Tim’s Day Hiking Checklist 2020

Gear list 2020

The following list is the gear I currently take on my day hikes. The term ‘day hike’ is not really that descriptive and only really says that the hike you are doing can be completed in a day. However over the past six years my day hikes have ranged from as short as 500 metres to as long at 58 km. As such, the equipment I carry is tailored for each hike based on a number of deciding factors including the length/duration of the hike, the terrain, the weather and my personal choices.

Much of the gear I take with me is drawn from my Multiday Hiking Gear Checklist 2019. However, there are some pieces of equipment such as my pack that only get used when doing day hikes.

In compiling this list I focused on gear that is readily available on the Australian market. I have included some brief reasons for choosing each piece of equipment and a link to a written review where available that provides much more detail. I use the term ‘system’ for most of the item headings as the products often combine to work together.

Please note that this list is based on my particular needs and circumstances. The items on the list may or may not suit your personal needs however I hope it will provide you with a basis for developing your own day hiking gear kit.

PDF Version of my current day hiking gear list

The following link is a downloadable version of my 2020 day hiking gear list. I do a full update of this list on an annual basis.

Tim’s Day Hiking Gear Checklist 2020

List last updated 1 March 2020

Pack System

Pack: Osprey Talon 33 Pack

Why I chose this pack:

  • A full featured pack with everything my long distance pack has just in a smaller version
  • Narrow profile that stays out of the way of my arms when I walk


Hydration Bladder: Osprey Hydraulics 3 Litre Bladder

Why I chose this bladder:

  • When I use a bladder I drink more water than I would when using a bottle
  • I may not always fill up a 3 litre bladder but on days where I walk 20-40+ km, when its hot, or when I know water may be hard to find, I definitely use this amount of water and often much more
  • I use this particular bladder mainly due to the magnetic chest clip that keeps the drinking nozzle in place which makes it easy to access


Footwear: Altra Olympus 3.5 Mens Shoes

Why I chose this:

  • They fit my widish feet very well
  • I can get around 900 km wear out of a single pair
  • Supreme cushioning and comfort on my joints
  • Great grip in a range of weather conditions

Socks: Wilderness Wear Merino Multi Sport 3.0 Sock

Why I chose this:

  • Just the right level of cushioning and warmth
  • Firm fit that doesn’t move around even when wet
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Easy to source and good price

Gaiters: Altra Trail Gaiters

Why I chose this:

  • Unless I’m worried about snakes, I use a lightweight lycra gaiter to keep debris out of my shoes as well as providing a bit of tick proofing
  • These gaiters are easy to purchase online in a range of sizes

Layering System

Pants: Kuhl Radikl Men’s Pants

Why I chose this:

  • Very durable
  • They stretch when/where needed
  • I love the leg ‘pouches’
  • Super comfort
  • They come in longer leg lengths for taller people

Lightweight Long Sleeved Top: Wilderness Wear Cumulo Merino Long Sleeved Tee Top

Why I chose this:

  • These days, I wear long sleeved tops on all hikes longer than a few hours
  • This lightweight merino top is well made, soft and comfortable
  • It has extra length in the torso which is great for tall people

Buff: Buff Original

Why I chose this:

  • I always carry at least one buff on every trip
  • Buffs are so versatile performing many functions not least of which is keeping my bald head out of the elements

Hat: Sunday Afternoons Sun Guide Cap

Why I chose this:

  • My hat choice for most of the year and for when I know it is going to be wet
  • The rear sun cape is longer than most similar caps on the market providing protection from sunburn on the neck

Foldback Clip 19mm

Why I chose this:

  • One of the ‘hacks’ in my hiking kit that is now firmly entrenched
  • This clip holds my rain jacket hood to my hat when it is raining and windy
  • It also creates a porch that keeps most water away from my face
  • It’s well worth the few extra grams of weight

Safety/Navigation Equipment

Compass: Suunto A-30 Compass

Why I chose this:

  • A simple no nonsense compass that performs all the basics. Its easy to think you won’t need a compass on a day hilke but I will always carry one just in case

Miscellaneous Equipment

Sunglasses: Maui Jim ‘Sand’ Sunglasses

Why I chose this:

  • They fit my face extremely well and with the curve in the lenses there is no discernible gap to let in unwanted light
  • I tend to update my sunglasses every few years and have been very happy with this pair but unfortunately this model of sunglasses is now out of production

Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles 130cm

Why I chose this:

  • My knees hate going down steep hills so I have been a pole user for a number of years
  • On flat or uphill ground I find they increase my speed
  • These poles are very lightweight and fold down to almost nothing when travelling

Knife: Deejo Tattoo Naked Topography Knife

Why I chose this knife:

  • I mainly use a knife to cut cheese and other food
  • I have been known to occasionally use it to whittle (to create tinder or even a pair chop sticks when I couldn’t find my spoon)
  • This extremely lightweight knife is a joy to use as well as being a work of art

Reading Glasses: SOOLALA Lightweight Compact Reading Glasses

Why I chose this glasses:

  • Not much choice here as I struggle to read with any accuracy without glasses
  • I opt for a cheap pair in a small protective case on my hikes and leave my expensive pair at home. I’m lucky I can do this but its not an option for everyone

Phone: iPhone 8

Why I chose this:

  • Personal preference here I know but I’m an Apple guy across all my tech
  • It’s easy to use and relatively secure

Phone Case: Mophie Battery Case

Why I chose this:

  • Due to the amount of social media / blogging I do, a phone case that is also a battery makes sense
  • With this case I get 2.5-3 days of phone life which also reduces the size of the power bank I need to carry
  • And it provides extra protection for my phone when I’m out bush


Toilet Trowel: GSI Cathole Trowel

Why I chose this:

  • ‘When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go’
  • This lightweight trowel will dig through hard rocky soil better than lighter metal options
  • Always bury your waste!

Toilet paper: 10 sheets per day

Why I chose this:

  • I never rely of toilet paper being provided
  • You may need it away from provided facilities, or if the on-trail facilities have run out
  • My daily supply goes into a ziplock bag so it remains dry

Hand Sanitiser: Hand Sanitiser 60 ml

Why I chose this:

  • The biggest cause of digestive distress on hikes is due to poor sanitation
  • You wash your hands with soap and water at home, and you should clean your hands on a hike as well
  • Hand sanitiser is a convenient option for hiking

First Aid Equipment

In over 40 years of hiking I have never had a serious accident or needed to treat one.  In most cases what I am dealing with are blisters, splinters or ticks.  Having said that, I still carry basic first aid equipment just in case. My first aid supplies go into the same packing cell as my toiletry gear.

Storage Pack: Exped Zip Pack-Small  (holds first aid and toiletry supplies)

Why I chose this:

  • The small size is lightweight and reasonably waterproof

Splinter Pick

Why I chose this:

  • Sometimes you get splinters so I will always carry a decent splinter pick


Why I chose this:

  • Can be used for splinters as well as removing ticks
  • Don’t stint on the quality here as most cheap tweezers just won’t pick out the small stuff as they don’t have the stiffness and/or fineness at the tip

Compression bandage X 2

Why I chose this:

  • For immobilising limbs in the case of snake bite or physical injury

Triangular bandage X 1

Why I chose this:

  • Just in case!
  • I have never had to use this in real life but it’s a versatile piece of safety gear

Crepe bandage X 1

Why I chose this:

  • Another part of my first aid kit
  • It is suitable for use to position a dressing, stemming bleeding and providing light compression

Safety Pins X 5

Why I chose this:

  • Always handy to have and not just for first aid use
  • Ever split your pants or broken a strap?

Pain Killers: Nurofen X 6

Why I chose this:

  • The only time I use Nurofen is when I’m hiking
  • In addition to dealing with the rare headache it also aids with inflammation that can arise from doing extra long days
  • I don’t use Nurofen that often and only when absolutely necessary

Band-Aids: Miscellaneous waterproof X 15

Why I chose this:

  • I use Band-Aids on nearly every extended trip, mainly for my toes at the start of the trip while the skin is hardening up

Swap Outs

I carry most of the equipment listed above on all my day hikes, year round, but there are some pieces I change over (swap out) depending on the weather, physical conditions of the hike, or the numbers of hikers. The following equipment is what I carry as the conditions dictate.

Emergency Beacon / GPS: Garmin InReach Explorer+

Why I chose this device:

  • This bit of technology has taken pride of place in my hiking kit for so many reasons and has now replaced my Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and GPS
  • The two way communication option is a huge bonus on remote solo trips providing my family with the ability to track how I’m going in real-time and to communicate with me even when there is no phone signal
  • Not something the occasional hiker is likely to buy but if you are going into remote areas, this is well worth the expense
  • If your budget doesn’t stretch this far then look at buying a Personal Locator Beacon

Cold Weather Buff: Buff Merino Wool

Why I chose this:

  • If conditions are going to be cold I will carry a wool buff as well as my lighter weight version to keep my follicle-ly challenged head warm

Insect protection: Sea to Summit Head Net

Why I chose this:

  • Sometimes the flies just drive you mad. This net keeps them off your head and out of your mouth!

Lip Balm

Why I chose this:

  • For those conditions where cracked or sunburnt lips are a potential issue

Gaiters: Sea to Summit Quagmire Gaiters

Why I chose this:

  • I usually don’t worry about wearing heavy gaiters but when I’m going into an area where i expect to encounter snakes, I up the leg protection with a serious gaiter

Summertime Hat: Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat

Why I chose this:

  • My hat of choice for hot dry weather where sun protection is critical
  • Use the chin strap and this hat is windproof
  • I love this hat!

Water Bottle: Eddy+ Water Bottle

Why I chose this:

  • I will sometimes use a water bottle on shorter walks rather than using a water bladder. The Camelbak Eddy water bottle is easy to use and you don’t have to lift your head to drink

Water filter: Katadyn BeFree 600ml Filter Bottle

Why I chose this filter bottle:

  • I prefer to filter my water and this filter bottle is fast and easy to use
  • It’s lightweight
  • It can act as an additional small water bottle
  • I will only carry this on long days when I’m likely to run out of the water in my bladder and need to top up as I go

Spoon: GSI Essential Long Handled Spoon

Why I chose this spoon:

  • I’m a big fan of long handled spoons as I find short handled implements to be messy and uncomfortable to use with my large hands
  • The rubberised head on this spoon is so comfortable to eat with
  • I’ll only carry this when I’m eating a meal that requires a utensil

Midweight Long Sleeved Top: Wilderness Wear MerinoFusion 190 Long Sleeved Zip Top

Why I chose this:

  • This is the second layer I wear when I’m washing my outer clothes or when it gets really cold
  • Like the lighter weight versions, this top is soft and comfortable to wear

Puffer Jacket: The North Face Men’s ThermoBall Hoodie

Why I chose this:

  • I wanted a synthetic jacket to cope with expected wet conditions over a long period
  • This one fits me really well
  • The hood on this jacket was new for me and something I have come to love

Rain Jacket: Marmot PreCip Nano Jacket

Why I chose this:

  • This is a bulletproof jacket that has kept me dry for the last three years through some very heavy rain storms

Rain Pants: Rainbird STOWaway Unisex Waterproof Overpants

Why I chose this:

  • My main reason for using these rain pants is that the leg zips are nice and long which means I don’t have to take my footwear off to put on rain pants

Pack Liner: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover 30-50 Litre Pack Cover (small)

Why I chose this pack cover:

  • Provides protection for gear inside the pack

Gloves: Icebreaker Unisex Quantum Gloves

Why I chose this:

  • I usually avoid heavy gloves unless it is absolutely necessary so I find these lightweight merino gloves work well to keep me warm and still provide the ability to feel
  • I only carry gloves when the temperature is expected to be less than 0° Celcius

Camera: Sony RX100 Compact Camera

Why I chose this camera:

  • Provides better images than my Smart phone
  • This compact camera fits in my pants pocket making it easy to get at
  • The 1″ sensor provides high quality images for a non SLR camera

Memory Cards: SanDisk Extreme Pro 16GB Memory Cards

Why I chose this:

  • I use memory cards for both my digital voice recorder and my camera
  • I prefer 16GB cards rather than a single large card as they provide me with a degree of flexibility
  • I also prefer to use high speed cards which makes transferring sound/image files onto my computer much faster

PDF Version of my current day hiking gear list

The following link is a downloadable version of my 2020 day hiking gear list. I update this list on an annual basis (last updated 1 March 2020).

Tim’s Day Hiking Gear Checklist 2020

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