15 Items That Always Go In My Hiking Backpack

Thursday evenings are mostly spent finishing packing my backpack for an adventure for the weekend.  I usually begin packing earlier in the week, some of my stuff is even packed from another trip; but this helps me decide if I need to make a trip to the store if I am missing anything.  Since I work full time, most of these hiking trips are day trips or a quick overnight trip; this in turn means that we leave either Friday night or Saturday before anyone thinks of waking up since it’s a weekend.

I used to run into occasions where I would forget an item or two that I should have packed or wanted to pack.  Over the years I’ve compiled a list that contains everything I would potentially take on any kind of hiking trip, one night, two night, day, etc.  Depending on what type of trip, I change the packing list to go with what kind of hike I will be going on.  It was very interesting to see the items I always pack when I go on any of these hiking trips.

*By no means is this list everything I take on my hikes, these are just items that I noticed always join me on my adventures.  There are plenty of other items that can be packed, check out what else is in my backpack.

Backpack – Whether it be a day pack or an overnight pack, this is something I always pack on.  To go hiking, you will need to purchase a backpack that will be comfortable for you and the type of hiking you will be doing.
Osprey 65 L Backpacking Backpack Osprey 10L Hydration Pack Cotopaxi Luzon 18L Dia Daypack
Overnight backpack Day hike backpack Day hike backpack

So you may ask, do you ever go hiking without a backpack?  No, I honestly feel like somethings missing if I go hiking without a backpack.  The items you carry in your backpack may even save your life if something happens.  But what about if I go for a trail run?  You will still need water, so any type of hydration pack where you can fit some necessities would go perfectly for that type of adventure.

GPS Satellite Communicator and/or GPS Watch – I honestly will never go without these on any adventure.  If you aren’t someone who owns one of these but goes out on backpacking trips or local hikes without cell reception, I definitely recommend buying the Garmin inReach.  The Garmin watch is a plus and I actually use this for daily workouts too (running, swimming, elliptical, weights).  It has map settings too that I can put on if we’re out of cell phone range.  There are different variations of this watch and is very similar to smart watches.
Garmin inReach Explorer+ Garmin inReach Mini GPS Garmin Fenix 5X Plus Watch
Satellite communicator, maps and gps navigation Smaller version on the Explorer+ Multisport GPS Watch, TOPO Maps, Garmin Pay, Music

Compass & Map – These are one of the 10 essentials in hiking that most people think they do not need.  I can’t say I’ve ever ran into a moment where I was in trouble and needed to a compass, but I have definitely run into many instances where I’ve needed the map as a resource instead of the gps.  I find comfort in the map, because you can see a larger area than on a small electronic device.  Add these to your packs when you’re headed out for a hike!
Compass Tom Harrison Maps Protection Paracord Bracelet
Simple navigating tool Topographic Maps Compass, fire starter, emergency knife & whistle

Sunscreen & Hat – Did you know you can get a sunburn in the snow too or even when it’s cloudy?  Always take extra sunscreen and a hat for sun protection.
Carabiner Sunscreens Columbia Sun Protection Hat taking it easy retro trucker cap
very easy to clip to pack another hat option Hat design created by our company, Twinted, Inc.


Hydration Reservoir & hydration tablets – This is another necessity on any hike you will go on, you need to take water and extra if you need.  The other item I like to take along on all our hikes are hydration tablets that have electrolytes.  This helps me especially on the longer hikes and backpacking trips.
Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir Nuun Electrolyte Tablets
2.5-3.0L are the best mixes easily with water

Headlamp & Hiking Poles – The headlamp is an extra must, because you will never know how long a hike can take you unless you are on it and doing it; this would be ideal for any emergency situation you may run into on hike.  As I’ve gotten older, I have opted to bring my hiking poles everywhere.  I’ve noticed my pace is better with them and saves my knees for the downhill.
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp Flash Carbon Trekking Poles
battery operated, bring extra batteries lightweight, collapsible

First Aid Kit & Emergency Blanket – these come with me on every hike and I recommend everyone takes with them.
Adventure Medical UL Kit SOL Emergency Bivvy
Ultralight Medical Kit Emergency shelter

Extra Food & Clothes – Never go out into the wilderness without extra food and extra clothes.  I’ve definitely had instances where I was happy that I brought extra food and clothes with me, because sometimes things just don’t go as planned.  We had a hike that turned out to be 15 miles, not only did I need the extra food, but I also needed to change out of a shirt that I wore, because it was soaking wet and was making me cold.  Be prepared when you go out there.
StarKist Salmon Creations Honey Stinger Organic Waffle To-Go Wrap Extra clothes
I always pack a couple extras of these for the hike. Lemon Dill is the best one. 150 calories for 1 waffle, for it’s weight and size perfect as an addition I always pack one or two of these depending on the hike Depending on weather, always take extra clothes to change into or add on

Hope you guys enjoyed this and get inspired to go outside to hike or backpack. Let me know if you have any questions or need ideas for what else to take on the trail.

Happy Adventures,

Annette – Beyond Limits on Foot

— Follow @beyondlimitsonfoot on Instagram —


2 thoughts on “15 Items That Always Go In My Hiking Backpack

  1. Glad you said about the map and compass as well as the GPS etc – at least they don’t need batteries and can’t fail.

    I have to admit to often not bothering to carry anything in our English Lake District. I’ve walked here all my life (since my parents took me when I was little) and know everywhere well – even in the pea-souper thick mists which plague our mountains here. I always carry emergency food in my pocket though and never go out without a full set of clothing – extra clothing just gets tied around my waist.

    If I’m walking in Scotland or Wales, I take a small bumbag (you guys call them fanny packs but that would be a very rude word here!). You don’t need much to drink here as it’s very cold indeed most of the year so I usually just take a small flask for a warming drink – mostly for the psychological impact of having something nice and warm. I also make sure I have my emergency hill phone with me in Wales and Scotland – the English Lakes hills are so populated, you’d be lucky not to see anyone for an hour!

    I don’t generally eat more than a biscuit (cookie) on the hill as I’ve trained myself to go without until my return. The only time I run to perhaps 2 biscuits is if the walk is over 20 miles and has several large 3000 foot plus hills/ascents. Same for the drinks – my half litre flask usually does a day in the hills unless we get a rare sunny and warm day (even when it’s sunny here, it’s generally pretty cold).

    I’d never bother with sunscreen in Britain as it’s too dull and un-sunny and I don’t burn anyway – my skin is very immune to the sun. Even on the sunny days, my skin largely ignores the sun so I only use sunscreen abroad.

    I do have a great Lowe Alpine backpack for when I go on multi-day trips though… In winter I have to add crampons and an ice axe – so that’s usually November through to about May – the snow has started early this year though and the Scottish mountains were well covered by the end of October.

    1. Hey – thanks for all the feedback. I would agree on all of those things and a small flask for a warming drink is definitely one for the colder weather hikes.

      Definitely agree with the map and compass. I also believe that it doesn’t matter how well you know the area, something could always happen and having an extra map would never be a bad way to go.

      As for California, packing sunscreen is a must especially if you will be out long. I guess unless it’s rainy and sun never comes out, but hey who knows weather always changes.

      Yea in winter crampons and ice axe is a must. It’s about time for that weather here cannot wait 🙂

      I always pack the wrap because I don’t like to eat before a hike. I’d rather eat when I need it and take a break to get energy. I was thinking about packing extra water and I’ve had some especially tough summer and winter days where I was extremely happy I had the extra water. If you don’t have to pee you aren’t drinking enough water haha.

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