Hiking 101,

Hiking 101: Essentials for a day trek

23:31:00 Charles Wood 0 Comments

So you have decided to head to the mountains for your first trek? In all the excitement of the impending adventure, one can not underestimate mother nature. Hiking is not complicated, it is an activity that gives you a sense of freedom from your urban life by bringing you closer to the nature in motion. Hiking takes you away from your luxurious life, right into the wilderness of nature. While many would love this experience, one needs to be well prepared for their first hike.

Most of us have learnt packing for a day hike on a trial and error basis. One simply can't predict the nature and hence you need to be as prepared as possible to make sure that you have a smooth and a comfortable trek. Here's a list of 12 must have items in your day pack:


This is the most vital item on our list and why not?! One can not afford to make any error of judgement while deciding the amount of water to carry for a hike. One may or may not find potable water on the hiking trail. You are bound to feel thirsty when you combine the sun, humidity, elevation and the length of the trail. Carry a minimum of 4 litres of water for any hike. Water should easily make about 60% of your daypack's weight.

Comfortable Backpack

Most of us are accustomed to college or office bags which are pretty light on content as compared to a hiking bag. Since you're are going to put a considerable distance under your feet, a comfortable backpack is the second most important item on our list. Make sure you carry a backpack that is easy on your shoulder's. Backpacks with a hip/waist belt and sternum straps are a blessing for hikers. The waist belt takes a considerable amount of weight from your shoulders and distributes them onto your waist. It's a no brainer that the bag needs to be waterproof or offers at least some resistance against rains. You need a lightweight backpack for a day hike as most of your backpack contents will be food and water and probably an extra pair of clothes. I prefer using this the ones by Quechua and you can find them in Decathalon. Here's the one that I have used for many of my day treks:

Quechua 20 Ltr Trekking Backpack

First Aid Box

Important! This is not an option, it is a must. Carry a basic first aid box which includes common medicines, band-aids, bandages, antiseptic lotion, sanitizer, cotton etc. You never know when things go wrong on a trek and being stuck in an emergency without basic medical supplies is not a good idea. You don't need the cliched metal box with a plus sign on it to store your medical supplies. You can buy a first aid kit off the counter or just buy all the supplies independently and store them in a small waterproof pouch.


Whether you are hiking during monsoons, summers or the winters, you need to have a layer of sunscreen on your skin when you are outdoors. Even when it's not sunny outdoors, your skin needs constant protection from the UV rays. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you step out of your home and reapply the same at noon. Always use sunscreens with an SPF higher than 15. Make sure that your sunscreen is waterproof if you are going to be hiking in the monsoons. Sunscreens come in various types to compliment different types of skins. Consult a dermatologist for the right type of cream for your skin type. I don't like the shiny sheen that the sunscreen leaves on the skin after application, hence I prefer the Matte ones. The best and the most economical ones are these two here:

Gel Based 50 SPF (Matte)
Cream Based 50 SPF (Matte)

Portable Power Charger

Portable Power Banks are important for most of the smartphone power users in the city, just imagine how paramount it is to carry one for a trek! Most of the treks are located at remote places where your phone may find it difficult to get a good network reception. In such a case, your phone works extra hard to find and lock onto a network signal, resulting in faster depletion of your battery. If you use your smartphones camera as a primary shooter, you are bound to run out of battery on your trek. It is advisable to carry a fully charged power bank for your trek, after all nobody wants to be stuck in the wilderness no matter how beautiful it is! Even though I'm not a big fan of Mi Smartphones anymore, I really love their powerbanks for two reasons; the features they offer and the price they are available at. I have the 20000 mAH Mi powerbank which has the fast charging capability and dual ports. Here's what I'd reccomend:

Mi 10000 mAH Power Bank
Mi 20000 mAH Power Bank

Insect Repellent

This one is a must for entomophobics like me! The wild is full of creepy crawlies and one must make sure that they are protected against them. Apply a good layer of an insect repellent before you enter the wild. An over the counter insect repellent should work but consider your doctor's opinion before using any product. I prefer using anything that comes in a spray bottle rather than a tube. Reason being the ease of use and applicability. The one's that you could take a look at are:

Budget option
Expensive but a fancy one


This one is a personal favorite. Walking miles can seriously deplete you of energy and there's nothing better than biting on some munchies at times like these. Energy bars are a great option if saving space is a concern. Fruits like bananas, apples, pears make really good options too. Dry fruits like cashews, almonds, dates are natural options which can save space as well as provide some much needed calories. Avoid oily and foodstuff containing a high percentage of fats. Always keep a few sweets handy.

Ziplock bags

Not the most important thing on the list but pretty handy nonetheless, zip lock bags can be used for a plethora of purposes. Carry ziplock bags of different sizes. They can be used to collect leaves, flowers and stones if you are into them. They can be used to insure your phone and wallet against rains.  If not for ziplock bags, carry polythene bags but remember to not litter the trail. You can buy these off local shops, here is a link if you want to get them online:

Slide-Rite Multi-Purpose storage bag

Duct Tape

Duct tapes are underrated. Period.
Nothing can be as handy as duct tapes when it comes to tears, rips and blisters. Duct tapes can fix broken soles, tears in the bag, waterproofing bags and open ventilated shoes etc. A long piece of duct tape can also be twisted into a strong rope/string if you want to tie something. You can also make loops out of duct tapes to stick other essentials to your backpack.

48x50mm Duct Tape

Rain Gear

While many enjoy getting wet in the rains while hiking, I am of a different opinion. While I would occasionally like to get wet in a drizzle, I am totally against getting soaked in heavy rains while hiking for miles. It's not the rains that makes it uncomfortable, rather it's the aftermath of the rains that is annoying. Wear a Windcheater or a rain cover that covers the maximum of your body. There are special hiking windcheaters and rain covers available. Over the years I have tried a lot of Quechua Rain protection gears and I swear by them. The best place to by them is your nearest Decathalon shop. Here are the ones that I have tried:

Budget Windcheater for hikes (This is good for Light to Medium rainfall)
Heavy Duty Windcheater (A bit on the expensive side but I have used this for my Himalayan Treks as well)


Highly unlikely that you may need a torch for a day's hike but an important emergency accessory to keep handy nonetheless. You don't want to be stuck in the wild in the dark without a good torch and it is always advised to keep one in your survival pack. You may want to take a torch which is bright enough to illuminate upto 10 metres with adjustable focus. Waterproof torches are a bonus!

Multifunctional knife

The cool quotient! Multifunctional knives are awesome. While they may or may not be used during a usual trek, they do give you a sense of being well equipped for any hike. One should pray that they may not find the need to use one in a hike, having them in your daypack will keep you at peace. I purchased one made by "Grand Harvest" locally on the streets of Lamington Road in Mumbai. The same product is available online on Amazon. I bought mine for Rs 300/- off the streets and I think 320 for an online reseller is a good deal.

Multifunctional Knife

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