25 Best Hiking Gear Essentials 2022 — How to Prepare for a Day Hike

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Picture this: You’re about to head into the great outdoors for an epic hike. That’s a really good thing! After all, walking outside can do wonders for your body, helping to elevate your heart rate and even boosting your mood. But hold up, tiger — you better make sure you’re adequately prepared with the best hiking essentials before hitting the trails. And we don’t just mean ensuring your map is marked and your cardio is on point. We’re talking about stocking up on all the essential hiking gear you need to conquer the wild, including the best hiking backpacks, the best hiking shoes, and more.

Even if you are a beginner at hiking, you’ve got to look the part. But more important than merely looking like you belong in the wilderness, you need to get the right technical gear for facing the elements. And that means stocking up on the best hiking gear for men so you can be ready for whatever the trail throws at you. In the hiking essentials list below, we cover the top items you need from top-rated brands like The North Face, Osprey, Mountain Hardwear, and more. There’s a hell of a lot of hiking gear on the market, so use this list to help you navigate it all.

Whether you’re heading out on a simple day hike or a three-day hiking adventure (might as well go all in, right?), Peep these 25 hiking essentials for beginners — or, really, anyone who likes to experience the outdoors. The wild is calling. Now, let’s get outside.

Read More: Best Camping Essentials

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Even if you’re taking a quick trip out for some fresh air, you can never be too safe. This medical kit includes everything from bandages and alcohol wipes to tweezers, safety pins, and ibuprofen. There’s even a guide to help you navigate wilderness first-aid practices.

Stow Collapsible Water Bottle

One cannot emphasize enough how important it is to stay hydrated on the trail. This water bottle is perfect for when you don’t want to carry a heavy pack. It holds up to 500 ml of liquid, and it has a flexible design so that you can pack it anywhere. It’s essential on any hiking gear list.

Read More: Best Water Bottles

Just in case you or any others in your hiking group run out of water, this personal filter — which has a near-perfect rating from over 91,100 reviews — will be a lifesaver. All you have to do is sip straight through it while it removes 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria.

Nut Butter, Vanilla Almond Butter

Nobody wants to get the hangries — especially when they’re dealing with the elements outside. Keep your energy up with these salmon butter packs, which will easily fit inside your backpack or fanny pack and give you a boost of protein whenever you need it.

Original Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 30

The most important thing to reapply on long days outside is your SPF. This stick from Sun Bum makes that process easy. Plus, it’s extremely moisturizing to refresh your skin during a long day on the trail.

Read More: Best Sunscreen for Men

Insect Repellent Pump Spray

It’s an essential easy to forget — and you’ll regret it if you do. This portable bug spray repellant will keep the ‘skeeters and other bugs away, so you can enjoy the great outdoors without having to itch every five minutes.

Rechargeable Bolder Flashlight

You don’t want to be lost in the dark in the middle of nowhere, so be sure to add a rechargeable flashlight to your hiking checklist. This one will last up to 20 hours and can take a beating from the elements.

For a hands-free light source, opt for a durable headlamp. This 60-hour pick will make things like navigating in the dark or cooking dinner a breeze. Just be sure to keep a spare set of AAA batteries on hand.

Read More: Best Headlamps

Fast and Free Short Sleeve Shirt

Cotton T-shirts might be comfortable, but when you’re hiking, you’re going to need something a little more durable and specialized — otherwise, you’ll be soaked in your own sweat all day, and that’s no fun. Thankfully, you can always count on Lululemon to create shirts that’ll get through any sweat. This one in particular is made with quick-drying fabric, so you’ll stay cool throughout the entire hike.

Read More: Best Moisture-Wicking Shirts for Men

Dryzzle FUTURELIGHT Jacket

Even when you’re trying to keep your gear light, you still need to pack for the elements. Don’t be caught empty-handed in a downpour — pack this light, flexible men’s rain jacket to keep you dry, stretch for added mobility, and micropores for some breathability.

Read More: Best Hiking Jackets for Men

Unisex Coolnet UV + Linear Blocks

The Buff CoolNet is every pro hiker’s best-kept secret. You might not think you need it until you try it out. It’s a multipurpose headpiece with cooling technology that literally cools you down. It has UPF 50+ protection for long days in the sun. It can be worn as a face mask, headband, neck gaiter, and more.

Wearing any old gym shorts may not hold up on the trail, especially if you’re trekking through bushes and sitting on boulders to take a break every now and then. The Mountain Hardwear Basin Trek shorts are made to get down and dirty. They feature a strong, flexible fabric that won’t tear easily.

Read More: Best Shorts for Men

Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Sock

Darn Tough socks have a cult following for good reason. They combine a soft cushion into their footbed for optimum comfort. Plus, they are made with merino wool, which is sweat and odor-resistant. It’s a highly technical fabric many hikers seek to keep their feet cool.

Read More: Best Hiking Socks for Men

Ultra Adventure Storm Hat

A hat with 360-degree sun protection is the best type to wear on the trail. You don’t have to worry (too much) about your neck getting burned, or the majority of your face. Plus, this breathable style from Sunday Afternoons won’t weigh you down and it’s made with moisture-wicking properties for active performance.

Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Don’t wear out your favorite pair of Chucks in the wild. Opt for something that can take a beating and keep your jogging, like these excellent hiking boots from KEEN. They’re totally waterproof while remaining breathable, and the rubber outsole lets you adventure with total traction on the ground.

Read More: Best Hiking Boots for Men

Men’s Anacapa Low Gore-Tex

When you don’t want a full-on boot, a pair of hiking sneakers will suffice. This waterproof editor-tested-and-approved style features grippy soles to keep you going through tough terrains — and they’re seriously comfortable.

Perhaps you’re going on a river hike, or maybe you’re doing something more low-key compared to those 7+ mile trails. Either way, these tried-and-true hiking sandals will get you through any sort of summer excursion.

Read More: Best Sandals for Men

This must-have of our favorite hiking accessories features full-color topographical maps and a compass — so you know you’re never lost. It also does so much more, including tracking your burned calories and heart rate.

Read more: Best Outdoor Watches for Men

Phantom Ti Sports Performance Aviator Glasses

A quality pair of sunglasses is an essential part of any good hiker’s kit, whether it’s to protect from direct sun exposure in the summer or to prevent snow blindness in the winter. This pair offers UVA / UVB protection, and it features nose grips to stay put on your face, no matter how rigorous your activity is.

From a wayward thread to a wild bear, you never know when you’re going to need a good knife for your day hiking essentials. This one from The James Brand is lightweight but has a stainless steel blade that’s as sharp as hell.

Read More: Best Camping Knives

Some of the most important hiking essentials are for after nightfall. Zippo sets the gold standard for wind-proof lighters with their reliability and durability, helping you stay safe and warm when the sun goes down.

Your bulky leather wallet isn’t it when you’re hiking. Go for something a little more technical, like The Minimalist Wallet from Hyperlite. It’s super-slim and can withstand the elements to protect your goods.

Read More: Best Wallets for Men

Okay, this might not be an essential essential, but it is something that can make all the difference for your hike. Clip it onto the strap of your backpack to take your favorite tunes or podcast along for the ride. It also happens to be waterproof, which means you’ll be able to take it almost everywhere.

Read More: Best Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers

Hiking Backpacks and Bags

Heel 22 Men’s Hiking Backpack

You’re gonna need a lot of stuff (including the essentials) when you hit the trail — and need somewhere to hold it. This best-selling hiking backpack has a trekking pole attachment, hydration sleeve, two hip-belt pockets, and more than enough room to hold what you have.

Read More: Best Hiking Backpacks for Men

If you don’t want to carry a gigantic pack for a quick day hike, go for a lightweight waist pack that will store just the essentials. You can fit a small water bottle, some snacks, a wallet, and a few other necessities in this small-yet-mighty pack.

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