10 Essential Things to Bring on a Day Hike

10 essential items for a day hike.

Below is a list of things you should consider taking on a day hike. Whether you're going a mile or two, or are attempting to go rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon, these are ten essential items to have with you.

1. Water -- Sixty percent of your body is made of water, it keeps your body running smoothly and without it you can become dehydrated and disoriented. 

2. Food or Snack -- Having something to nibble on is always good. Food supplies the energy to keep your body running; during physical activities you may run low on energy without warning and need a pick-me-up. If you're not planning on bringing a full meal, energy bars, granola or trail mix, nuts, and dried fruit are all good sources of energy that are light and easy to carry. 

3. Knife -- A knife can be one of your most useful and versital tools. You may never know when you will need it, but you sure will be glad you have it when the time comes.

4. Lighter/Matches -- Although the event is unlikely, you never know if you will be stranded and have to start a fire to keep warm. Fires can be used for warmth, cooking food, and to signal help among other things.

5. Small First Aid Kit -- Accidents happen, be prepared with some bandages, sterilizing solution, latex gloves, tape and some ibuprofen. 

6. Headlamp/Small Flashlight -- Sometimes the sun sets quicker than you expect and you have to spend the last mile in the dark, be prepared and have a flashlight handy. You never know when you will stumble upon a cave that needs exploring. Flashlights are also good for signaling people at night if stranded.

7. Trail Map/GPS/Compass -- It's always a good idea to know where you are going and what type of terrain you will be covering. Even if you don't need these, it's always good to have a map around incase you get lost. 

8. Hat -- A hat can keep the sun out of your eyes, cool you down, keep you warm, and, maybe most importantly, filter large particles and debris out of water if you're purifying your own water or are getting desperate.  

9. Camera -- Because you will want proof to show your friends all the fun places you've explored. 

10. Backpack -- You'll want a durable, medium sized backpack to put all the items from this list, plus whatever else you think necessary in. Many backpacks now come with a bladder to hold water and a hose fed through the shoulder strap for convenient hydration. You want something that is comfortable to wear, fits to your back, and you don't mind getting dirty. Fill it up with all sorts of good things and see where your feet will take you.

Other things to consider: Remember to consider what type of climate you will be hiking in and dress appropriately, also bring any medications you may be using regularly. Be aware of not only your limits, but those hiking with you and always remember to bring your common sense. 

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Holly Berard
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Posted on Mar 6, 2010