A safe and comfortable hiking experience means taking along the core list of essential kit.

Essential Hiking Gear Items

Here are some of the more essential items of hiking gear that you can’t do without:


For a light hike in preferable climates, a carrying limit in the region of 8-24 liters is more than enough.

A backpack with internal space of 1,000 cubic inches is useful to carry the most essential hiking gear.

Modern hiking backpacks come with a variety of features to make the all-round experience more enjoyable, including:

  • Internal or external frame for extra support and comfort
  • Hip belts to make it possible to use the pelvis the support the backpack weight
  • Protective water-resilient zippers or lids to protect the contents from rainfall
  • Straps to compress the load to make it easier to carry
    One or more pockets with quick-access openings


A high-quality pair of hiking boots is certain to benefit the regular to pro hiker. The longer you plan to hike, more hard-wearing and sturdy the boots or shoes need to be.

While the cross-trainers or tennis shoes can be a usable choice for the occasional short hike, they aren’t a practical solution on a long or difficult hike.

A purpose-made pair of hiking boots is preferred for it’s ability to give better traction, more support, and improved stability. A critical item of hiking gear is a pair of boots that fit well and give the desired support.


The proper hiking clothes will give the right protection and comfort while out on the trails. Here are several key points to consider:

  • Avoid wearing cotton-based clothing
  • A rain jacket or similar water-repellent clothing is certain to benefit on the longer hikes
  • Use extra layers when hiking in regions that can experience the colder weather.


Hiking without a proper water supply is a bad idea. Hiking with the combination of exertion and heat or cold can soon lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or other symptoms of dehydration.

A simple solution to ensure enough water is taken on a hiking is to use a hydration pack. Other options include the Nalgene bottle or plastic water pouches.

These pouches are a great option when really limited on storage space. For instance, the small pouches are compact enough to even fit inside a jacket pocket. But, make sure to take along a suitable amount of water to match the duration of the hike.

The preferred option for the day-hike or longer is the hydration packs. This is a plastic pouch or bladder that can fit inside a backpack or similar and allows the hiker to drink the water via a long drinking hose. Most of the modern hiking backpacks make it easy to pack the water bladder inside.

Alternatively, there are the streamlined packs just intended to carry water and have minimal spare space for extra stowing extra camping gear. A decent size hydration reservoir gives the option to hold 2-liters or more which is enough for a day-hike.