Short Hike Essentials

Backpack? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Before you hit the trail for a short hike, be sure to pack these essentials for the trail. 

Hiker wearing a pingora bag

What to Pack for a Short Hike

The definition of a “short hike” may vary from hiker to hiker, but they all have one thing in common. Short hikes are fun! 

Whether it’s half an hour or a full day, a short hike can be a fun, relaxing way to spend time outside and away from the buzz of the city. But even with this more casual approach, it’s still important to prepare for every adventure. From footwear to foodstuffs, these are some things to add to your day pack for your next short hike.

Pingora bag showing storage options


On the trail, your backpack is your best friend. Look for a backpack with different sized compartments for small items like sunscreen and larger items like your hydration bladder. It should be easy to access all your important gear on the outside, so you don’t have to dig for what you need. 

Padded shoulder straps and fitted hip bands, on a properly fitting backpack allows you to bring the same pack on long and short hikes. 

Proper footwear

What is hiking but walking on hard mode? And for those long and short hikes, footwear is key to enjoying the trail. Before setting out, grab a pair of sturdy, flexible shoes with solid traction. Hiking boots or trail running shoes are often the best choice. Casual sneakers and sandals often don’t provide the stability and protection you need for uneven terrain. 

Comfortable clothing

Even short hikes can work up a sweat, so be sure to wear comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing. Lightweight, breathable fabrics make moving easier, but can also help protect you from the sun and insects. Before packing up, check the forecast. Layering according to the weather can help you adjust as you warm up or unexpected showers strike.  

Hydration system 

Don’t let the weather or the hiking distance fool you, always carry water. Carry a reusable water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack to avoid dehydration while out on the trail. It can be easy to forget to drink water on cooler, shadier hikes, but it’s important to always have it with you in case you get lost or the hike lasts longer than you anticipated. 

All Pingora bags are hydration bladder ready. Just look for the water drop image near the top of the pack.

Once you’re back home, don’t forget to clean your hydration system too

Trail map, compass, or navigation app

Trail maps, a compass, a navigation app, no matter how you find your way around the wilderness, these are essentials even on short hikes. Hiking apps like AllTrails have a navigation feature that lets you download a map and guide you through the trail in real time. So if you need to adjust or find an alternate route, you’re covered. 

Pingora backpack showing snack storage

Snacks and meals

Nobody says no to snack on a hike, even short ones. Whether you plan to be outside for a few hours or not, it’s smart to bring along a few high-energy snacks to keep you moving. Trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, or sandwiches are classic companions for hikers.  The handy pockets on the waist belt of our Remote Z 25 pack keep snacks, sunscreen and lip balm close at hand.

First aid kit

Wherever you hike, accidents can happen. Your basic first aid kit should include adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, blister pads, pain relievers, and any other necessary personal medications. Familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures before setting off. 

Sun protection

Chances are you won’t forget sunscreen in hot, dry conditions. But even wintery, cloud-covered hikes can expose you to solar radiation. Sun protection can include a hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeved clothing as well as high SPF sunscreen.  

Insect repellent

Ticks and mosquitos are the villains of the trail and they don’t discriminate. With risks like Lyme Disease and malaria in the mix with these critters, it’s important to stay one-step ahead. Along with insect repellant, you can also take precautions like wearing long sleeved clothing or high socks before setting out. Once you’re back home, be sure to check yourself and anyone other hikers with you for ticks. 

You don’t need to trek for days to call yourself a hiker. Short hikes are great for getting exercise and fresh air. With the right gear, clothing, and supplies, you can enjoy the outdoors and be back home in the air conditioning in no time.