It’s no secret that hiking is our favorite activity! From National Forests, to state parks, to National Parks, to even within a city, we love seeing places by foot and getting off the beaten path when we can to get deeper into nature. In fact, one year we even completed the 52 Hike Challenge, where we hiked 52 hikes in one year!
We often get asked what is in our backpacks when we hike, so in this post we’re sharing everything we bring with us for day hikes, including the 10 essentials, clothing we wear, food we bring, some other fun outdoor items we own, and more!
Looking for our backpacking gear? We have our backpacking gear + packing list that shares the additional items we take for overnight trips.
Note: this guide contains affiliate links, which means that if you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We will only ever recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!
Our Hiking Gear
Here is everything we take with us hiking, with some explanations for some of the larger items below!
We each carry a different type of backpack and love both for different reasons. Adam carries a REI Co-op Trail 40 Pack, which is great for hiking and everyday use. It is huge and can fit so many things, as well as a water bladder, which is useful both on the trail and in cities.
I carry a WANDRD PRVKE 31L Backpack, which fits multiple laptops, multiple cameras, chargers, personal items, and more! It has a hidden passport pocket and opens from the back, making it safer from pickpockets.
Kathryn rocks Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX on the trails and she LOVES them! Adam wears the ALTRA Superior 5 Trail Running Shoe, which is a trail running shoe, so they are less bulky than boots, but still great for the trail.
We always carry at least one CamelBak Crux 100 oz Hydration Pack Reservoir. It carries almost 3 liters of water and is super easy to drink from while on the move.
If we need to refill the CamelBak on our trip we use a Sawyer water filtration kit and they have worked great over the years!
The Garmin InReach Mini is a satellite device that allows you to send messages to your loved ones when out hiking, gives you the ability to send your location, and has a SOS in case of emergencies. It does require a monthly subscription, but it can be as low as around $10/month.
The Kahtoola MICROspikes are AMAZING and the best investment we have made for hiking. They have made hiking in icy and snowy conditions so easy! We can basically run on ice without falling.
We’ve been using these headlamps for awhile now and they are bright, comfortable, and great for hikes before sunrise or after sunset.
Bear spray is a must have item when hiking or camping in areas where bears are present. Thankfully we have yet to need it!
Kathryn got me these Bushnell H20 Roof Prism binoculars for my birthday in 2021 and I love them! They are so fun to use on our hikes, backpacking trips, or just pulling over on the side of the road to spot wildlife!
We always make sure we have the 10 essentials on our backpacking trips, such as emergency shelter and a first aid kit. Check out our How to Make Your Own 10 Essentials Kit post to learn more about the 10 essentials and to make your own kit for hiking.
Hiking Clothing + Shoes
Here are the clothing items we wear on our outdoor adventures. We try to stick to higher quality products, which may be more expensive, but tend to last longer. We are big fans of Lululemon, PrAna, Vuori, Patagonia, and REI!
We recommend always bringing layers when backpacking, especially in the mountains, as the temperatures can vary, as well as rain jackets in case it rains!
Food we take hiking
Here are some of the food items that we love and bring with us on most of our backpacking adventures!
Our Outdoor Gear
Here’s some fun things we use when we’re not hiking!
We have actually had two of these kayaks. It turns out if you don’t try to paddle through oyster beds they work just fine! We’ve only been able to use it a handful of times, but it is comfortable to ride in and so much fun to paddle around in.