Essential Hiking Gear: A minimum of things for the trip

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When preparing for a trip, we always want to get maximum comfort with a minimum of things. By the way, this is possible if you travel by car. But for hiking, in order not to run out of breath at the beginning of the route, we still limit the number of things, but not so much things, but their weight. In my opinion, it is necessary to divide things into three directions – it is to move for a long time (choose the right clothes and shoes), eat well and rest comfortably. Based on this, I suggest a minimum set of equipment that must be taken with you. And if physical health and desire or needs allow, then of course supplement it with the necessary supplies in your opinion.

Minimal equipment for a hike


The first thing you need is a comfortable backpack. The size, the fasteners on the backpack, how comfortable it is to carry. Usually, many things can be fixed on the backpack instead of being carried in the middle. Depending on how much you can lift, how much water and food (in addition to the necessary equipment) you can carry, you choose such a backpack. The main thing is to fasten everything so that nothing shakes and does not crawl.


Even if you go for a short time (one-day route) but with a stop for several hours, the tent will still be useful. It may rain, the wind may rise, or the sun may shine. A strong, high-quality tent will save you from everything. Now there are tent options that can be unfolded and folded very quickly, which significantly increases the time for other things.

Sleeping bag

This is an indispensable thing in hiking or camping, if you plan to spend the night. It replaces the mattress and blanket at once. And using a caremat, you can sleep directly on the ground, of course, taking into account the parameters of the bag and weather conditions. The sleeping bag should be selected depending on the season and the temperature outside, as there are different options for both the temperature component and the tailoring (some can be unfolded as a blanket and some cannot).

Caremat (sleeping pad)

Caremat is needed even if you are not going to spend the night but plan to stop for several hours. Although for a short walk, it can be replaced with the so-called “poddupnik” – this is a short version of the caremat, which is attached to the belt or to a backpack and you can sit on it without fear of getting smeared or catching a cold in the internal organs. I use a universal option – a folding caremat. When folded, it acts as a sleeper, and when unfolded, it acts as a sleeping pad.


It is advisable to take dishes that can be used for both cooking (heating) and eating – this will save space in the backpack and reduce its weight. It can even be one large metal mug – and brew soup and then drink instant coffee or tea.


Now there is a large selection of means of heating and reheating food and water. Gas burners, on solid or liquid fuel. It doesn’t matter what you take, the main thing is to get a fire and cook food or boil water as conveniently as possible. The main thing is to take into account the size of the dishes you plan to take with you, the number of people and the area you will be in – will there be access to dry firewood or is it better to take a couple of cylinders for the gas burner.

Knife and tools

Regarding the knife. You don’t need a big knife like Rambo. A small, high-quality knife, even a complex one, is enough to shave a stick, cut bread or meat. Most likely, you won’t need a multitool if you’re not on a bike. This is excess weight. Although if space allows in a pocket or backpack, as they say, it will fit just in case. It is better to take either a machete or an ax (to chop firewood). And in general, in my opinion, it is better to take such a pair – a universal shovel (there is a shovel and an ax and a knife and a saw and many other useful things) and a folding knife. The main thing is to choose quality ones.

Food and water

Collect water at a minimum rate of 1/3 gallon per day per person. Use water only for consumption. You can wash yourself with wet wipes (it would be nice to throw a pack in your backpack). It is better to wear it in plastic bottles, but it is not essential. The main thing is that you bring it to the destination. From food, you should take light and high-calorie products – dried fruits, nuts, chocolate bars, freeze-dried tourist food or army dry rations (MRE). The main thing is that it is quick and easy to cook, or not to cook at all :).

Clothes and shoes. Choose depending on weather conditions and season. It is better to choose multi-layered clothes that can be easily removed if it gets very hot and vice versa. Always find a place for a raincoat. If you don’t even use it as intended, you can cover yourself from the wind or as an additional warming element.

Flashlight. Even if you do not plan to spend the night or walk at dusk, a flashlight should always be within reach. But at least to shine a light in the hollow of a tree – it’s interesting.

First aid kit

Of course, you don’t need to carry a whole pharmacy with you. But at least you need to treat it with an antiseptic and cover the cut or scratch with a plaster. You should also have with you anti-allergenic drugs, painkillers and medicines that you periodically take. I would also recommend taking a tourniquet and hanging it on the backpack strap. I generally don’t go out without a tourniquet.

Map and compass

Of course, from modern times we don’t need them as technologies. You can open a Google map on your smartphone and all problems with location and route are solved. But it is better to have a map and a compass in your backpack, maybe somewhere at the very bottom. They weigh nothing, and they will be able to help out in a very timely manner, when the charge of the phone and power bank is low.


These items are the bare minimum needed for a hike, but it’s also important to bring personal medication, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a fully charged phone. Remember that you must be prepared for any situation that may arise in the wild.

In closing, here are some additional tips that may help you during your hike:

  • Check all your gear before you go out and make sure you have everything you need.
  • Do not forget about safety rules, for example, do not get too close to the fragile edges of rivers and canyons.
  • Leave no trace behind – take all garbage and leftover food with you or burn and bury.
  • Let someone know where you’re going and what your plans are so they can help you if needed.

Remember that hiking is always an experiment, and you should be prepared for any unexpected situations. Follow safety rules, pay attention to details and enjoy your time in nature.

Download the memo

Below you can download a note for arranging things so that you don’t forget something.

View or download the memo in pdf format