Trekking Kit – 10 Essentials for Every Long Hike

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Hiking by the river in north wales

Putting together your trekking kit? Wondering what to put in your backpack? Read on for the 10 trekking kit essentials to pack for every long hike…

Ever get that feeling that the mountains are calling?

Whether you are an avid hiker or a novice, a trip into the mountains is an amazing answer to many of life’s stresses. Just being in the great outdoors, taking in nature and the fresh air, can give you an incredible mood boost and restore your positive outlook on life.

It’s scientific fact!

And what better place to explore the outdoors than the mountains, with its myriad choices for adventure seekers.  From trails that provide an intense hike and time sleeping under the stars to shorter hikes for the nature lover who wants to get away for the day but return to “civilization” at night, there really is something for everyone.

But you don’t want to wander off into the mountains unprepared, particularly if this is your first trip. Fortunately, Rebecca of Hiking Mastery has put together the following trekking kit list. You can read more about her trekking adventures below but she has compiled this list of trekking essentials based on years of hiking experience all around the world. So, here’s her…

Before you start throwing things in a bag – which often involves spending a lot of money, packing too much, packing too little or packing the wrong items – take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

  • how long will your trip be? Days or hours?
  • what will the trip miles, terrain and altitude be?
  • what weather is expected?
  • how many people are going on the trip?

From your answers, you should be able to estimate the amount of food, type of clothing and other trekking kit needed for your backpacking trip. As a minimum, make sure your packing list includes the 10 essentials below.

Top tip: If this is your first attempt at backpacking, consider taking a class from your local mountaineering shop or community college.

1. Flashlight

Bring a flashlight along, even for a day hike. You just never know if the trip might take longer than you expect and you don’t want to end up trying to maneuver in the dark. Be sure to replace the old batteries with new ones before every backpacking trip, or, better yet, buy a rechargeable flashlight.

Click here to buy rechargeable flashlights on Amazon.

2. Compass

Rather than dropping a compass in your backpack, attach it to a part of your clothing. Remember to move it over, when you get changed. It’s easy to get turned around when you’re in the midst of nature so a compass is definitely a trekking kit essential. Most importantly, practice using your compass before leaving for your trip.

3. Map

map with coffee on top

Know where you are going and how long the entire trip will take is vital for a successful backpacking trip. And most importantly mark your route on the map. This should be one of the first things you do when you start to pack your trekking kit for your trip.

4. Food

After collecting the proper amount of food for your trip, always add extra items – it’s better to plan for the worst to happen than run out of food. When packing additional food, choose non-perishable items like nuts, beef jerky, granola or pre-packaged camping food.

Top tip: If you plan on cooking outdoors and you love soups and stews, cook them at home, freeze them and store them in ziploc bags. That way you can simply reheat your tasty meal in a couple of minutes.

Click here to buy trekking food on Amazon.

5. Clothing, socks and waterproof, lightweight shoes

Bring an extra set of clothing. In addition, consider that the weather could unrepentantly change leaving you wishing you had packed a pair of long underwear, so add some to your trekking kit just in case.

Regardless of whether you are planning to camp or not, clean socks and lightweight waterproof shoes are must haves for long hikes. If you find yourself in need of crossing a river, you’ll see that your “stylish” hiking boots may not be as appropriate as their name described. A shoe with a good sole and strong ankle support that will keep the water out is a much better selection for the activity at hand. Fresh socks can give you a completely new perspective on things after a quick bite of lunch, so always pack an extra pair in your backpack.

Click here for Indiana Jo’s Ultimate Packing list including recommendations for hiking boots, cold weather wear and kit essentials like a torch and Swiss Army Knife.

6. First Aid Kit

Small backpacking first aid kits can be purchased with all the essentials already included. At the very least place band aids, sterile gauze, analgesic and antiseptic in a zip-lock plastic bag.

Click here to buy first aid kits on Amazon.

7. Pocket Knife

swiss army knife

Pocket knifes are one of the smallest, most useful items you can add to your trekking kit. Not only can it can be used for preparing food, it will come in handy more times than you can count. If you’re looking for a good quality, compact, highly functional brand, Swiss Army knives are hard to beat.

Click here to buy pocket knifes on Amazon.

8. Matches

Even if you have a camping stove and fuel, matches are essential. If you run out of fuel or your stove malfunctions, you’ll at least be equipped to build a campfire to cook your food and keep warm. Besides, how else will you roast your weenies or marshmallows on a stick? Keep them in a waterproof container and look for windproof matches.

Click here to buy windproof matches on Amazon. 

9. Whistle

This is one of those items seldom thought about, until you need it. It will come in handy if you get lost, need to find someone who is lost or you are hurt and need help. Look for one that can clip to your clothes and is therefore easily accessible in an emergency.

Click here to buy survival whistles on Amazon.

10. Water

First, regardless of your hiking ability, make sure you have plenty of water. Camelbacks and other gear make this easy. If you are planning to camp, water filtration tablets, and other systems like water filtration straws and bottles are convenient and easy to use. Available at many sporting goods stores or online, these items will keep you from having to carry as much water with you, freeing that space up for other items.

Top tip: Always pack more clean, bottled water than you think you will need.

Click here to buy water filtration kit on Amazon.

You’ll learn a lot on your first hiking adventure so as you become more experienced, you’ll see what products will become your trekking kit essentials.

Taking some “me” time in a new and exciting enviornment is a great way to begin to see life from a new perspective. If you have never tried it, give it a go. You will love it!

Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favourite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another of her passion is the ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for Hiking Mastery, where can read more about hiking and trekking kit essentials.

What’s on your trekking kit essentials list? Let me know in the comments below.

My other packing guides you might like…

How to Travel Light: 25 Quick Swaps for Packing Light

The Only Packing List Template You’ll Ever Need

15 Travel Essentials – What To Take Onboard

Best Bag for Travelling – The Ultimate Guide

Safari Packing List – Just the Essentials

What Are The Best Shoes For Travelling?

What Is The Best Mosquito Repellent?

The 10 Travel Gadgets I Wouldn’t Travel Without

The Art of Packing Light

The 10 Travel Essentials I Wouldn’t Travel Without

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Lake and forest hiking view
Author - Jo Fitzsimons

Hi, I'm Jo, the writer behind Indiana Jo. In 2010 I quit my job as a lawyer and booked an around the world ticket. As a solo female traveller, I hopped from South America to Central America, across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It was supposed to be a one-year trip but over a decade later, it's yet to end. I've lived in a cave, climbed down a volcano barefoot, spent years as a digital nomad, worked as a freelance travel writer, and eaten deadly Fugu. Now I'm home, back in the UK, but still travelling far and wide. You can find out more About Me.