The United States is truly blessed with some of the best hiking trails in the world. Combined with the sheer volume of hiking locations around the country and you could easily visit a different trail every day for the rest of your life and never get through them all. Of course, to make the most of your hiking you’ll want to make sure you pack accordingly. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short morning hike or a strenuous, all-day activity, there are a handful of things you need for a hike. These are 10 of the things you’ll want to make sure and pack for your next day hike.

List of Top 10 Things You’ll Need for A Day Hike

1. Snacks

You need to have snacks packed for your day hike. However, don’t just toss anything into your bag. You need something that will give you both instant energy and prolonged energy. This means you’ll want to find something that offers protein, carbs, and even a bit of sugar. A quality trail mix or trail bar is great for this. The protein will give you delayed energy while the carbs are good for sustained calories. The small amount of sugar in the snack can help with immediate energy, although you don’t want anything that’s heavily saturated in sugar. A small amount of chocolate or dried fruit is good in this instance as there’s just enough sugar for an immediate boost but not enough to result in an energy crash an hour later.

2. Water

Bring more water than you think you’ll need. This is especially the case if you’re hiking during the summer or in a warmer area (such as Arizona). The last thing you want is to run out of water during your hike. So packing extra water gives you some leeway just in case you find yourself off the trail and needing to backpedal (some trails are not clearly marked so it’s easy to accidentally venture off the trail).

3. Compass

When venturing along a hike that’s off the beaten path and isn’t very popular you’ll want to bring a compass. On these trails you won’t have the same kind of trail markers, which makes it easier to wander off the walking path. Should you find yourself lost you’ll want to have a compass to help direct you back. In some instances, you’ll also want a topography map as well. This way you can clearly identify where you are on the map and then work your way to a safe location.

4. Portable Light

It might get dark out before you reach your final endpoint. Attempting to continue along the path in the dark is a recipe for getting lost. So bring with you a headlamp. This way you can still use both hands while you walk (and make sure you put fresh batteries into the light ahead of time).

5. Fire Starting Equipment

Yes, you’re not planning on making a fire for a day hike. However, you always need to prepare for the worst possible situation, which includes getting lost. If this happens you’ll want to be able to build a fire for yourself to stay warm at night and then continue on your hike the following day.

6. Repair Equipment

It’s a pain when your backpack tears and you don’t have anything to repair it. The bag might snag, a zipper might rip, or the bottom might give. When this happens you’ll need to make quick repairs. First, have a Swiss Army Knife on hand that has different tools. Multi-tool options are also good. Having some duct tape at your disposal is helpful, and also pack safety pins. Safety pins are excellent for making quick fixes to rips and damaged zippers.

7. Tarp

Pack a tarp. Tarps are good for if it begins to rain or if you do need to spend the night and need a hiking blanket. Tarps, such as those found at Tarpestry, are durable, water resistant, and don’t take up much space in your backpack when rolled up. Tarpestry also sells a carrying bag accessory that can easily clip onto your bag or be carried over your shoulder.

8. Different Clothing

You need to pack for different weather situations. It is good to have a hooded sweatshirt on hand in case the temperature drops. You should also consider an insulated waterproof jacket. While setting up a makeshift camp with a tarp can help keep the area around you dry you will still want to have insulation on hand to keep your body not only dry but warm.

You should also pack at least one extra pair of socks. If your feet become wet hiking with wet socks is not only uncomfortable but it can lead to several skin issues on your feet. So pack multiple pairs of hiking thicker socks. These provide extra padding and will protect your ankles from injury.

9. First Aid Kid

Bring with you a first aid kit for all hikes. You can pick up an already assembled kit, although as you become more experienced you’ll know what to add and what to take out. Also, know the surroundings. If snakes are present, make sure to invest in an anti-venom kit that can be used to quickly remove venom following a bite.

10. Sunscreen

When spending an entire day outside hiking you’ll be exposed to the sun. You need to protect your skin from this exposure with sunscreen. You should apply sunscreen throughout the year, even the winter. Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you can’t burn your skin.

Plan For Your Day Hike Today

These are just 10 of the top things you’ll need for a day hike. Along the way, you’ll discover what works best for you and make the necessary adjustments. Just make sure to pack quality products. From trail mixes to tarps from Tarpestry, you need items that are built to last. It wouldn’t do you much good if the gear you purchase breaks down in the middle of the hike. So invest in quality equipment like Tarpestry and it will never let you down.

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