November 29, 2021


Packing for a hike can be intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner. You’ve got to make sure you’re dressed correctly and that you’re wearing the right shoes. On top of that, there’s a seemingly endless list of gear you might need to bring along, from personal location beacons to trekking poles.

If you’re looking for a place to start, we’ve got you covered with our hiking gear checklist.

What to Wear Hiking

  • Hiking shoes and hiking boots

Your choice of hiking shoes is the most important part of your hiking checklist. No matter where you’re hiking, make sure you choose some sturdy footwear. From there, you can tailor your choice to the terrain. For example, the Anacapa or Kaha Low and Mid are built with waterproof GORE-TEX, making them versatile options that can help repel water. If you’re more of a trail runner, a lighter option like the Speedgoat 4 is ideal.  No matter which pair you lace up, make sure you’re wearing hiking socks. They’ll keep your feet warm and comfortable.

  • Hiking clothing

Once you’ve found the right pair of shoes, put together the rest of your outfit. A light waterproof jacket is essential if you’re hiking around waterfalls or simply to deal with rain. Lightweight layers are key. While the classic t-shirt and shorts combo will work well for some hikes, you’ll definitely want the ability to cover your legs and arms if need be. Jackets that are packable into their own pockets are ideal, so you can adjust your outfit on the fly. Light layers also provide sun protection: they’re a lifesaver if you sweat your sunscreen off. A hat is another great option for sun protection. You might also need a pair of gloves, especially if your hike involves climbing and scrambling. Marmot NZ has a great range of hiking clothing, shipping New Zealand wide.


What to Carry on a Hike

  • The essentials (backpacks, water, first aid and food)

Unless you’re more of a trail runner, you’re always going to want a backpack on a hike. Make sure your backpack has space to carry a water bottle and first aid kit. Staying hydrated is important even on leisurely hikes; drinking lots of water is a good habit no matter what you’re doing. Ideally, you’ll never have to use your first aid kit, but it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. For longer hikes, pack a lunch or bring along snacks like nuts and granola bars.

  • Navigation gear

Navigation gear is also important. For some hikes, you can get away with just bringing along a smartphone with a map or trail app. For out-of-the-way treks, paper maps, a compass and a GPS device will help you navigate areas with spotty service. Finally, always bring along a personal locator beacon. They can save your life.


Other Hiking Essentials

  • Tools

Much of what you carry on a hike is going to depend on where you’re hiking. Pocket knives and multitools are easy to throw into a backpack and useful in a myriad of situations. The same goes for matches or a lighter. You should also carry a whistle. They act as a low-tech personal locator if you ever get separated from your group.

  • Hike and terrain-specific gear

Some hikes require specific gear. A trekking pole is essential on hilly hikes. If your trail takes you through caves, bring along a headlamp. Extra, packable insulating clothing is a necessity for areas with quick temperature changes or if you plan on hiking at night. And for longer hikes where you’ll be refilling water from streams or rivers, you’ll want a water filter.

  • Shelter

A lightweight tent is also worth considering, depending on the circumstances. They’re essential for multi-day hikes and backpacking trips, but don’t count them out if you’re just going for a day hike. A tent can provide shelter and security in case of bad weather or other unexpected circumstances.

Challenger ATR 6

What to Consider Before a Hike

There are a few more things you’ll want to consider before putting together your final hiking gear checklist.

  • Terrain

First and foremost is the terrain. A rocky, damp beach trail calls for grippy shoes and gloves to tackle scrambles. If you’ll be crossing streams, wear waterproof sandals. There are endless examples of terrain-specific gear (like the trekking poles and headlamps we mentioned above), so be sure you know the landscape before you head out.

  • Climate

Climate is similar, though it is easier to deal with. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt and packing some lightweight layers is a pretty solid one-size-fits-all approach for more mild climates. It’s easy to adjust that packing list, too: you can add a light jacket if you’re expecting rain, or add a hat, sunblock and plenty of water for a hike in dry, hot conditions. Be sure to check the forecast. You’ll need different gear for a sunny day versus an overcast day. Take note of the sunset time, too. Some areas can get very cold after the sun goes down, and you’ll want to be prepared.

  • Sunset time

Finally, you’ll want to consider the wildlife. Insects are going to be your main consideration. Always bring some bug spray–it’ll deal with most flying insects, and your arms will thank you. If you’re expecting to hike through long grass, be sure to wear long sleeves and long pants to protect yourself from ticks. And always remember to check yourself for ticks after the hike, too.

Once you’ve got your hiking gear figured out, the fun starts. Get out there and explore!

It’s Time to Fly™


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