Hiking Equipment Essentials – Full Gear Guide (2021 UPDATED)

Our Guide to Hiking Equipment Essentials!

Hiking-Equipment-Essentials

Hiking can be a physically-draining and rigorous activity but getting to experience the essence of nature up-close makes it all the worthwhile.

You don’t want to get stuck in an emergency miles away from civilisation when you are poorly prepared.

Whether you are trapped in a storm, gone off-course, or running out of food resources, hiking without the appropriate equipment is a definite recipe for disaster.

And although the items may vary depending on the kind of hiking adventure you are about to set out on, the following are essential hiking gear you can’t leave out of a checklist. Get ready for our list of hiking equipment essentials and our suggestions for the perfect hiking equipment list.


Hiking Equipment Checklist

checklist

Having a hiking equipment checklist is important before you head out on the trail, to know for sure that you have all the hiking gear that you need to be warm, safe & protected from the elements.

Below is our Hiking Equipment Checklist for the various items you will need if you want to seriously get into Hiking.

Hiking Backpack

You need a backpack to carry the rest of your hiking equipment. From extra clothing to food and water resources, an appropriate backpack will allow you to comfortably store all that you need for the hike while making sure that you don’t run out of stock, it really is a must have when you consider hiking equipment essentials.

If you are going on a short hike that won’t involve camping, a small day pack should suffice.

However, if you are planning a longer hiking trip that will need you to stay out overnight, make a point of looking for a bigger backpack with plenty of room to store all your items comfortably. Ideally, the average person can about 1/3 of their body weight; don’t burden yourself with too much weight that will spoil the hiking experience.

Here at ArcticDry, we specialise in creating Waterproof Backpacks, they are perfect for short and long distance hikes, as well as being fully water resistant and durable due to being made from high quality Tarpaulin. You can check it out here:

ArcticDry-Waterproof-Backpack


Map and Compass

Hiking-Equipment-Essentials-Map-and-Compass

These are two critical hiking gear that will help you to comfortably navigate your way through the hiking trail. A map will help you know your current location and tell you how far you are from the campsite. It will also assist you to make sound decisions in the event you suspect you’ve gone off-course to prevent cases of getting lost.

Furthermore, a map will shield you from possible emergencies and physical injuries in hiking trails that have insufficient signs or markings.

A hiking compass, meanwhile, is a great complement that will help you to stay on the right course and point you in the right direction.


Outdoor Hiking Clothing

Hiking-Equipment-Appropriate-Outdoor-Clothing

You want to carry the right outdoor attire that will protect you from the elements. If you are hiking in cold or wet conditions, be sure to bring along warm clothing like moisture-wicking t-shirts and underwear, waterproof jacket, walking trousers, waterproof socks. Ensure that you also wear the appropriate hiking boots that will prevent soreness or blisters on your feet during the hike. However, be wary of overdressing to the extent that you run the risk of overheating.

Let’s start with our guide to Hiking Boots:

Hiking Boots

Waterproof-Hiking-Boots

A good pair of hiking boots will last you a good while, on many hiking adventures, whether you’re exploring round the UK or hiking through scotland.

Ideally you want a pair of boots that are waterproof, possibly using a Gore-Tex material, or at the very least have a DWR Coating, OR what we here at ArcticDry would recommend is also using a pair of our waterproof socks, combined with the hiking boot of your choice.

Our favourite hiking boot brands here at ArcticDry are Salomon, Scarpa, Merrell & Mammut

If you’re price-conscious and want to find the cheapest hiking boots possible, check out our article on the best hiking boots under £100

Hiking Trousers

Another essential item to have if you’re hiking around the UK is a good pair of walking trousers. Having a pair of waterproof walking trousers will ensure that when combined with waterproof boots, socks and/or gaiters, you will be fully protected from the elements, and prevent cold, damp & wet feet altogether.

Avoid products that just promote that they’re “water-resistant”. This will not help you when the heavens open up in the Lake District and you’re wishing that you’d purchased a pair before your latest hike!

Waterproof Jacket

Every hiker should own a good waterproof jacket.

A waterproof jacket with a Gore-Tex lining or Durable Water Repellent coating will take you a long way. You can also get waterproof down jackets that are both waterproof and incredibly warm at the same time; popular with many hikers & those into wild camping.

Hiking Socks

Hiking-Socks

Hiking socks are essential for a number of reasons:

  1. They are often made with Merino Wool, a material known for it’s moisture wicking properties and heat insulation properties, fantastic for hiking socks and base layers

  2. Some brands, such as our waterproof socks here at ArcticDry, are made with a waterproof membrane lining in the central layer, which allows water vapour to escape, but not to let water droplets in, aka: waterproofed against rain, snow and mud.

Hiking socks are an essential piece of hiking gear, and should be on everyone’s top 10 list of items to purchase before heading out onto the trail.

Hiking Gaiters

Hiking-Gaiters

Hiking gaiters, depending on who you speak to, are either an essential piece of hiking equipment, or a luxury. This is because with all the other gear listed here, depending on the terrain, you may not need gaiters.

They are especially useful here in the UK as more often than not, we’re hiking through dense overgrowth in the form of stingers, brambles, thorn bushes etc; so these act as an extra form of protection against everything that can attack you from ankle to knee!

Gloves

Hiking Gloves are a piece of kit that once you find a good pair that fits and performs well, you rarely go without in the UK winter weather.

They can also come with a waterproof membrane that prevents water getting through, which is a huge bonus in our notoriously poor weather conditions.

Base Layers

Base Layers are a fantastic piece of hiking kit to own if you can afford to purchase them. They are often made with Merino Wool (or at least the good ones are), which as mentioned earlier, is fantastic at wicking sweat away from your skin, and therefore keeping you warmer, for longer.

Many hikers out there are often wearing a base layer underneath their waterproof jacket, which especially if they’re wearing a down jacket means that they are super toasty and very well insulated; it’s a great combination for hiking in the UK winter weather.

Other Essential Non-Clothing Items

Flashlights and Headlamps

Hiking-Equipment-Appropriate-Flashlights-and-Headlamps

Having a flashlight or headtorch becomes imperative when you have to hike in the dark or in areas that are poorly lit.

These will help you to avoid straying from your hiking course or find your way around a campsite.

Flashlights also enable you to check for items inside your backpack or signal your friends when you are hiking as a group.

Remember to carry extra batteries for extra precaution and preferably go for headlamps that use LED lights; they are more energy efficient. A fundamental thing to have on your list of hiking equipment essentials.


Food and Water

Hiking-Equipment-Food-and-Water

So this sounds rather obvious, but while out on a hike, you can always expect some contingencies, whether minor or major, that may end up interfering with your schedule. So be sure to carry extra food and water provisions in case you have to stay out longer than initially planned.

Bring along energy-rich snacks like energy bars and nuts that you can comfortably eat on the trail. Meanwhile, two litres of water will be enough for a day but you can make the necessary adjustments depending on the prevailing weather conditions. Just make sure that you carry enough to protect yourself from hunger and dehydration.


Sunglasses, Sunscreen, and Sun hat

Hiking-Equipment--Sun-Protection

Hiking sunglasses will come in handy when hiking on a hot sunny day or through snowy mountains. They ensure that you are shielded from the sun’s glare and possible snow blindness. They also protect your eyes from airborne debris like tree branches, dust, and other hazards that may lead to injury.

Sunscreen will help to prevent sunburns if you have sensitive skin while a sun hat will ensure you have a comfortable hike by shielding you from the scorching sun.

You also want to bring along lip balm to keep your lips moisturised and mosquito repellent.


First aid kit

Hiking-Equipment-First-Aid-Kit

There is a high likelihood that you’ll encounter minor injuries like burns, blisters, or cuts; especially if you are hiking in areas with thick vegetation with bushy trails.

A first aid kit will help you to quickly treat these small injuries and keep them from getting infected.

However, the first aid kit will also prove crucial in major emergencies that involve things like severe thigh pain, broken limbs, hypothermia, allergic reaction, snake bites, etc. This will also mean that you include your personal medication as part of the items in the kit. An absolute must have item in your list of hiking equipment essentials.


Knife or Multi-tool

Hiking-Equipment-Multi-Tool

Never go on a hiking adventure without carrying a knife; it will help you cut through thick vegetation if you want to go off-trail, prepare meals, cut ropes, and shave wood when building a shelter.

A knife or multi-purpose tool will also cut strips of cloth to make bandages or fix broken eyeglasses. In short, a knife has a host of applications that make it a must-have in your list of hiking equipment essentials.


Matchbox or Fire-starter

A matchbox or Firestarter will help you light a fire when you want to cook or keep away hypothermia when camping in the cold. Lighting a fire is also a great survival tactic that can help you get noticed when you happen to get lost in the woods.

If you are carrying a matchbox, remember to ensure you get waterproof matches that won’t be rendered obsolete in rainy or wet conditions. A real must have for your hiking equipment essentials


Whistle

A whistle is a compact, lightweight, and easy-to-carry device that will come in quite handy in emergency situations. If you are hiking as a group and you happen to stray away from the course, blowing a whistle is a convenient way of alerting your friends that you are lost. Remember that you can’t keep on shouting to call for help as this can take a toll on you. A whistle, on the other hand, is louder and travels farther and faster than the human voice.

Conclusion

There we have it, our list of hiking gear essentials that you should always take with you when you’re out on the trail. Some are more essential than others, but for example having a good solid pair of walking boots and a waterproof jacket will take you a long way and last you many trips into the great outdoors!

FAQ

What is the best hiking gear for beginners?

The best hiking gear when you’re just starting out should really cover the main bases and be cheap. You do not want to go and spend £1000’s of pounds on gear that you inevitably will not use, or even do not know how to use.

Below are a few recommendations we have for hiking equipment that is below £100:

What the best hiking gear for women?

Hiking equipment for women is generally made with the same intention in mind as hiking gear for men. Most manufacturers will make their gear lightweight, and those such as us here at ArcticDry will make their gear waterproof or at the very least water resistant.

if you’re looking specifically for hiking gear aimed at women, check out our recent articles below:

Whats the essential hiking kit for Wild Camping?

Wild Camping in the UK is a touchy subject at the moment, especially with hordes of people flocking into nature due to the current lockdown crisis we are facing (as of November 2020).

However, for those who are looking to Wild Camp in the UK respectfully, stealthily (stealth camping!) or with the landowners permission, then there are still some essential pieces of kit that you’ll need to own in order to have a successful hike/camp.

For wild camping, we would stick recommend sticking to the basics, such as a good pair of walking boots & waterproof jacket. However, the difference with camping is that one of the key elements is your sleep & comfort, in this case we would hugely recommend purchasing a good sleeping bag and camping tent

You’ll also want to take your headtorch, especially if you’re heading out into local forestry, and of course a hiking compass. From here we would also recommend taking your food and drink essentials, such as your water and dehydrated food or food of choice.

References

If you’d like to know more about wild camping please go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_camping