What’s In My Pack: Day Hiking

Longtime reader Sarah asked me quite awhile ago to do a “What’s in Your Pack?” post. I sort of hemmed and hawed about doing one because of a couple reasons. The first is that what I carry varies widely based on what adventure is on tap. The second is that I’m not totally sure that I’m the right example to follow—what you carry depends on your experience, your fitness level, how remote an area you’re traveling in, and so much more.

This weekend, I headed out to the Kanab, Utah area with Josh, Ofa, Prajit and my friend Kelly for some exploring in the desert. Daytime temperatures were pleasant but it was chilly in the mornings. We didn’t hike anything longer than 5 miles and Sprocket was along for all the hikes so dog needs are accounted for.

Day Hiking “What’s In My Pack?”:


My go-to hiking pack is my Teton Sports Summit 1500 and it is almost always loaded with everything I need for a day hike aside from food and water.

In the pack:

  1. Lighter: nothing fancy. I prefer the clear Bic types so I can see how much fuel is in it).
  2. Swiss Army knife: I actually bought mine in Switzerland on a trip with two of my oldest friends. Mine is either the “Spartan” or something really close to it.
  3. Toilet paper: I make a small flat-ish roll of TP and store it in a Ziploc. The bag protects it from moisture but also gives me a way to pack out the paper if it becomes necessary.
  4. Baby wipes: I don’t go anywhere without baby wipes. There’s a package in the Jeep, a package in the house, and a package in my pack. Currently, the one in my pack is Wet Ones, which I don’t really like since I try to avoid anti-microbial stuff but I have trouble finding small (12-ish count) packages of other wipes. If I’m hiking a lot, and actually using them, I sometime just put some from a larger package in a ziploc.
  5. Map: I don’t absolutely always carry a map. Fortunately, I’m a total map geek and usually bring one along so I can marvel at things I see and be able to name them.
  6. Dog water dish: I have a collapsible dog dish that just stays in my pack. I have a small carabiner (a non-climbing one like you’d pick up at the hardware store or as a giveaway) that I use to clip it to the outside of my pack once it’s wet so stuff inside stays dry.
  7. Nalgene (between 2-3L): Some people are fans of bladder systems when they’re hiking but I’m a a huge fan of Nalgenes. Mine are, yes, covered in stickers and mountain dings–sorry, not sorry that I’m so cool.
  8. Food: I hate being hungry.
  9. Extra snacks: There’s always a couple of bars in my pack that aren’t actually intended to be eaten during the hike. They’re there in case I wind up hiking longer than I intended, as emergency food, or to stave off being hangry.
  10. Extra layers: I hate being cold. I hiked wearing a base layer, light jacket, and a vest and carried a fleece and my Turbo Down with me just in case.
  11. First Aid Kit: My first aid kit is pretty bare bones. I’d actually like to beef this up a little bit this year. Right now, I carry Bandaids, triple antibiotic ointment (I use the generic stuff so I can keep a little bit in a lot of places for the same price), some athletic tape, a few 3×3 bandages, and some heavy duty pain meds.
  12. Camera: My camera equipment varies from just my iPhone to having the iPhone + GoPro + DSLR + tripod. It really depends on the hike and how ambitious I’m feeling about recording the adventure.

One of my goals for 2015 is to work on packing lists for car camping, day hiking, and backpacking trips so as I work up first drafts and think of updates, I’ll be sure to keep updating you all!

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