Let's dive right in...

Following is an overview of what I pack for either a day or multi day hike:

None of these packing lists will include food. For this, check out my food packing page. There, you'll find ideas for what kind of food, how much and for what kind of hike to pack. So, keep in mind to leave some room for this.

Depending on what you need inspiration for you can hop straight into it. Enjoy!

Day Hikes

Below you see a list of clothes, gear and accessories that are on my packing list. Obviously I'm not always packing ALL of this on each and every day hike. I've tried to keep this packing list comprehensive, so you can just have a peek at it with a current weather forecast and start packing.

For instance, on a cloudless day with 20°+ C temperatures I won't pack a warm hat and snow pants. You also probably won't need gaiters if the hike for that day doesn't include a river crossing or doesn't reach the snow line.

A generally useful approach to taking and wearing clothes appropriate to weather is to go by a layer system: base, mid and shell layer. Examples for base layer clothing can be thermal underwear or simply a shirt. A shell, or also referred to as exterior, layer is, i.e., a waterproof jacket or snow pants. It is the layer you put on top of every other layer. When you combine different layers, do so in a way that their combination doesn't lose the benefits. A wool sweater underneath a waterproof Gore-Tex shell won't make much sense when it's raining but temperatures are still high enough to make you sweat. In this case, you'll want to swap your mid layer sweater with one made of a material that dries quickly.

All these are just examples. Finding combinations of clothing layers that keep you reasonably "comfortable" for different weather conditions is like picking hiking boots that suit you best: Try them and test, test, test.

While we're at it, a quick note here on hiking boots. Depending on the difficulty of the terrain you're about to hit, invest in some good boots. By invest I mean not only financially but also time wise. Ideally, and if you take care of them, you'll keep these boots for a looooong time. Spending some time on research before you go to a store and a good amount of time in the store(s) themselves is the least you can invest, I think. Most stores also let you return the boots if you haven't worn them outside, obviously not broken anything on them, but realise they actually don't fit that nicely. If so, go ahead and try them out again at home to make sure they're the right fit. 

Generally, if there's anything on this list that you do not know how to use or even what it is, there is absolutely no point in packing it just because it is on this, or any other, list. You will either end up not using it anyway or use it in a way it wasn't intended to which may cause some unpleasant outcome. This goes especially for anything I've put under Advanced.

That being said, if you do not know how to use an ice axe and crampons properly but your track may require usage of these, reconsider your choice of track. Or go with someone who is capable of showing you how (a guide, experienced friends, etc.). I personally think learning from and with experienced friends is the best way. You get unrated tips and there's nothing like having outdoor experiences with people you enjoy being around. Still, make sure to find your own "style" and not just copy anyone's way of doing something. Usually, there are a few, if not many, approaches to just anything. Stay open-minded, humble and always allow yourself to learn.

A headlight may come in handy even on a day hike and even if you're planning to return way ahead of sunset. An emergency may come up that extends your hiking time or you simply underestimated the difficulty of the hike in advance. It does happen, and not too rarely either. Estimations that you may have come across before picking a hike, even by national park organisations, are nothing more: estimations. They may differ from person to person and may even differ greatly depending on the weather. The torch function of your phone is not a good alternative for a few reasons (two hands are better than one, battery life).

Remember, any food or trash you bring or produce will have to be carried with you. Pack some bags for rubbish. I usually use plastic bags that once were wrapper for food or that I kept for reuse. These will also come in handy to keep small items in your backpack protected from fluids. As with the sort of "rubbish" that you yourself produce, I find this article very useful. Give it a read. It's written by the Department of Conversation in New Zealand but the how-to works as well in any other part of the world.

One last thing before I'll leave you with the very first list. From travels through Argentina and with a partner who'd lived there for an extended period of time I've established a pretty awesome habit: Drinking mates. Ideally I will write a blog post about this in the near future. If so, I'll hopefully remember putting a link here instead of these two sentences, haha. Anyway, to keep it simple here: a mate is a beverage, usually shared amongst each other which is the best part about it. I've shared numerous mates with close friends as well as complete strangers on tracks. To me it's an almost essential part of my packing list. I'll have it on a summit, during a break, at the campsite,..., ideally sharing with someone else. It slows me down for a moment, makes me very much appreciate the now and take in the current surroundings.

Basics

  • backpack (35l)
  • rain cover for backpack
  • small shovel
  • toilet paper
  • hand sanitiser
  • plastic bags (for rubbish, etc.)

Head

  • warm/sun hat
  • gloves
  • sun glasses
  • sun screen
  • neck gaiter

Feet

  • boots according to where you're going
  • good hiking socks

Clothes

  • shorts
  • trekking pants, snow pants
  • thermal pants (I usually wear/pack a pair of leggings)
  • first layer top: normal shirt, thermal shirt (I normally use a functional tang top that dries quickly)
  • soft shell layer top that dries quickly (mid layer, i.e. fleece/waffle pattern)
  • waterproof, breathable shell jacket
  • gaiters -> keep snow and water out

Food, Hydration

  • hydration pack
  • reusable drink bottle
  • life straw
  • portable cutlery

Accessories, Navigation

  • headlight
  • some cash
  • phone
  • compass
  • map(s), paper and/or digital

Emergency

  • first aid kit
  • personal medication if applicable

Advanced

  • crampons
  • ice axe

Saphi's specials

  • DSLR camera
  • thermos
  • mate cup + bombilla
  • yerba

Packing for a multi day hike in action: I start with piling up everything I want to bring and then deciding what I leave depending on the room in my backpack :)

 

Multi Day Hikes

Let's continue with packing for multi day hikes. Again, treat the following list as guide and inspiration. As with the day hike packing list above, I don't always pack everything. It very much depends on the amount of days, the expected weather conditions and difficulty of the hike.

Basics

  • backpack (70l)
  • rain cover for backpack
  • 5l dry bag (that also serves as tiny backpack for side tracks as it has shoulder straps)
  • small shovel
  • toilet paper
  • hand sanitiser
  • plastic bags (for rubbish, etc.)

Head

  • warm/sun hat
  • gloves
  • sun glasses
  • sun screen
  • neck gaiter

Feet

  • boots according to where you're going
  • good hiking socks, multiple pairs (depending on length of track)
  • an extra pair of "campground socks" (ones you can put on once you get out of your boots and do your campground business)
  • an extra pair of comfy shoes: sneakers/slippers

Clothes

  • generally one set of clothes for hiking and one for the campground/night
  • extra underwear, shirts
  • for us ladys: period proof underwear
  • thermal underwear
  • shorts
  • trekking pants, snow pants
  • thermal pants (I usually wear/pack a pair of leggings)
  • first layer top: normal shirt, thermal shirt (I normally use a functional tang top that dries quickly)
  • soft shell layer top that dries quickly (mid layer, i.e. fleece/waffle pattern)
  • waterproof, breathable shell jacket
  • gaiters -> keep snow and water out

House

  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping mat
  • tarp

Toiletries

  • microfiber towel
  • deo cream
  • biodegradable dental tabs
  • bamboo tooth brush
  • natural + biodegradable shampoo
  • again for us ladys: menstrual cup or alike
  • pocket hair brush (First thing I leave at home for a hike of just a few days but with my current hair cut it does feel good to get dust & co. out after a week of hiking.)

Food, Hydration

  • hydration pack
  • reusable drink bottle
  • life straw/water filter/water purification drops
  • portable cutlery
  • pocket knife
  • portable cooker (I have a hybrid one because gas bottles aren't available everywhere in the world, especially remote places.)
  • fuel for stove
  • cooking dishes
  • drinking cup (If you pack a thermos, you can just use the cup that comes with it.)
  • lighter/matches (Don't forget to put these into a waterproof bag/container.)

Accessories, Navigation

  • headlight, spare batteries
  • additional small solar torch
  • some cash/ID
  • National Park tickets/hut or campground reservation receipts
  • phone
  • power bank (ideally with solar panel attached)
  • compass
  • map(s), paper and/or digital
  • biodegradable wilderness wash (I usually take an all-rounder to use for dishes, clothes, etc.)

Emergency

  • first aid kit (with bandages, wound sanitiser, blister kit, plasters, survival blanket,...)
  • nail care set: the scissors/tweezers of it extend the first aid kit and keep the nails short.
  • personal medication if applicable

Advanced

  • crampons
  • ice axe
  • snow shovel

Saphi's specials

  • DSLR camera
  • spare camera battery
  • SD card case
  • thermos
  • mate cup + bombilla
  • yerba
  • coffee maker
  • a journal (I journal my hikes. Read more about it here if you want to know why.)
  • a book/magazine (For those days you may have to sit out in a tent or hut due to bad weather conditions.)

Hope, you remembered to leave some room in your backpack? Because next come some ideas for food packing...

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