Making a list of the gear you need is the surest way to avoid being caught on trail or at the camp site, suddenly noticing that you’ve left an essential piece of equipment behind.
Most hikers will generally agree that the following items are outdoor hiking supplies that they could not be without.
Hiking boots/shoes – Make sure that you have a dedicated pair of footwear which are only used for hiking. Hiking boots generally offer more protection and durability, but hiking or trail running shoes offer more flexibility and will often dry quicker than a pair of heavy boots. Some hikers have even gone the rout of hiking sandals, depending on the terrain they’ll be crossing, which allow for maximum ventilation and comfort.
Backpack – When it comes to backpacks, there are two main factors you should take into account. The first is size. You want to make sure that your pack is large enough to carry the gear you’ve decided to take with you. The second consideration is the most important: comfort. Your pack must be fit properly to you and be comfortable, or you will regret ever filling it up and slinging it on your back when you hit the trail.
Clothing – Make sure that you carry as little clothing as possible, and the lightest clothing possible, that will still allow you to remain comfortable and maintain a safe body temperature depending on the weather and the climate of your hiking location.
First aid kit – A first aid kit is one of those outdoor hiking supplies that I consider necessary. Make sure that you carry the minimum of bandaids, blister covers, Neosporin, medical tape, painkillers, and bug spray. These are what I take with me.
Compass – Most hikers enjoy having a compass with them because if you know how to read a map and have a compass, then you gain the ability to always have a pretty good idea of where you are and where you are going.
Flashlight – A simple piece of gear that can make all the difference. Remember that while camping it is absolutely dark at night. A flashlight makes all of those nighttime tasks that much easier. And it’s quite enjoyable to read a book to the sound of the great outdoors before going to sleep.
Food – There is a great deal of “hiker food” available to buy online and in your local sporting goods store, but any food that you are willing to carry which is high in fat and protein will keep you going.
Swiss army knife/multi tool – The best reason to carry one of these is because you never really know when you’re going to need one. With a multi tool you can cut cordage, open cans, and even clip off bits of bandaid so that they fit around your aching blistered toes.
Rope/cordage – Bring some of this along to make sure that you can always properly guy out your tent or shelter. Also you can use cordage to hang wet things on your pack, hang your food at night, and even make small repairs to your gear.
Camera – Lastly, a small camera can make the difference between a great experience and a great experience that you can relive for years to come. I find that a small disposable camera works best because you break or lose it, you’re only out a few dollars. But the satisfaction of having those memories on film, for me makes it worth it to carry one along every time.
So that’s it. There are many other outdoor hiking supplies that a person might bring on trail, but just remember that the most common mistake made by so many beginner hikers is bringing too much stuff. Stay light, and enjoy the outdoors!