Even in a pandemic, outdoor enthusiasts have continued to head to the mountains and trails where they can safely enjoy an exciting hobby. Whether heading out for a day trip or a week-long solo, every hiker needs several items to navigate the terrain they face safely. 

A few straightforward tools can save a life or make for peace of mind when things look less than ideal. This list isn’t exhaustive or for every type of hiking trip, but it starts when looking at the basics. The best part is that there are plenty of options for individuals looking to get into hiking or update their gear.


Regardless of your hike’s length, it’s important to carry a backpack with essential gear. Backpacks can hold bandaids, water bottles, snacks, and even a change of clothes if you plan a shorter hike. Longer hikes require larger backpacks that can hold tents, extra food, and toiletry supplies. 

Compass & Maps

A compass and map of the area are essential tools needed to navigate any natural path, regardless of whether it is an extensive national forest or your local trails. A compass or GPS mapping device both allow someone to see where they’re heading and if they happen to step off the trail, a general direction will provide any hiker with a sense of direction.

Hiking Boots

When finding a proper trail, it will be rated by its difficulty, giving an idea of the type of boots or hiking shoes to look for. Hiking shoes or boots will be durable, comfortable, element resistant, and stable when walking on uneven terrain. Even the smallest of rocks can throw a hiker off balance.

Medical Kits

In case of an accident, it’s always best to carry a first aid kit of some sort. This can be a basic first aid kit with aseptic pads, alcohol prep pads, and bandages for small scrapes and cuts. If the planned trip is more extensive, a more comprehensive first aid kit including essential medications like ibuprofen and acid relievers could help. Having greater supplies available on more extended trips can bring comfort in an unexpected circumstance.