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9 Essential Hiking Items (Don’t leave home without them)

by | Dec 3, 2016 | Hiking Tips | 0 comments

These 9 essential hiking items will help prepare you for the potential hazards that you can experience on the trail.  They are all lightweight and take up minimal space.  Items are either critical or have a level of flexibility which makes them essential hiking items.

If I could only take 9 items with me, they would be these:

9 Essential Hiking Items

Compass and Map

Without these you are wandering around blindly.  They are crucial to staying on track and allow self rescue if you do wander off trail.  Another crucial aspect of the map is being able to identify your own position.  If you require assistance and you can contact the rescue team, they will require your location.  Having a map will allow you to find your location and hence provide a six figure grid reference.

What we use:


Three to five days is how long the average human can survive without water.  If you get stranded you may be there for a few days and you do not want to add a lack of potable water to your problems.

Water is one of the heaviest items in your pack.  Having the ability to sterilise water on the trail allows you to carry less water and as a result drastically cut the weight of your pack.

You should always have a back up plan, so take some purification tablets with you as well.

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While not essential for one specific task, a knife is exceptionally flexible.  There are numerous areas in which they shine during a hike or survival situation.

Firstly, they make a great addition to any first aid kit. Knifes can be used to cut away clothes to quickly access wounds or for fashioning bandages.

A good knife can also go a long way in food preparation and eating, can help out in any repair work and is handy when dealing with ropes.

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If you’re undertaking a multi-day hike, you’ll need fire to cook and to toast marshmallows.  If your day hike suddenly turns into a survival situation, fire can provide warmth, repel animals, purify water and provide a mental boost.

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First Aid Kit

Minor injuries such as scrapes, blister or cuts are quite a regular occurrence on the trail.  When these are not treated they can escalate causing further pain or infection.

Something as simple as some extra moleskin or an ankle strap can be the difference between a great hike or a long term injury.

What we use:

Sun Protection

There is nothing better than hiking with the sun at your back.  However, the dangers of the sun are very real, ranging from dehydration to skin cancer.  These dangers can be easily sidestepped with just a few lightweight and cheap pieces of kit.

Buy yourself an adventure hat.  To be a proper adventure hat it must do two things: block the sun (with a wide brim) and look ridiculous.  Carry sunscreen to prevent any sunburn.  A buff can also be a really adaptable piece of sun protection.

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Living in the UK this is essential.  Waterproofs go a long way to ensuring you still enjoy hiking in the rain and at the opposite end of the scale can save you from hypothermia.

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Unless you are using that knife for hunting or the rope for traps, you are going to need to take food with you.  It is always a good idea to pack an extra day’s worth of food just incase you get stranded for an extra day.  Freeze dried food is both simple and lightweight making a great emergency food choice.

Rescue kit

Your rescue kit is made up of a flashlight, head torch or a whistle.  These are crucial in order to attract attention in a rescue situation therefore maximising your chance of rescue.  A lot of dedicated hiking torches do have a built in SOS setting.  Torches are also exceptionally useful around camp at night.

Your mobile phone would also fall into this section, allowing you to call for help.

What we use:

These are our 9 essential hiking items, what other items would you pack?  Leave us a comment.

Disclosure: Drive and Hike (TS & EJ Hammond) are part of the Amazon Associates Affiliate program. Some of the above links are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase a product based on our suggestion we will receive a commission.  This is at no extra cost to you.
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About The Author

Strategy consultant by week, explorer by weekend. His first ever hike was a 9 day thru-hike at Torres del Paine and it was love at first hike. He now sleeps better in a tent than a bed. He would rather drive for 2 hours down a country lane than sit for 2 minutes in traffic. He has been known to lead driving safaris in areas without wildlife with a Justin Bieber soundtrack.

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