Find Out What You Need to Carry for Hiking

Attention backpackers, hikers, and adventurers. Before you head out for your next short adventurous summer trip or multi-month winter hiking trip, it's important to carefully analyse your essentials. When you have the right selection of essentials, you can not only enjoy hiking to the fullest but also keep yourself safe and protected in case of an emergency situation or something goes awry. In this post, you'll find a complete checklist of essentials that you need to carry with yourself, irrespective of the trip length. Let’s have a quick look.

#1 Sunglasses, Hats, and Sunscreen for Skin Protection

It's always considered wise carrying hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. You can also carry a cord and a tarp to erect a shade shelter and protect yourself from getting an overdose of the scorching sun. Not doing so can lead to stubborn sunburn, premature skin ageing, long-term unpleasantness, cataract and even skin cancer in the long term. If you’re hiking in the bright conditions, particularly in mountains, snow or desert; sunglasses and hats come in handy, even if you think you don’t need them.

#2 Extra Amount of Food

If you are going for a short trip, carrying a one-day extra supply of food is good enough to keep you fit as a fiddle, even if your trip gets extended due to bad weather, injury, faulty navigation or any other reason. Usually, pro mountain climbers and backpackers carry such food items that require no cooking, easily digestible and have a long shelf life. For example, food items like granola energy bars, nuts, candies, dried fruit, etc. are perfect to carry on your adventurous trip. If you are carrying a compact stove with yourself, you can also carry dried soup, instant coffee, and tea as well.

#3 Navigation Tools (Compass, topographic map and other tools)  

Before you start packing the navigation tools, you should ask this question from yourself. What tools I can use efficiently? No matter how many navigation tools you carry with yourself, if you don’t have sound knowledge about their usage, it's not going to help you when you’re in trouble. Firstly, you should learn to use the navigation tools.

Smartphone apps with offline maps and GPS devices are not only easy to use but also provide accurate results. But, they have one major drawback and that is they are electronic and can run out of power anytime. So, if you are relying upon the electronic equipment, it’s strongly recommended to carry a power bank of 5000 mAh, extra batteries or a battery pack along with you. Other navigation tools that can turn out useful in an emergency situation include:

  • Paper topographic maps
  • Guidebook or hike printout
  • Compass to navigate with paper
  • Altimeter watch
  • Personal locator beacon (PLB)

#4 A Good Headlamp

A headlamp is a must-have essential that needs to be in the backpack of every mountain climber. Why so? It keeps your hands free and let you hold the trekking poles comfortably. Always ensure that the headlamp you choose for hiking has a bright LED bulb, since it lasts for a longer period of time as compared to the incandescent bulb.

Undoubtedly, an LED bulb lasts longer but batteries do not. So, it is advised to carry some spare batteries in advance.

Wrapping Up

When going for mountain climbing, you should carry only the e ssential things with you and leave the rest at your home. To achieve a perfect balance of the essentials, you can consider this post as a checklist. Happy hiking.


Cornishman and lover of adventures in the great wilderness, Mike has been writing on his website Wild Tide for three years. Jack of all outdoor pursuits (and master of none), he writes about everything he loves including: kayaking, camping, fishing, snorkelling, climbing, mountain scrambling, surfing, SUP, outdoor cooking, hiking, cycling, coastal living and his VW van. As a total gear junkie and technical clothing lover, Mike is excited and proud to write for Outdoor Look as well as Wild Tide.

Submit a Comment

  • * Denotes required field