Best Hiking Gear Backpacking Equipment for a Day Hike

What hiking supplies do you need for a one day hike?
There are many beautiful one day hikes here in Oregon and we have the best backpacking gear, accessories and supplies needed for a beginner hiker in search of the basic required equipment and apparel for day treks that do not demand multi day camping provisions. Many of these listed hiking essentials are also necessary for long overnight hiking and camping trips as well. This basic hiking gear checklist is a must in 2022. Plus great added bonuses like these carabiner cups you can hang on your backpack while hiking.

Best Hiking Backpack aka Daypack

When it comes to short hikes or long hikes, the hiking backpack is the most important piece of hiking equipment one can add to their collection of gear. If you are a frequent hiker, you are going to form an intimate relationship with your backpack and you’re not only going to want it to be as comfortable and practical as possible, but you’re also going to want to be proud of it when you and others look at it out on the trail. These are some heavy requirements to meet, making the choice of a nice backpack, one of high importance.

Best Camping Backpack or Day Hike Pack.

  1. The overnight camping hiker backpack
  2. The perfect daypack for hiking
  3. CamelBack for the super day traveler(or trail runner)

You may think you can get away with using your old Jansport student backpack that you have laying around from 15 years ago, but the truth is that won’t cut it if hiking is your hobby. You need extreme comfort and a highly functioning pack with pockets and compartments for your hiking equipment. It’s so satisfying to have a good backpack.
best hiking gear
Here are some hiking tips that apply to all trail backpacks in general:

  • Do not buy cheap products of an unknown or little-known brand, they may fall apart on you
  • Get 2 shoulder straps, not a single sling backpack
  • Get a waste or hip strap for added back and spine support
  • Padding on the back plate and shoulder straps is important
  • Waterproof or a rain flap is a great idea
  • Consider the number of compartments for the arrangement of your gear and equipment

When you have all these significant features in mind, you see why the best backpack has a higher cost but you also begin to comprehend the true value of this crucial hiking component. With comfort, weather resistance, pack-size and design in mind, you’ve got a few options. Number one is considerably larger and needed for any overnight hikes, which you are bound to do once you get addicted. Backpack number 2 is a smaller lightweight backpack which has been dubbed the perfect day-hike pack. You will be pleased with this choice. You are on your way to becoming a hiking enthusiast!

Best Backpack For Trail Running Or Casual Hikes

Maybe you are not bringing anything with you at all. Just water, some snacks and a camera or so. Maybe you are the under prepared hiker and that is your style. In this case, the Camleback is for you. It has room for your personal items and basic hiking gear. What it excels at is having a lot of water instead of gear space. This is perfect for someone who likes to trail run or really knows the situation calls for no more than water and food. It won’t do for a super adventure or an overnight hike, but it will surely be the best backpack for the casual day hiker.

Best Hiking Shoes 2018

While your backpack is extremely important, one could say your hiking shoes or boots are just as important and it’s true. It is kind of a toss up because both can cause back pains if corners are cut in your footwear choice.
Factors to consider:

  • Durability
  • Breathability
  • Moisture protection
  • Brand reliability
  • Materials
  • Water resistance
  • Shoe height
  • Shoe size
  • Comfort
  • Don’t forget hiking socks (bring spares on the trail)

Because hiking shoes are so important, it is recommended that you go to your local shoe or outdoor supply store such as REI. There are too many options to try on and comfort is the most important factor with hiking shoes.

I personally buy my Merrell’s on Amazon and they can be obtained at most local department stores. These are very comfortable lightweight hiking shoes. I have these hiking boots and wear them daily around town as you can see here. They are comfortable enough for me to wear everyday around town like normal walking shoes so I do consider them hiking sneakers for every day use. They are made of real leather, sturdy, have a solid sole, breathable and still manage to be waterproof. You might not think you need waterproof shoes, but the truth is that when you go on hikes in Oregon or around Portland, you often end up with shallow pools of standing water or having to cross a small stream. And of course they have a thick strong tread with a lot of grip on the sole of the shoes. This has made my treks much safer and easier. They do not slip like my normal sneakers would. These trekking shoes are the best for me and I feel they will be your favorite boots as well. The only problem is you may need to go into a real retail store to try them on and find your size. I know my size because I have bought them before so I do buy them online. Lucky me.

Once you have your new hiking shoes(or boots), do not jump straight into a 10 mile hike. You may destroy your feet and end up with horrendous blisters and calluses. This is extremely unpleasant and will become unbearable to continue your day hike. Be sure to break your shoes in by wearing them around town for a few days or by going on a few easy trail short hikes. Maybe 1-2 miles, but not a one-day hike to start.I actually wear them every day like casual walking sneakers.

If you are going to be doing rain or snow hikes, do not think “waterproof hiking shoes” will be enough to keep your feet dry. You will need hiking gaiters to add true waterproof protection. This is a worthwhile investment if you like hiking in the weather. Gaiters will protect the insides of your shoes from dirt, gravel, sand and small pebbles on more strenuous mountain hikes. A small rock penetration can be a show stopper and cost you time. If you thought that was all, they also protect you from ticks during spring and summer months and where they really enhance the comfort levels of your hiking trip. You can not hike in the snow without something like this to protect you from freezing your feet off.

The bottom line for good hiking shoes, is you are not going to be able to go out and hit the trail with your average every day city sneakers and surely not in sandals or open toe shoes of any sorts. You will need durability and protection to avoid injuring yourself and to make the entire adventure.

Best Hiking Clothes – Dress For Your Hike

It is very important to get your hiking attire right. Being unprepared for a day hike and wearing the wrong apparel can be a very unpleasant and unfortunate experience. For example, not wearing a hiking hat on a very sunny day may result in a severe sunburn so we’ll start there.

This is the brand hat I bought and I love it. You can see I even wear it on a normal beach boardwalk adventure day and it survived an old wooden roller coaster. I bought this hiking hat for outdoor adventures such as Death Valley where it was 123° F but have since used it on all of my sunny day hike adventures. Protecting the nose is the most important aspect for me and I have prevented many sunburns since I started sporting this stylish trail hat. OK, so I was embarrassed that I was buying this sun hat at first but am now a huge fan of it.

The hat doesn’t end there, kiddo. Part of being an avid hiker is taking those brisk Winter hikes on a cold snowy day. And I have just the hat for that. I wore it on daily Winter city walks through Portland.

Another thing to consider on a sunny day-hike, is that your arms may get a sunburn. You have a few options here, you can wear sunscreen lotion or a long sleeved lightweight shirt for protection. Sunny or not, it may soon get cold and you must always be prepared for the setting of the sun and the chilly winds that come with them. It is always a good idea to have a lightweight hoodie in your day-pack. When you’re living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s one of those things you never leave home without. If you are really going to hit the trail hard and do some rainy day hikes, be sure to go waterproof with your clothes. You may want to also consider some gloves for cold winter hikes.

When it comes to hiking in hot weather, another thing to keep in mind is shorts may not always be the best idea. Depending on your terrain, you may find yourself surrounded by tall grass, thorns, brush, scratchy bushes and even worse, ticks. Plan ahead and cover your legs for maximum protection against ticks. Only wear shorts if you know you will be on a designated maintained path, otherwise you may end up with unwanted parasites. If you are unsure whether or not your hike will require pants or shorts, these are for you. With detachable pants you are prepared for either scenario the trail may provide. They are light-weight and easily stored away in your day-pack.

Extra Tips For Hiking Apparel

1. Your hiking clothes should not be restricting. Make sure you have full motion movement, do some test like sit ups and jumping jacks. Do not restrict yourself as you may end up in a tricky situation demanding you be at your peak performance levels without movement interference.

2. Make sure your clothes are not too baggy, do not let straps hang lose. Extra material can be just as dangerous as not enough material when out in the wilderness.

3. Bring swimming attire if you are hiking to a river or lake. Enjoy your destination.

4. Wear clothes with pockets and zippers, or do like I do and buy a fanny pack. Sure you already have your backpack, but this is great for your camera, binoculars, wallet, compass and additional equipment you would like to keep on hand.

5. Wear clothes that can breath. I have mentioned this a few times and have shown you breathable clothes because this will be very important on a hot sunny day hike.

6. If cold, wear thermal underwear. They will really work wonders on long Winter hikes.

Best Trekking Poles aka Hiking Sticks

You may say to yourself, “I don’t need hiking sticks” or “trekking poles look silly”. But I assure you that the first time you go on a long hike and use these ultralight collapsible durable trekking poles, you will not embark on another adventure without them. These will improve the quality of your day trips ten-fold.

What do they do?
They support you. On a long walk / hike or climb, they hold up your entire musculoskeletal system. They reduce the burden on the back and calf muscles. You will feel much better the next day and even be able to do longer hikes without pain. Your joints will thank you after a prolonged hike. They are not just for old people, you will notice many young hip outdoors adventure goers using hiking poles on the trail. They may even spark up a conversation. It’s like when two people both ride a scooter, you give the secret nod of approval.

Hiking Pole Benefits
  • Support the back
  • Absorb shock, reduce wear and tear
  • Relieve pressure on the knee joints
  • Allow the calves to work with ease
  • Provide stability in rough terrain
  • Enable you to ford a river
  • Reduce strain from descending a steep trail
  • Alleviate the weight of your hiking pack
Food & Water for your day hike

This one is important for survival. You do not want to hit the trail without enough water and you surely do not want to fall hungry and weak while out in the wilderness. We have to keep weight in mind here so you should not bring any food in jars or containers. Luckily there are a lot of energy bars, trail mixes and trail snacks available. These 2 easy snacks are highly recommended due to their low weight, compact size and energy packed punch.

  1. Organic Trail Mix
  2. Raw Bars
How much water should I bring on a day hike?

It is recommended the average human consume 2 liters of water a day. This would be on a normal day though. Today we are going on a long hike and we will require much more water and preparation. For one, plan ahead to avoid dehydration. You can easily saturate with water the night before and in the morning before you embark on the trail. Drink a liter with dinner and again with breakfast. This will help you stay hydrated while out on the trail if you choose to only bring 2 liters with you in the hydration pack.

If you get the backpack for day hikes recommend above, it has a built in water water blade like the Camelback. It can carry 2 liters which is a little over a half of a gallon. This is enough for some people, but not even close for me. I drink a lot of water and would still require two additional 32oz refillable BPA free bottles. This would put me at a gallon which really I drink at home on any given day.

Here’s the thing though, that is going to add a lot of weight to your pack and it is unrealistic for most day hikers and long trip backpackers. There is no way you are going to carry all of that water. I know that you are not afraid to drink from a cold running stream. You will need a Lifestraw in this case. If you are a fan of water purification tablets, that is always an option for saving space and carrying less weight. More on that later. Subscribe.

Is it safe to drink water from a creek while hiking?

No, it is not safe to drink fresh running water without using the Lifestraw, boiling the water or using water purification tablets. Even if it is a fresh water spring straight from the ground, you risk catching Giardia, getting diarrhea or other bacterial or viral infections. This is why you must be prepared and properly geared for your hike. Be sure to bring enough water with you or bring a way to purify fresh running water on the trail.

Be over prepared for your day hike

OK, now that you have all the essential hiking gear down, let’s talk about equipment that you might not “need for your hike”, but are going to bring anyway. Some of these may seem insignificant but you don’t know how bad you need a machete until you’ve gone buck wild in the wild. Chopping your own path is a lot of fun.

What gear to put in your backpack for a one day hike supplies

I know that was a lot of information and some of it may cause you to be over-prepared so we will sum up the necessary hiking survival supplies for a day long trip.

  • Good backpack
  • Hiking boots
  • Water
  • Food
  • Hiking socks
  • Hiking hat
  • Hiking sticks
  • First aid kit
  • Hoodie
  • Extra socks

These are considering you are on a fair weather Spring or Summer hike. If you are going to be hiking in the Winter or cold, please do take into consideration extras like gloves, water proof shoes, layers of clothing and more. One thing many do not consider when hiking in the snow, is a lot of heavy snow and even branches fall straight down from the weight of the snow. You would be very wise to wear a ski helmet to protect yourself from such natural occurrences. Trust me, it does happen. Hiking in the snow can be dangerous.

The Best Hiking Gear Conclusion

Now we are prepared for our day hike, trail run, or overnight backpacking trip. By now you have decided if you are a light traveler or a heavy traveler. You know how to dress, what to carry, what to expect and you probably need to know where to go.

Luckily, here in Portland you have the entire Columbia Gorge at your finger tips! Good luck adventurers and please comment below with any extra tips or provisions that you find necessary when out on the trail.
feel the hike

2 thoughts on “Best Hiking Gear Backpacking Equipment for a Day Hike”

  1. I just got into hiking as a hobby hoping to burn calories and lose some weight. Thanks for all of the pointers… I will probably order at least one of everything you recommended!

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