Picnic Ideas: How to Plan and Pack for a Day Hike

picnic hiking

Hiking with Friends by Bev and Steve

Day hiking can be an excellent way to enjoy a day alone or with a few friends…or maybe even your significant other.  No matter who you are with, day hiking is very easy to plan and pack for as you honestly do not need very much for a day hike.  In fact, you want to pack as little as possible.

Where Are You Hiking?

First, you’ll want to determine where you are hiking for the day.  Choose somewhere adventurous and beautiful.  Choose somewhere that you’ve never been before so you can see new scenery.  A day hike allows you to see things that you wouldn’t normally see on an everyday walk or ride to work.

Purchase an Area Trail Map

trail map

Trail Map by Rock Chalk Jayhawk Cartographer

You’ll want to purchase a trail map of the hiking area so that you can keep track of where you are going throughout the day.  You’ll want to decide exactly how long you want to be gone – 8 hours, 10 hours, etc.  Thus, you’ll want to add an hour to be safe.

Check Out Speed Bumps on the Map

Take into consideration if you’ll hit steep areas upon your day hike.  You’ll also want to check out the weather to see how hot it is going to be that particular day and if there are any areas on the map that you’ll hit that may be hotter than others for some reason.  For example, if there are sunny areas on the map, you’ll want to try to hike those during the early morning or late afternoon to help reduce the heat temperature.  You will want to plan accordingly areas that you can stop and rest.

bottled water

Bottled in Water by dannyman

Packing for the Day Hike

First things first, you are going to need a small backpack to carry all of your things.  You don’t want anything too large as it will just turn into a burden on your day hike; therefore, the smaller the backpack the better!

Avoid Caffeine – Pack Water

When it comes to packing for a day hike, you want to ensure that you pack enough water that can go around for everyone in your group – avoid caffeine if at all possible.

Protection from the Sun

sun block

Sun Block by Wouter Kiel

You will also want to pack a hat to help keep the sun off of your face while hiking and you’ll also need to pack sunscreen.  You want to make sure you protect your skin from the sun at all times so be sure to reapply sunscreen every few hours.

Pack Plenty of Snacks and Food

Aside from water and other above listed items, you’ll need to pack some snacks for yourself and your group throughout the day.  You can choose whatever you like just make sure that it can stand up to the heat over the course of the day.  Try to avoid too much sugar consumption.  Don’t think that snacks can fulfill your energy requirements throughout the day, you’ll also need a healthy lunch so don’t forget to pack it – and while you’re at it, pack another just in case.

Extra Necessary Essentials for Hiking

In an outside pocket of your backpack, pack a compass as well as the purchased map of the area.  You will also want to pack a small first-aid kit just in case anything happens and you need it.  Oh, and don’t forget the bud spray because while hiking you may run into some of those aggravating flying creatures.

hiking backpack

Hiking Equipments by oldmantravels

Lightweight Clothes and Blanket

Be sure to pack an extra suit of clothes, something light preferably so it doesn’t take up much room nor does it weight very much.  You never know when it might start storming unexpectedly or anything other unplanned occurrence.  In addition, you should pack a small, lightweight blanket or something similar to put at the back of your backpack so that it creates a soft barrier between your back and the items in your bag.

Now that you have the essential information to plan and pack for a day hike, you are ready to get your stuff together and head off on your hike.  Have fun and be prepared for the unanticipated as anything can happen at any given moment!

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