What to Bring on a Day Hike

This past weekend, my family and I went to Starved Rock State Park and spent the day hiking. The amount of times we have gone hiking we knew exactly what we needed to bring for this hiking trip. Some may not know what is important to bring while hiking.


Here is a list of the necessary items that you will need for your hiking trip:

  1. Water

It is important to always carry water on your day hike. The American Hiking Society recommends having a half a liter of water per hour of moderate temperature and terrain. My dad made sure to pack the cooler with enough water for our hiking trip so everyone could have two water bottles each. Staying hydrated is important. It is easy to become dehydrated, especially in warm weather. Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

  1. Food

Packing a variety of healthy snacks, like apples, nuts, trail mix, or granola bars are beneficial when you take a break. It is important to always eat something while you hike because it fuels your body with the energy you need to continue the hiking trip.

  1. Comfortable hiking shoes and socks

Trail shoes that provide traction, support, and protection are best to wear hiking. Make sure your footwear fits properly to avoid blisters. You don’t want to be walking in pain the whole day while you hike. Never wear scandals or flip flops while hiking! Smart wool socks are best to wear with your hiking shoes.

  1. Proper Clothing, Hat, Sunglasses, and Backpack

Depending upon the weather that day it is important to pack the proper clothing. Dress in layers to accommodate to changing weather and activity levels. Always wear clothing that is comfortable, but still protects you from the elements. Wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt might be good to avoid the sun’s rays, poison ivy, and harmful insects from being a threat. Having a hat or sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays is a good idea. You will need a backpack that is comfortable to hold all of your items.

  1. Sunscreen and Bug Spray

Since you will be outside hiking, it is important to bring sunscreen and bug spray so you can avoid getting sun burnt or bug bites. Always apply sunscreen, especially if you wear short sleeves and shorts while you hike. Also, bug spray is good to apply any time you are outside that close to nature.

  1. Walking Pole

If you are hiking on uneven trails and climbing up hills or rocks, it is good to have a walking pole/stick with you to help you with balance and to avoid falling. They do come in handy whenever you need to push branches out of your way. I know you may think they are unnecessary, just ask my sister, but they are pretty cool to walk with because you actually feel like an official hiker. I was glad I had one when I was hiking because it was helpful for some of the rocky terrain.

  1. Map

It is important to always have a map of the area with you at all times so you don’t get lost or go the wrong way. Map out the route you would like to take, that way you have a plan and everyone can enjoy the adventure. My family and I had a plan on the trails we took, thanks to my dad. Some of the trails weren’t marked very well so we didn’t follow the plan, but it made it an adventure.


Day hiking is a great time to spend with family and friends while getting some exercise. Going on this trip with my family was a good stress relief and I was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery. A trip like this is worth planning and taking that step to a new adventure.


Source: https://americanhiking.org https://www.alltrails.com/us/illinois/peoria

author: Angela Bland