Hiking is a wonderful way to get out into nature while also meeting (and likely crushing) your step-count goal for the day. Whether you’re an avid hiker or it’s something you’re looking to incorporate into your life more, being prepared for your hike is essential for enjoying the adventure and for making sure you’re staying safe along the way.
Before heading out on a hike, you should scope out both the weather and the trail in advance. That way, you can get a sense of how to dress and what to bring, in addition to gleaning some intel about the trail’s level of difficulty and about how much time the hike will take. Once you have the basics of the hike planned out and a sense of what the day has in store (fingers crossed there are some epic vistas involved!), you just need to get prepared to head out with the essentials. Below are the best accessories you should always have with you on a hike.
One of the most important hiking accessories you can have is a durable backpack. For a day hike, you’ll want to opt for a backpack with comfortable adjustable straps and lots of pockets to keep things organized as you explore the great outdoors.
The best hiking backpack will have a durable nylon shell and a water-resistant finish to keep your belongings dry if some unexpected rain or drizzle starts up. In addition to interior pockets, make sure you have some exterior ones. The exterior pockets will be the best place to keep things you need easy access to, like your phone or a first aid kit. Make sure you also have room for essentials like your refillable water bottle, some snacks like trail mix, and extra bug spray and sunscreen.
Having the right hat can make all of the difference when you’re out on the trail. If you’re hitting the trail on a warm and sunny day, you’ll want to ensure you have a brimmed hat with you for added sun protection. Opt for one constructed with a lightweight, breathable fabric with a wide brim and an adjustable chin strap. If you’re not sure if you want to keep your hat throughout the day, you can easily find a hat in this style that’s foldable, meaning you can just keep it in your pack while you’re not wearing it.
In the colder months or if it’s going to be gray and perhaps a bit damp out, opt for a women's winter hat instead. A simple knit beanie can work wonders in terms of keeping your head warm as you explore and traverse. Plus, a beanie won’t take up much room in your bag if you decide you don’t need it halfway through the hike.
While we can predict the weather to a degree (see what we did there?), you can never be absolutely certain how the forecast can hold up. So, it’s always smart to bring an extra layer in your bag in case you need to throw it on over your outfit.
For your extra layer, make sure it’s got design elements like a moisture-wicking material and one with added UPF 50 sun protection. That way, in addition to keeping you warm, it’ll also help to keep you dry and sun-safe while you enjoy your adventure. Pack an airy moisture-wicking women's long sleeve t-shirts with UPF 50 protection in your bag that you can throw on over a T-shirt, or that you can swap out for your existing shirt if you need a refresh during a more intense hike.
When it comes to the best hiking accessories, packable jackets easily make the cut. A waterproof packable jacket with a hood will make you feel so much better if you’re out on the trail and some unexpected rain clouds start to come in. Or, if you decide to stay on the trail to catch the sunset, you’ll be super grateful you brought this warm layer as the temps start to cool.
Depending on the weather, you can also opt for a packable down vest for added warmth and mobility. Whether you go for a jacket or a vest, packable outerwear will fit right into the pocket of your backpack and will keep you covered regardless of the elements, in addition to being lightweight and fuss-free.
These are some of the all-time best accessories to take along on a hike. You can tailor these suggestions as needed based on the weather and the intensity of the hike, but with these essentials on hand, you’ll be set to hit the trail.