Man hiking in mountains

Whether you’re casually hiking a favorite trail or peak bagging a difficult summit, carrying the proper equipment is absolutely critical. When things go wrong, as they often do, have the right items can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and a dire result. For beginners and expert backcountry travelers alike, the proper hiking supplies are essential, whether you’ll be gone for an afternoon or several weeks.


For any outdoor activity that involves more gear than you can carry in your pockets, you need a backpack. While all backpacks may look similar, they actually have lots of functional differences. To figure out which backpack is best for you, you should consider the following things:

  • Activity: How you’ll use the backpack will determine a lot about what features you’ll need. For hiking purposes you’ll really only need to be concerned about the capacity (see below), but you can get specialty backpacks for cycling, climbing, running, etc.
  • Capacity: The size of the pack you need will depend on how much gear you need to carry. Obviously, the more hiking supplies you have, the larger the backpack you’ll need.
  • Features: Frame type and access can affect how the pack will work for you, so try to visualize your needs on the trail and plan accordingly.
  • Fit: This is pretty important! If your back is too tight or too loose, it will be uncomfortable when you’re out on the trail and you’ll spend a good portion of your hike constantly adjusting your pack. Torso length and hip size are the two important areas for fit.


Never feel like you should wear hiking boots just because you are going hiking. Determine what to wear based on the terrain you will be hiking on. For gentle hikes on smooth trails, hiking shoes or trail runners work great. For treks on rocky, rugged trails, hiking boots will provide much more comfort and support.


Of all the hiking supplies you’ll need, clothing can be the trickiest to get right. If you’re planning on starting your hike and going all day, you’ll need various layers of clothing to keep you comfortable throughout the hike. Here are some clothing items that will serve you best out on the tail:

  • Moisture-Wicking Undergarments (t-shirt, underwear, etc.)
  • Quick Drying Pants and/or Shorts
  • Long-Sleeve Shirt (for sun and bug protection)
  • Lightweight Jacket or Fleece
  • Socks (synthetic or wool)
  • Rainwear
  • Lightweight Gloves
  • Lightweight Hat

You may also want to pack extra socks and undergarments, just in case.

Miscellaneous Hiking Supplies

Besides the more obvious hiking supplies listed above, there are a few other necessities you should bring with you whenever you head out into the great outdoors:

Food & Water

How much food you bring will depend on the length of your hike. If you’re going for an afternoon just pack snacks like Munk Pack Protein Cookies, Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes, trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, etc. If you’ll be out the whole day or for multiple days, you’ll need to pack food for meals and the means to prepare them.

For water, you can usually start with about two liters per person for the day, but adjust the amount depending on length and intensity of the hike, weather conditions, your age, sweat rate and body type. It’s always smart to bring more water than you’ll think you’ll need. It might add a little extra weight to your pack, but it is something you’ll never want to run out of.


Navigation devices are essential. The type of trip you’re taking and your personal preferences will determine exactly which items you’ll bring. For any hike you go on you should at least have a compass and a map (or guide book) of the area. This means an actual physical map! You never know what the cell phone coverage situation is going to be, especially if you get lost, so don’t rely on your phone for navigation.

If you’re going on a multiple day excursion or will be hiking in deep country you should also consider a GPS, personal locator beacon, and altimeter watch.

First Aid & Emergency

Whenever you head out on a hike, you should always have a first aid kit with you. A basic first-aid kit should include bandages, skin closures, gauze pads and dressings, roller bandage or wrap, tape, antiseptic, blister prevention and treatment supplies, nitrile gloves, tweezers, a needle, nonprescription painkillers and anti-inflammatory, antidiarrheal, and antihistamine tablets, a topical antibiotic, and any important personal prescriptions, including an EpiPen if you are allergic to bee or hornet venom. The contents should all be wrapped in waterproof packaging.

A few other hiking supplies you should consider when heading out are:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Knife (or multi-tool)
  • Whistle
  • Headlamp (or flashlight)
  • Lighter (or water-proof matches)
  • Insect Repellent

If there is anything that you consider a hiking necessity, please let us know in the comments!

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