After a few years of actively hiking, road-tripping, and being out and about, I have gathered a number of tips to help me stay safe, have fun, and look good while being outdoors. The perk of living in Seattle is the fact that it’s just a short drive to so many amazing hiking trails, and with that, it has given me an opportunity to learn and perfect my dressing and planning skills.
Please remember that the exact items to bring can be tailored to the trip that you are taking. Don’t need to bring everything I mention here if you do a half-day or easy hike, but please really consider factors such as weather, time of the day and duration of the hike, difficulty (elevation gain, rocky, wet, muddy, or snowy trail conditions), distance and pack accordingly.
SHOP MY DAY HIKING ESSENTIALS:
KEEP IN MIND: For a longer or more advanced hike, pack more food, more water, and warmer layers.
- Sports bras & leggings
- Tops (tank tops, long-sleeved tops, sweaters)
- Baselayers (spring and fall hiking)
- Mid-layers: windbreaker, fleece sweater, a lightly padded jacket
- Rain jacket
- Winter/snow jackets
- Hats & beanies
- Knee Braces
- Bathing suits
Hiking footwear and socks
- Day hiking boots
- Snow boots
- Hiking socks
- Hiking backpacks
- Trekking poles
- Headlamp & extra batteries
- Hiking blanket
- Credit card/cash
- Phone & portable charger
- Hiking permit (if required on trail. Most of the time, it must be displayed in the car.)
- Camera & lens
Skincare & toiletry
- Lip & face balm
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper
- Wet wipes
- Bug spray
- Period products
- First-aid kit
- Medications (if applicable)
Food & Water
- Food & snacks
- Water bottles
- Water filtration system (optional since it will come in handy on long lake hikes)
- Water bag
1. Sports bras and leggings
I like wearing sports bras and leggings while hiking. Depending on what I feel like that day, I’d go for different types of fits, fabrics, and colors. For sun and wind protection, I like to pack along a light long-sleeved top, a running jacket, or a windbreaker.
My favorite brands when it comes to sports bras and leggings are Girlfriend Collective, Lulu Lemon, Outdoor Voices, and Patagonia.
Girlfriend Collective: I am an XS in both tops and bottoms at Girlfriend, and my collection is growing pretty fast. I especially love everything in their FLOAT Collection. FYI, my bra size is 32B, and my jean size is 25. Paloma bra, Topanga bra, FLOAT Cleo, FLOAT Lola, FLOAT Juliet, High-rise Bike Shorts, High-rise leggings, FLOAT Seamless Bike shorts, Undies.
Outdoor Voices: I love all of the fun colorful OV sets and their Techsweat fabric range the most!
I have an Athena crop, Doing Things bra, Spring 7/8 leggings, Slahback Crop top, Core 3/4 leggings and Flex 3.5″ shorts, Doing Things hat, and the MegaFleece sweatshirt with a hood (similar, crewneck style here). They occasionally do collabs with shoe brands such as Teva and Hoka, and I love every collab thus far!
LuluLemon: I don’t think Lululemon needs any introduction here on my blog. I’m a big fan of their Align Collection including leggings, sports bras, and tanks. I also have the tech long-sleeved shirt, the Free To Be Serene bra, Days Shade Ball Hat, Cool Racerback Nulu tank (shorter length), and the Align 6″ shorts.
My pet peeve is seeing the underwear line under leggings or any type of tight clothing, so my underwear of choice is always a thong. Yes, I do wear under my leggings on hikes! I’d usually add a small panty liner and take it out and clean myself with a wet wipe (if I remember to bring it) after I’m done with the hike. It just helps me stay fresh longer, just a tip!
When I think of baselayers, I always think of a light shirt or a pair of leggings that are made from tech performance fabric that is lightweight and has some sort of heat retaining capability. Affordable ones are the Heattech pieces from Uniqlo. Lululemon makes great baselayers at a higher range.
Windbreaker or a wind jacket
I love collecting windbreakers and wear them for style on trails. Below are a few of my favorites.
A fleece sweater or a lightly padded jacket
I have this Patagonia Pack-in jacket that has been such a treat. It’s got the two big pockets that double up as hand warmers on late fall hikes. It’s so warm and soft and can be folded into a pouch. I’ve layered it under my winter jacket, denim jacket, as well as oversized sweaters before. Highly recommend!
5. Rain jacket
I rarely have to use my rain shell jacket since I always make sure to hike on sunny and dry days. But having one is great and I’ve been able to wear it many times since I live in Seattle.
Marmot Minimalist Jacket (Mine is similar to this style.)
6. Winter/snow jacket
I don’t currently have one specifically for the outdoors since I don’t often go out in the snow. Will update this once I get one!
1. Hats & beanies
I have a large collection of hats ranging from baseball hats, dad hats, bucket hats, and beanies. I love hats because they help protect my head and skin from getting terrible sunburn. My style is simple, so a simple plain hat or something with a logo from the brand that I love is good. Bucket hats are fun, and they give my face even protection.
Lululemon Days Shade Ball Cap (I have the black one.)
Fjallraven Greenland Original Cap (Mine is in light green.)
Patagonia Bucket Hat (Mine is similar but with a strap.)
And lastly, beanies are super cute in the fall and winter, of course, and I only have one to recommend to you! I wear this beanie so much, and it’s super easy to dress up or down and cute on trails.
I would often time opt-out of eyewear on day hikes since I want to see nature and the surroundings with my own eyes. That’s why I stress the importance of sunscreen and wearing a hat. However, I will bring along my Ray-ban sunglasses on super sunny days! These are about 6 years old, hence, I do not mind losing or scratching them.
I have a few old pairs of gloves that I bought years ago back when I used to live in Minnesota. Mittens should work too, but I think they will restrict your movement too much. So maybe just a pair of tech-gloves if you have cold hands!
4. Knee brace
I have weak knees after a ski incident a year ago, so I always make sure to pack and wear one on long hikes. Mine is from Walgreen. Usually, if it’s less than 6 miles, I can get away from not wearing one.
5. Bathing suits
This obviously only works on lake hikes or places where swimming is allowed. I’d recommend sticking with a one-piece since it just looks more elegant when shot in nature. I have a few in rotation and always pack them on trips, not local day hiking trips.
HIKING FOOTWEAR & SOCKS
I love my Luna sandals for sand hiking and water activities. My Keen Astoria West sandals are so cute and do so well in water, but they take a little bit longer to dry compared to my Luna. Anyway, I love and recommend them both for easy hikes!
2. Day hiking boots
When you start taking hiking a little bit more seriously, a pair of hiking boots will be the best investment and will elevate your outdoor experience. I love my Keen for its incredible grip and my Danner for its ultra-comfortable insoles.
3. Comfortable shoes
I worked with Keen on this launch and got gifted these. Little did I know how attached I have become with these. I pretty much wear them all the time and always change out my hiking shoes in the car before and after hiking. They’re super easy to just slip on and go. And yes, I do wear them occasionally on easy hikes and to the park on daily walks.
Another gifted piece from an Instagram collab with Keen. I am thankful! Love the grip on all Keen shoes, and I do not exaggerate! I wish I’d get a chance to take a ski lesson soon so that I could take these out more in the future.
5. Hiking socks
After picking out your perfect pair of hiking boots, don’t forget to pick up a pair of long socks. Darn Tough makes great socks, and there are lots of colors and styles to choose from. I also have a pair of Smartwool socks for winter hikes and ski trips.
1. Day Hiking Backpacks
I usually bring this Patagonia slingback backpack although the strap does hurt sometimes. I got it as a gift, and for day hiking purposes, it’s great! It’s big enough for a water bottle, a banh mi for lunch, and my personal items.
The Kanken is also a great investment backpack, perfect for travel and lightweight on trails. The straps do dig into my shoulders, so I avoid packing heavy stuff in it. My newest addition is this High Coast Foldsack Fjallraven backpack! I love the design and how spacious it is! The straps are padded, so they’re super comfortable on!
2. Trekking poles
3. Headlamp & extra batteries
I usually make sure to charge my Petzl headlamp the night before the hike. It’s great and helps me stay hand free on sunrise and sunset hikes.
It’s for (you know) when you need to go number two in the wild, but most of the time, I think everyone can train themselves and watch out for what they eat before each hike. I don’t personally find the need to have one for day hikes, but if you’re interested. There is such a thing called ‘Leave no trace,’ and bringing yourself a trowel to dig a cat hole (for your poop) is incredibly helpful.
Everyone should have one and do get educated on how to go and use this tool properly HERE.
5. Hiking blanket
The reason why I own this one is mainly that I get cold easily, especially on early morning sunrise hikes. Rumpl makes some of the best-looking, functional, and lightweight blankets on the outdoor market in my opinion. Mine is the Nanoloft, and it’s just a little bit heavier than the down one, but I think it will last longer than down.
SKINCARE & TOILETRY
2. Lip & face balm
I have a bunch of Glossier Balm Dotcom, and the mint one is my absolute favorite. The regular scent always doubles up as a skin salve that is great on dry spots. Em Cosmetics has recently launched the Face Cuddle, and I think it will make a great hiking companion.
3. Hand sanitizer
Get a mini travel-sized one! This is important!
4. Toilet paper
One tip I have is to prepare some toilet paper and portion it out into a small Ziploc bag. This way you can pack your toilet paper out after you do to the bathroom (in the woods) and zip it uptight. Do not EVER throw out your toilet paper because it will be very difficult for others to clean up after you.
5. Wet wipes
Same concept as toilet paper! You always want to pack it out!
6. Bug spray
Packing a small bottle of bug spray is an absolute must if you hike in the summer. I’m always on the lookout for bug warnings on WTA and Alltrails before heading out. Trust me, it’s not fun being attacked by the mosquitoes and flies!
7. Period products
Opt for tampons or period cups, you know, so that you don’t have to change it out during your day hikes.
8. First-aid kit
I usually just stick a few bandages in my day hiking bag, and I use them the most for blisters when I’m trying to break in new shoes. However, there was one time a big piece of rock fell and cut my hand open, and my bandages really came to the rescue.
Well, you know, just general pain killer for headaches or any special medication you’re taking.
FOOD & WATER
1. Food and snack bars
I usually stop by a Vietnamese deli to pick up a banh mi and some snacks to eat in the car before, during, and after the hike. Just go to your local grocery stores or an REI and pick up a few protein and nut bars. Bring a few on hikes for just in case situations. I sometimes pack some fruits like mango (precut at home), apples, and nectarines.
2. Water bottles
I have a wide variety of water bottles. Nalgene is a classic, and I think you can get away with a smaller bottle than I recommend here to save space. I love my Hydroflask and Yeti since they keep ice water stay iced, and the Grayl is great since it has a water purifying capability.
3. Water filtration system
This is my newest purchase, and I have yet to use it on trail yet. But I’m excited to use it on long trails and will come back here and update you guys!
4. Water bag/pack
I’ve recently picked up the Osprey Packs Hydraulics 2.5 L at REI and loved it so much. The 2.5 L bag is plenty for 2 people on a moderate to hard hike of around 10 miles. Get the bite valve if you’re going for this water pack because it will keep the mouthpiece from getting dirt all over it while on trail.