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Your Packing List for One-Day Hikes – Travelling Lightly

What to bring on one-day hikes

Hiking is a great hobby – one that is good for your body and incredibly boosts your circulation. To top it all off, you get to marvel at the beauty of untapped nature and enjoy its relaxing effect as you hike towards your destination. One-day hikes are a great way to get away.

You must have everything you need handy to make sure your little adventure goes without a hitch. This is why we have put together a packing list for you. With this list, you will be well-prepared for a one-day hike. If you plan a longer hike, we have a few extra tips for multi-day excursions at the end.

You don’t necessarily have to pack everything listed here, and you may need additional equipment for a particular hike. But our list gives you an excellent overview.

The Proper Backpack for One-Day Hikes

To avoid back pain, you should choose a suitable backpack. How do you identify one? For one thing, it should be comfortable to carry –make sure it has a hip belt.

It is also desirable that it keeps the insides dry even in bad weather. If the backpack itself is not waterproof, a rain cover will help.

The size depends on how much you want to pack. Think about what you are going to take with you, and then decide on a suitably sized backpack. Also, keep in mind that you may want to use the backpack for future trips that require more luggage, and therefore, a larger backpack.

Weight plays a role, too. It is much nicer to hike with a lighter pack. If this sounds right for you, you can purchase a so-called “ultra-light” backpack. But don’t worry: for most one-day hikes, you won’t need too many things anyway. Even if your backpack is on the slightly heavier side, you will still be fine.

  • Backpack
  • Rain cover

Functional Clothing

Functionality is not the only key regarding the backpack because your clothing should also be chosen based on practical needs. Be prepared for any weather changes, and wear comfortable underwear, so it won’t rub your skin raw when you are hiking for hours on end. Your hiking boots and socks should be waterproof. If you are hiking in the Alps, for example, it may be bright sunshine at the beginning of your tour, but the higher you get, the more likely it is that you will suddenly find yourself standing in inches of snow. At that point, you will be glad if your feet stay warm and dry.

Furthermore, depending on the weather, you should bring a cap, or headband, as well as gloves and possibly a hair tie.

  • Functional clothing (incl. comfortable underwear)
  • Hiking boots and socks
  • Hat/headband, etc.
  • Gloves, if necessary
  • Possibly a hair tie

Sun Protection

A cap and sunglasses serve as sun protection. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before starting your hike, and an after-sun lotion may also be useful to prevent getting sunburned. Sunglasses are not only important in summer; they are necessary for winter, since snow reflects sunlight as well. Therefore, you should also protect your eyes with sunglasses during the cold season.

  • Cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen and after-sun lotion

Food and Drink

When hiking, remember to drink enough water and not to eat too much at once. Instead, a good breakfast before your hike will give you energy for the day ahead.

  • Water bottle with enough water
  • Healthy snacks and light meals in well-sealed containers

Special Equipment

You may be doing certain activities while hiking that require special equipment. We have listed a few things you might need.

  • pocket knife
  • special equipment (headlamp, hiking poles, climbing gear, binoculars, gaiters, climbing irons, etc.)
  • GPS, compass, map for orientation
  • camera, memory card, batteries
  • towel (e.g. to dry off after swimming)

Preparing for an Emergency

A first aid kit is always a good idea. There are a few things you can pack for an emergency, but you don’t have to. However, there are some things you should always carry with you, such as your emergency medication if you have certain illnesses like allergies.

  • First aid kit
  • Blister plaster
  • Tick tongs
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Possibly menstrual products
  • Painkillers
  • Emergency medication
  • Mosquito repellent

Common Essentials for One-Day Hikes

You probably have your wallet and all your important cards with you always. This also goes for your phone. Don’t forget to charge well before your hike, or bring a power bank to charge it on the road. In this case, remember the charging cable as well.

  • ID card
  • Health insurance card
  • Debit and credit card
  • Other cards for possible discounts (student ID, membership cards)
  • When hiking abroad: the relevant proof of international health insurance
  • Cash
  • Phone, power bank, charging cable

Multi-Day Hikes

If you are travelling for several days or even doing a long-distance hike, you will need additional equipment. If you are going camping, then take a look at our packing list for camping trips. Of course, a longer tour requires a bit more planning. Our article on planning a hiking trip will help you with that.


This list is a great guide to help you prepare for your one-day hikes. Depending on your specific tour, you may need more items or leave out some. For longer hikes with overnight stays, your list will be more extensive. Here is the complete list for one-day hikes at a glance. Have fun on your adventures!

  • Backpack, rain cover
  • Clothes: functional clothing (incl. comfortable underwear), hiking boots and socks, hat/headband, etc., possibly gloves, possibly hair tie
  • Sun protection: cap, sunglasses, sun cream, after-sun lotion
  • Food: water bottle with enough water, healthy snacks, and light meals in well-sealed containers
  • Pocket knife
  • Special equipment – if needed (headlamp, hiking poles, climbing gear, binoculars, gaiters, climbing irons, etc.)
  • GPS, compass, map for orientation
  • Camera, memory card, batteries
  • Towel (e.g. to dry off after swimming)
  • First aid kit, blister plaster, tick tongs, handkerchiefs, menstrual products, painkillers, emergency medication, mosquito repellent, if necessary.
  • Identity card, health insurance card, debit, and credit card, other cards for possible discounts (student card, membership cards), cash, if hiking abroad appropriate proof of international health insurance
  • Phone, power bank, charging cable

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