What Outdoor Hiking Gear
Do You Need? Find out Here.


The outdoor hiking gear you need is really determined by:

  • where you are going
  • how long you are going
  • the age and ability of the hikers in your family
  • Also, your hiking supplies for a two hour hike will be very different than what you'll need for a 10-12 hour hike.

    Hiking Tips:

  • Common sense is your most important piece of outdoor hiking gear.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Always tell someone where you are going.
  • Don't panic. Use your common sense and keep a positive attitude with you. Being lost is not dangerous if you are prepared.

  • Hiking Boots:

    For shorter hiking trips on stable terrain a good pair of walking or running shoes will be fine. You could also wear waterproof hiking shoes or hiking sandals . kids-hiking-boots
    For longer trips or more rugged terrain I would recommend a good pair of hiking boots. The best hiking boots are ones that are waterproof and fit your feet comfortably. You don't want crowded toes or too much room that your foot slips around and causes blisters.

    For more rugged terrain and longer trips or overnight trips you'll want your hiking boots to give you great ankle support and cushioning.

    I would also consider kids hiking boots too for little ones if you are going to be hiking regularly. (and who wouldn't want to!)

    Hiking Clothing:

    Socks: Please do not wear cotton socks! They'll absorb moisture and you're feet will hurt and blister. Look for great hiking socks made of wool or a type of polyester fabric. Your feet will thank you!

    Hiking pants and shorts: Once you hike in hiking pants/shorts, you'll never look back! These two for ones are perfect for the outdoors.

    Hiking Shirts and upper body clothing: Layers! No matter what you expect the weather to be, prepare for cooler or wet weather as well. Fleece and wool are great choices for layers. Your body temperature will vary when you're hiking, warming up as you climb or walk and cooling down when you stop for snacks and lunch.

    Raingear: Bring along a waterproof jacket just in case. Soggy hikers are not happy hikers!

    Hat: Wide brimmed sun hats to keep the sun off your face and neck in summer and fleece hats for fall and winter hiking.

    Mits and gloves: In cooler temperatures I'd bring a pair of gloves along for everyone.


    Hiking Backpacks:

    What outdoor hiking gear do you need in your pack? Like we mentioned earlier, this depends on how long you are going for and who is in your hiking group. Here are the basics that we always take with us and you can add or modify this list to suit your needs.

    Map and compass: For very short, well marked and travelled trails we don't always carry a map with us but for anything over an hour we do.

    Extra hiking clothing: For longer trips you might consider bringing along an extra layer for everyone in your family.

    Sunscreen, bug spray and a first aid kit: A small first aid kit with the basics should suffice for shorter hikes.

    Large garbage bag: We've learned our lesson over the years and bring one along always. These are multi-purpose, they don't take up much space, weigh almost nothing but can serve so many purposes. They can be emergency rain gear, used to make a tarp and can be used for a search crew to find you (make sure you bring an orange one along).

    Waterproof flashlight and matches: The matches are for emergencies only in case you need to start a fire for heat or to be visible for a search crew. And bring along a bit of firestarter with you just in case you need it. This can be as simple as putting a bit of dryer lint in your pack. (fantastic fire starter). The flashlight is important in case it gets dark before you return.

    Pocket knife and whistle: Pocket knives are so multi purpose from prepping for meals to removing slivers and everything else inbetween. The whistle is important as a safety item.

    Water and Food: You need extra water when you are hiking, even in cooler weather. If you are going for a longer hike consider bringing along a water purifier pump with you so you can re-fill your water bottles along the way. For shorter hikes a healthy snack or light lunch is enough. For longer hikes you may want to bring along a hiking stove to heat up water or cook up a simple hot meal.

    And always include some extra granola bars or dried fruit and nut mixture in your outdoor hiking gear. These will give you some quick energy when you need it.


    This outdoor hiking gear list forms the basics for day hiking, and you do need to adjust it for your own needs.

    Most of these items are pretty small and won't take up much space in your backpack.

    Most importantly hike with common sense and you'll have a lot more fun.

    Check out Hiking Poles

    Return from Outdoor Hiking Gear to Home Page

    Keep up to date with the latest and greatest tips, advice and gadgets. Family Camping and Hiking Newsletter is totally free and will show up in the e-mail every month or so! Just fill out this short form:

    Enter your E-mail Address
    Enter your First Name (optional)

    Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
    I promise to use it only to send you Family Camping and Hiking E-zine.