Day hike packing list - the essentials for a day hike

What’s in my pack? Day hike packing list

In this day hike packing list, I’ll tell you all about the essentials you should bring on a day hike. In addition, I’ll give you some tips for great day packs.

First things first: which day pack should you choose?

There are day packs in all shapes and sizes. If you plan to go on a lot of day hikes, it might be smart to do some research, so you can pick the one that’s perfect for you. Day packs will last for years, so it’s a great idea to invest in a really good one that fits your needs right away.

How many liters?

The size of a day pack is usually indicated with liters. A 10-liter day pack is pretty small (perfect if you only go on short hikes and don’t need to bring a lot of stuff) and a 30-liter day pack is quite big (but necessary if you plan to bring a lot of photo equipment or extra clothes). Most people will choose a day pack that’s between 15 and 25 liters.


How many compartments do you need in your day pack? Do you prefer one large compartment for all of your stuff? Or do you prefer to have a separate compartment for snacks or your phone? And would you like a special compartment for a water bottle? Or one that specific for a drinking system? Figure out how many compartments you’d like to have before buying a day pack.

Other useful gadgets

Day packs can have multiple useful gadgets, sometimes you don’t even know what it’s for. Did you know most day packs have a whistle in the chest strap? Other things that can be useful are a small hook for your keys or loops to hang your trekking poles. Also, with some day packs, a rain cover is included. Are you never planning on using one of these gadgets? Then you don’t need a fancy day pack that has all of these.

My personal favorites

Day pack from Deuter
I’ve been carrying around this great day pack by Deuter for years.

I’ve used quite a lot of different day packs in the last couple of years, and these are my favorites:

  • Deuter Speed Lite I’ve used this day pack by the German company Deuter for years. It has a perfect fit, it feels solidly built and it has the right amount of compartments.
  • Osprey Daylite Another one of my favorite brands for backpacks is Osprey. Osprey has a great collection of backpacks and for day hikes I would recommend one from the Daylite-series. They’re quite lightweight and they come in several sizes, from 16 to 20 liters.
  • Mammut Lithium Speed 20L During the last day hikes I’ve been using this day pack by Mammut. It’s just as comfortable as the previous day packs, but it’s more lightweight and more flexible. This can be very convenient if you’d like to stow it away in a larger backpack or suitcase.

Day hike packing list

Yes, you found your perfect day pack! And now, what to pack for a day hike?

Personal care

Food and drinks

A reusable water bottle – I drink a lot during day hikes, so I prefer to bring a water bottle that’s quite large, like this Hydro Flask.
– Snacks (fruit, sandwiches, nuts, and granola bars)
– A plastic bag for your garbage (Ziplocs are great!)

When it’s time to relax

Insulated Sitting Pad
E-reader – I love to read when I take a break during a hike.


– Smartphone (I use my phone for navigation)
Camera – I love my Sony A6000. It’s small, lightweight, and takes incredible photos. If I feel like it, I also bring an extra lens and a small tripod.
– To charge all my electronics, I bring a power bank.


Lightweight rain jacket
Lightweight fleece jacket – for when it gets chilly.
– Cap or Buff
– Some extra socks
– Flip flops (for when you like to take your shoes of during a break)
– Sarong or Turkish Beach Towel – you can use these as a scarf, towel or a blanket. They dry super quickly.


– Money (both credit card and some cash)
– Sunglasses

This is my day hike packing list! What do you consider as essential items for your day hike?

Would you like to read more about hiking?

Check out these articles:

Or check out one of these books filled with epic hikes:
Great Hiking Trails of the World

Epic Hikes of the World – Lonely Planet

This article contains affiliate links. If you order something through one of these links, I will earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you).


As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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