Day Hike Guide: The Essentials

Here is a day hike guide to the essentials for a 7-10 mile hike.

I have seen the word essentials pop around, which is vague for the novice hiker; therefore, I wanted to create something for you!

The first eight slides are what I consider essential. The last slide includes optional items depending on what you have, or maybe there could be some other needs.

Please plan your route before leaving and download a map to your phone. Print it out if you have a printer. Don’t expect paper maps and plan your hike with an intention.

Please carry enough water. If it’s extreme heat, bring more water. Usually on the website it will alert you about extreme heat and will advise caution. Don’t expect water when you visit any park or preserve.

Reservoirs are my favorite to bring because it makes it so much easier to drink my water on the go. As a reminder, as soon as you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Carry enough with you and make it easy to drink. Or bring reusable water bottles, if you reuse a plastic one, that’s fine. Just bring plenty of water, and carry some electrolytes too. Nuun Sport is my favorite!

If you are hiking for a while, you will get hungry. Especially if you have a backpack, you are burning more calories since you are carrying weight. Bring a portable meal and enjoy it.

My favorite thing to do is finding a beautiful spot, lookout, vista, or tree stump and eat. When was the last time you ate in nature? If you’re planning a long hike, you will get hungry. If you don’t eat, you will be hungry when you get to your car. Trust me, carrying food.

Following your county’s Shelter In Place guidelines. Bring a face covering. Some trails are narrow too.

Expect bathrooms to be closed. Bring it in case. We use it before we eat a snack or go back into our car.

This is one of the biggest mistakes to make, not bringing cash for parking or an entrance fee. Please do your research and see what are the fees and if they accept cash or not. I’d bring cash regardless in case a machine is down. The last thing you want to do is turn around and search for an ATM in the middle of nowhere.

You’ll be surprised when you will need sunscreen. You can bring a travel-sized container along with some SPF chapstick. Better safe than sorry!

These are a other few things to bring if you have it or need it. You know who you are!

  • Allergies: I have allergies and I need an extra allergy pill and tissues
  • Camera: I love using my camera vs phone because I want to use this time to get away from technology and not check for messages, FB, and IG
  • Hat: protect from the sun
  • Reusable Bag: it’s useful to hold food and to store trash
  • Poop Scoop: You know who you are and that there is a good chance you gotta go
  • Toilet Paper: expect no restrooms and if you need it to go, use it, and use that reusable bag while at it because there is nowhere to dispose of it

Post Hike:

  • Sandals: it’s so nice to drive back home with your feet having fresh air
  • More water
  • More snacks
  • First-Aid Kit


Lastly, please remember to leave LEAVE NO TRACE BEHIND and leave it better than you found it. Pack your trash. You brought it in, and you can take it out and properly dispose of it.

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