What should you carry on a day hike? What kind of things do you need for a multiple day hike? What about food? And should you really take the entire Harry Potter book collection with you?
It’s never easy to fully know what you should take with you when going hiking. Here, I’ll share some tips in acquired through years of experience. Since I’m still fit and alive as of now, I believe they are worth something.
The suggestions made in the article below are purely personal. Adapt it to your needs.
And most importantly: don’t come back to blame me if your gear and packing supply didn’t perform during your trip.
This article about the proper gear and equipment to carry when going hiking is dived in 3 sections:
– Section 1 is for Day Hikes
– Section 2 is for short multiple-days hikes (2-3 days)
– Section 3 is for long multiple-days hikes (+3days)
There is a very simple rule when going on an adventure: prepared travelers don’t get wet.
And that is a quite important rule to understand knowing that according to Henry Worsley “Get wet and you die”.
So before jumping on that trail, make sure you are ready, make sure you know what the weather might be like, make sure you know where you’re going.
Here’s a big tip before anything else: when it comes to clothes, there is one rule you must apply: Do not wear cotton. Cotton keeps sweat and humidity, and if you’ve read the paragraph above you should know by now that what gets wet kills you.
Also, remember to adapt your clothes and gear based on the local weather, yet do not rely on what you’re seeing around you. Just because it is warm where you are doesn’t mean it’s warm where you’re going. Check with locals or online for typical weather.
A day hike backpack (5 to 20L)
Hiking shoes or hiking boots (based on your need for ankle protection)
Technical clothes: pants or shorts, long sleeve shirt (or baselayer), breathable socks and underwear
Hat, sunglasses and environmental friendly sunscreen
Extra-clothes: 1 sweater, 1 beanie, 1 wind&water proof jacket
My personal snack rule: 1 cereal/protein bar per 5km + 1 cereal/protein bar per 500m of positive elevation + 1 meal if walking during lunch hours
My personal water rule: 100ml of water per 1km + 100ml per 100m of positive elevation
Short Multiple-days hike (2-3 days)
A backpack (50-65L)
All of the above
If camping: tent, sleeping bag, inner bag layer, sleeping pad
A gps or smartphone with a pre-downloaded map + an additional battery charger
An extra shirt and at least 1 pair of pants
A first-aid kit
An outdoor knife
A water filtering system
Biodegradable toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste
An emergency blanket
My personal food rule: 500g per full day + 1 extra day (see below for details)
Long Multiple-days hike (+3 days)
A big backpack (65-75L)
All of the above
A paper map of the area
A small sewing kit and/or repair patches for all-usage
An extra pair of shoes (No boots. Hiking shoes will do)
Extra socks and extra underwear (1 additional pair per 5 days of walk)
My personal food rule: 500g per full day + 1 extra day for every 5 days (see below for details)
Extra Tips for multiple days hike
Having done a few long day hikes (10 days or more) all by myself, here’s what I would suggest you need to bring with you so you can survive:
- Bring coffee powder (+sugar +milk powder) even if you don’t like coffee. If fills your stomach up in the morning. /!\ Coffee dehydrates you.
- Bring some tea and an insulated water container. Make tea in the morning but keep it for when you walk.
- Bring some apples and peanut butter (1 apple for every day of walk if less than 3 days, 1 apple per 2 days of walk if more than 3 days. 1 apple requires 125ml of peanut butter)
My Food rule
- My 500g of food per day goes as follow:
- Breakfast 80g of oatmeal + 40g of coffee and tea
- Lunch: 100g of powder mashed potatoes or noodles or whatever
- Diner: 210g of tuna and pasta, or dehydrated food
- Snack: 70g for the day (nuts, trail mix, dehydrated fruits, protein bar)
From my experiences, Missing the first aid kit, knife, ducktape, cable binder whatever you do. Just different size kit. Emergency blanket and headlamp are good even for a single day as well, because if you get lost or injured, your “day”trip might always extend to a “night” hike.
I would say that the real only difference I see between going for a day hike and a multiple day hike is the amount of food and water (depending of resupplying options), the amount of spare clothes (but thanks to merino, you can live weeks with a couple of tee shirt and underwear) and sleeping/cooking gear.
And I see you learned from your mistake, I still remember a young beija bringing only shorts and tee shirts to Corsica and being happy that some of us brought spare hoody!
Totally agree with the first aid kit and the all-purpose knife.
Not sure about the duct tape however. Too big, too heavy. I’d rather go with individual patches.
Unless it’s a very remote and very long day hike, I don’t carry first-aid kit, blanket or headlamp because I consider I’m always within “reasonable distance” to come back. I’d rather carry extra-water instead, because that’s what you’ll need first if anything happens.
I concur with the Merino. That’s with I specifically stated NOT to wear cotton. Merino’s the best.
I don’t have any memories from Corsica :p …