A day hike or long walk is a great way to get out to explore. Whether you are planning to stick close to home or find somewhere new, there's an abundance of mini-adventures to be had. All that's left to do before you head out the door is pack your bag with the right kit.
Are you walking solo, meeting friends or even taking the kids? Whatever day hike you're planning, it's important to consider the weather, length of walk and the terrain you'll be tackling which will help you to pack your bag with the essentials. Generally speaking, the longer your walk or more varied the weather conditions and terrain, the more water, food and clothing layers you will need to take.
Day hike checklist
- Hiking boots or trail shoes
- Breathable layers
- Waterproof jacket
- Water & Snacks
- Comfortable backpack
- First aid kit
Hiking boots or trail shoes
No matter the time of year, you're going to need some grippy, durable shoes so you can be confidently walk on uneven or slippery ground. Hiking boots or trail shoes are made from hard-wearing materials and have features that your regular trainers don't such as deep lugs (grippers) on the sole. Often hiking boots or trail shoes are also waterproof - so are especially great to wear during the autumn and winter, or in the UK any time of year!
It's best to wear multiple layers when hiking as each layer traps heat. This will help to keep you warm when it's cold and if you start to get too hot, you can easily take a layer off and pack it away. For day hikes, it's worth considering materials like merino wool which is temperature regulating, wicks sweat away quickly and stays fresher for longer. Thin layers are easy to pack away in bags too. No matter what the forecast is saying when you set off, we recommend taking layers with you if the weather changes.
Weather conditions can change pretty quickly. If you get caught in the rain without protection, it can be hard to warm back up and dry off - potentially putting a dampener on your plans or halting your walk. Many outdoor jackets can be easily rolled up and packed away in a bag if the sun makes an appearance. And for the days it doesn't, you'll be thankful you're staying dry.
Hydration and snacks
Staying fueled and hydrated is key to having the energy to keep going. Without enough sustenance, you may start to feel lightheaded or dizzy and not want to or be able to continue. Plus is there anything better than packing a picnic, sitting down and soaking up your surroundings?
Many hikes and well-known walks are sign-posted but it is still a good idea to plan your route. You can download activity routes onto many GPS watches or your phone to keep you on the right path. These devices are also great to track your activity too.