Embracing the Great Outdoors: A Summer Hiking Checklist

Embracing the Great Outdoors: A Summer Hiking Checklist

July 13th, 2023

By Tarang

Summer is here! Temperatures are rising, snow is melting and the bright colors of spring are blooming into the breathtaking beauty of summer. It’s a great time to get out into nature!

For those of us at The Beautiful Earth, summer means it’s time to go for a hike. A hike in nature is a great way to take a break from the daily grind, get the blood pumping and, if you can swing it, catch up with friends and family. Being outside in nature can be exhilarating and therapeutic. But, it’s not without risks. It’s a good idea to plan ahead. 

Before you head out on your epic summer hiking adventures, it’s important to gear up with all the right stuff. We're talking those must-haves that'll keep you safe, comfy, and totally stoked on the trails. Think cozy kicks, sun-smacking gear, navigation tools and emergency supplies for those "oh snap" moments.

To help you pack for your next hike, we’ve created a summer hiking checklist. Our list is intended for those who are going on day hikes, not overnight camping. No sleeping bags required! Everything listed should easily fit in to a lightweight day pack. 

Let’s get started.

  1. Footwear

No matter where you’re hiking or for how long, comfortable shoes with good tread is essential. If they support your ankles, even better. 

Trail running shoes, hiking shoes or hiking sandals, are generally suitable for well-maintained and level trails. If you plan on venturing onto rough, rocky, or uneven terrain, you may want to opt for boots which can offer more stability and support.

In general, sneakers, flip flops or loose-fitting shoes with thin soles are not recommended.

  1. Clothing

First things first: check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Common sense says if it’s sunny, choose loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Rain? Pack some layers and a waterproof shell.

Unfortunately, weather isn’t always predictable. Temperatures can ramp up quickly. Light layers are important. Equally important is being prepared for a drop in temperature. Bring along a jacket or windproof outer layer. Depending on the location, you may also want to bring gloves, a scarf, and/or wool socks.

Since hiking is an activity that involves a lot of movement, choose comfortable clothes you can easily walk, stretch and climb in. If you feel like adding a touch of style to your outfit — take a look at our eco-friendly hats!

  1. Food and Water

It's important to pack foods that can fill you up and give you a quick energy boost. Best choices are snacks like trail mix, granola bars, and dried fruit. Fresh fruit is also a good choice. It’s healthy, easy to eat, and produces no waste. If you’re heading out on a longer hike, maybe bring a few sandwiches as well. But take a pass on the mayo, unless you have a cold pack. Food safety first!

When it comes to water, hikers often wonder how much is enough. To be honest, there’s no one answer to that. A good rule of thumb is to carry half a liter of water per person for every hour of hiking. You can also check to see if there is any natural drinking water on your trail. However, if you plan on drinking from sources like lakes or streams, make sure you bring an approved water filtration device.

  1. Sun Protection

As with all outdoor pursuits, it is important to protect yourself from the sun's rays when hiking. Sunscreen is an essential companion, but remember to reapply every two hours. SPF rated clothing is also a great idea.

Along with sunscreen, a sun hat and sunglasses are helpful in protecting your face, neck, and eyes from harmful UV rays. 

  1. Insect Repellent

Is there anything worse than being bothered by mosquitoes, ticks, leeches, and other creepy crawlies while hiking? Save yourself the trouble by packing some insect repellent. Choose an appropriate formulation based on your needs and the hiking area you'll be exploring.

  1. First Aid Kit

While hiking, unforeseen injuries can occur. Therefore, it’s important be prepared to treat common injuries. Fortunately, prepackaged first-aid kits are readily available. They should include:

  • Sticking plasters/bandaids (various sizes)
  • Antiseptic wipes or solution
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors and disposable gloves
  • Pain relievers (e.g., acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • Antihistamines
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • A cold pack or cold instant compress
  • Triangular bandage ( used as a sling or to dress wounds)
  • **Bring any personal medications, if needed. 

  1. Navigation Tools

We highly recommend downloading one of the many free trail-finding apps. Make sure you can use the app offline in case you get into areas without cell service during your hike. Don’t forget a portable battery charger for your phone. Having a physical map and compass “just in case” is handy as well. 

  1. Emergency equipment

When you set out on a hike, you should expect the unexpected. The weather could change, an injury could prevent you from continuing, and depending on the region, there can be the danger of animals.

Your hiking checklist should account for these unpredictabilities. We recommend you bring a knife or multitool, a whistle and a headlamp with extra batteries. Tools for lighting fires such as matches, a lighter, or kerosene are also recommended.

  1. Health and Hygiene Items

On hikes, “clean” is a relative term. However, maintaining basic personal hygiene is not only healthy but also enjoyable. Hand sanitizer, toilet paper or tissues, wet wipes, menstrual products, waste bags and a microfiber towel are all useful. A toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss can be included if desired.

  1. Optional Items

In addition to the items listed above, here are some optional items you can take depending on your personal preferences.

A walking stick can help you protect your knees and maintain good posture during the hike. You may want to take a journal, book, camera, or binoculars.

One Last Note: 

Along with packing the right supplies, checking the weather and trail conditions, it’s important to let someone know your hiking plans. Let them know where you’re going, when you’re heading out and when you’re expected to return. 

Each of the items listed above can be a real game-changer when it comes to having a blast out on the trail. Is there anything our summer hiking checklist is missing? Feel free to tell us in the comments below.

THE BEAUTIFUL EARTH is a global, conscious clothing + healthy essentials brand.

Founded by filmmaker + artist Bethany Ashton Wolf, Bethany is striving to design and create organic, sustainable, recycled, vegan, ethically-sourced clothing + essentials that are good for the earth, our bodies, and our well being. 

Organic hoodies, organic sweatpants, recycled beanies, organic trucker hats, organic tees, supima cotton t-shirts, stainless steel water canteens, water bottles, and bamboo to-go cups that are all BPA-free are just some of the products in her line that she is focusing on that bring her customers elevated streetwear that is cool to wear and cool for the planet. 

Our blogs here at The Beautiful Earth delve into health and wellness, mental well-being, healthy beauty, healthy home-living, and mind, body, spirit topics that help us all find ways to live a more conscious lifestyle overall.

*If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website or in any linked materials.