What to Bring on a Hike

jana meerman black tusk garibaldi lake hike-13

Hiking is my favourite activity, no matter where I am in the world. I consistently find that hiking brings a sense of joy, clarity, excitement and discovery. It's such a great way to get out and feel good about your body, breath in some fresh air and discover the world out there.

Hiking is a popular way to explore a new country, too! You can discover the mountains, hike up to ruins or castles, see epic view points... it's a wonderful way to travel. Plus, it's (usually) free!

Check out all the hikes I've done around the world here.

Today, I want to talk about what I bring with me when I go hiking. Depending on the length or difficulty of the hike, I'll add to this list (like more food or more layers etc.). Please note that this list is for day hikes only.


Comfortable backpack

Make sure you have a day pack you feel comfortable walking and climbing in. It should fit snugly on your shoulders - if you can get one with a waist strap, that's even better, to assist with weight placement.

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Hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Canada


Water

I carry a 1 litre reusable water bottle with me while I'm hiking shorter tracks; for longer hikes, I carry two litres. Staying hydrated is crucial while you're out in nature.


Lunch & Snacks

Pack enough food for your the length of your hike. Bring energetic snacks like nuts, bananas, veggies, energy bars/cookies, apples and dates. If you're going out for longer, bring a good lunch, too, in a reusable tupperware with reusable cutlery.

jana meerman tongariro alpine crossing

Snackin' on some peanuts on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand


Waterproof Jacket & Wool Sweater

Even for sunny hikes, I like to pack a waterproof jacket that can double as a windbreaker. Regardless of the weather at the start of the trail, elevation gain can often bring along cooler weather and weather is always subject to change. Layers are key!

I also pack a wool sweater that keeps me warm without making me sweat. It's great for when the wind picks up a bit or when I've reached the top of the trail and I've stopped moving.

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Layering up on Roy's Peak, New Zealand


Camera

This is my most important one! I have to have my camera on every hike (and everything else I do) so I can document the beauty I'm seeing to share on my blog and Instagram. I love getting out in nature and sharing my experiences. Don't forget to empty your SD card before you go and fully charge your battery.

We use a Fujifilm X-T1 with an 18-55mm lens as our main camera and also bring a Canon PowerShot point-and-shoot as backup.


Phone

Before you head out, make sure your phone is fully charged. A phone is important to carry in case you need to contact anyone, plus it's also a great tool for maps. I always bring my fully charged battery pack which can charge my phone six times over.


Tripod

The best way to get photos of yourself while you're out and about is to bring a tripod. Nico and I bring our tripod everywhere we go - it means we can get photos together even in the most isolated of places.

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Nico carrying our tripod at Rainbow Mountain in Rotorua, New Zealand


First Aid Kit

I don't bring a full set but it's always handy to have some bandaids, pain meds and allergy meds when you're heading out into nature. I also always carry sunscreen and bug spray, for obvious reasons.


Map or Trail Directions

If the hike isn't well marked or super popular, I like to take screenshots of the directions and the map in case I need to refer back to them. This is also useful in case you lose service on the trail and Google Maps stops working.


Extra Socks

It's so nice to finish a hike and pull on a clean pair of socks. My shoes may have gotten muddy or wet and it's nice for the way home to have clean and comfy toes.


Comfortable Shoes

Make sure you're wearing good shoes for your hike - hiking boots if it's steep or unstable ground, or comfortable running shoes for easier trails. I own a pair of Keen hiking boots and a pair of Nike free runners, both of which I absolutely love and cover all the kinds of trails I tackle.

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Wearing my hiking boots at Little Beehive in Banff National Park, Canada


Rubbish Bag

I always carry a compostable plastic rubbish bag to collect any rubbish I find on the trail. I practice the 'pack-in, pack-out' method whereby you take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints. Unfortunately, not everyone does, so I like to make sure I'm grabbing any garbage I spot while I'm out and dispose of it properly.


Flashlight

It's handy to carry even a small flashlight just in case you end up being out after dark, even if you didn't intend to. Carry one separate from the one on your phone so as to save phone battery.


Ball Cap & Toque

Wear one and carry the other. If it's chilly, pop a toque on to keep your ears warm. The rest of the time, keep your ball cap on to protect your face from the sun.

jana meerman mount fyffe hike kaikoura (19)

In my ball cap on Mount Fyffe in Kaikoura, New Zealand


Sunglasses

I always have a pair of sunglasses in my bag to protect my eyes against the sun, no matter the weather (except of course, rain). Even snow can be damaging to the eyes so winter hiking requires sunnies, too.

jana meerman paekakariki escarpment track (5)

Sunnies on the trail at Paekakariki Escarpment Track in New Zealand

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