There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to what to take on a day hike. There are those who barely take anything leaving much to chance and then there are those who take everything leaving nothing to chance. Ski Haus suggests the middle ground. Take enough gear and food to be smart, plan for the unexpected, and always take the 10 Essentials!
Extra clothing: Prepare for bad weather even on the nice days.
Extra food: Hiking builds an appetite. Bring lots of food, snacks, and water.
Sunglasses: Protect those eyes!
Knife or Leatherman: An especially important tool for repairs and emergencies.
Fire starter: We’ve heard of lots of day hikes that turn into overnights.
First Aid Kit: Fail to plan, plan to fail.
Matches: Fire starter isn’t worth beans without a spark
Headlamp: Good for late night returns to the car.
Maps: Buy a map to see where you’re going, not where you’ve been.
Compass: North, South, East, West, all look pretty the same in the dark.
This is not a comprehensive list but only a few of the necessary items that should be in every day hikers pack. Cameras, field guides, trekking poles, rain gear, hat, sunscreen etc. the list can be big. Pick and choose what is right for you and your hike.