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The Essential Day Hiking Gear List from The Trek

Since thru-hiking has been temporarily canceled, we’re pivoting toward appreciating the things we can do, like shorter outings close to home, and hopefully more extended trips later this summer. Last week I listed the gear I take day hiking, which will be getting lots of use this year. Now we’re going to throw our day-hiking essentials at you, with a few options for versatility / budget, plus the basics of what to carry for hikes of different distances.

Looking for day hikes in your region? Our 2020 NOGO hikers have day hike recommendations for Tahoe, California; Winter Park, Colorado; and Memphis, Tennessee.

Essential Day Hiking Gear

First, what type of hike are you doing? Peakbagging above treeline at high elevations? Or sticking close to town for a relaxed jaunt? You don’t want to overpack, but you also don’t want to be unprepared. Here are the basics to consider when packing your day-hiking bag.

See the full list from Maggie Slepian on the Trek's website here.


May 6, 2022

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While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure


The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere


SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team