essential kit list

The ultimate hiking checklist on being prepared when trekking in the wild

If you’re new to hiking or are planning an outdoor adventure, but are unsure of what to pack, then our ultimate hiking checklist is the first place to start. You can download this free printable hiking packing list by clicking here.

The printable hiking checklist included in this page covers everything that you may need. It provides an insight into items that you may not have thought about taking, allowing you to tick off each item so you importantly don’t forget anything.

Even if you’ve just recently returned from your first wild outing you may have probably discovered that you missed essential items or that you even took too much equipment, things that you didn’t even use. Knowing what to take and what you need when you head out on a trip comes down to personal preference and is built up from your own experiences.

Wherever you plan on venturing for your next wild adventure, whether its scaling a high mountain, trekking through dense rainforest, taking on the challenge of completing a long-distance trail, or a simple day hike through a national park, it is wise to plan the equipment that you should take with you. Learning the importance of taking the correct gear is vital and can literally make or break a trip.

Having the correct outdoor gear allows you to be prepared

It is good practice to have the foresight and preparedness should anything happen, from trivial matters like a broken shoe lace to more extreme circumstances what should happen in an event of an emergency. Weather also plays an important role in what kit we need to take. There are a lot of scientist out there whose job it is to predict changes in weather, if they do a good job is certainly debatable. Here in the UK for example we have cold polar air from the north pushing against milder air from the tropics creating changeable weather patterns, making the weather unpredictable. I can speak from experience from being up in the welsh mountains, it being sunny one minute, the next, very little visibility from dense fog which descended out of nowhere. Never make any assumptions about the weather or the terrain for that matter.

Carrying the correct gear will ultimately allow you to overcome these kinds of issues, allowing for a more enjoyable experience and ensure that you remain safe and well.

Before you think about packing any gear, a few questions you should ask yourself are: –

  • How long will my trip last for?
  • How much distance will I be covering each day?
  • Will I be buying food each day or carrying it?
  • What am I going to do for water?
  • Will I be camping overnight and where will I be camping?
  • How will I get home if I must abandon my trip early?
  • Does anyone know where I am going?
  • Will I be taking any diversions?
  • When am I be expected home?

Hiking Checklist

Below you will find a checklist that I have compiled on everything that you may want to consider taking, from what you will be wearing to everything you need to carry. Some of the items contain affiliate links on tried and tested gear that I have used myself and would definitely recommend.

This hiking checklist is a fully comprehensive list, so of course it should be edited to the type of activity that you will be undertaking. For example, you are probably not going to need a sleeping bag if you’re only heading out for a day hike.

Clothing & Boots

The most important pieces of any checklist are going to be weather appropriate clothing, as we all know how quickly the weather can rapidly change. If you get caught out, your trip can quickly turn into a dangerous activity. Therefore, a waterproof jacket and warm kit are essentials.

Hiking is all about covering distance, along footpaths, over rugged terrain. Hiking shoes are probably the most important item you will want to consider as your feet are going to take a considerable pounding. Look for shoes that fit well and are comfortable.

Trousers are perhaps the second most important piece of personal clothing. Made from special material which is both light and quick drying, providing numerous features, such as Sun protection and much needed comfort on those long treks.

Two of the most common types of socks are cotton and polyester. Both are popular and have different benefits. Wool socks provide cushioning and regulates the temperature of your feet from getting sweaty. Whereas synthetic socks wick moister away, they tend to dry quicker and are more durable.

☐  Moisture Wicking Base Layer Clothing
☐  Fleece – down jacket
☐  Waterproof Jacket
☐  Gloves
☐  Warm Hat
☐  Bandana / Buff
☐  Gaiters
☐  Trousers
☐  Socks
☐  Walking Boots + Spare Laces

Carried on Person

These are the items that you should keep on your person, close to hand, either to be carried in your pockets or worn on your body. These are items that you will likely be using a lot of the time or need on the go.

☐  Map / Map case + Compass
☐  GPS
☐  Watch / Smart Watch
☐  Wallet with ID + Enough cash to cover taxi journey / purchase food etc
☐  Whistle
☐  Headtorch

Carried in Pack

Below you will find a list of the type of items that should be carried in your pack. Most of the bulky items will go in the main compartment, these include sleeping bag, cooking system and tent, items that you won’t frequently need access to. Ideally, you will want to make the most used items, any snacks, lightweight clothes, easily accessible; store these either at the top of your back pack or in any outer pockets that may be on the sides. Store the heavier items closest to your back, with lighter kit to the sides or at the top.

☐  Dry Bag
☐  Rain cover Liner (Over the top of your pack)
☐  Waterproof Bags
☐  Spare Clothing (t-shirts, trousers)
☐  Spare Underwear
☐  Tent / Bivouac
☐  Sleeping mat
☐  Sleeping bag
☐  Travel pillow
☐  Cooking Stove
☐  Waterproof matches / lighter
☐  Cooking pot
☐  Lightweight shoes / sandals
☐  Dinner plate / bowl
☐  First Aid Kit
☐  Hand Sanitizer
☐  Prescription medication
☐  Blister Treatment
☐  Sun cream
☐  Sunglasses
☐  Lip Balm
☐  Insect repellent
☐  Baby Wipes
☐  Alcohol Wipes
☐  Toiletries – Toothpaste / toothbrush / shower gel, etc
☐  Microfibre Towel
☐  Trowel for sanitation
☐  Toilet Paper

Nutrition and Fluids

Food and water are vital for maintaining sustenance and hydration throughout the length of a trip, food to carry you the distance by fuelling your muscles and water for regulating an optimum body temperature. If you plan on taking your own food, you should carefully plan the type of foods that you will be carrying. Separate into days, to save on weight, dispose of any additional packaging before heading off.
Water should not be skimped on; 1 litre of water weighs roughly 1 kg, so this will add a lot of weight to you pack. If you’re heading out for a few days, plan ahead where you will be able to resupply.

☐  Food + Trail snacks
☐  Vitamins and Minerals
☐  Water Bottle / Bladder Pack
☐  Electrolytes

Extras

Below are a few additional extras. If you haven’t used trekking poles before they should definitely be worth your consideration. These provide their worth by supporting your body, taking pressure off your joints. They are also great at stabilising you when descending or traversing boggy ground.

☐  Walking Poles
☐  Multitool / Knife
☐  Cable Ties
☐  Portable battery charger
☐  Outdoor journal + pen / pencil
☐  Camera
☐  Guide Book
☐  Binoculars
☐  Spare batteries
☐  Battery Power Bank
☐  Emergency blanket
☐  Para Cord

Additional

Although a route card is not specifically part of your kit, it is an added extra and would be wise to leave one with a family member or friend. A route card essentially outlines your intended route, along with your personal details, name and address, start time, your predicted finish time and contact number.

 You can download a route card the DofE have compiled from the link below: –

Route Card

! Important !

Don’t forget to report back to the person who you left the route card with, otherwise you could spark a response by the emergency services.

☐  Route Card

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