what to include in a daypackSpring has sprung; for most of us anyway. It’s time for baseball, BBQ’s and wildflowers. Has the melted snow and warmer weather got your toes itching for the trail? Even if you are still fighting April showers in May (or June), now is a great opportunity to assess the hiking gear you already have and to stock up on what you may need. Below you will find a list of basics. For those who like their day hikes extra cushy, we’ve included an Over Achiever tip.

Outerwear

The goal of the daypack is to pack light enough to enjoy a nice long time outdoors, without compromising your comfort. You will want to have a lightweight waterproof jacket, pants and a spare pair of socks in a waterproof bag. You might also consider a rain cover for your back pack. At $10-$20, these are affordable, pack down well and will keep your supplies dry. Over Achiever: a packable microdown jacket and a beanie.

Fuel

What you consume on the trail is about as important as what you are wearing. Make sure to have plenty of water, a nice lunch and plenty of snacks that are well within reach. Consider high protein, high calorie snacks that are fairly lightweight, like granola bars, trail mix and jerky. If you are especially active and find a snack brand that you like, I would suggest joining a jerky of the month club. That special delivery each month will keep your pack in good shape. Over Achiever: pack a seasonable drink in a thermos, such as hot tea in the cooler months and an electrolyte drink on ice in the dog days of summer.

Other Essentials

Besides what’s on the outside and the inside, there are a few other essential items for day hikers. A solid first-aid kit is essential and if not already in the kit you will need sun screen and bug spray. I also like to have a packable sun hat. Trekking poles are great to have on the trail, if you haven’t tried them yet, you should, especially with large elevation gains. Maps, cameras and GPS equipment are always a good idea. Over Achiever: Single use anti-bacterial hand wipes. These are the wet wipes that are packed in a little square; they are heaven for sticky fingers, refreshing for a dusty face or a lifesaver for a drippy nose.

When headed out for a day on the trail, if you remember these essential items, you are almost guaranteed to have a great day no matter what Mother Nature throws at you. What tips do you have for day hikes? What do you include in your daypack?

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