10 Essentials You Need to Pack on Your Next Hike (Full List!)

Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by admin

Before you head out for a hike, it’s important that you bring the 10 Essentials. These items will help you to survive if you encounter a wilderness emergency. Be sure to bring them with you whether you plan on going on a short hike or a long hike, and whether or not you are hiking a familiar trail. Hopefully you will not need these items, but should you encounter an emergency in the wilderness, these items are, well, essential!

The 10 essentials list was created by a mountaineering group based in Seattle to help prepare people for outdoor adventures. Since then, the list has been updated a bit to reflect technological advances and best hiking practices. (The National Park Service’s website on the 10 Essentials is a good educational resource.) Note that this list is just a foundational set of items. Depending on your travel plans, you likely will need specialized items depending on the terrain and weather.

Below we’ve compiled a list of 10 pieces of gear that you can order through Amazon. Hopefully this list saves you some time as you prepare for your adventure. Hike safely friends!

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10 Essentials For Purchase on Amazon

1. Navigation

If you become lost and lose the trail, you’ll need to find a way to get back to the trail. Not all trail locations have cell service, so you can’t always rely on your cell phone for navigation. You also can’t rely on your cell phone to make an emergency phone call. It’s good practice to carry a map and a compass. We also recommend downloading your hiking map offline before you start your hike. We also take photos of the maps typically posted at the trailhead.

One of the best pieces of gear you can take on the trail is a Garmin. It will allow you to use satellite message when you are beyond cell coverage. Although it is by far the most expensive item on this list, it could truly save your life. You can purchase it here.

2. Headlamp or Flashlight

If you plan to do a sunrise or sunset hike, a headlamp will be essential. It will help prevent injury from tripping over roots or rocks on the trail. However, even if you’re not planning to hike in the dark, it could easily happen if you experience something that will cause you to complete the hike slower than anticipated. This might be a minor injury that slows you down (like blisters!), not researching the time the sun sets, or thinking you can hike a little further than you originally planned. We were once on a hike and decided to hike to a point a bit farther than we had planned. By the time we got back to our car, the sun was just starting to set. We barely made it in time, and if we didn’t have headlamps, we could have been in a dangerous situation. You can purchase a set of headlamps here.

3. Sun Protection

This includes a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and clothing to protect you from the sun’s UV rays. This hat is unisex, has a wide brim, UV protection, and is waterproof. You can purchase the hat here.

4.  First Aid Kit

If you experience any injuries, blisters, or burns, you’ll need a first aid kit. This essential item is definitely worth its weight! We were once on a trail and had forgotten our first aid kit at home. My husband got a blister from his hiking shoes, and thankfully a passerby was able to give us a bandaid. That would have been a very painful hike back to the car. Learn from our mistake, and be sure to carry a first aid kit just in case. You can purchase a first aid kit here.

5. Knife

This knife multi-tool knife is foldable and small. You can purchase it here.

6. Fire Starter Kit

This fire starter kit comes with a compass and a whistle. It’s designed to start a fire in variable weather conditions.

7. Shelter

If weather conditions change, or if you find yourself spending the night in the forest, you will need shelter. This lightweight survival tent is waterproof and windproof. It weighs just 8.7 ounces, so it’s easy to bring along on any hike. You can purchase the tent here.

8. Extra Food

For emergency preparedness, you will need to pack more food than you think you will need. Some of our favorite non-perishable items are dried mangoes, whole almonds, and protein bars. You can purchase protein bars here

9. Extra water

Bring more water than you think you’ll need. You will be exercising, and your body will need more hydration. On top of that, if you’re hiking in warm weather, you’ll need a lot more water than you think you will need. In addition to packing bottled water, it can also be helpful to have a water filtration device on hand. This will let you drink water in streams, lakes, and rivers with increased safety. You can purchase this portable water filtration device here.

10. Extra clothes

In case temperatures drop or you are stranded overnight, you will need a high-quality insulated jacket. This one is made by Columbia and features their Omni-Heat technology which reflects body heat to keep you warmer. You can purchase it here.

I’m also a big fan of the KÜHL brand. I’ve linked my favorite winter jacket here!

Women's sweaters banners for Fall 2022

Hike Responsibly

In addition to packing the 10 essentials, please also follow Leave No Trace guidelines. Do not litter, stack rocks, feed wildlife, or walk off the trail. Protect the habitat by sticking to the trail and packing out anything that you take in. Basically, leave the wilderness as you found it without leaving any traces of your visit.


Frequently Asked Questions About the 10 Essentials

Why are the 10 Essentials important?

The 10 essentials can potentially save your life in a wilderness emergency. By bringing the 10 items with you every time you enter the wilderness, you’ll be better-equipped to withstand sudden weather changes, navigational errors, and minor injuries. 

Do I need to pack the 10 Essentials for every hike?

We think you should pack the 10 essentials for every hike. Whether you’re going on a short hike or a long hike, injuries and weather events can happen. Anytime you plan on spending time in the wilderness, it’s a good idea to have the 10 Essentials with you.

Summary: Packing the 10 Essentials

We hope you found this post helpful in learning about the 10 essentials! If you don’t already have these items, be sure to add them to your hiking daypack. 


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10 Essentials for Safe Hiking
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DisclaimerWe always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information.


After studying abroad in Spain, I became passionate about international travel. Since then, I’ve traveled to 6 continents and 36 states within the United States. When I’m not travel blogging, you can find me hiking, reading Spanish novels, or playing cribbage. I hope my blog inspires you to see the world!

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