You may be the kind of hiker who enjoys a relaxed trek with friends and fam (with a little wine in the thermos). Or, maybe you love to challenge yourself with weekends in the mountains to reenact your favorite scenes from Wild.
But no matter where you hike, you’ll always want to start your journey prepared for anything. To make sure you have everything you need for your next hiking trip, check out our hiking checklist.
To that end, what kind of basic hiking gear do you need to conquer nature? To be comfortable and confident on your hiking adventure, you’ll need 3 top-notch tools: sturdy boots, a large water bottle, and a bright headlamp. That’s why we created this guide: to prepare you for your outdoor adventures with day hiking essentials.
Essential Item #1: Reliable Boots
As Lieutenant Dan said in Forrest Gump, “Take good care of your feet.” This is a vital rule for hiking (as well as the military), and for good reason. If you want to enjoy a safe and invigorating trek, you must ensure your feet are dry, comfortable, and supported — you’ll need a dependable hiking boot.
If you plan to explore nature and spend the whole day hiking, you’ll need a pair of sturdy, reliable hiking boots. This is especially true if you like cold-weather hikes; the best winter hiking gear includes a tough set of boots with a lot of support and grip.
Whether you’re looking for the best winter hiking gear for chilly terrain or something to pack for your summer vacation trekking through the Appalachian Trail, here’s what to consider when looking for hiking boots:
Comfort – Your heel should be snug in the boot without any rubbing or room for movement. The boot should be cushioned, have a wide toe box, and leave you blister-free.
Traction – Look at the bottom of the boot you’re considering. It should have deep grooves and textured soles for ultimate traction. This will help you keep your footing on smooth paths and rugged roads.
Stability – The best hiking boots are built to prevent ankle juries as you walk. Look for a boot that covers your ankles and boasts ankle support.
If you are wondering what to wear hiking, check out our article where we break down hiking outfits by season.
Essential Item #2: Large Water Bottle
Hiking can certainly build up a thirst! Doctors recommend drinking two to three cups of water per hour for adults who are active and sweating. That’s 16-24oz of water per hour while you’re hiking, which means you’ll need to bring plenty of water with you. After all you definitely don’t want to drink from a muddy pond when thirst strikes!
But many large water bottles are expensive, heavy, and hold a relatively small amount of water. So what’s a thirsty hiker to do?
When you’re looking for the best cheap hiking gear, you can’t get much better than this half-gallon water bottle. Most water bottles only go up to 32oz of water, but this water bottle is one of the largest on the market with a capacity of 64oz. That means you’ll have plenty of water for the trail.
What’s more, this water bottle has three curved grooves for handling and it comes with a custom lanyard for easy carrying.
Essential Item #3: Bright Headlamp
While headlamps may bring to mind images of coal miners and jungle explorers, a headlamp is an essential piece of hiking gear for men and women alike. It’s as important as your hiking boots or your map. While most people hike in the daytime, getting lost can quickly turn your day hike into a night hike.
In the same way you may have a spare tire in your trunk or emergency cash in your purse, you never want to have to use a headlamp on your hike, but when you do, you’re glad it’s there.
But you can’t just choose any headlamp; there are a few factors to watch out for when choosing a headlamp:
Brightness – When you’re hiking in the dark, brighter is better. Low quality headlamps will only emit between 25 and 500 lumens (the measure of brightness). You’ll want something much brighter, in the 500-10,000 range.
Run time – The run time of a headlamp isn’t always straightforward. A retailer may claim a headlamp runs for 100 hours, but it only stays at full brightness for half of that time. Be wary of labels that claim “full moon brightness,” which is actually quite dim. As romantic as that lighting sounds, it’s better suited for a post-date walk and not a treacherous trek through the night.
Energy – Most headlamps need to be charged via an electrical outlet, which makes for a sticky situation in the wild. Keep an eye out for headlamps that are battery-powered so you can pack a few extras in your backpack just in case.
A hiker’s best friend for midnight journeys? Outdoor Pro Gear makes a powerfully bright headlamp with 9,500 LUX, which is just under the brightness level of full daylight. To make this headlamp as reliable as possible, it’s designed to run off three AA batteries so you’ll never run out of juice when you need it most.
Other Essential Hiking Gear
Make some extra room in your pack to ensure you have these other hiking essentials every person needs in the great outdoors:
- Dry, moisture-wicking sport clothing, like a rash guard, hiking pant, or leggings for your base layer
- An insulated jacket or rain gear
- Warm, supportive and breathable hiking socks
- A hat that covers your face from the sun and wicks sweat off your forehead
- Sunscreen with a 30 SPF rating or above
- A hiking pole or poles for a more strenuous hike
- A hiking backpack with comfortable straps and with room for all of your hiking equipment and extra food. To make sure you are packing efficiently and conservatively, read our guide on how to pack a hiking backpack.
- A collapsible toilet that also comes with a reusable female urinal funnel (truly an essential piece of hiking gear for women who have heard “the call of nature!”)
RebateKey: The Home of Top-Quality Discount Hiking Gear
Hiking is a rewarding and challenging activity, and you’ll need to be prepared for anything once you step into the outdoors. A set of sturdy boots, a big water bottle, a bright headlamp, and more outdoor gear will make your hiking experience safe and enjoyable.
At RebateKey, we’re dedicated to bringing you the best products at affordable prices. We focus on cash back rebates, which means no coupon clipping or mailing in UPCs (universal product codes) to get your discount. We aim to make your shopping experience easy, and you’ll love the money you save without sacrificing quality.
Do more of what you love without the price tag, and start shopping with RebateKey.