the gear you need to dial a day hike
posted: June 16, 2014
We like zip-off pants and Tilley hats as much as the next guy, but what do you really need when you head out on a day hike? We asked our Brand Experience Specialist Jurgen—who has spent more than a little time in the mountains hiking them, skiing them, biking them, even fighting fires in them—to break down the necessities.
Do you always pack layers?
Always! You never know what weather you are going to hit during the day—especially in the mountains where it can change in minutes. I always wear a base layer like loose-fitting shorts (our Core Short works nicely) and a Metal Vent top that’s lightweight, breathable and funk-resistant. (I don’t wear cotton because it holds moisture.) As a second, warmer layer I bring a lighter weight half-zip pullover. In my pack—make sure it’s a comfortable one, like the Cruiser—I always have a lightweight shell that is packable and small. I also throw in a light beanie or hat.
What kind of food do you bring?
If it’s a short hike I’ll pack some quick energy like Shot blocks or a Clif Bar. These give you a good number of quick calories, are light to pack, and are easy to consume on the move. On a longer hike (two or more hours) I usually pack a combo of trail mix, some jerky, good dark chocolate, etc. Protein-based snacks keep you full and give you energy over a longer period of time. I stay away from energy gels unless I’m running.
How much water?
Depends on how long I’m out and how hot it is. I usually pack a couple litres of water when I hike since you never know how long you’ll be out there. Mid-summer I take down at least a litre an hour to stay hydrated in heat. If it’s a long hike I pack a hydration bladder in my pack. If I’m out for one to two hours I usually pack a Nalgene bottle or two.
What can’t you live without on a day hike?
My camera! Every time I forget it I see something awesome.
What are your ‘in case of emergency’ items?
You can’t always count on having cell service, so don’t feel like your phone is your life line. A map is a really good thing to have; a little trick if you don’t have one is to take a picture of any trailhead maps with your camera or phone. Also take extra food and a basic first aid kit. Always pack for an ‘in case’ scenario.
Are there any cool gadgets you love to have with you?
My Joby iPhone holder. It acts like a wicked tripod for your phone and is a game changer. Get the app, as well, for timer photos on your phone.
Any final tips?
If the days are shorter, throw in a headlamp. Sunscreen is a must in the summer. A pocket knife and spare socks are never a bad idea.