35 Hiking Essentials You Should Own Today
If you’re new to the hiking hobby, knowing what essentials you need to bring with you on your trip isn’t always easy.
With countless companies promoting their products as must-haves, what do you really need and what could you do without?
In this hiking gear list, we provide you with all the items you should buy before or as close as possible to taking your first hiking trip as possible.
Even if you think you’re well-packed, there are a few things on this list that you’ve probably forgotten, so give it a read and make sure you’re definitely prepared for your first solo gigigigi in the wild.
1 – LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
As a hiking fan, you’ll probably know that there are usually very few opportunities to collect fresh, clean water when walking a trail. This can leave you limited to very short hikes, or filling your backpack up with heavy bottles that can make the hike more grueling than it needs to be.
If you want to avoid this, investing in this LifeStraw water filter is the answer you’ve been looking for! With a promise to remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, you can feel reassured that the water you’re drinking is clean, regardless of where it comes from.
2 – Kool 8 Hot Thermos
If you’re hiking in the winter months, or on cooler evenings, having a hot beverage to hand can be essential for lifting your mood and keeping your mind focused. The problem is that few thermoses can keep your beverage hot for the duration of your hike so it’s there when you really need it, but that’s no problem with this Kool 8 Thermos.
Insulated with a double-wall vacuum, this thermos will keep your beverage hot for up to twelve hours! It also comes with a tea infuser for all the tea-lovers out there, allowing you to have a successful hike without missing out on your much-loved beverages.
3 – Ezred Bright Hands-Free Torch
Hiking is a hobby that comes with a lot of gear, and a torch is one of those, especially if you’re traveling in an area with low light or during the night. Working out how to carry it alongside other essential tools like hiking poles, however, can be a challenge, but not with this innovative torch device.
Offering two torches at two different strengths, you can choose the visibility you’re most likely to need for your hiking trips. Attaching around your neck, the plastic attachment isn’t uncomfortable, allowing you to wear the device for hours without being uncomfortable or in pain.
4 – SLONIK Rechargeable Headlamp
If you want to stick to traditional hiking essentials, many people opt for headlamps instead of torches to free their hands up for other gear. Choosing this route doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on quality, however, especially with this lightweight, high performing option by SLONIK. With fast-charging capabilities, taking just two hours to recharge if you want it to last for almost four hours, you’re not going to be caught short on your next hiking trip!
In the past, one of the major downsides of these devices is that they cannot be used in wet conditions, but this option is completely waterproof. It also comes with five different light modes, offering you a solution for any situation.
5 – Titanium 18 in 1 Survival Tool
Although many people will view hiking as a relatively safe hobby, being somewhere without cell reception means you need to be prepared for any possibility. This 18 in 1 survival tool allows you to do just that, providing you with a pocket-sized device that will have you ready for any situation.
Some of the key things involved in this tool include a knife to defend yourself or cut through thick forestation, a can/bottle opener to access food, and a rope cutter if you’re planning on climbing as part of your hike. It’s also made of easy-to-grip metal, and heat-treated for ultimate durability.
6 – TENTON Sports Oasis Hiking Backpack
If you’re planning hikes that last longer than a few hours, investing in a decent, lightweight backpack is essential, and this one is a great option. Not only does it come in five vibrant colors to give you optimum choice and opportunities to stand out, but it’s also customizable; making it perfect for both genders and all generations.
To make sure you stay hydrated, this backpack also comes with a 2L hydration bladder with a sip tube for easy access whenever you need it. This will allow you to kill two birds with one stone and means you won’t need to stop every time you need a drink.
7 – NORTIV Waterproof Hiking Boots
No hiking gear list would be complete without recommending a high-quality, affordable pair of waterproof hiking boots, and this pair by NORTIVE are hard to beat.
One of their best qualities, other than being waterproof, is that they come with durable rubber soles with multi-directional lugs, allowing you to gain traction of varied terrain. They also come with a cushioned footbed to offer ultimate comfort throughout your hike, ensuring that you aren’t stopped early by looming blisters, cuts and bruises!
8 – Merino Wool Hiking Socks
Some people might think that specialist hiking socks are an extravagant purchase, but they are actually one of the biggest essentials on this list. While you can use normal socks, this vastly increases your chances of developing blisters or athlete’s foot, as they offer no protection whatsoever.
This pair by Merino are amazing value for money as they provide temperature control qualities, keeping your feet warm in winter and fresh in summer. They were also created by famous mountaineer Rasmus Kragh, who constantly tests the socks to make sure they continue to be the best on the market for high-endurance activities.
9 – Emergency Shelter Tent
While this piece of hiking gear might not be necessary for shorter hikes, it’s always a good thing to keep at the bottom of your hiking bag in case of emergencies. Especially on longer hikes spanning several hours or even days, you never know what elements you may need to be protected from.
This tent is big enough for two people but small enough to fit into a compact bag at the bottom of your hiking bag until needed. It’s also easy to assemble, coming with a 20ft paracord you put through the tent and tie between two trees. If you can’t find trees on your hiking trail when you need to rest or be protected, it can also be used as an emergency sleeping bag, bivey or space blanket.
10 – Legit Camping Double Hammock
If you’re looking for a more wild-camping experience on longer hikes, this high-quality hammock from Legit Camping is an absolute essential. While it might not offer the same protection as the emergency shelter tent, it is created from materials that are designed to withstand the rigor of rainy nights and windy days.
This hammock is also created for two people, able to withstand up to 400-pounds, making it the perfect way to end a day of hiking with your significant other or close friend. Despite its capabilities, it’s not something that will take up much of your backpack, either; compressing into a single, small bag for your convenience.
11 – Garmin Satellite Communicator
While having no cell reception on hiking trails may initially seem like a good thing, it can lead to problems if you get an emergency and are unable to tell anyone. This is why you should always carry a satellite communicator device, like this one by Garmin, which allows you to text or email anyone from any location.
As well as allowing you to communicate with others, it also uses GPS to track and share your journey’s progress with loved ones you give access to it. In an at-risk situation, you can also trigger an SOS to a 24/7 monitoring center and receive a response when help is on its way.
12 – Cascade Mountain Tech Adjustable Trekking Poles
When you’re hiking on anything other than flat terrain, you’re bound to need a quality pair of hiking poles to help you through. While some companies scrimp on quality to provide cheaper options, this pair by Cascade provide you with an affordable item made from high quality, “Aircraft grade” aluminum.
In addition to this, these poles are adjustable, allowing you to have ultimate comfort when climbing up or descending a hill. This also means you can give your poles to others in your party when they may be experiencing difficulties as it can be adjusted to the height they need.
13 – LightArctic Magnesium Fire Starter
Survival skill classes and TV shows might tell us that starting a fire with two sticks is easy, but the story is often the opposite. If you don’t want to be caught short somewhere cold with no way of lighting a fire on your next hike, you need to invest in this Magnesium Fire Starter kit by LightArctic.
Compact enough to fit in one, small cotton bag, this won’t take up much room in your hiking bag, and could potentially save your life. Relatively cheap, this device will also last you a long time, able to strike up 15,000 times in any weather conditions including wind, rain, and snow.
14 – Combat Wipes ACTIVE Outdoor Wet Wipes
For those who like to take hiking routes that challenge your fitness level, investing in these outdoor wet wipes is essential if you want to feel fresh throughout. On longer hikes, they can even double up as your temporary shower replacement.
Developed by military soldiers, these wipes are extra thick, and conveniently large, allowing you to cover more surface area with just one towel. As an added bonus, they are also biodegradable, so you won’t be damaging the planet if you invest in these!
15 – I GO Hard Shell First Aid Kit
If there’s one essential from this hiking gear list that you go away and invest in, it should be this first aid kit. Coming in a hardshell case, it’s perfect for hiking as it’s durable enough to withstand being dropped from a height, thrown around, and even stood on.
Though it might not look like much, this kit is pretty impressive, containing all the basics you might need for the smaller hiking-related injuries. Some of these items are things you might expect like bandages, scissors, and gauze, but it also includes additional hiking-specific items like sting relief pads and a rescue whistle.
16 – Sportneer Folding Chair
Are you sick of stopping for lunch mid-hike and having no choice but to sit on the dirty ground of the trail to eat it? It’s easy to assume that bringing a chair along is impractical because, even when they fold up, they aren’t the smallest things… right? Not with this Sportneer folding chair.
With easy assembly, to disassemble and carry, simply take out the shock-cord pole structure inside the fabric, and fold both parts into a small bag. Better yet, it has a hook attachment on top, so treat yourself to some carabiner clips and you can save valuable space in your backpack without compromising comfort.
17 – BP Vision Fanny Pack
Hiking long distances involves being savvy about what you bring as storage is limited, but you still want to make sure you have everything you need. If you’re struggling to fit everything in, or simply want some of your hiking gear easily accessible, this fanny pack is the perfect investment!
With two holders for drinks bottles, you can stay easily hydrated on longer hikes, or offer one up to your friend so they don’t have to carry their own. It also comes with a large amount of space inside the pockets, giving you ample opportunity to store things like your cell, keys, and whatever else you may deem important.
18 – TBMPOY Waterproof Hiking Pants
For shorter hikes in the summer, you might get away with a pair of shorts, but anything longer and you’ll want a decent pair of waterproof hiking pants to get you through. These ones by TBMPOY are perfect for all different weather types, providing you with two different options depending on the thickness and warmth required.
If you’re hiking in the rain or wet conditions, these pants are perfect as they are lightweight, meaning they won’t make it too much harder to walk when wet. In addition to this, they also contain spandex material, making them dry quickly so you can be comfortable for longer.
19 – TrailHeads Fleece Ponytail Ear Warmer Cap
Most of the items on our hiking gear list have been unisex, or more male-centered, but this item is just for the ladies! Have you ever been on a hike where it’s hot but you can’t wear a hat without letting your hair down? Alternatively, have you been hiking in the winter when your ears are cold but you can’t wear a beanie for similar reasons?
If so, this cap is perfect; offering protection from the sun, it also has drop-down ear warmers and a space for your ponytail at the rear. This is the perfect compromise for those who want to stay fashionable without compromising keeping their hair out of their face on a long hike.
20 – TTSAM 3 In 1 Survival Whistle
While a survival whistle might seem like overkill when it comes to an essential piece of hiking gear, it could be the one thing to save your life. You could lose friends, for example, and your whistle may be the only way of relocating them or your only way of getting out of danger in an isolated location.
On either side, this whistle also has a compass and thermometer which help ensure your safety while hiking. The compass, for example, can be used to ensure you’re always on the right track, while the thermometer tells you whether the temperature is safe enough for you to continue on your hike.
21 – Daypak Dog Hiking Backpack
If you have a hiking companion in the form of a dog, this dog hiking backpack is a piece of hiking gear you simply cannot skip! With enough room to contain everything your dog needs, like a water bottle and collapsible dog water bowl, it’s the perfect way to save space in your own backpack.
Made using bright, colorful material, it’s also great from a safety aspect, ensuring your dog can wander without getting lost! If it does get into danger, the handle on top should help you to lift them up and remove them from the situation in seconds.
22 – Leakproof Insulated Lunch Bag
Unless you’re planning on a short hike immediately after eating, there’s a good chance you’ll need to bring food with you on your hike, and somewhere cool to store it. This lunch bag, made from durable, insulated material, makes the perfect option for hikes in all different weather.
In the summer, it makes the perfect option for keeping things cool, while in the winter it acts as a great protective area, preventing your food from getting crushed or dirty from other hiking gear.
23 – Fire-Maple Fixed Star Personal Cooking System
When you’re going on a longer hike during the winter months, a personal cooking system is an essential part of your cooking gear. Not only is it good for cooking tinned foods and other such goods, but it also doubles up as a water heater, allowing you to enjoy hot beverages if you don’t have a thermos.
This one by Fire-Maple is a great option as it includes everything you need, including the bowl to store your foot in. Made in such a way to reduce wind interference, this system boils up to 30% faster than a traditional backpacking stove.
24 – Solar Panel Power Bank
For some people, hiking involves switching off technology altogether, but if you’re someone who likes to be connected, this portable solar power bank is perfect. All you need is a sunny environment to charge your power bank throughout the day so that it’s ready to go when you need it.
This option is great for all weathers as it comes with a water-resistant design, meaning it won’t automatically be ruined in rainy weather. It also comes with a free hook that allows you to attach it to your backpack, allowing it to charge throughout your hike and not take up any room in your backpack.
25 – FANBX Traction Anti-Skid Grips
If you’re hiking in an environment with rough terrain or lots of hills, then it’s worthwhile investing in these anti-skid grips for the bottom of your shoes. While hiking boots may work on some surfaces, if you’re in an extremely testing area, having something a little extra provides you with peace of mind and helps prevent potentially serious injuries.
This is also a great option for those who might be on a tight budget, with little to spend on a decent pair of hiking boots, as this can replace the quality you may see from some higher-end boots.
26 – Pitch and Trek Female Urination Device
If you’re a female hiker, you probably understand the pain of needing the toilet in the middle of nowhere. The squatting method many resort to can be extremely risky, and isn’t very dignified.
To fix that, Pitch and Trek have come up with a silicone-made urination device that allows you to stand while you urinate. With a thin hose bottom, you can accurately aim, avoiding clothes and other undesirable destinations. Once finished with, simply store it in the discreet travel bag provided until you find somewhere to clean it.
27 – Kynetykon Waterproof Travel Blanket
If you’re planning to visit a hiking spot with a view, there’s no doubt you’ll want to spend some time sitting down admiring it. Ordinarily, a wet day may spoil that with the ground being too wet to sit on, but not with this travel blanket!
Completely waterproof, simply take this out of the compact bag, place it on the floor, and you’re able to enjoy the sights while remaining dry for as long as you want. This blanket also comes with four pockets in the corners which you can fill with sand or stones, making it perfect for even the windiest of weather conditions!
28 – Onwon Aluminium Carabiners
Carabiners are an essential piece of hiking gear as they are versatile, and can solve many problems that come with long hikes. This multipack contains 10 different carabiners, giving you plenty of ways to use them and experiment with what they can be used for. Although traditionally used by wild climbers on cliffs, they are also useful for space-saving purposes.
If you have an item that is stored in an individual bag and won’t fit into your hiking backpack, for example, simply clip it to the bag with one of these carabiners and you’re good to go! Equally, if you’re planning an overnight hiking excursion, carabiners are great for stabilizing tube tents and hammocks.
29 – Abollria Waterproof Rain Jacket for Women
If you’re hiking, chances are you’re going to get hot and sweaty rather quickly, so investing in a fleece-lined jacket is going to leave you rather sweaty. Instead, investing in a light, windbreaker style jacket allows you to add layers underneath and protect yourself from the elements without overheating.
This women’s jacket is well-designed with many different colors to choose from and made in a way that allows you to quickly put it on and take it off. It’s also extremely functional, however, in the fact that it is waterproof as opposed to water-resistant, keeping you dry in heavy rain as well as light drizzles.
30 – Outdoor Shaping Men’s Pullover Rain Jacket
A lot of hiking jackets designed for men are extremely thick and often expensive, but if you’re looking for something basic this option is an absolute essential. With adjustable cuffs and lower hems, you can customize this jacket so that it fits you comfortably. It also means that you can change the fit if you’re layering it with thicker jumpers underneath during winter.
One of the biggest benefits of this jacket is that it’s made similar to a sweater, meaning you only need to pull it over your head and aren’t faffing with zips in the cold weather. It also comes with a large kangaroo pouch in the stomach area, perfect for hiking gear you need to access quickly.
31 – HikeGoo Blister Prevention Cream
Especially on longer hikes, but even shorter hikes if you don’t have the right gear, blisters can become a real problem. Not only do they take some time to disappear, but the development of them can be so painful that you end up finishing a hike early. If this is something you want to avoid, however, this blister prevention cream is the perfect solution.
Specially formulated for feet, it works in both wet and dry conditions and is unlikely to disappear when your feet sweat from the hike. It also doesn’t stain, so you don’t have to worry about your new hiking socks or boots being ruined in their first use.
32 – Sumpo Mosquito Repellent Bracelets
With more than 174 species of mosquitoes found in the US alone and scary stories about the diseases they carry being released every year, it’s best to stay protected from them wherever possible. There are many different options for doing so, but if you’re not a fan or respraying yourself or covering yourself in cream every few hours, these bracelets might be a better option.
Extremely affordable at just $15 for 30, this pack works out well, and will keep you covered from mosquitos while on your hikes all year round! They are also non-toxic, making it safe for younger children and pregnant women if you are someone who likes to hike as a family.
33 – Pack-n-Wipe Compressed Disposable Towels
This might be a hiking gear luxury for shorter hikes, but on longer ones, having a towel at your disposal can make all the difference in how fresh you feel. Having a normal towel in your hiking backpack can take up a lot of unnecessary room, however, which is why many people choose to leave them behind.
If you’re not willing to make this compromise, these Pack-n-Wipe towels come in a free carrying tube and are compressed to take up almost no room in your bag. To activate them, simply pour water over them and watch them expand before using them.
34 – Odoland Rechargeable Solar Lantern
If you’re headed out on a night hike or want to make things fun for younger children in the early evening, these collapsible solar lanterns are the perfect thing. Made to be lightweight, these can be stored in your bag or hung from it using a carabiner clip to recharge from the solar panels during the day.
When needed, they can provide up to 20 hours of constant light before needing to be recharged, making them perfect for longer trips. They also come with a USB charging lead for times where you need the lanterns quicker than they can charge, making them perfect for all occasions.
35 – EZON Digital Outdoor Hiking Watch
If you’ve thought about going on a hike without technology but can’t bear the thought of not knowing the time, this EZON digital watch could help. On the basic screen of the watch, it shows you the time and date, allowing you to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
It also provides other helpful things like a countdown to tell you how long of your hike you have left, or timers if you’re cooking something and want to keep track of when it’s most likely to be done. For those on several day hikes, you can also enjoy the sunset/sunrise feature, which can help you plan your routes.
So there we have it, a comprehensive hiking gear list of everything you need for your first (or fiftieth) hike. From hiking boots to blister prevention cream and hammocks to personal cooking systems, all of these things will prove their use very early on in your hiking journey.