Hiking equipment

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Main articles: Hiking and Backpacking (wilderness)
A winter bivouac in Germany.

Hiking equipment is gear or equipment taken on an outdoor trip. A hike can be for any length of time, though any hiking trip lasting for more than one day is typically referred to as backpacking or a walking tour. The equipment used varies according to locations, kind of activity, duration, and distance. Leave No Trace is a basic principle of hiking


Leather hiking boot (1982)

Hiking equipment may be considered in several categories.[1] [2]

  • Items Worn — Footwear, clothing, headgear, etc.
  • Carrying Items — Backpack, waist pack, hiking poles, or similar.
  • Food and drink — water, meals, snacks and emergency food.
  • Other gear that is essential for the hike safety or emergencies. (See also Survival kit).
  • Optional Items — Seating pads, cameras, notebooks, hammocks, electronic devices.
A modern backpack

Essential worn items[edit]

The choice of clothing will be based on the expected weather, temperature, and demands of the particular hike.

  • Footwear — This depends on the terrain: heavy waterproof boots with soles with a thick profile and high heels for rugged and mountainous country and light trainers for easier walks.[3] Spare hiking socks on multi-day excursions.
  • Clothes — Wicking clothing, including one complete change.
  • Wind and rain proofed jacket or parka.
  • Rain pants.
  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Gloves

Possible additions[edit]

  • Lightweight footwear for the evenings and night toilet trips.
  • Gaitors for crossing shallow bodies of water, muddy ground, snow, or walking through tussock.
  • Ice axe and crampons, for hiking or hillwalking on snow and ice in the winter.[4]
  • Climbing rope (when scrambling)
  • Snow shoes or skis for hiking in deep snow.
  • Trekking poles

Other essentials[edit]

Day hike[edit]

  • Food, high-energy snack food.
  • Flashlight (torch in the UK) depending on time of year and length of walk (plus spare batteries and bulb).
  • Maps (detailed)
  • Compass
  • First aid kit, including nail scissors and waterproof blister pads.
  • Water (several litres in hot weather).
  • Plastic bags, to keep things dry.
  • Sun cream and sun glasses
  • Survival bag, or space blanket
  • Emergency whistle and knowledge of the code: One blast = STOP; Two blasts = COME TO ME; Three blasts = COME TO ME QUICKLY!

Additional items for Backpacking[edit]

  • Food for meals, preferably with a low water content. Also high energy snack food and additional (and separate) emergency food.
  • Pocket knife, possibly with a tin opener and a saw, or multi-tool (similar but with pliers in addition).
  • Matches or a lighter, and possibly a flint or firesteel, which work, even when wet.
  • Tinder to start a fire.
  • Candles
  • Water purification tablets and/or filter.
  • Insect repellent
  • Sleeping pad or mat
  • Sleeping bag (and/or liner).
  • Bivvy bag
  • Plastic bags of various types and sizes to keep things dry, including ziploc bags. A garbage bag to line the backpack.
  • Toothbrush, etc.
Also worth considering[edit]
A U.S. Marine signalling an aircraft with a signal mirror.
  • Tent and/or ground sheet — the sheet (plus a rope) can be a simple substitute for a tent.
  • Cooking pot or billy.
  • Portable camping stove and fuel.
  • Eating utensils.
  • Trowel — for various purposes, e.g. to dig a cathole.
  • Small Axe or Hatchet.
  • Rain proof cover for pack.
  • Hammock
  • Pillow, preferably inflatable (possibly neck pillow), or use clothes or backpack.
  • Mosquito net
  • Twine/String — for all sorts of purposes.
  • Rope — various lengths and girths, for various purposes, e.g. Parachute cord. Maybe also (copper) wire.
  • Fishing line and fish hooks —
  • Machete — for use off the beaten track, if there is thick vegetation.
  • Cyanoacrylate or Super Glue
  • Towel
  • Sarong, shawl or other large cloth or handkerchief. Used for various purposes.
  • Soap and shampoo (bio-degradable)
  • Sewing kit, with nail scissors or possibly a scalpel.
  • Heliograph — a mirror with a hole in it for signalling airplanes.
  • GPS — A rugged and waterproof model.
  • Earplugs
  • Elastic bands
  • Gaffer tape — for quick repairs.
  • Notebook and pen or pencil
  • Radio
  • Binoculars
  • Camera plus spare batteries and film/memory card.
  • Waterproofing for boots.
  • Toilet paper, or paper napkins
  • Tweezers (if not already in pocket knife)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Suggested list for a backpacking trip
  2. ^ [2] Lake District National Park: Check list for walkers.
  3. ^ [3] British Mountaineering Council: New Hill Walkers.
  4. ^ [4] British Mountaineering Council: New Hill Walkers.