One of the best ways to relieve stress and to catch a breath of fresh air is to head to the great outdoors. Hiking is a great way to immerse yourself in nature, get a little exercise, and have some time to yourself. When it comes to hiking, you can never be too prepared. Below, you’ll find our carefully cultivated hiking packing list that tackles everything you’ll need on your next outdoor adventure.
The Perfect Pair of Boots
While you can trek in whatever exercise sneakers you currently own, serious hikers will want to invest in a pair of boots or hiking shoes that are both durable and comfortable. Keep in mind that it might take a couple of outings to break in your new boots.
When trying on hiking boots, remember that you’ll probably be wearing thick socks and consider sizing up from your usual size. Also, keep in mind the weather conditions you will be hiking in. If you are hiking in Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Seattle, etc., you will want waterproof hiking boots.
Our favorite hiking boots
- Ariat Canyon II Boot
- Danner Adrika Boot
- Timberland White Ledge Boot
- Chaco Sierra Hiking Boot
- ALTRA Lone Peak 4 Waterproof Trail Running Shoe
Let’s be honest: there’s nothing worse than soggy socks that can’t withstand the rigor of a long hike. Our favorite socks to hike in a wool socks as they are durable, warm, and incredibly comfortable. And they’re the perfect addition to any hiking packing list.
Choose which level of thickness you prefer and be sure to pack an extra pair (or two) for the hike down and the ride home.
Best hiking socks
The Perfect Hiking Jacket
Be prepared for any unexpected wind or rain storms with a lightweight, easily packable jacket. A good rain jacket will keep you warm and dry on your hiking trip, but also fit comfortably in your daypack without adding extra bulk.
Hiking and rain jackets
A Versatile Vest
Packing layers is always a good idea when preparing your hiking outfit. Oftentimes, you’ll encounter a chilly morning but then a warm (or even scorching) afternoon. We prefer packing hiking clothing that includes a transitional vest that can be easily be layered in the cooler morning and evening hours.
Our favorite hiking vests
Quick-Dry Hiking Shirts
Let’s face it, even when the temperatures are a little cooler, if you work hard enough on your hike, you’re going to sweat. And who enjoys steeping in their own sweat while on an adventure, even on a day hike? Not us.
This is where quick-dry hiking shirts come in. These are typically breathable shirts that wick up any sweat that they might encounter.
Comfortable Hiking Pants
Finding the perfect pair of hiking pants can seem like a daunting task. Should you choose cargo pants? Quick dry leggings? Would a pair of hiking shorts work best?
Unless you’re going on a multi-day backpacking trip, you don’t have to worry too much about hiking pants to pack. We’ve made do with yoga pants, athletic shorts, and while not ideal, even a pair of skinny jeans!
For those that want to look stylish while remaining comfortable, check out the hiking pants below:
- BenBoy Women’s Outdoor Slim Cargo Pants
- BALEAF Lightweight Hiking Joggers
- Columbia Women’s Anytime Outdoor Pant
A good daypack should be lightweight, comfortable, and big enough to hold your essential items (sun protection!), extra equipment and–more importantly–your water and snacks. We prefer daypacks with both chest and waist straps for added support on long hikes.
Best daypacks for hiking
- Thule AllTrail X 15L Pack
- Patagonia Arbor Market Pack 15L
- CamelBak Arete 18 Hydration Pack
- REI Co-op Flash 22
Keep Warm With a Beanie
Who doesn’t love a good beanie? Not only do hiking hats keep your head nice and warm, but they look pretty cool too!
Our fave beanies (for all occasions)
Hydration is important for any level of hike. Be sure to pack a water bottle that can hold enough liquid for the duration of your hike. Just remember that a larger bottle will add extra weight to your pack.
Great water bottles for hiking
If you plan on an extended hike or backpacking trip, you’ll also want to pack a water purifying system. We prefer the GRAYL Geopress which is a water filter and water bottle in one. With the GRAYL Geopress you can hydrate at any water source and not worry about packing extra bulk.
While you might not always need trekking poles, it’s a good idea to have a pair on hand for any winter (read: snow and ice) hiking that you’re doing as well as any trails that feature a steep descent. Trekking poles also give you a full body workout when in use as you’ll be working your arms as well as your legs.
Best trekking poles:
Safety Gear for your Hiking Packing List
You can never be too prepared when it comes to exploring the wilderness. While we hope you never need these, the items below are always a good addition to your travel packing list.