A modern guide to everything you need in your hiking daypack to make sure you’re happy, healthy and prepared without being weighed down.
Paleo Valley was kind enough to provide the product for this post. As always all thoughts and opinions remain my own. Post contains affiliate links.
It’s no secret that my husband J and I love the outdoors. He’s an avid sportsman, I was practically raised in a barn and we both spent many family vacations camping or summer evenings pitching a tent in the backyard.
Over the past few years, we’ve discovered that hiking is something we really enjoy doing together. Whether we’re blazing our own trail on state game lands, hiking to the mountain peak where we got engaged, or finding new paths in our travels we make sure we’re prepared for what nature has to offer.
We rarely hike overnight (although hopefully we will more in the future), so I’m sharing our favorite gear and essentials for what we’re packing in our hiking day packs. I thought it would be fun and helpful to share what we pack because I know so many of you share our love for the outdoors.
We always suggest chatting with a few knowledgeable people before you venture out in a new area, securing food sources, making sure you have enough water, figuring out the forecast, and checking what sort of wildlife are near in the area.
Alrighty, then. To start off, here are the packs that we use:
These are perfect for daytime trips. I will note – the pack that I’m linking here that I use feels a little small and uncomfortable for J and my brother. They’re both pretty strapping dudes over 6’2”, so keep that in mind. I, however, am 5’9”, with a slight frame, and find the Talon 22 to be perfect for me.
Here’s what we always bring with us in our hiking daypacks:
- Hydration packs
- Mace/bear spray
- Flint and/or magnesium
- First aid kit
Hydration packs – we both carry a 72 oz. hydration pack. This is pretty self-explanatory, but both of the backpack models I’ve linked above have special compartments to carry it. I wouldn’t venture out with much less water than that for any hike because you just don’t know.
Snacks – we always travel with an abundance of snacks. Here are our favorites:
- Paleo Valley Grass Fed Beef and Free Range Turkey Sticks – when we’re out there, we need a little meat to keep us moving. We love these meat sticks because they have amazing ingredients, they are CRAZY juicy, and they even have probiotics packed in there with the variety of delish flavors.
- Oranges – I love to travel with oranges. They don’t bruise as easily as apples and bananas so they can be thrown in the bottom of our packs. They also feel super hydrating.
- Trail mix – a little sweet, a little salty, a little bit of healthy fat. Aldi has a really great survival mix we love.
- Date & nut bars – like RX Bar and Lara Bar are great ones to bring, too.
A handheld GPS – We bring J’s handheld Garmin 64 ST EVERYWHERE. This thing is worth the price tag. It’s a really high-quality GPS that works when you don’t have service or a clue where you are. We also always put a maker where we start out or park our vehicle, so we can find our way back if we decide to venture off the path. This is a must if you’re going off trail or doing serious hiking in an unknown place.
Mace/bear spray – mace is a good idea for self-protection on the regular. You may want to check with the locals in the area on bear spray. We have black bears in PA that are usually harmless so we rarely bring it, but when we ventured into grizzly country out west, we brought a can everywhere.
Paracord – A really versatile rope comes in handy for SO many things.
Leatherman or multi-tool– J has the Leatherman Wave and it’s always good to have a small knife, tweezers, pliers, scissors, screwdrivers, etc. You never know!
Flint and or magnesium – for fire starting. If you plan to make a fire, or if you want to be prepared for when you may need to, these can make your life a little easier. We also have waterproof matches.
Flashlight and/or headlamp – throw in some extra batteries for safety. J gave me a headlamp as one of my gifts our first Christmas together (LOL, I know) but it’s actually amazing.
First aid kit – self-explanatory but necessary.
Bandana – aside from “looking cool” on his head (again, LOL) J likes to keep his bandana with him in the event that he would need to make a tunicate. (can you tell we wrote this together??)
These are a sampling of the things we wouldn’t venture out with. Of course, there are so many neat items out there designed to keep you safe and each person has their own preferences. We hope this is helpful for your and that you’ll keep on exploring, too!