Tim’s Day Hiking Checklist

Gear list

The following list is gear I take on my day hikes. The term ‘day hike’ is not really that descriptive. A day hike is usually a hike that can be completed in a day and implies that the hike isn’t very long which is not always the case.

The equipment I carry is tailored for each hike based on a number of deciding factors including the length and 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 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 choosing:

  • The lightest most compact gear where possible (but not always)
  • Equipment that is comfortable
  • Equipment that meets my needs
  • Equipment that is readily available and where possible, allows me to support Australian manufacturers and retailers

I have included some brief reasons for choosing each piece of equipment and a link to a full 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 kit.

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

Tim’s Day Hiking Gear Checklist (PDF version) – list last updated 12 November 2023

Pack System

Pack: Osprey Talon Pro 20 Pack

Why I chose this pack:

  • A compact full featured pack just in a smaller version
  • Comfortable and compact
  • The size suits just about every day hike I do


Hydration Bladder: Osprey Hydraulics 2.5 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 2.5 litre bladder but on days when its hot, the walk is long, 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 5

Why I chose this:

  • They fit my wide-ish feet very well
  • I can easily get around 700 km wear out of a single pair
  • Good cushioning and comfort on my joints
  • Great grip in a range of weather conditions
  • Excellent all-round foot protection

Socks: Smartwool Run Targeted Cushion Mid Crew Men’s Socks

Why I chose this:

  • Targeted cushioning that also provides plenty of breathability
  • Firm fit that doesn’t move around even when wet
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Easy to source and good price

Layering System

Pants: Kuhl Radikl Men’s Pants

Why I chose this:

  • Durable
  • They stretch when/where needed
  • I love the leg ‘pouches’ for all my bits and pieces
  • Super comfortable
  • 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, and all the time in summer
  • This lightweight Australian 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 hike but I will always carry one just in case

Miscellaneous Equipment

Sunglasses: Liive The Edge Sunglasses

Why I chose this:

  • They fit wider faces well
  • Great sunglasses and the purchase price won’t break the bank

Trekking Poles: Leki Cross Trail FX Superlite Poles

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, very lightweight and fold down to almost nothing for 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: REAVEE Tube Case 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 12 mini

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
  • The battery life on this phone lasts longer than my old iPhone 8

Phone Case: iPhone 12 mini 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:

  • You may only be going on a short hike but you never know when you will need toilet paper
  • 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 50 ml

Why I chose this:

  • The biggest cause of digestive distress on hikes is 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 a dedicated dry bag that is obvious and easy to find in an emergency

Storage Pack: Sea to Summit First Aid Dry Sack 1 litre  (holds first aid and toiletry supplies)

Why I chose this:

  • The small size is lightweight and reasonably waterproof
  • Easy to identify in an emergency

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
  • These are not cheap by any means but most of the cheap tweezers are cheap in construction and 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
  • I carry this bandage in a ziplock bag to minimise its size

Crepe bandage X 1

Why I chose this:

  • Another part of my first aid kit
  • It is suitable for positioning a dressing, stemming bleeding and/or 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.

Pack: Osprey Talon 33 Pack

Why I chose this pack:

  • If the weather conditions dictate and I am carrying just about everything I up the size of my pack
  • This one is 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

Emergency Beacon / GPS: Garmin GPSMAP 66i Handheld Hiking GPS & Satellite Communicator

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 for hikes in more reomote areas

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: 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

Gaiters: Sea to Summit Quagmire Gaiters

Why I chose this:

  • I usually don’t worry about wearing heavy gaiters on most of my hikes 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 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 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 keep me warm that will also cope with 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 seven years through some very heavy rain storms

Rain Pants: Marmot Eco Precip Rain Pants

Why I chose this:

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Good length
  • Leg zips

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: Macpac Merino Liner 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

Gloves: Outdoor Research Active Ice Spectrum Sun Gloves

Why I chose this:

  • Sunburn during summertime can be a real issue for your hands and I wear these fingerless gloves during the hotter months

Camera: Sony ZV1 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
  • A great choice for bloggers

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

Storage Pack: Sea to Summit First Aid Dry Sack 3 litre  (holds first aid and toiletry supplies)

Why I chose this:

  • If I’m doing a big day hike in remote areas then I’ll up what I carry in the first aid department
  • This sack size is also what I carry for my multi-day hikes
  • Lightweight and reasonably waterproof
  • Easy to identify in an emergency

PDF Version of my current day hiking gear list

The following link is a downloadable version of my 2023 day hiking gear list. I update this list on an annual basis (last updated 12 November 2023)

Tim’s Day Hiking Gear Checklist PDF

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