Use this checklist so you don’t forget anything on your hike. It includes the 10 essentials, which are key items you should always carry when you’re hiking. Learn more about the 10 essentials to be prepared.
Before you head out, read up on the conditions and check the weather and adjust accordingly. If you expect a lot of mud, gaiters might be wise. If there are steep hills, trekking poles could save your knees. And no one ever regrets bringing a treat for the summit.
Check out our day hiking guide for beginners for practical advice on how to plan and prepare for a hike.
Clothing and footwear
Leave the cotton behind. Make sure your layers are made of quick-drying materials that wick moisture.
Sturdy hiking footwear
Hiking socks (synthetic or wool/wool blend)
Liner socks, if needed
Hiking shirt – long sleeves help with sun protection
Extra clothing is one of the 10 essentials. Weather can change quickly, and you may be out longer than planned. In every season, be prepared with additional waterproof outer layers, fleece jacket or warm layers, extra socks, gloves, and toque or neck gaiter.
If you’re hiking in the cold or wet, layer on:
Food and water
Snacks and food for the day, plus extra food (enough for one more day)
Water, plus additional water (about 1–2L more as a guideline, but this varies depending on weather and scenario)
Water treatment – tablets are small and portable
Electrolyte drink crystals (highly recommended)
Matches (waterproof or in a waterproof container) or a lighter
Fire starter and/or a candle
Bug spray (optional, but recommended)
Bear safety gear (depending on where you’re going)