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Hiking Gear Guide for Beginners and Pros

Here is a checklist on what gear you need for hiking, as well as some tips on packing for your first trek!

Whether you are a beginner or pro at hiking, you can always do with a bit of a refresher on what to bring on a hike. And the best part is you can do it while looking stylish! Are you ready to get ready to get your gear on? 

What gear do I need for hiking?

Before you pack that selfie stick in your bag, let’s make sure we get the essentials down first. It’s not that we’re advising you to forget about it (after all, what’s a hike without a few snaps for your Insta?) But ask yourself this: Do I really need it? Or will it weigh me down? 

Consider how difficult the hike will be and the kind of terrain you will traverse. Will it take you hours or just several days to finish the hike? Then you can separate the must-haves from the good-to-have. The must-have equipment are usually divided into these categories:  

  • Protective. These are equipment that can protect you from the forces of nature. This includes clothing, footwear, sun protection, shelter, and first aid kit. 
  • Nutrition. Food, water, or supplements that can give you the energy you need! 
  • Navigation. Tools that will help you on your hike. These are things that can aid you in finding directions and keep you on schedule.  
  • Personal. Any personal items you need to bring such as toiletries or hygiene products, as well as medicine. 

What hiking gear do you bring for beginners?

The most common question aspiring hikers have is: What gear do I need for hiking? Most beginners go on short hikes or walks. What this means is that the hiking equipment they need may be different from the ones used by pros. If it’s a short hike of a few hours, then, of course, you don’t need a tent and other overnight items. Let’s check out the top 10 survival items for hiking, shall we? 

What are the 10 essentials for hiking?

  1. Navigational tools such as maps and compass
  2. Sunglasses, sun cream, and a sun hat
  3. Spare warm clothing
  4. Source of light such as a flashlight, headlamp, or handheld torch
  5. First-aid kit
  6. Firestarter and matches 
  7. Shelter such as tents (only if you are hiking overnight) 
  8. Multi-tool or at the very least, a knife
  9. Food and water
  10. Personal medicine and toiletries  

Check out hiking equipment >

What is the best food to bring while hiking?

You will of course need to be energised while walking! The trick is to find food that can strike the perfect balance between its weight and the amount of energy it can give you. Go for those packed with vitamins and minerals, such as: 

  • Trail mix with nuts, seeds, nut-based bars or nut butter packs.
  • Fruits that are either fresh (and don’t require refrigeration such as apples, bananas, oranges) or dried/freeze-fried. 
  • Packed snacks such as granola bars, energy bars, chews or gels.
  • Whole-grain tortillas.

If you’re also trekking for several days, you may need to bring a small cooler with you so you can keep your food fresh! If you’re packing more snacks and food, make sure they take minimal packing effort and don’t require a lot of cooking tools. 

How much water should I carry hiking?

In general, you’re advised to consume around two litres daily but if you’re doing strenuous activities, it is expected that you should hydrate more. The type of trail and the length of the hike should also be considered. So if you’re asking, “How much water do I need for a 10-mile hike?” The answer would be different if you want to go on a three-mile hike. 

The water container is another thing you should think about. Water bladders or reservoirs could be handy but they are more difficult to clean. On the other hand, water bottles are more affordable and they can be stored anywhere. The downside is they are heavy and bulky. Collapsible bottles are very lightweight but they are less durable. 

The fun part about water bottles is that there are many designs and styles to choose from! 

Take a look at water bottles >

How to pack your hiking gear 

  • Start with the essentials. Prioritise items needed for navigation, protection, insulation, first aid, etc. 
  • Don’t pack the night or morning before your hike. Like trekking, you also need to practice in terms of packing your hiking gear. It’s not unusual for beginners to forget an item so it’s best to avoid this mistake by packing early. And you still want to look cute, right? So you definitely need time to coordinate your outfits! 
  • Lay out your gear before packing it. By placing all items on the floor beside your hiking bag, you see all of them at the same time and there’s a lesser chance of you forgetting something. 
  • Pack items that will not make a lot of mess, especially in terms of food. Most hikers are familiar with the “leave no trace” principle and this starts when you’re packing your hiking gear. 
  • Less is more. Just because your backpack has extra space doesn’t mean you should pack more. The unnecessary weight of your bag can weigh you down while hiking. 
  • Make sure the gear you need the most is easily accessible while hiking. For example, your water bottle should be somewhere reachable especially if you need to hydrate a lot! 
  • Keep everything inside and don’t let too many things hang off your backpack. This can throw off your balance and they can also get caught on branches. Worse, they can also fall off! 
  • As much as possible, use bags designed for trekking. Bags specifically made for hiking have special pockets and appendages directly related to trekking.

Shop for rucksacks > 

What are the ABCDs of backpacking? 

Make packing as easy as ABCD! Here are more tips on packing your hiking gear: 

Accessibility: Snacks, lunch, first aid kit, and rain gear should be placed at the upper part of your pack or in pockets. Bulky things that you don’t need to take out often like sleeping bags can be stuffed at the bottom of the bag. 

Balance: When you’re packing, try to evenly distribute the weight of your back not just from side to side but also on the front and back. So if you’re carrying a water bottle of a certain weight on one side, make sure the other side has items that can weigh just as much. Another technique is to pack the heaviest items in the middle since it distributes the weight. 

Compression: You don’t want to carry several bags, do you? (It will only cramp your style!) To make more space in your bag, you can roll clothes up so they take as little space as possible. 

Dry: If you can’t buy a water-resistant backpack, make sure to keep your essentials dry. You may store them in grip seal bags or you may also use rubbish compactor bags.

What should I pack for a 3-day hike?

The answer is exactly the same items you need for a one-day trip, but with more food and water. The rule of thumb is that a person eats 2 lbs of food per day but factors such as your body weight and difficulty of the trek also come into play. 

If it’s a three-day hike, then you also need sleeping bags and tents! Can you bring the same tent you used for your last music festival? Well, you can, granted it’s sturdy enough to withstand the rough outdoors. To be on the safe side, have a look at new tents and sleeping bags specifically built for camping… 

Shop for sleeping bags >

What should you not bring while backpacking?

We all want to look chic and stylish while hiking, right? You don’t want to look worn out when you finally get to that amazing view to take your new profile pic! The only way to do that is to lessen your load… literally. Try to avoid packing these items so as not to tire yourself out: 

  • Jewelry. Sadly, it’s not advisable to accessorize while hiking since small items like accessories can easily get lost. 
  • More than one item of heavy clothing. Jeans and bulky jackets take a lot of space so make sure to include just one of them. Fortunately, those athlesiure wear you like so much doesn’t take up much weight! If it looks good in a gym, it’s going to look good on the trail too! 
  • Heavy lenses for your camera. We understand the need to capture the moment but avoid bringing extra lenses or the bulkiest lens for your camera. 
  • Extra toiletries or toiletries in big bottles. Pack the smallest bottles possible, or sample sizes of things like toothpaste or body wash. 
  • Extra gadgets. Just bring what you need. You won’t have time to tinker with them anyway while you’re on your trek.  
  • Big pillows. You can use your rolled up clothes as pillows if you can’t bring a small neck or head pillow. 
  • Extra boots and footwear that can get damaged easily. You only need one trusty pair and don’t even think about bringing heels or other types of footwear that can get damaged easily. (They also take up space in your bag.)

Maintenance tips for your hiking gear 

We’re sure that you clean and maintain your makeup and clothes. It’s the same with our equipment for hiking. If you invest in good quality gear, you can prolong their life by following these pointers: 

  • Store your sleeping bags correctly. Don’t forget to clean the sleeping bags too! You don’t want some creepy crawlies surprising you when you bring them out! 
  • Dry out your tent to avoid fabric damage and unpleasant smells. 
  • Repair tears to avoid leaky tents in the future. You may want to manually sew it or you may also use seam sealers.
  • Clean your hydration bladders or packs or water bottles after every hike. 

What should you consider when buying your hiking gear?

After reading this blog, maybe you’ve realised that you need to upgrade your gear or that you need to buy a thing or two for your next hike. Right now you may be thinking, oh, what gear do I need for hiking first? 

  1. The first step is to list down what you already have (maybe an old sleeping bag and hiking boots) and assess if they’re still up to standards. 
  2. The next thing you need to do when buying your new hiking equipment is to list down what else you’re missing and ranking them by priority. Is it something you would need all the time? Or is just nice to have? Prioritise the essentials first. 
  3. Now when you’re buying the new gear, it is important to choose the most lightweight, least bulky version of the equipment. Practice carrying them around so you can get used to it. And this brings us to the next item – something that can help you carry around your equipment easier are the perfect pair of hiking boots. Happy shopping! 

Shop for hiking boots >

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