Trail Blazer: 15 Day Hike Essentials

People seem to forget sometimes that there are noteworthy hiking spots on the outskirts of many cities and towns. Not the kind of trek that requires a week’s worth of rations and a bedroll, but rather the getaway-for-a-day kind. Just a short trip from your front door, there’s probably a path worth traversing that doesn’t require you to request a bunch of time off work or notify the national parks service of your planned route. And you should take advantage of that.

But even an abbreviated outing requires a measure of preparation. Don’t be overzealous in thinking that a short ramble doesn’t necessitate bringing along some kind of protein and complex carbs to replenish your energy. Don’t you dare forget to bring water. And, if you’re really interested in making the best of your excursion, gear up appropriately. The brevity of a single-day climb up a local peak may seem like nothing more than a simple leisure activity, but that doesn’t mean that readiness should go by the wayside. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 15 day hiking essentials to get you atop that summit.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

Second only to water – and perhaps food – is sunscreen. Not only can getting roasted by the sun take a lot out of you in the short term, but UV rays are hazardous to your overall health in the long-run. This waterproof, quick-absorbing, broad spectrum SPF 45 sunscreen blocks out the harmful effects of both UVA and UVB rays, comes in a small enough container to bring along and reapply as needed, and the dry-touch technology won’t leave you feeling greasy and looking shiny.

Purchase: $11

Opinel Treking Knife

Opinel No. 8 Trekking Knife

There are few moments in which you shouldn’t keep an EDC knife on you. Hiking is not one of them. Not only are they great to have around in case of emergency – should you fall and wound yourself you can cut some cloth into a tourniquet – but they’re handy for less drastic events too, like extracting a splinter or cutting open a bag of jerky. This knife is designed for just such outings. It’s lightweight, durable, easy and safe to use, and it comes equipped with a leather lanyard so you can tie it to your pack.

Purchase: $18

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium

Smartwool PhD Hiking Socks

Even brief hikes can be brutal on your feet, so you should do your best to keep them comfortable and harm-free. These washer and dryer friendly, super-soft socks are made with wool, nylon, and elastane and the added protection of ReliaWool technology in the ball and heel ensures your dogs wont be barking on even the most intense of day hikes.

Purchase: $24

Patagonia Retro Fitz Roy Label Tradesmith Cap

Patagonia Retro Fitz Cap

Sunscreen is great, but it isn’t infallible and wears off over a relatively short period of time. The most effective way to keep your face protected and out of the sun is by wearing a billed hat. The folks at Patagonia know this, so they’ve offered up their Retro Fitz 5-panel hat. The breathable 100% organic cotton construction wont suffocate your cranium, but will definitely keep you shaded and the quick-release adjustable buckle strap ensures easy sizing – even on the go.

Purchase: $24

Klean Kanteen Wide Insulated

Klean Kanteen

You probably already know that bringing water along on any hike is the most important thing you can do. But a lot of water bottles either don’t ensure that your life-giving liquid stays cold, or they can impart a tinny unpleasant taste into the water. Not the case with a Klean Kanteen. With high-performance vacuum insulation, a slim profile, and their design that ensures that your water will only taste like water, these are the best vessels for the job.

Purchase: $25

Foursevens Mini ML

Foursevens Mini ML

You only planned on scaling a mountain in the daylight hours, but the time got away from you and you can see the sun dropping below the horizon while your still out on the trails. Good thing you thought to bring along the Mini ML. This unobtrusive flashlight won’t weigh you down, yet still provides up to 216 lumens should you find yourself out after dark. And it even features 3 different brightness outputs and 5 settings, including an SOS beacon, should you need it.

Purchase: $40

Arc'teryx ETHER CREW

Arc’Teryx Ether Crew

Staying dry and unencumbered can make the difference between an enjoyable trek and a frustrating one. And part of that is in your choice of shirt. This tee is made from Helius moisture wicking polyester that’s both lightweight and durable and features Viente mesh underarm venting panels so, unlike a traditional cotton shirt, you won’t be bogged down by your own sweat and you’ll stay cool.

Purchase: $59

Leatherman Wave Multitool

Leatherman Wave

Though a hike might free you from the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it most definitely doesn’t exclude you from the unpredictability of reality. It is better to be prepared for anything and not need to be, than be vulnerable and have hazards befall you. Keeping the Leatherman Wave on you, even for just a day hike, is a pretty big step toward being ready for anything and the 17 different tools can help you tackle anything from a busted pack to a broken ankle.

Purchase: $84

Osprey Packs Talon 22 Backpack

Osprey Talon 22 Backpack

Unless you are some kind of multi-limbed spider-person, you’ll probably need some way to carry all of your gear with you on your hike. And you could do far worse than the Talon pack. This lightweight synthetic performance bag was built for hiking, has enough carry options for all of your supplies, and even features a separate easy-access hydration compartment – should you lose track of your water bottle.

Purchase: $96

EDC Short Guide Cloth

Prometheus Design Werx EDC Short

Cargo shorts can be heavy, unwieldy, and – if we are being perfectly honest – not the most stylish apparel. These EDC shorts circumvent the problems with your average cargo shorts without sacrificing your ability to carry. Made from a durable and breathable nylon and elastic blend, these shorts are comfortable, don’t hinder your range of motion, and still come equipped with eleven pockets and two external custom PDW delta rings.

Purchase: $120

TAD Ranger Hoodie LT

Triple Aught Design Ranger Hoodie

Let’s say you’re out on the trails and a winds start to roll in unexpectedly. Pretty soon you find yourself in the middle of a misty and brisk hike. Bummer. So you pull your pack off and pull out the Ranger Hoodie. And now things seem pretty great because this jacket’s wind-resistant, high-performance outer layer keeps you dry while the thermal inner layer makes sure you stay warm, all while it’s mesh pockets let you control the airflow into the jacket to regulate your body temperature. Awesome.

Purchase: $215

Olympus TG-870 Tough Waterproof Digital Camera

Olympus Tough Waterproof Digital Camera

While we are firm believers in living in the moment, there are some moments you want to last for longer. Sometimes the view from the top is worth sharing, but not all cameras are up to the task. Not only is this one tough – waterproof up to 50 feet, shockproof up to 7 feet, crushproof up to 220 pounds, and freeze proof down to 14 degrees – but the ultra-wide angle lens, 5X optical zoom, and built-in wifi and GPS will ensure you’ll get the perfect shot and be able to share it immediately.

Purchase: $279

Danner MOUNTAIN PASS CEDAR

Danner Mountain Pass Cedar Boot

As far as wearable gear is concerned, your choice of footwear is of the utmost importance. You can survive without the perfect shirt, but a really good pair of hiking boots could save your life – think: slippery slope. These lightweight, durable, American-made, waterproof full-grain leather outer and Gortex liner Daner boots are about as good as it gets.

Purchase: $350

Leica 10x25 BCA Binoculars

Leica 10×25 Binoculars

It’s a pretty good idea to keep track of where you are and where you’re going. It’s also nice to be able to get a closer look while sightseeing. And that’s easier to do if you’ve got eagle eyes. But since you’re a human and not a bird of prey, you’re going to need some help. Unsurprisingly, the highly lauded camera brand, Leica, makes some of the best lenses and the ones in these binoculars are no exception, offering tremendous resolution, contrast, and detail.

Purchase: $460

Garmin Tactix Bravo

Garmin Tactix Bravo

Since it’s easy to lose track of yourself on a long and enjoyable outing, you’d better keep handy some way to find yourself again. Especially if you actually get lost. Equipped with GPS/GLONASS positioning with a built-in automatic calibrating altimeter, barometer, and 3-axis compass, this stylish all-black wristwatch can tell the time and tell you exactly how to make your way home.

Purchase: $600

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