Day Hiking is a great activity. As you might have suspected, it’s a hike that can be done in a day or less. You can get away for a day, or just a few hours, and still climb into a comfortable bed at night. Ahhh!
Even though one day excursions are relatively short, you’ll still need to do some planning. The planning isn’t as extensive as going on a multi-day backpacking expedition. Neverthless, plan.
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself before you plan. Do you want a short or a long day hike? Do you want something challenging and extreme, or something easy? Whatever your preference, there is something for all ages and all skill levels.
If you’ve been a couch potato for the past few years … or decades, and want to start getting some exercise and physical activity, one day outings are ideal. You can start with short, easy hikes, and gradually increase the distance and difficulty. Make sure you realistically assess your physical capabilities and discuss any exercise program with your doctor.
Hiking for beginners gives you some good day hiking tips for planning your mini-adventure, no matter what your skill level. Here is an extensive day hike gear checklist to help you bring what you need.
- Map or Trail Guide
- Water – The longer the trail, the more you bring.
- Food – Trail mix is good for short hikes. Energy bars or sports bars are good for longer distances.
- Clothes – Dress in layers. Dress for the expected weather at your hiking destination.
- Footwear – Rugged hiking requires serious boots. Short, easy trails can be done with walking shoes. Above all, comfort is a must.
- Extra pair of socks, if the ones you’re wearing get wet.
- Rain Gear – Weather can change quickly in the mountains.
- Compass or GPS
- Insect Repellent
- Sun Screen
- First Aid Kit
- Backpack to carry your gear
The gear that you bring will vary depending on your destination and the length and difficulty of the trail you selected. Personally, depending on my hike, I may lighten my load and not bring everything. However, I always take more than I need. I don’t want to be out on a trail and regret not having rain gear, or enough water. I know. I’ve done it!
One last thing: Have you ever considered taking a vacation around day hiking? Take a few days and travel somewhere you can’t reach from your home for a day trip. Get a hotel room and do a series of day hikes around that location. Maybe choose an area close to a National Park or National Forest. Get up in the morning and eat a good breakfast. Get back in the evening, eat a nice dinner and reminisce. It will be a memorable vacation.