The Best Checklist Of What To Bring On A Day Hike

You have settled on a place you want to visit, and now all you need to do is pack. Think lightweight, and only bring what you need to bring. This will make it easier to carry around, so you can spend more time enjoying the great outdoors.

You have settled on a place you want to visit, and now all you need to do is pack. Think lightweight, and only bring what you need to bring. This will make it easier to carry around, so you can spend more time enjoying the great outdoors. A compiled complete list is at the bottom of this post!

Safety and Survival

Always the first priority, you should always bring some form of a First Aid kit with you. Wouldn’t you rather be happy you brought one, than wish you would have?

You can either pre-pack a First Aid kit by assembling individual supplies, or you can purchase a pre-assembled kit. Good things to include in a kit for a day hike are bandaids (for blisters), aloe vera (for sunburns), and tweezers (dreaded ticks). Our favourite First Aid Mini kits are affordable, compact, and has enough space to slip in some other items.

Spend more time enjoying the moment outdoors, and less time worrying about mosquitoes and that painful blister.

If you are someone who likes to hike alone, bring some sort of personal alarm with you. This is a small compact item that when you pull the pin out, makes a loud alarming noise. This handy item can be used for many reasons, like deterring wild animals or human attackers. I prefer these to whistles because if you drop the whistle or it is knocked out of your mouth it is no longer effective. With the personal alarms, you can unplug the pin and throw the alarm to the side, with throwing the pin away to the other side (it can be turned off only by reconnecting the pin).

As long as you keep to the trail paths and have a general understanding of the navigation of the area, there isn’t a strong possibility that you will get lost. But in case, it doesn’t hurt to bring a lighter or two. You can use these for starting fires that can produce smoke for an S.O.S signal.

We also suggest considering bringing a multitool on your day hike. The best of multitools offer a variety of useful functions, with being lightweight.

Protection From the Elements

Look up what the weather will be like for the entire day in that region, and understand how to properly dress for the environment. It’s a good idea to layer, so you can add or remove clothing throughout your trip. Ideally, wear waterproof hiking shoes that have grips on the bottom of the sole. If hiking in the winter, dress warm and consider bringing mittens, scarf, toque, etc.

Winter hiking? Wear boots that are waterproof to keep warm. The boots pictured here that have successfully kept me so warm and dry the past few winters are from Sorel.

If it’s sunny and warm out, it’s a good idea to bring sunscreen and chapstick. Choose a sunscreen that is waterproof (sweat) with higher levels of SPF and apply regularly throughout the day. My go-to sunscreen to take with me hiking needs to be affordable and travel-friendly. Using chapstick will help protect your lips against the UV rays (go for one with an SPF of at least 30). Consider wearing a ball cap to protect your scalp or wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes.

On a hot and sunny day, does your destination provide any shade? Or are the trails completely exposed to the sun?

Is it summertime? There is a solid chance you are going to encounter some mosquitos. Bring something that will deter the pests from you, like debt-free natural bug spray. And when they bite, be prepared by bringing some After Bite with you to help soothe the skin and have you less focused on the itch, and more focused on enjoying the hike.

Hydration and Fuel

It’s smart to stay hydrated for your hike, so bring water!

Stay hydrated!

Use a lightweight water bottle that is airtight and will not be prone to leaking. The worst feeling is opening up your backpack and finding your water has leaked onto your other items. You could also opt for a water reservoir for added flexibility and less weight.

Bring some food items that are guaranteed to give you needed energy and protein. My experiences are the foods with higher calories, fat, and protein and with less carbs and sugar give me the most sustained energy.

Try snacks like nut butter and apple, beef jerky, nuts and dried fruit, and certain granola bars. You can opt for homemade granola bars where you can control the ingredients and taste of the bar. Alternatively, you can go for prepackaged bars.


I love researching about the place I am travelling to before going. It’s fun to me to find pictures and photos online, and then visit the area in person. The best option is to bring a physical copy of the map or trail (better than relying on a phone, which is useless if it dies).

Hiking regions often contain trails that branch off to different options of pathways. The best way to prepare for hiking is to bring a map of the region, and a compass. If you do not have a map, make sure your phone is fully charged and take a photo of the map or look it up online and screenshot to reference.

Decided to visit a trail on a whim? No problem. Most trailheads feature hiking maps so you can have an overview before journeying. I suggest taking a photo of this so you can reference it at different points during your hike. At the very least, bring a reliable pocket compass and survey the map to determine if you were to get lost, can you walk straight in one direction and eventually find a path back to familiar territory?


Is it just me that can sometimes randomly get a bought of a stuffy nose? Bring a small package of pocket tissues (you will be happy you did)!

And, of course, what are you going to pack everything in? I am loving this backpack I purchased that is super lightweight, and when not in use, can fold up into itself for storage.

Is there anything missing that you often bring with you on a hike? Let us know!

Safe trekking!

Day Hike Checklist

Whitevale Park and Seaton Hiking Trail

When we lived in Pickering we often hiked the Seaton Trail through it’s many access points closer to the town (Dixie Road, Valley Farm, Clarkes Hollow). This last visit back to the area, we decided to start our trek using a new entrance – through Whitevale Park. I absolutely love Whitevale in Pickering. I don’t […]

Camping at Oastler Lake Provincial Park – Site #151

Woohoo! Finally COVID cases are decreasing in Ontario, and Ontario Parks has now made overnight camping open to the public. We snagged a last-minute camping spot at Oastler Lake Provincial Park located near Parry Sound just days before planning on camping. We snagged campsite #151 – and I can say it’s one of the best […]

Fishing at Holland River in Bradford

The first weekend following one of us starting a new job, we were itching to get out of the house. First time in years we now both have weekends off! This deserved celebration. We decided we were going for a short drive north to check out some local fishing spots, courtesy of a popular app […]

Birding at Milne Dam Conservation Park in Markham

Being the first visit to this conservation area, the moment I stepped out of the car, I knew this would not be the last! Just by where my car was parked at the end of Princess Street, many birds were singing to each other amongst the trees off the road. It is a great recreational […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: