overnight hiking

What to Pack for an Overnight Hiking Trip

Hiking is a great way to get outdoors and get some exercise. When you’re hiking just for the day, you don’t need to worry so much about things you might need during the night. Day trips are a lot easier to pack for. When you’re thinking about hiking overnight or even several days, you’ll need to pack very carefully so that you’ll have a safe and fun trip. There are several essentials you’ll need to bring so survive. There are also things that aren’t exactly essentials that you should pack so that the trip will be enjoyable. Here’s what to pack for an overnight hiking trip.

Packing for Different Climates

What you pack depends a lot on the climate you’ll be hiking in. Is the climate very hot and dry? Is the climate cold and wet? These questions will help you know what to pack for an overnight hiking trip. Each climate is divided into groups of essential things to pack and non-essential things to pack. The non-essentials aren’t 100% necessary but will make your overnight hiking trip a lot more enjoyable. 

overnight hiking

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Hot and Dry Climates

Essentials

There are a lot of essential things to pack to make sure that you’re safe while you hike in a hot and dry climate. The first and most important thing you need to pack is water. Lots of water! Always bring more than what you think you’ll need. Or bring a water purifier so that you can drink out of a stream. Be sure to also bring plenty of food. You’ll sweat a lot while you’re hiking in a hot climate so food and plenty of water is priority number one. Another essential to pack is proper clothing and shoes. Make sure you have clothing that will protect you from the hot sun and wind. A tank top and swim trunks are probably not the best idea to wear. You need durable clothes that can shield you from the sun. Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean you can wear flip flops on a hike, that’s a no no. Shelter is also an important thing to remember when you’re packing for an overnight hiking trip. You can go the classic tent route, or you can make the switch to a camping hammock. Camping hammocks are much lighter to carry than tents, and they’re a breeze to set up. Setting up a hammock is easy and you’ll be able to relax in it much quicker because you won’t have to set up a tent. 

Non-Essentials

This category is considered non-essential because you won’t die without these things. But that doesn't mean you won’t suffer without them! The essentials are things you absolutely have to have. The non-essentials can be left at home, but you’ll probably regret it if they are. Sunscreen is pretty important when you’re going to be in the sun a lot. Bad sunburns are no fun and you’ll be in pain without some good SPF. Sunglasses would make a great addition too. Chapstick is another great thing to bring along. Chapstick can help soothe burned or dry lips from the wind. Again, you won’t perish without chapstick but it would certainly be nice to have. Insect repellant will help you enjoy your trip a little more, no one likes mosquito bites. Of course this category also has things like a toothbrush, deodorant, and an extra pair of socks. Make sure you bring something to keep warm with at night. Although hot and dry climates are scorching in the day, they cool off significantly in the night. It’s also not a bad idea to bring a first-aid kit. 

overnight hiking

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Cold and Wet Climates

Essentials

The essentials for cold and wet climates are just about the same for hot and dry climates, but with a few exceptions. You will need plenty of drinking water and food for your trip. You’ll also need proper clothing. However, the type of clothing you’ll need will be much different than the clothing you need for hot and dry climates. You’ll need to pack several layers for a wet and cold climate. This way you can adjust your clothing to what you need. If you’re cold, you can add another jacket or shirt. When the weather starts getting a little warmer you can take off clothes as needed. You might need more extra clothes for cold and wet climates. This is because if your clothes get wet, you want to change them as soon as possible. You don’t want to be in wet clothes for a long period of time, especially if it’s cold. Make sure you keep your clothes as dry as you can. In fact, it’s probably best to have water proof clothing. You’ll also need a shelter like a tent that can withstand water. Or get a camping hammock because you won’t have to worry about flooding. There are lots of things you can do to protect your hammock from any rain. 

Non-Essentials

The non-essentials for cold and wet climates are a lot different than for hot and dry climates. If the weather is going to be cold and wet the entire time you’re hiking, you might not even need to bring sunscreen. Of course, it never hurts. Instead you might want to consider bringing several waterproof bags for your belongings. Hiking all day in the rain might cause water to soak into your backpack, making all of your dry clothes wet. The last thing you want is to have all of your clothes soaking wet. A waterproof bag will keep your clothes dry so that you can change out of wet clothes when you get to your camping spot. Waterproof bags will also protect things like phones or cameras. Make sure you bring plenty of things to keep you warm! Hand warmers are a good option because they can go easily at the bottom of a sleeping bag or blanket to keep your feet warm. 

Summing Up

When you’re trying to pack for an overnight hiking trip, you need to think about what kind of climate you’ll be in. This will impact what you should bring. Always remember the essential things to pack no matter what the climate is. Food and water should never be forgotten. Other things can be adjusted according to the climate. Sunscreen, bug spray, chapstick, waterproof bags, or hand warmers are all things that can vary depending on the climate of your trip. Remember to pack the most important things first, then pack the things that will make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable. Even though some items are called non-essential, they will still be very valuable to you on your overnight hiking trip. Most importantly, remember to have fun and be safe!

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Denali Gillen

I am a farmer’s wife living a farmer’s life. I love having wide open spaces and plenty of space to raise a family. Making the most out of outdoor spaces is something I never get tired of!

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