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.
Our Hiking Gear
Here is everything we take with us hiking, with some explanations for some of the larger items below!
We both carry a REI Co-op Trail 40 Pack (they have mens and womens styles), 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. We took it to the Florida Keys for a week, as well as Vietnam for 6 weeks and were able to fit almost all of our items (plus camera gear!) in this bag.
I (Kathryn) used to carry a WANDRD PRVKE 31L Backpack, which fits multiple laptops, multiple cameras, chargers, personal items, and more! It also has a hidden passport pocket and opens from the back, making it safer from pickpockets. I did really like it, but it wasn’t the best for hiking, so I switched to the REI pack listed above!
Kathryn rocks Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX on the trails and she LOVES them! Adam wears the ALTRA Lone Peak 6 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! We have also recently purchased a Katadyn BeFree 1L water filter water bottle to have an additional water filter option and to be able to carry less water on hikes with many water sources that we can filter from!
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!
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 hiking and backpacking adventures!
Our Outdoor Gear
Here are some fun, outdoor focused items that we use for activities besides hiking!
After renting many kayaks, we decided to get one of our own. However, living in a van, having a traditional kayak was tricky, so we got this inflatable kayak.
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.
We use the Remote Designs 20L roll top bag and for our dry bag and it works great!
We each got a pair of these snowshoes so we can avoid spending money on rentals in the future. We like that they have a rubber strap in the back and a softer strap for the top of our feet vs. all plastic, like many snowshoes. They were also a good price for the quality!
Adam loves his Bushnell H2O Roof Prism Binoculars! They came in handy big time while in Alaska. We were able to see much more wildlife!
While not really outdoor gear, these adjustable dumbbells help us stay active wherever we are!