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Preparing for a day hike

Visual learner? Video down below 😊

Let’s just jump right into it! You’re tired of just going on a leisurely stroll around the block, or better yet you want to push yourself to spend more time outside. Whatever the reason (and there’s no bad reason) this article will help you prepare for a day hike. What do I mean by day hike?

Day Hike: a hike that is short enough to be completed in a single day

(Pictured: Me on a day hike at Olympic National Park, WA; March 2022)

Now of course this definition is subjective to each individual person. But let’s just assume I mean somewhere in the range of 1 - 15 miles. And if you’re just starting to walk/hike more, start with low mileage first so your body can get adjusted to the physical changes.

Also note, you technically don’t have to bring anything when you hike (just an open mind), but this article will help you be the most prepared for any given situation.


What you’ll need:

  • Backpack

  • Clothes

  • Food and Water

  • Toilet Paper


When selecting a backpack for your hiking adventure, choose functionality over style. Ideally, you’d want a backpack that has side pockets and can hold a wide array of items. It doesn’t have to be a fancy outdoor brand - think school backpack, thrift store backpack, or visit your local outdoor sports store for recommendations.

**Fill your side pockets with essential items you can grab almost instantly and may need frequently like water and granola bars.

(Pagosa Springs, CO - Continental Divide Trail; September 2022)


Layering is essential when exploring outside. Weather patterns change and your heart gets pumping meaning you should be able to adjust with these changes.

  • Base Layer

This layer is your sweat-wicking, performance shirt. Try to avoid cotton, if possible, as cotton holds the sweat from your body in the fabric. Polyester shirts work well.

  • Mid Layer

The mid layer works as a nice layer to put on if you’re starting to get chilly, but don’t want to put on your full jacket. You can find them at thrift stores, or online from retailers like Outdoor Research and REI.

  • Top Layer

Your top layer is your warm layer. For when the sun goes down and the temperature drops. Ideally, this top layer is made with down feathers or synthetic fibers that can keep you warm. Fleeces also work well as a top layer.

  • Shoes

Tennis shoes work great for a day hike. Consider investing in hiking shoes only if you’re serious about hiking and want to tackle harder trails. Sandals are also acceptable on a hike as long as they have a back strap to them, and preferably closed toed (Ouch!).

  • Rain Layers

It never hurts to bring a rain jacket on a day hike. Sometimes forecasts don’t show light rain because it’s so….light. You can bet if it’s cloudy then there is a slight chance for rain. Better safe than sorry!

Note: If you live in a place with frequent rain showers (looking at you Washington State) consider getting rain pants as well.

Food and Water

  • Granola Bars/Protein Bars

  • Trail Mix

  • Reusable water bottle instead of disposable water bottle

Toilet Paper

Trailheads are often equipped with bathrooms or port-o-potties, but sometimes they are out of teepee. You may also have to pee in the middle of your hike, so it’s always a good idea to have extra teepee handy.




  • First aid kits are optional

  • ALWAYS check the weather before going on a hike!

  • Hiking is a safe activity physically, mentally and emotionally!

  • Let your guard down and explore the beauty of nature 💚

Please enjoy my 5 minute video on how to prepare for a day hike and subscribe if you like what you have seen!

Of All Trades,




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