The Ten Essentials for Day Hiking and Backpacking
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It’s been said many times that nature and the outdoors heal, invigorate, and boost our mood. Personally, I couldn’t agree more. And right now, exploring the outdoors might be the safest way of recreation. If you’re new to hiking, or even if you’ve been in this game for a while now, it’s important to know the basics. For instance, if you haven’t yet been told that this is an expensive hobby, let me be the first to break it to you. Because, yes, it can get quite expensive. Thankfully, having the ten essentials for day hiking and backpacking doesn’t require you to break the bank. In fact, along with the right hiking footwear, these items are the most valuable and essential part of your gear.

Who Created The Ten Essentials?

The Ten Essentials list for day hiking and backpacking dates back to the 1930s. It’s an actual system that was created in 1974 by the Seattle, Washington alpine club–The Mountaineers. This club was founded in 1906 and it hosts outdoor activities like hiking and alpine mountain climbing.

The Mountaineers also run a publishing business. It is through Mountaineers Books that they published what is considered the standard American textbook for mountaineering and climbing–Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. This famous manual for mountaineers and hikers alike was written by a team that consisted of over 40 experts in this field.

Therefore, you should know that this is not just some random made-up list. On the contrary, the ten essentials for day hiking and backpacking is a truly reliable system for hikers and mountaineers alike.

ten essentials for day hiking with YETI

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Start by Getting a Good Backpack for Hiking

The good thing about the ten essential items is that they don’t pack too much weight on your backpack. But having a strong backpack that’s comfortable to carry is a total game-changer. Your backpack should have plenty of pockets and decent storage room. Additionally, contoured and foam shoulder straps are definitely a must. Having multiple openings is also a great add-on. These make it accessible to reach for your items during your hikes.

With this in mind, if you’re on the hunt for a hiking bag, the YETI Crossroads 27L is a great backpack for your hiking trips. This bag is made from water and abrasion-resistant nylon which is perfect for a weekend trip and for any trail. It’s a YETI website exclusive, and therefore only accessible through the YETI site. Feel free to check out all the specifications of the YETI Crossroads 27L Backpack and browse through their 3D view.

Ten Essentials for Day Hiking and Backpacking

Now that you have a bag, let’s fill it up with some gear! Which items should you include in your hiking bag? Well, whether you’re going on a short hike, day hike, thru-hiking, or backpacking, these ten essentials must be part of your gear at all times. Why? Because accidents happen. Unfortunately, we can’t predict when something might go wrong. Hence, it is our full responsibility to be prepared at all times.

  1. Sun protection. Include sunglasses, sunscreen, sun protection clothing.
  2. First aid kit. Include foot care and insect repellent.
  3. Knife. Include gear repair kit. It would be super useful to add zip ties and duct tape.
  4. Fire. Lighter, waterproof matches, and even a compact camping stove.
  1. Headlamp. Include extra batteries. Make sure these can last up to 2 days.
  2. Navigation. Paper map, GPS device (with extra batteries), compass.
  3. Shelter. Can be an emergency blanket or a bivvy.
  4. Food. Beyond minimum expectation. Make sure to have enough food for at least 2 days. Include a mix of sweet and salty foods. You should at least have sandwiches, chips or pretzels, fruits, protein bars, and trail or mountain mix.
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Hydration Tip: calculate at least 2 cups of water (about 1/2 liter) for every 1 hour of hiking. That would be the required water intake for your hike. Now, double that amount to include more than the minimum expectation.

  1. Water. Beyond minimum expectation. You can use a water bottle with a filtration system, water reservoir, or a water treatment kit to avoid the extra weight of carrying water bottles.
  2. Clothes. Beyond minimum expectation. I include a rain jacket, extra pair of socks, a warm hat, and a pair of thin gloves. Whatever you decide to add to your bag, make sure it’s sufficient to survive the night in case of an emergency.

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The Ten Essential Items for Day Hiking and Packpacking
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About Author

Outdoor travel blogger, photographer, and Vampire Diaries obsessed. I'm passionate about hiking, and exploring the outdoors is an essential part of my life. I also love the ocean and warm sunny days.

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  1. I plan on going hiking myself and this list is definitely going to come in handy. I know I for sure need to invest in a first aid kit & headlamp.

  2. This is an awesome list! I’m an avid hiker, and I end up using these ten essentials all the time, even the ones that I think that I may never need. Having an emergency blanket on hand is so important! Thanks for this article.

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