Essential Hiking EquipmentWhat is the Essential equipment needed for Hiking?

Nothing beats walking in the fresh air in beautiful surroundings but these joys can be easily spoilt by wearing or equipping yourself with the wrong gear or inferior products.

We don’t believe that you have to carry a ton of equipment with you when you are backpacking or hiking but dependent on how long the hike is and how off the beaten track you are hiking will determine the essential hiking equipment that you need. You must also take into account the time of the year and weather.

Hiking Footwear

hiking bootsThis is the top of the list and for a very good reason, without the correct footwear you certainly won’t enjoy your walk and you will come away with blisters, damaged feet and an aversion to ever wanting to hike again! So your first purchase if you are new to hiking would be some boots and hiking socks.

The whole hiking shoe and boot industry has exploded in the last few years and there is a huge array of footwear to choose from. Personally we still prefer the traditional hiking boot which gives you added ankle support on uneven terrain. We would also go for tested brands such as Timberland, Columbia or Hi-Tek, you can read reviews of them online at Amazon and decide which would be the best for your particular usage. The main three criteria you should be looking at are if the boots are waterproof, they have good traction and they are made with breathable fabric. You also might want to look at the longevity of the boots if reviewers are mentioning that they have been using certain boots over many hikes then that is a great recommendation in our books.

As well as hiking boots you will need some quality hiking socks, we would suggest buying socks for both warm and cold weather use. Criteria to look out for would be once again breathable material and also padding on the heel and toes to prevent blisters.

Back Pack or Day Sack

BackpackDepending on how long you are hiking you will need something to store all your gear in. The size of a backpack is normally measured in Liters; for a day sack you won’t need any more than 25 liters as this should be more than adequate for you basic essentials and a few other items you might want to bring on your hike such as a camera and cellphone. For an overnight to medium length hiking trip I would go for a 40 liter and for longer treks a 70 liter. Obviously if you are combing your hiking with another past-time such as climbing, hunting or birding you might need a few more liters for the extra gear.

Once you have chosen the right size of backpack you will want to look at the various features, ideally you will want plenty of exterior pockets so you can get to certain items quickly, you also will want gear loops and straps to attach equipment to the outside of the pack if necessary. Comfort is also paramount when buying a backpack so make sure that it has padding on the shoulders and if a larger pack a lumbar support.

Navigation Aids

compassBasically there are two essential items and that is a map and compass, and of course the ability to use both! A GPS will make the job easier and they are a great addition but we don’t recommend rely on electronic equipment that could easily go wrong when off the beaten track.

Food & Drink

You will need access to fresh water, a small water purifier is a good idea and how much you will need to carry will as usual be dependent on the time of year and the toughness of the hike. The food you can when hiking should be calorie dense energy foods. For shorter hikes just pack some peanut butter sandwiches, chocolate bars and some dried fruit but for longer hikes you will really want some proper grub. For this you will need to buy some cooking utensils and a portable cooking stove, for food we recommend dehydrated food that is easier to carry.

The Correct Clothing

This is all about common sense, obviously in warm weather you will need sun protection such as a hat and in the winter items like thick socks, thermals and gloves will be required. Always make sure that you buy clothes with breathable fabric. You can take a look at brands like North Face, Under Armor and Columbia.

First Aid & Survival Kit

Our last essential is at the very least a basic first aid kit, a full on survival kit isn’t essential but a survival blanket, whistle and a multipurpose survival tool would be worth adding to your kit.


These are the essentials that you need for any hike; of course there will be other items that you might want to take along to make your hike more comfortable or fun. Do remember though carrying a backpack full of gear that you don’t need is going to impact on your hike, so aim to get it as light as possible without neglecting the essentials.

Happy Hiking!