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Thrillist: Your Guide to Day Hiking Essentials, According to Hardcore Hikers

Knowing what to bring on a hike often comes with experience... and now this handy guide!

At its most basic, hiking is a leisurely walk through the forest. But anyone who's fallen for this fallacy knows that hiking can also be a strenuous and exhausting effort. An innocuous "it's only a couple of miles" typically means "it's a two mile hike up the side of a mountain." Hiking is an ethereal experience that allows you to connect with nature by immersing yourself within it. Just read Emerson, he'll tell you. But anyone who's ever gone on a hike underprepared usually has regrets. The wrong shoes, pants, lack of water, bad socks, etc.

As an avid hiker myself (seriously, here I am atop a mountain), I love when people like to join me for walks in the woods, but I've noticed more times than not, people generally forget even the most basic things (like water… seriously). So, with the help of my friend and PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) veteran Carl O'Connell, as well as numerous hikers across the globe, I've compiled a comprehensive list of everything -- for men and women -- you’ll need for a thoroughly enjoyable day hike (emphasis on day). And even better? Most of the stuff on here can be used for camping, picnics, and basic travel. Let's start from the ground up.

See the full guide from Alex Robinson on Thrillist's website here.

LAST UPDATED

May 6, 2022

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Let’s make every day memorable.

Thrillist wants to help you live in the moment, make every day memorable, and find the spice of life. We’re serious about fun, we’ll try anything once, and we love to learn from locals, experts, and innovators. From off-the-beaten-path excursions to daring recipes to the best new movies to that new restaurant that just opened up, we take a free-spirited and curious approach to life.

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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

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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
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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