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MAIN Arrow to Travel Travel Arrow to Hiking Hiking Arrow to Hiking Hiking Gear Checklist

hiking bootsNew to hiking? You may think that all you need is a map and some good hiking boots. That's fine, but you can easily avoid most of the pitfalls experienced by hiking beginners by simply planning ahead.

Basic essentials on your hiking gear checklist should include plenty of water, nutritious snacks. proper clothing such as hiking boots, hiking socks and rain gear, along with trail maps, compass, a GPS unit and a cell phone or two-way radio.

How to buy hiking boots or hiking shoes

A good fitting pair of hiking boots is every hiker's basic gear for success, and without them no hiking trip is going to be fun.

hiking bootsFor durability and safety, some experienced hikers prefer genuine leather hiking boots while others say that lighter-weight synthetic materials are best. Rule of thumb: always wear the appropriate hiking boots or hiking shoes (and hiking socks) according to the terrain and season. Waterproof linings are all-important for fall and winter hiking, but note that waterproof hiking boots and shoes can get hot in summer.

In short, opt for light-weight hiking shoes with a firm grip for casual day hikes. Choose heavier more durable hiking boots - with strong ankle support - for longer hikes or mountain treks.

As always, take your time and shop around. Try on several pairs of hiking boots before you buy, and don't plunk down your hard-earned cash before you're fully satisfied with all aspects of support and overall comfort.

Finally, because there's nothing like a foot blister to ruin an otherwise fun hiking adventure, always break in a new pair of hiking boots before you test them in the wild.

Hiking Gear & Equipment

Tip: Shop around for the best prices on basic equipment.

Talk to hiking friends, read reviews, and/or browse online comparison shopping sites for more information on best value for the money.

camping checklistBackpack
camping checklistCompass, maps and directions
camping checklistGPS unit
camping checklistHiking poles (for steeper treks)
camping checklistSnacks (snack bars, GORP, trail mix)
camping checklistWater container
camping checklistPocket knife
camping checklistFlashlight or pen light
camping checklistCamera
camping checklistCell phone or two-way radio (for emergencies)
camping checklistMatches or disposable lighter (for starting a fire in case you get lost in the woods)
camping checklistBattery-powered reading light
camping checklistExtra batteries
camping checklistWater purification tablets
camping checklistMoney (cash or ATM cards)


Because it take hours to dry, cotton clothing should be avoided whenever possible. Wool, fleece or synthetics are best.

camping checklistHiking boots
camping checklistHiking socks
camping checklistWide brimmed hat (to protect against rain or sun)
camping checklistRain jacket
camping checklistLong-sleeved shirts
camping checklistShort-sleeved shirts
camping checklistPants or shorts
camping checklistUnderwear (and/or long underwear)
camping checklistWarm pants
camping checklistSunglasses

Hiking Safety & Personal Items

camping checklistCamping first aid kit
camping checklistDuct tape (for repairing most anything)
camping checklistInsect repellent
camping checklistMoleskin (for blisters)
camping checklistSunscreen
camping checklistLip balm
camping checklistEye drops (if hiking in dry climates)

(Also see hiking safety tips for more helpful advice on staying safe and comfortable on your next hiking trip.)

also see: Camping | Camping Gear Checklist | Find a Campground | Road Trips

More about hiking gear around the Web:

How to Choose Hiking Boots - Experts tips from REI with an extensive overview of what to look for and how to choose hiking boots, hiking shoes, and mountaineering boots.

Hiking and Backpacking Tips - A mini-directory of related resources around the Web.

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