Hiking Checklist: What to Pack for the Trail


Beyond proper, broken-in hiking shoes and wicking layers, pack some extra layers that are appropriate for the climate. Check the weather for temperature and the chance of rain. 

Additional clothing items you should carry:

  • Lightweight rain jacket
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Fleece
  • Long pants (if you're hiking in shorts)
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Beanie and/or a sun hat
  • Gloves

More: Find Clothing for Your Outdoor Adventures

First-Aid Kit

You don't have to go overboard, but it's good to have a few basic items for any hike, no matter how short.  Depending on the distance and location of your hike, this can be as simple as carrying some antiseptic and a couple of Band-Aids. For longer day hikes and backpacking trips, you'll want to beef up your kit with things like Duct tape and an emergency blanket.

Here are some basic first aid items you should add to your hiking checklist:

  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Gauze
  • Band-Aids
  • Aspirin and/or Ibuprofen
  • Tweezers
  • Medical tape
  • Safety pins
  • Poison Oak/Ivy treatment
  • Matches
  • Emergency blanket (don't worry, these are very lightweight)
  • Whistle
  • Rehydration salts
  • Mirror
  • Duct tape
  • Surgical gloves
  • Prescription medications

It sounds like a lot, but you can buy lightweight, compact first aid kits at your local outdoors store. Contents vary so be sure to choose a kit that's appropriate for the kinds of hikes that you'll be doing.

More: First-Aid Preparation for the Trail

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