10 Hiking Essentials

03 October 2022

When planning a hike, you want to have all the necessary gear, footwear and accessories to get you from point A to B safely and securely. Here are our 10 recommended must-haves to take with you before hitting the trail.

Depending on where you’re headed, the time of year, how long you’ll be hiking, and if it’s a multi-day hike (with or without accommodation), you’ll may need a few more essentials to keep you going.

Now, before you head off it’s always good to tell someone where you’re headed to let them know when you’ve reached your destination and when you’ve arrived safely home - given there’s reception in the area of your choice. 

So, what are the 10 essentials for hiking?

Whilst going off-road can pose a small risk, you always want to be prepared for any situation. But in saying that, there is no need to overpack. Ensuring you have the basics covered will make your hike more enjoyable and could save you from a lot of unnecessary stress while on the trail.  

1. Hiking Boots

You could have the most lightweight, amazing, multi-functional gear known to man but if your feet aren’t comfortable, supported and dry, then you certainly won’t be. Finding the right shoes in general can sometimes be overwhelming so we’ve broke down the three main points that are the key to finding the right hiking boots for you.

  • Comfort – find a comfortable boot that fits with just the right amount of cushioning to absorb shocks and add stability

  • Spacious - your feet will swell from heat and length of your hike, so we suggest buying boots with extra space to allow your feet and toes to breathe

  • Secure - constant rubbing on the back of your heel is asking for blisters. Find a boot that keeps your heel secure and locked into place with an insole that’s contoured like your foot to provide flexibility.

Other things to consider may be: Waterproof or non-waterproof? Mid-ankle coverage or low, sneaker-like coverage? Hiker or trail runner? These will depend on what kind of adventure you’re undertaking and what your needs are personally. Remember, everyone is different. Learn more in our blog that dives deeper into what to look for in a great pair of hiking boots (and why you need them). Feel free to also explore our huge range of hiking boots for men and women online to explore.  

2. Navigation Tools  Although you can do almost anything with mobile phones and technology these days, modern devices can still fail and it’s best to be prepared with manual equipment just in case.  Most national parks or known hiking trails will have maps available online that you can print and keep on hand. You never know when your phone will decide to jump from 77% to 5% battery life in the span of a second. Especially in extremely hot or cold weather conditions. It's also worth marking out where your car is parked, or campsite is located before starting your journey away from it.  

3. Sun Protection

We cannot stress the importance of preventing yourself from damaging your eyes and skin so be sure to pack a bottle of sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses to protect yourself on days where the suns out and the UV rays are beaming.   

4. Headlamp or flashlight (and extra batteries) Even if you don’t plan on doing an overnight hike, a headlamp or flashlight may come in handy. Having something to illuminate your way other than your phone will be a saviour – headlamps and flashlights are designed to cover more distance and tend to have a much stronger beam to illuminate the way.  

5. First-aid kit Having the basic essentials of a first-aid kit is incredibly valuable, for your peace of mind and others. This should include band-aids, antibacterial spray or ointment, gauze, antiseptic wipes, ibuprofen, medical tape for blisters, antihistamines for possible allergic reactions and tweezers. You can create your own or purchase a pre-made kit.

6. Matches Be sure to have some matches or fire starters on hand in case you need to start a fire to bring your body temperature up, cook, dry out clothes, or all of the above.

7. Knife Again something we suggest always keeping in your pack. You never know when you’ll need to create a shelter, cut food, assist in first aid, or release yourself if you get stuck in backcountry.

8. Extra food/sufficient water Having energy while hiking is essential. It’s better to carry a little extra rather than not enough. This could be the difference between getting through the last hour of your hike and being too exhausted and dehydrated to get back before it gets dark. Take the time to have snack breaks and take in the view.  

9. Extra clothing Mother Nature can be a fickle thing. One moment you’re in admiring blue, sunny skies, and the next, the sky has turned an ominous grey and the wind has picked up while pelting you with rain. Being able to maintain your body temperature is what will allow you to continue hiking throughout the day. Invest in light, practical layers that can be added or removed without too much drama and you’ll be set. If you need to stock up on outdoor gear, we have a huge range of outdoor socks, bags and clothing for men and women online to explore.