Gear Guides: 7 essentials to keep in your hiking pack at all times

Sometimes, it’s the simplest little things that can make your adventures run smoothly. It doesn’t matter if you’re packing for a 3 day hiking trip or just heading out for a quick day hike – with a few useful everyday-carry essentials you can be prepared for anything on the trail.

These are the items we think should be on your hiking packing list every time. Better yet, save yourself time and leave them in your favourite pack for next time.

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1. First Aid Kit

No-one plans to get injured on a hike, but it happens! What should be in your hiking first aid kit? A few medical basics can help you build a basic pack for first aid while hiking:

  • assorted plasters, dressings and bandages
  • sterilising wipes or gel
  • paracetamol/ibuprofen
  • hayfever or allergy medication

At the very least, a blister plaster can save you a few hours of discomfort. But if you prefer to be equipped for more eventualities, you can always keep adding to your First Aid Kit or buy one specifically for your outdoor activities.

2. Spare layer

If you know how to layer well for hiking you should have the right kit for the expected range of temperatures as well as likely conditions like wind, rain and snow. Bear in mind that the weather can be unpredictable and change quickly, especially out in the hills.

Consider adding an extra, packable fleece or insulated layer just in case you are out in cold weather for longer than expected, or to make unexpected stops a bit more comfortable.

Unsure about the weather? Add that extra jumper or waterproof jacket and you won’t regret it! Shop all Millican backpacks

3. Headtorch

Just like with the weather, it’s always good to be prepared for plans to change, and especially in Autumn and Winter you can often find yourself racing the daylight. Whether you’re hiking, running, camping or just out and about after dark, a bright headtorch can help you navigate at night-time. It also comes in handy if you ever get tempted to get an early start before the sun is up!

4. Quick fix kit

Especially if you’re walking with technical kit like hiking poles you may occasionally need to fix or adjust your equipment on the fly. A couple of household items can get you out of a whole host of tricky situations:

  • Spare shoelaces – for your footwear, for strapping kit on to your pack, as an improvised guy line for a shelter.
  • Duct tape – wrap a length around a pencil or your hiking poles and use it to fix or patch anything that needs it.
Technical walking backpacks have plenty of straps and mounting points to attach extra gear, so it’s often handy to have spare straps. Shop all Lowe Alpine >

5. Headgear

If you’re measuring usefulness vs the space taken up in your bag, a hat will always score highly. Protect yourself from the sun in the summer, or conserve vital warmth in the winter – just make sure it’s the right headgear for the season. Want to go even more minimalist? A buff or neck gaiter can be used different ways and takes up virtually no space at all.

Save up to 70% on hats, caps and neckwarmers >

6. Whistle

Sometimes the simplest solution is all you need. Plenty of packs have an inbuilt emergency whistle on the sternum straps; if not, it’s worth carrying your own to help you attract assistance in an emergency.

7. Hand sanitiser

We’ve probably all used it more in the last year than ever before. If you’re away from facilities and you need to clean your hands before eating or administering first aid, it’s a quick and easy way to keep everything hygienic.

You can’t always carry the kitchen sink, but packing the essentials can set you up for a great adventure. Shop all packs from Osprey >

Do you have an everyday essential that is always in your pack? Let us know in the comments below!

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