Basic Hiking Gear: A Checklist

One of the easier scrambles on Brook Trail

If you’re at all into hiking, whether in the woods or in the big city, it’s a good idea to have a bag full of goodies to keep you safe in case of an emergency (I’m going to assume you already have sturdy boots or trail shoes). Here’s a handy check list:


Always carry some extra pieces of clothing, just in case you get caught in bad weather. Even a warm summer day can turn quickly to a cold, wet night. 
  • Moisture wicking base layer
  • Clean, dry socks
  • Gloves
  • Knit wool or fleece hat
  • Windbreaker
  • Extra sweater
  • Long or zip-leg pants
  • Bandana

Emergency Prep

The point of carrying emergency supplies it that you never know when an emergency will strike. Better to be prepared than to be caught by surprise.
  • Well stocked First Aid kit
  • Emergency blanket
  • Emergency whistle
  • Magnesium firestarter kit


You never know what you’re going to meet out in the wilderness, so having a few basic tools with you can go a long way to a successful adventure.
  • Maps of the area
  • Compass (learn to use one!)
  • Pocket knife (Swiss Army knife or a Leatherman tool work well)
  • Flashlight or headlamp


When hiking, you expend a lot more energy than when you’re puttering around the yard at home. Take enough food with you to keep your energy levels up for your entire hike. Take extra in case you get caught overnight. If your body has to work to stay warm, it’s going to need that extra fuel.  
  • Long shelf life snacks
    • Jerky
    • Nuts
    • Dried fruits
  • Other food
    • Energy bars (Clifbar, Powerbar, etc)
    • WATER (and lots of it)


You can have a good hike, or you can have a great hike. Take a few of these items if your pack weight allows for that extra something to make your trip memorable. 
  • Small digital camera
  • GPS unit
  • Small digital camcorder
  • Binoculars
  • Notebook and pen or pencil
  • Your favorite book
  • Geocaching supplies

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will definitely help you have a fun and safe adventure in the outdoors.

Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments!

Chris Cavallari

About Chris Cavallari

Chris is a longtime digital content producer based in Maine. Since 1999, he has been an early adopter and active participant in blogging, podcasting, and social media, and has been guiding small and mid-sized businesses in leveraging video, social media, and digital publishing to the fullest. With an avid love of travel and the outdoors, Chris started in 2009 to give him a platform to showcase his outdoors and travel adventures, and to help educate others in doing the same.