Checklist for Day Hikers

Checklist for Day Hikers

Handy checklists and resources for hikers

Black and white landscape photograph of a waterfall
Black and white landscape photograph of a waterfall

I found this checklist for hikers in a publication from the Tennessee State Parks, and thought it would be great to share on my site, with a few modifications. I’m an ardent day hiker, and often take my camera bag out to make landscape photographs and other fine art nature photographs. The trick for hiking and backpacking is to bring what you need, without overdoing it, and thereby loading yourself down with too much weight. Hopefully, these checklists will help get the balance right. Have fun!

P.S. If you find yourself in Tennessee, be sure to allot some time to visit some of this state’s incredible state parks.

Checklist for Hikers:

  • Water Bottle
  • Sturdy Shoes
  • Sun Protection
  • First Aid Kit
  • Field Guides
  • Appropriate Clothing
  • Insect Repellant (including tick protection)
  • Whistle
  • Flashlight
  • Snacks
  • Rain Gear
  • Camera / Binoculars
  • Backup battery charger for mobile phones
When I lace up my hiking boots, I know I'm in for a good day. Picture of a hiking boot in black and white
When I lace up my hiking boots, I know I’m in for a good day

More tips for a safe day on the trail

  • Hike only as fast as the slowest member in your group
  • Let someone know where you are
  • Fill your water bottles before you leave, backcountry sources can be unpredictable
  • Stay on the trails
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife. We often walk right by them
  • Leaves of three, let it be (watch out for poison ivy)

Sunset times: Don’t get caught unprepared in the dark

Check sunset times to be sure you get back to the trailhead before dark. Just plug your location into this website to get sunrise and sunset times:

Know the weather

Consult an app or check The National Weather Service to get your forecast.

Checklists and guides for more advanced hikes

If you plan to go backcountry hiking, or venturing farther than a short day hike, you may want to check out some of the other resources below. For this type of hike, you’ll need tools like a knife and firestarters, as well as shelter. Depending on your location, you may also need bear spray. Be sure to check out REI’s Ten Essentials for recommendations.

Backpacker Magazine checklist

National Geographic: The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide by Andrew Skurka, available on Amazon.

REI: Day hiking checklist

REI’s Ten Essential Systems

Thanks for reading!

Be sure to visit me on FacebookYouTubePinterest, or on my website at

~ Keith

Disclaimer: This post features Amazon Affiliate links.

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