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Dayhike Checklist:
What To Take On A Day Hike

A dayhike checklist is the only way to guarantee that you're going to have a safe, enjoyable hike.

If you leave things to chance and memory, you're going to disappoint (and possibly even endanger) yourself.

Here's one more compelling reason to know what to take on a hike:

Got a few minutes? Let's take a look at how to make a day hike checklist.

How long is a dayhike checklist?

The list is as long as it needs to be, given the type of dayhike you're planning.

If you like to stick to well maintained, extensively signed trails, you're going to need a very short list...

Do you tackle trails that take you into the double digit mileage range with elevation gain and loss?

  • Then don't skimp on the details. Build up a long checklist and stick to it.
  • With every mile you put between yourself and "civilization" (or at least the trail head), you need to be more and more thoroughly prepared.


If you follow your dayhike checklist, you'll be prepared no matter what you find on the trail!


How to create a checklist
for a day hike

Every hiker needs to be prepared to either turn around, or tackle what's in front of her.

Sometimes Mother Nature has nasty surprises in store that only your checklist can prepare you for.

That's why a checklist must include the big categories that important to your health and well being:

  • Hiking clothing
  • Trail gear
  • Safety and survival items
  • Food
  • Water
  • Fun stuff

Each big category contains many options that you will need to pick and choose from, based on your hiking style and plans.

  • If you're new to hiking, use a checklist to build an inventory of hiking equipment that you'll need to own - eventually. To start off, concentrate on safety items and comfortable hiking clothing and boots.

  • If you've logged plenty of trail miles, use the list as a tool to quickly double check yourself before you leave for the trail head.
  • If you're a grizzled trail veteran, use the checklist at the start of every season to review which gear needs to be replaced, repaired, or retired for the upcoming trail work.

Get started here...

There is no "one size fits all" dayhike checklist. You're going to have to create your own version.

So to get you started, here are some pages I've created to share information in each of those big categories.

Read through the information for tips and recommendations that make sense for the type of hiking you're going to do.

Hiking Clothing:


Trail gear:


Safety items: Nobody is going to take care of you out on a hiking trail, so it's up to you to be prepared.


Food: There's food, and then there's hiking food.

  • Read about the difference here.
  • If you need gluten free trail food, get it here.
  • If you want specific nutrition information, here it is!

Water: Believe it or not, water is considered a nutrient for your body.

  • Hiking water and hiking water bottles are 2 topics you should read about before you write "water" on your dayhike checklist.
  • Curious about sports drinks for hikers? Read this.

Fun stuff: Here's where that checklist really gets personalize! If trail time is going to be fun, you might have to bring along a few toys.



Get that checklist started!

Won't you feel better at the trail head, knowing that you have everything you need to stay safe and comfortable during a hike?

I thought so! You're my kind of hiker: prepared and confident.

Don't be shy about asking me questions. Use the link at the top left of this page to contact me! I'm happy to talk with newbie hikers.

Too shy to ask a question?

The best day hike is the one that you remember for all the right reasons. Enhance your chance to dance down the trail, by using a dayhike checklist.


Home page > Types of Hiking > Dayhiking Tips >

Dayhike Checklist



Just for fun, let's compare notes.

Here's my tried and true dayhike checklist!


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