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Generic day hiking list
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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Generic day hiking list on 10/14/2010 08:23:12 MDT Print View

We spend a lot of time on multi-day and thru-hiking gear lists, but I assume most of the hiking we do is day hikes. The list below is my generic equipment list for day hikes. I wanted the emphasis to be on the type of gear used rather than specific examples or even weight-- form and function first.

N.B.: My list does include a lot of "survival" gear. It's my thing and not followed by many UL folk. There are a lot of small items like a mini-fishing kit, wire, etc. Rest assured these are small and light-- mere grams. I do recommend going forth with the essentials to keep yourself warm, dry, healthy--- and found. I can't be MacGyver without my tools :)

Day hike list:

Sit pad
Pack liner

Waterproof clothing stuff sack
Spare socks
Rain jacket/poncho
Rain pants
Mid layer

Essentials bag:
One liter waterproof stuff sack
First aid kit
Space blanket/bivy
Match case w/ compass
Mini fishing kit
Spare batteries
Small roll 26ga wire
Sewing kit (hotel freebie type)
Water treatment chemicals
Duct tape
Spare line
Surveyor tape (signaling)
Head net
Insect repellent


Water bottles
Metal cup
Food/garbage bag

Hygiene kit:
Hand cleaner


Reading glasses
Pocket knife
Trekking poles

Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
hummmm on 10/14/2010 08:58:28 MDT Print View

My day hike list varies so much but to try and average it I would say 5-12 miles depending on how much of the "day" I have aloted to the hike. Well used trails, I live outside of NYC and my girlfried lives outside of Philly so we don't do a day hike without seeing dozen of people. Which might or might not be different from your average day hike, you just can't get far from the trail head in a day. The other big thing that I try to do on day hikes is move alot faster than if I am on a multi-day trip. Mostly to still get the exercise of a longer trip but to not tell a lie I am also not doing something that is on my revolving task list of things to get done.

Pack 90% of the time
Sit pad never
Pack liner never

Waterproof clothing stuff sack never
Spare socks never
Bandana on my head
Rain jacket/poncho only a jacket if I look outside and see clouds
Rain pants never gaitors if there has been alot of rain
Mid layer never
Insulation never
Gloves only if I am going to wear them
Hat almost never

Essentials bag:
One liter waterproof stuff sack never
First aid kit never
Space blanket/bivy never
Match case w/ compass never
Mini fishing kit never
Spare batteries what takes batteries on a day trip?
Small roll 26ga wire I have never seen this on a repair kit list before what do you use it on?
Sewing kit (hotel freebie type) never
Water treatment chemicals never, if the dog and I are going to drink more than a liter I leave the extra in the car
Duct tape never
Spare line never
Surveyor tape (signaling) thats kinda cool, I have some in the trunk of my car for my job never thought about that.
Headlamp you said day hike not night hike?
Head net I avoid those months like the plague, winter is my season.
Insect repellent put it on before I go if at all
Sunscreen same as repellent

Compass almost never only on new trails where I might go explore.
Maps always even if I have done the trail 100 times, I am a nerd about maps.

Water bottles 1L platy
Metal cup plastic bowl for the pup
Food/garbage bag pockets

Hygiene kit:
TP hold it
Trowel for the pup becuase he doesnt like cats and I can't convince him that a cat hole is just a term.
Hand cleaner nope, dont tell my girlfriend

Food granola bar and a few peanutbuter flavored dog treats
Water 1L platy

Boots yep
Socks yep
Pants zip off
Belt nope
Briefs yep
Tee yep
Windshirt nope, no tree line in my day hike woods
Hat nope no tree line
Reading glasses not yet
Sunglasses yep
Pocket knife nope
Trekking poles my first pair will be ordered in the next few weeks so they will start coming along

Seems Like alot of gear for a "day hike" but if your day hikes are in a place were you don't see dozens of people every mile then maybe all the extra stuff is worth it. The way I am thinking about it that you said a lot of the extra stuff weighs a matter of grams. It is still stuff that takes the simplicity out of a day hike. Park, Hike, see something cool, hike, go home.

T kawa
(kitsune) - F
hmmm... on 10/14/2010 09:05:55 MDT Print View

when I first looked at your list it looked too long, but then I wrote out my list and I guess it's not really that long. I think mostly I don't take that much first aid stuff for a day hike... maybe I should start?
Do you always take all of that clothing?
usually, for a summer hike, I just take a pair of sealskinz(I wear moccasins and the snow gets too cold) and a tshirt (camera padding, extra shirt and emergency towel), and maybe a thin jacket as spare clothing.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Essentials and day hiking on 10/14/2010 09:27:10 MDT Print View

I do hike solo. Most of my day hikes are on the western slopes of the Washington Cascades, so rain gear is there most of the time. Rain and 50F-ish temps are not unusual in the summer. Hiking in rain and colder temps is not unusual in shoulder seasons and winter at elevation brings all kinds of sloppy stuff, wet and frozen, sometime all at once.

Clothing: when I say "insulation" that might be a vest or other lighter stuff, not a 850 fill belay jacket. Spare socks? In really wet weather or dealing with glacial-fed stream crossings, yeah! 2oz. This July 4th found me at a nice lake, about 4500', in light rain and 50F-ish temps. I didn't need much on the way up, but I did when I stopped. It was cold and damp. That is not unusual.

I always pack with the possibility that I may be out overnight. I've never been lost, but it can happen, and injuries are always a possibility. I've said before, if I get hung up on the trial, I want SAR to find me warm, dry and a toothpick in my well-fed lips :)

Essentials. Like I said, they go with me. Period. I'm not getting out of the car without navigation gear, fire starters, first aid, knife, lighting and signaling gear. Whatever happens, to me or someone else, I'm ready with my little kit. We're talking a fist-sized bundle of goodies and contained so it is not complicated-- just drop it in the pack du jour and go.

One thing that drives the essentials when day hiking-- you don't have a shelter or sleeping bag. I can improvise on a sleeping pad and get a rough shelter together-- if I'm not injured. Something like a space blanket bivy won't make for a comfortable night out, but you might live to complain about it :)

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/14/2010 09:38:50 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Generic day hiking list on 10/14/2010 09:35:52 MDT Print View

My day hike list is pretty simple. Hikes are usually 5-16 miles.

REI Flash 18 or TNF Flyweight Rucksack
Minimal 1st Aid Kit
Compass and map
Victronix Classic knife
Wind shirt and pants
Sometimes rain jacket
Sometimes down sweater
Trekking poles
Sometimes camera

Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
East coast hills vs West coast mtns. on 10/14/2010 09:43:11 MDT Print View

Two things I forgot are cell phone on silent (silent being the key) and at the bottom of the pack or pocket and a camera.

I think your list seems reasonable after I give some thought to the location. You regularly hike in an area where the microclimate that mountains create and the remoteness that they create require more precaution. My foot hills of the Appalachians or the Poconos just don't have an extreme impact on the weather. Still amazing to walk through.

I am still intrigued by the wire in your repair kit. What is(are) its intended use(s)?

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
@Nick on 10/14/2010 10:57:28 MDT Print View

Hey Nick, I dont see any emergency water treatment, is that in the first aid kit?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
MacGyver stuff on 10/14/2010 13:18:47 MDT Print View

The 26ga wire? That is a few grams of repair gear. 26ga is REALLY small stuff and I carry all of 6' of it. My scale goes to 0.2oz and it barely registers. If you really wanted to go full survival, it could be used for a snare trap. I don't expect that.

The fishing kit is another survival-oriented piece. I got a little pill box from the pharmacy that is the size of a matchbook. Inside are a few pre-tied leaders, some Spectra fishing line, and some split-shot. It is 100% unnecessary, but I like it.

The spare line I carry is light braided nylon seine line. Think spare shoelaces, shelter-making, pack repairs, clothesline, etc. My duct tape supply is a pre-packaged flat pack with just 18" of tape, but that is enough for first aid or a quick pack or boot repair.

I carry the same stuff on multi-day trips, which has always set me outside the pale on UL gear. The rest of my gear is PDL-- pretty darn light!

If you look at conditions for the next couple days at Stampede Pass, near I-90 in the central Cascades and about 4000', it is forecast for a low of 31F, high of 56F, and chance of precip is 30%, which is just where I reach for the rain gear. Western Washington is a region of micro-climates and precip can vary 100% in 20 miles. Of course, elevation makes a big difference. I think day hiking in those conditions warrants an extra layer and a rain shell or poncho. As far as survival stuff goes, the poncho and the space blanket bivy will make an excellent shelter combination.

I'm not freaked out, but I do like to be prepared. Time after time I have read accounts of people who took off on day hikes with no essentials and they got lost or injured and they went through a big trauma because they weren't prepared. SAR picks someone off a mountainside every weekend in the summer.

On that July 4th hike I mentioned, I saw people coming up the trail in the late afternoon, walking steep switchbacks, rocks, mud and roots wearing cotton sweats, flip flops, and not even a water bottle, let alone the 10 Essentials. They had no map and one only one person in the party had a clue where they were headed-- if they got separated, they were in trouble. 30 minutes after I got back to the trailhead, a big thunderstorm came up the pass, and those people were up there in cotton sweats or tee shirts with no rain gear. That is just plain risky and very miserable. I see this time after time on popular trails.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: MacGyver stuff on 10/14/2010 13:39:43 MDT Print View

Dale has steel wire. I have more that I've carried for years.

Fine steel wire is good. I also have some stainless steel wire. It is heavier, but it is better. You can use it for repairing all sorts of stuff, like for holding a boot sole onto a boot.

Nylon cable ties are good (also called tie-wraps).

Parachute cord is good. Cross country skiers always carry at least 10-20 feet of it for emergency ski traction or to hold climbing skins onto skis.

Plastic sheeting is good. Many people carry a plastic garbage bag, and it can serve as an emergency rain jacket or bivouac sack. It can be useful in first aid situations. It can be burned also. A small plastic bag can be an emergency water container.

Last, but surely not least... duct tape.

However, don't go crazy with this stuff. You can find yourself carrying a heavy repair kit around without a valid purpose.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Paracord on 10/14/2010 14:02:19 MDT Print View

I wear my paracord :)

I made a cobra-braid hat band for my Tilley. The ratio of line to braid is 12:1, so there is 27' of 550 paracord. With 7 strands inside plus the outer jacket, giving 216 feet of usable cordage. The band is held in place with a couple simple stitches.

Tilley T5 cotton hat with paracord hat band

I also made a survival bracelet with whistle and watchband compass. I know Roger Caffin doesn't like these little whistles, but I have no problem getting a good blast from them. I guess I just have more wind :) There is about 8' of paracord in this one.

Paracord survival bracelet

If you want to make cobra braid items, I learned from this web page:

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/14/2010 14:09:38 MDT.

Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
gauge wire on 10/14/2010 14:13:51 MDT Print View

I think you have just added an crucial piece to my technical winter repair kit. Between, crampons, snow shoes, snowboard, and big winter boots .2oz of strong wire could come in handy if anyone of those items decided to not work properly.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: gauge wire on 10/14/2010 14:33:09 MDT Print View

On a winter trip, one snowshoer had one snowshoe come apart. We lashed it back together with one large nylon cable tie with steel wire wrapped around that.

It was so tight that at the end of the trip, he decided not to have it properly repaired, and he continued to use it as it was.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: gauge wire on 10/14/2010 15:03:14 MDT Print View


I would get stainless wire for general repairs. It will be more stable (rust-proof) in your kit and on the repair. You can pack it in a simple layer of clear shipping tape for clean storage.

You can usually find smaller rolls of small gauge wire in a hardware store. Most will be more than you would need for a kit. Share and/or use it at home. Put some in your car kit too.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
bivy on 10/14/2010 16:04:55 MDT Print View

what other people have mentioned

and a 4 oz heat sheets bivy ... i never go anywhere without it ... even when climbing multipitch its still on my harness

it can also be cut up and used as an emergency rain poncho

in winter i substitute a blizzard survival bag for it ...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: bivy on 10/14/2010 16:17:43 MDT Print View

The heat sheets bivy is the one I like. I called it a space blanket bivy, which it really isn't. With that and a poncho you could get through some nasty stuff. I wouldn't be very pretty to look at when the sun comes up, but I'd still be kickin'.

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/14/2010 16:18:57 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Generic day hiking list on 10/14/2010 17:21:18 MDT Print View

My dayhikes tend to be 30+ mile treks and I always get concerned that something will keep me out overnight, injury weather, navigational error. So I generally carry my full multiday gear list minus the stove and other cooking gear. That's about 7.5 lbs plus a days worth of food. My pack and I have become great friends.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
day hiking on 10/14/2010 17:42:38 MDT Print View

my day hikes are usually in remote areas and often cover long distances, thus always a chance you might get stuck out

my list looks very similar- my pad is a little larger than a sit pad, I use the GG 1/8" thinlight @ 2 oz, it's good insurance if a guy happened to get stuck out- I also can sit on it :)

I use the heavier AMK Thermo bivy

again a little more weight, but at ~ 6 oz I feel well justified

I carry my 450 ti mug w/ a small ti Esbit stove, a couple of Esbit tabs, small ti spork, mini spork- all nests in the mug- I carry a little extra food again in case I'm stuck out (including one freeze

I'm fairly redundant w/ fire starters day hiking- a fire is one of things that might not be a luxury :)

I've been using smaller Spectra for cord- still pretty strong at ~ 150# and is also multi stranded

you can still make bracelets w/ it too


Edited by mtwarden on 10/14/2010 19:05:52 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
30 mile day hike list on 10/14/2010 17:46:57 MDT Print View

Add a helicopter....

I would be dead after 15 miles--- just use the bivy for a body bag :)

Seriously, that is what it is all about-- NOT spending the night under a tree in the dark, wet, cold and hungry. It helps back at home too, knowing that you can take care of yourself.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
ex light on 10/14/2010 18:00:00 MDT Print View

which is one of the prime uses of my ex light ... normally i prefer synthetic ... but the EX goes in my pack if i think theres a possibility i might get stuck out for the night

nothing is as warm for the weight ... and i dont plan on staying out long enough to get the down soaked ... 4 oz bivy, 6 oz ex light, and a light windshell ... with a fire will keep you alive down to below freezing for a night or two

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: ex light on 10/14/2010 18:38:37 MDT Print View

Eric said, "...and i dont plan on staying out long enough to get the down soaked ..."

It's the things that aren't in the plan that you need to plan for :)

"I know Murphy, and I don't like him. You can never depend on him in a crunch. And he is too optimistic."

--- from Observations on Murphy's Second Law