies

This should need no explanation.

Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)

Again, rewind back to that time you are stranded and you are going to be happy you have these things packed. For us, we normally only bring waterproof matches and feel confident in that.

Repair kit and tools

We aren’t talking about some big tools that will eat up room in your bag but please at least take at least a Swiss Army knife, duct tape and a few safety pins. We swear you can fix just about anything up with those three things.

Nutrition (extra food)

If you are like us, the more food the better. It takes about 20 minutes of hiking before our bodies are starved of food. We always take far more food than we need and its come in handy more than once. Plus who doesn’t love at least 5 sandwiches on the trail?

Hydration (extra water)

We cannot stress this enough, especially if you aren’t around a water supply. Our rule of thumb is bring the amount of water you think you will drink and double it. If you are going to be near water make sure you bring some sort of water tablet or filtration system.

Emergency shelter

We aren’t saying you need to bring a tent every time you go for a day hike but one of those emergency blankets are the perfect size to stash in your pack. You just never know.



About the author

L & J

Lindsay and Jenny are the founders of Women Who Explore. Creating this community and bringing women together, as well as showing the world that women can indeed do anything is pretty much their goal in life.

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