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Never Forget These 13 Items in the Backcountry

by Erika Vikander on June 28, 2017

Basics of Hiking Part II: What to Bring

By Ambassador Laurie DePhillips

Now that I have covered what you should wear when hiking, I want to cover what you should bring. This list is really focused on day hikes as overnight backpacking has a whole different set of items to consider. The main rule of thumb is to be prepared. You never know what Mother Nature is going to throw at you. A lot of the items in my pack I have never used, but I know I have them in case of an emergency. I moved from a very flat state, Iowa, to Colorado, and learned very quickly that hiking takes on whole different meaning in the mountains.

When it comes to what pack you choose, it is much like the footwear overview from the first part of this series. Your best bet is to visit your local outdoor store and talk to them about what type of hiking you will be doing and let them measure and fit you. Are you starting to see a pattern? Your outdoor store employees will become your best friends!

Google what to keep in your day pack for hiking and you will find countless lists; however, most of those lists will include the same things such as first aid, snacks and water. My weekends in the summer are almost always spent hiking around the mountains of Colorado, so I thought I would give you a glimpse into my pack.

  1. Day pack – I use this Osprey day pack
  2. Hat
  3. Rain jacket
  4. Extra baggie – can be great for keeping your phone dry if it rains
  5. Extra hair ties
  6. Light for my dog (not pictured: headlamp)
  7. Carabiners – I’m amazed at how often I used these for various things and one of mine has a thermometer and compass
  8. Sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen and hand sanitizer
  9. Lifesaving items: first aid kit, knife, fire starter, liquid bandage, ibuprofen, life straw
  10. Snacks
  11. Water bowl for my dog and his own water bottle (This alex bottle glows in the dark!)
  12. Hydration bladder
  13. Extra socks (if your socks get wet, you will be happy for a dry pair)

The more you hike you will change up what you carry with you. If you hike with a buddy, you can divide and conquer so you don’t have to carry all of the weight as well. This is especially helpful when doing a backpacking trip. You may also want to consider trekking poles. I know that is next on my list of gear purchases!

For snacks, you can either buy a good quality energy bar or tail mix, or make your own!  Here are some of my favorite recipes: 

On the Go Energy Bites Recipe:

1 ½ cups of old fashioned rolled oats

½ cup of nut butter (I usually use peanut butter)

1/3 cup of maple syrup

1/3 cup chocolate chips, dried fruit or coconut flakes

Mix all ingredients together and chill for 30 minutes. Roll a tablespoon size into balls with all mixture (or you can press into an 8x8 to cut into bars). Store in the refrigerator.

Trail Mix Recipe:

You truly can throw together anything you want and make trail mix. My favorite ingredient list is

Almonds and cashews

Dark chocolate chips


Raisins or dried cranberries

Coconut flakes

Pretzel sticks or cheerios


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