What to Pack for Hiking: 15 Hiking Essentials for a Day Hike

Over the past couple of months, I have been hiking more than ever, both in my own backyard and further afield. 

But have you ever asked yourself, what do I need to go hiking? This day hike packing list will help you plan ahead for your next hiking adventure.

And keep reading as I go into further detail about ’15 Hiking Essentials to Bring on a Day Hike’…

Because as we all know, whether big or small, you must come prepared for your hike. When hiking, carrying the proper equipment is incredibly critical. When things go wrong, it can mean the difference between an inconvenience and a disaster. 

Whether you are looking for hiking essentials for beginners, or you are a seasoned hiker, here is the day hike packing list you should take on every hike.


Day Hike Packing List

1. Swisse Me Protein Balls 

The first thing to add to your day hike packing list is the amazing Swisse Me protein balls. They are incredibly tasty and they are a great snack to re-energise you throughout the day; when you wake up in the morning, mid-hike, or to restore in the evening after a tiring day. They are a great delicious and nutritious on-the-go snack!

The Swisse Me protein balls are vegan with 7g of plant-based protein from brown rice and hemp seed. They are packed full of friendly bacteria containing digestive enzymes and probiotics which are friendly gut bacteria and enhance your gut health. And they contain adaptogens which help the body to resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological.

There are also four flavours: Cacao & Hazelnut, Cinnamon & Almond, Raspberry & Chia and Matcha & Cacao. My favourite is the Cacao & Hazelnut, which is like joy in every bite! 

Full of flavour and a great energy source when you are on the go, and especially when you are off hiking. An ultimate hiking essential!

Being a travel blogger I also love the round-the-world ingredients they have used in the protein balls, e.g. Baobab from Madagascar and mainland Africa, Spirulina from Lake Texcoco in Mexico, and Maitake from Japan. I would highly recommend bringing these protein balls as part of what to bring on a short hike.

And the cherry on the top? The wrappers the product comes in is made from recycled packaging! They are priced at £2.75/serve with 2 balls per sachet.

Fancy getting some for your next hike? Use the code SOPHIE20 for 20% off (excluding Swisse Me care package).


2. Maps

While many people rely solely on their smart phone’s Google Maps or GPS to navigate during a hike, I would also recommend getting the Ordnance Survey app and a physical map too. And a compass for longer hikes, when you may lose phone signal. Phone apps are great but a physical map can keep you from getting lost or help you find your way again.

There are a lot of great websites and apps for finding trails, including this blog but I would recommend downloading some on to your phone that you can access offline too. 

I love using the Ordnance Survey app as you can view and print maps OS maps for free, plan routes, discover routes created by others, check the weather and much more. Other apps include GAIA and Topo Maps. A game-changer for your day hike packing list.

You may also want to look into handheld GPS devices, like the Garmin InReach, this would be a great option for multi-day hikes and more dangerous routes as it also works as a communication device if anything goes wrong.

3. High-Quality Jacket

A high-quality jacket is essential for hiking especially in the autumn and winter months. My favourite jacket for the winter is this Peter Storm Women’s Luna Parka priced at around £120.00 and it comes in various different colours. It’s really warm and has an urban ready layer with warmth built-in.

The heavyweight polyester wadding provides gentle warmth, with a microfleece backer for improved comfort. A Durable Water Repellent treatment to the outer keeps light moisture out, with a baffled feminine fit for a chic finish. It’s my new favourite jacket!

best hiking backpack

4. Sun Cream

Number two of what to pack for hiking is, of course, dependent on where you are hiking, but one of the most important hiking essentials for beginners is sun cream and protection from the sun. 

Even if the weather is cloudy you are at risk from sun exposure and sunstroke is not enjoyable. I would recommend sunglasses, sun cream with a minimum SPF of 30 and lip balm. DO NOT FORGET! Add this to your day hike packing list and what to bring on a short hike list.

5. Hiking Boots

This ultimate hiking essential will become your best friend. Simply because they can make or break a hike. 

I would recommend checking out a few different options for hiking boots from brands such as KEEN, Merrell and Berghaus. And once you’ve bought some make sure you wear them in before setting off on your hike.

Getting hiking boots in the right size is also important, you need space for your foot to breath as you hike, so for some brands, you may need to go a size bigger. As you will likely be wearing thick socks too! Add this to your day hike packing list…

6. Day Backpack

Another essential for hiking is a good day backpack. I have tried so many over the years and at the moment I am using my favourite BERGHAUS 24/7 30L Daysack. Make sure when buying a day backpack that it’s big enough to fit all your hiking essentials for beginners inside, as well as water bottles, and also fits you well.

As the name suggests, the Berghaus 24/7 is a lightweight and versatile pack engineered to be used continuously throughout each week in urban or outdoor environments. It’s a great backpack with lots of room for everything you need for hiking. 

Make sure your day backpack is comfortable, as you will be wearing it for hours on end, as well as for opting for backpacks with storage compartments to ensure you can store and find things easily.

best hiking day backpack

Day Hike Packing List

7. First Aid Pack

Another hiking must-haves is something I take on every hiking trip now is a first aid kit. Most people can buy a pre-prepared first aid kit online, or from Amazon which is lightweight and comes with the basic needed for any emergencies in the wild. 

However, if you are heading out for a longer hike or something more dangerous I would add to your basic kit with a few other essentials. 

And remember you always need to replace anything you use too, so keep your first aid kit up to date! A must-have hiking essential. Add it to your day hike packing list.

8. Quick Dry Towel

The next in your day hike packing list, you may be thinking… Why do I need a towel for a day hike? But if you are anything like me and love water, whenever I am hiking and find a beautiful river I always want to go for a dip.

So I would 100% recommend taking a quick-dry towel with you, so if you do fancy a swim then you’ve got something to dry off with. And remember don’t put your hiking boots back on until your feet are dry to avoid any problems later.

9. Flashlight 

For hikes that may last longer than one day, or when you are heading out on a hike that involves caves I would carry a flashlight. 

You never know when the light may fade and if you are miles away from your original plan or route, you will need a light. I would recommend getting either a flashlight/torch or a headlamp so you don’t have to carry it in your hand. A flashlight is ultimate hiking must-haves!

10. Water

SO SO IMPORTANT!!! Bring lots of water on any hike. It is a hiking essential to stay well hydrated due to the fact your entire body needs water to keep running. It supports both your physical and brain function. And it helps cool you down when you are hot.

I have two stainless steel refillable bottles I take on every hike, and love using them! I add some ice to them as well in the morning so they stay nice and cool throughout the day. 

If you are heading out for a longer hike and may need more water, you could take iodine tablets or a water purifier to be able to drink river water. I would recommend 3-4 litres per person per day. Water is a hiking essential – add it to your day hike packing list. I love this bottle from Swisse Me!

11. Portable Charger

This is a travel essential to me, whether I am hiking or not. It’s so important to have a fully charged phone at all times during a hike for safety and communication. 

I would also recommend taking a portable charger if you are going to be taking photos, videos and listening to music as this will drain your battery asap.

12. Toilet Roll

But you must leave no trace… It’s so gross to find when you are out walking. Either take a small shovel so you can bury it deep (around 6 inches) or take a plastic bag with you and put the toilet roll in there before you leave the spot. NEVER just throw it in the hedge! 

hiking essentials

Day Hike Packing List

13. Hiking Poles

Hiking poles are technically not a hiking essential, but if you are a beginner and taking on some more difficult and dangerous hikes, you may want hiking poles for balance and confidence. Hiking (or trekking) poles take the pressure off your knees and enable you to produce more power.

14. Other food

As well as some snacks, if you are heading on a full day hike, you will also want to bring along lunch with you. There are some great hiking lunch ideas great for staying fuelled on your hikes!

15. Hiking Trousers

I love comfortable pants! For most smaller hikes I just wear my favourite gym workout leggings, but for longer hikes, I love Acai Activewear! They have redefined the outdoors by putting women first and creating innovative outdoor wear that inspires confidence, prioritises innovation and supports women to be there.

Getting the right clothing and hiking trousers will ensure you stay warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. I would also recommend dressing in layers for a comfortable hiking experience. 

My favourite is the MAX Stretch Skinny Outdoor Trousers in Khaki which are comfortable, flattering fit and I love how stretchy these are while I’m hiking! 

16. Blister Plasters or Balm

For any hike, Blister Plasters are essential. They prevent the blister from developing and helps new skin to grow underneath the plaster. … 

The plaster repels water, and stops dirt and germs from entering the wound, thus preventing infection. At first, the plaster absorbs all the moisture from the blister but over time it becomes more permeable so the wound dries out.

Or for bigger hiking adventures, you might want to consider Blister Balm. Body Glide Foot Anti Blister Balm protects your feet and toes against rubbing that causes blisters, chafing, raw skin, and hot spots. The advanced formula is a dry, invisible, non-greasy barrier. Stay active, pain-free. It is ideal for work, play, travel, and adventures when you don’t want to risk blisters.

17. Hat

In reference to protecting yourself from the sun, you may also want to consider a hat for your hiking adventures. I would recommend a cap or curved peak hat to protect your face, eyes and forehead from the sun. 


I hope this guide helps keep you safe and comfortable on your hiking trip!

Please share this article with friends and I’d love to know if it was useful for your hiking adventures!

Which of these did you forget to add to your own day hike packing list? I love looking at other peoples hiking essentials for beginners lists!

 *This is a sponsored blog post with Swisse Me. 

day hike packing list

Need some inspiration for THE BEST hikes in the UK?

Some of the best hikes in the UK are right under our nose. The UK offers some of the most beautiful hikes and walks there is to offer. So I have pulled together a list of the best hikes in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as some hikes that are within two hours of London. 

The weather might not always be the most certain, but we know we can always get great views and incredible scenery when going on some of these day hikes in England. 

I am really guilty of flying all over the world, and often forget how many beautiful walking trails there are in the UK. From the Scottish Highlands to the Peak District, and from Snowdon to The Jurassic Coast, there are so many incredible hikes in England, Scotland and Wales. 

Check out these 15 hikes in the UK you have to try…

  1. Scafell Pike, The Lake District, England
  2. The Yorkshire Three Peaks, England
  3. Jurassic Coast, England
  4. Hadrian’s Wall Path, England
  5. Pennine Way, England
  6. South West Coastal Path – Padstow to Tintagel
  7. Snowdonia National Park, Wales
  8. Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales
  9. Ben Nevis, Scotland
  10. Loch an Eilein, Cairngorm National Park
  11. West Highland Way, Glasgow to the Highlands
  12. The Thames Path, Marlow to Taplow
  13. Tring Circular, Hertfordshire
  14. Oak Trail, Epping Forest
  15. Box Hill Circular, Surrey

READ MORE: 15 of the BEST hikes in the UK


Other posts that may help you:

Weekend Road Trip in Cornwall

Ultimate Guide to a Weekend Break in York

10 of the Best places to eat Brunch in London

The Best Weekend Trips in the UK

10 Things to do in Aberdeen

Ultimate Guide to Columbia Road Flower Market London

Log cabins with hot tubs in the UK


My Travel Tips and Recommendations


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Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.

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Sophie X

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