18 Hiking Must-bring Items:

Before starting your hiking adventure, you need to pay particular attention to your gear. Even if you are at amateur level and your trail is just a few kilometres long you never know what can happen especially if you walk alone.

I learnt at my expense that the following list of item is the barely minimum to bring with in order to avoid being in unpleasant situations. During a Mercantour Park hike at 1700 m altitude in the mountains, I slipped over a rocky downhill path and fell on my knees ripping my long trousers and causing huge blows and scratch on both my legs. The result is that I wasn’t able to walk anymore for the pain and I didn’t have a first aid kit. Luckily a well-equipped friend helped me disinfecting the wounds and going down the mountain to the car park under the rain using his hiking poles (I didn’t have those either!). Generally when you hike you should be able to rely on yourself only and your equipment no matter the situation and anticipate every inconvenience. So I definitely learnt a lesson. I am sure you will be more careful and better equipped than me during your initial hikes.

Here is what I usually always bring in my backpack:

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Hiking Backpack

Pay particular attention when buying your backpack: you want it to be light weighted, waterproof and good quality. The size depends on what type or hiking you are going to.

Look around the market and see what works best for you.

For a day long hike, I usually like to make sure the bag is about 20-30 liters, has space for a Camelbak water bladder, has hip straps and chest straps for extra back comfort.

US Backpack
UK Backpack

Headlamp with batteries

This is something you normally don’t need when you go for a day hike, but what if you get lost and you need light? It happened to me already that I followed the wrong path which made me lose a couple of hours and to go back to the car I really needed some light because it was truly pitch black and there was no village or city nearby! Believe me when I tell you that I was really happy to have it on me!

US Energiser Headlamp
UK Energiser Headlamp

Polarised Unisex Sunglasses

This is the kind of item I always forget and then I regret it for the rest of the hike causing me a huge headache every evening! Sunglasses are really important to avoid damaging your eyes and to truly enjoy your hike. It is perfect also to protect them from the wind and dust of the path!

Here are my favourite polarised unisex sunglasses: US Sunglasses
UK Sunglasses


A power bank is always a good idea: we have many electronic devices especially our phone absorbing so much energy and you don’t want it to turn it off in the middle of a hike especially if you have your trail and GPS apps on it. This power bank is great as you can connect your phone and it is going to charge quite fast allowing you to reach the end of your hike without anxiety.

US power bank
UK power bank

Multi-purpose Utility Knife

I normally bring it when I go on a hike in exotic places and I think this light and practical knife can help you in case of emergency: from cutting a brunch or something blocking your feet, to opening a can or save you from any other sort of emergency.

US knife
UK knife

Emergency kit

As previously mentioned, I found myself in a pretty bad situation when I feel on the mountains of the Mercantour National Park and I had nothing to disinfect my wound and not even a plaster. This little medical kit will fit in your backpack seamlessly and will be there to help you without relying on other hikers or your friend to save you! Better safe than sorry!

US med kit
UK med kit

Sun Hats

To avoid some heat stroke, and nasty headaches, I strongly recommend you this light beige and breathable unisex hats! I found them very practical especially for desert hikes, or during summer.

My favourite hike sun hat:

Basic Hiking Compass

This is more of a vintage options that can be useful if you lose your electronic devices or if they stop functioning. If you don’t know how to use a compass you can check out tutorials online and practice. To be honest I generally use the compass on my app or follow the GPS tracking pointing you in the right direction.

My Favorite Hiking Compass:


I strongly recommend you a 50+ sun cream for all sort of hikes no matter the season: I had some nasty sunburns those times when I thought the sun was behind the clouds, or in the mountains or in winter and I decided it wasn’t really necessary.

My Favorite Brand: Banana Sport Sunscreen

SPF Lip Balm

Just like sunscreen, it is also important to bring lip balm that has sunscreen in it on your hike. My favourite lip balm is this natural lip balm coming in three yummy tastes.

My Favorite Brand: Natural Lip Balm

Mosquito spray

I normally bring this during summer or if I am going to tropical places where I know the last thing I want it’s being bitten by mosquito carrying diseases and causing infections. It has some percentage of deet so it is particularly effective and you know you are well protected but follow the instructions to avoid skin irritations!

Bug Repellant Spray

Waterproof Fire Starter

A waterproof fire starter, it’s worth bringing with you for mountain emergencies! You need to be prepared to spend the night outside if needed during emergencies and lightening a fire can allow you to get warm, to cook and it has to be waterproof in case of rain or if you drop it in the water!

My Favorite Waterproof Fire Starter: Fire Starter

Hiking Water Bladder

Nicknamed “Camelbaks” they are truly water reservoir to bring wherever you go! It is great to bring your water bottle but it won’t be enough to stay hydrated! The Camelbak was perfect for my desert camping journey and a great way to drink regularly while walking without needing to stop.

My Favorite Water Reservoir: 3 Liter Camelbak

Filtering Water Bottle

This clever invention is something worth to invest upon: when you finish your water and you are int he middle of nowhere this bottle allows you to drink almost no matter what water you find and drink it with no regrets! The filter is replaceable and I find it one of the best inventions of this century!

My Favorite Filtering Water Bottle: Filtering Water Bottle

Food Supply

Bring always some more spare non-fresh food to give you extra energy like nuts, walnuts and dried fruits. They are a true boost of calories when you most need it and they take the crave away in an instant!

Current Hiking Favourite Food:  Dried Fruit Mix

Hiking Poles

Trekking poles should be something you buy together with your hiking shoes and become something essential in your hiking life: prefer some pro shock good quality ones that will last through time and will provide you some extra comfort especially going downhill. It was also useful for me when I got injured in the mountains to put some of my weight on them trying to go back to the car under the rain. They served me as perfect emergency crutches ! The model I suggest you are light and practical, telescopic and of good quality!

Favorite Hiking Trekking Poles: Aluminium Trekking Pole

Waterproof Backpack Cover

This adjustable and breathable cover will allow your personal belonging to be extra safe in your rucksack no matter what you are facing out there! I wish I had it during my UK hikes when the weather was particularly unstable! This model comes in different colours and fit to the most rucksacks!

Day Hiking Pack Coveer: Backpack Rain Cover