People decide to go hiking for many reasons: the tremendous views, the fresh air, the escape from reality to clear their minds. 

But before you set off on the trail, review our list of essential items to take with you while hiking. It’s better to prepare for the worst than to get stuck in a situation with no solutions.

Emergency Shelter

Do not navigate treacherous hiking trails without a backup plan. Disaster often strikes when you least expect it, and if it does, you’ll be grateful you have resources. 

A lightweight emergency shelter doesn’t take up much room in your pack and will come in handy if you need to shelter in place while the weather eases.

Fire-Building Supplies

Bring supplies to build a fire in case you need to set up camp. Not only do fires keep you warm and cook food, but they can also serve as smoke signals if you need emergency responders to find you.

Sun Protection

You should already be applying sunscreen every day, but make sure to pack a little extra for a hiking trip. 

Whether the trail is short and sweet or it’s a whole day, you’ll need sunscreen and sunglasses. The sun may feel nice shining on your skin, but without proper protection, you might be hurting later that night from sunburn.

Compass & Watch

Of course, you can read the time on your phone, but what if your battery dies? Wear a modern watch for a more reliable way to check the time. 

Bring a compass and trail map along just in case you get lost. These items will help you get back to a familiar location if you wander off the path.

Whistle & Personal Locator Beacon

On the off chance that you get lost and need to be rescued, a personal locator beacon will lead emergency responders directly to you. 

If you don’t have a locator beacon, take a whistle with you. Whistles are louder than your voice and easy to hear.

Trash Bags

Aside from the other obvious essential items to take with you while hiking, like appropriate clothes, boots, food, and a first aid kit, you might not have thought about bringing a trash bag. 

As you hike, you can pick up trash. Cleaning up the trail as you walk won’t take much time, and you’ll be helping the wildlife, park rangers, and the environment. It’s a win-win.


Hiking can be for anyone. Whether you are an intermediate or expert hiker, there are plenty of trails and national parks for every level of expertise. 

Always double-check that you have everything you need, especially if this is an all-day adventure. Bring these essentials for the best hiking experience. 

Just don’t overpack because you’ll have to carry it around the whole time!    


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