Having the correct collection of things to take with you on a Day Hike is very important to your success and enjoyment! If you have too many things, you’ll wear yourself out faster due to carrying all of the weight of your items. But, if you don’t have what you need, you can get caught in some sticky situations.
The first thing you need to figure out is what pack do you want to use? You can definitely go buy the perfect hiking pack, but you can also make-do with that you have! For a long time, I hiked with a Kavu crossbody bag or, before I bought that, I used my school backpack. Whatever bag you have (preferably one that goes on your back) will suffice for a short day hike.
Make sure you check the weather and prepare for the worst before your hike. This means wearing layers and having moisture-wicking clothing, just in case you hit an unexpected weather change. Have on your favorite hiking boots or most comfortable tennis shoes!
In Your Pack
Now for the information you came for, what do you carry in your pack?
Water! Bring water with you, make sure you bring enough to get you through the hike. Whenever you have drunk half of your water, it's time to be on your way back. Even if you don’t feel like you want to be done, never plan to hike without water. Another good option is to bring a filter or filter straw with you! This way, you can collect water on your hike to keep yourself hydrated until the end.
Snacks! Bring snacks with you to enjoy during your hike. Taking a break here and there for a little snack is a great option, just make sure you Leave No Trace.
Navigation Tools! This includes a compass and some sort of map. Paper maps are great, but if you're more into the digital plan, you can always use an app like AllTrails!
First Aid Kit! Always make sure you have a first aid kit with you on your hikes. It’s likely that you won’t need it, but you sure don’t want to be caught without it.
Safety Tools! Bring a flashlight, multitool and even a knife! Again, you likely won’t need them, but they’re easy enough to bring along in case.