Choosing to go on your first hike can be a bit daunting. If you didn’t grow up in an environment where outdoor adventures were the norm, it can be a lil’ scary!
As someone who’s family has barely gone on a short hike (let alone on a multi-day hike), this was 100% me!
But after taking that first plunge, I’m so glad that I did. For all my newbie hikers, I’ve put together a beginner’s guide to things to pack before you go hiking.
Psst: on a budget? Don’t worry, I have some suggestions for you too!
1. A comfortable pair of
hiking boots shoes
Comfortable shoes are a must any time you go hiking.
While I am a huge advocate for hiking boots, if you’ve never been hiking before, you don’t need to buy a new pair of shoes. Use comfortable shoes you already own. Wear shoes that you know are comfortable.
If you’re going on a long hike (read: multiple days) then it’s definitely worth investing in a pair of hiking boots.
I recommend buying your first pair of boots in store so you can get advice from someone on how they should fit.
Psst: On a budget? Sign up for email lists so you can be one of the first to be notified when there’s a sale. I’m signed up to my local outdoor gear stores so I know when they have sales.
2. A well-fitted pack
Like your hiking boots, this is so so important. It’s especially important to know how to adjust the straps so it fits you specifically. After all, you’ll be wearing this bag for long periods of time, so you want it to fit perfectly!
Psst: On a budget? If you can’t afford a brand new pack, I’d suggest asking friends (who are of a similar height/build) so you can get a pack that fits you.
3. Hat for sunny days
Maybe because I’m Australian, but I am obsessed with bringing a hat with me wherever I go. The sun can be harsh outside, and even if you’re not worried about getting sunburnt, being exposed to the sun for long periods of time can make things even hotter than they already are.
4. Dry bags for your important gear
Even on short hikes or day hikes, you never know when the weather can change and you want to make sure your camera equipment stays completely dry!
The perfect solution for this? A dry bag.
A dry bag is basically a waterproof bag that’ll keep all your electronics nice and dry if it rains. This is a dry bag is a great budget-friendly option that’ll keep all your important stuff dry.
Psst: On a budget? You can use garbage bags! I know it sounds a bit strange, but on my very first hike, I used garbage bags to line my pack. The bags kept everything nice and dry.
5. Light-weight jacket
Having the right jacket can make a huge difference to your comfort when hiking. Even for day hikes, this can be the difference between a miserable day and a fun one!
The trick is to not bring anything that’s too heavy, but you also want to make sure your jacket will keep you warm!
I recommend a down jacket, as it’ll keep you warm and is lightweight. If you’re not a fan of down jackets, fleece is also a great option.
This is a great packable down jacket that’ll keep you warm on your day hikes.
6. Waterproof jacket
It’s worth packing a rain jacket, even if the weather looks good. Weather forecasts can be wrong (yep, this has actually happened to me before!) so I never go hiking without a waterproof jacket.
Being cold wet and miserable is not fun. Also, if you’re hiking somewhere cold, you can wear your rain jacket on top of your down jacket as a wind breaker to stay warm!
7. Drink bottle
Making sure you drink enough water on a hike is super important.
If your bag isn’t heavy, bringing a stainless steel water bottle is a great way to have access to cold water on a hot day. Trust me – when you’re hot and sweaty you’ll appreciate it so much more!
If space or weight is an issue, collapsible water bottles are a great alternative (just keep ’em away from sharp objects!)
Do you have any questions or advice about any of the gear I’ve used?
Leave a comment below!