What to Put in Your Hiking Daypack

what to put in your hiking daypack

Last month, E & I took advantage of the great outdoors for a safe vacation out West! Did you catch my Insta post with my mini recap of the trip?

Our week included exploring three national parks: Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion. I’m so excited to post some more detailed itineraries in the coming weeks, but first wanted share our packing list for your hiking daypack!

What’s a “daypack”? It’s just a small day hiking backpack for all the essentials. I love this REI article that explains different activities, capacities, and fit to help find the right daypack for you. Note, if you’re going on an overnight or multi-day adventure, you’ll actually probably be bringing more equipment and sustenance than what you’re average daypack holds.

E & I love our REI Co-op Flash 22L Packs ($54): Eric’s black here and my maroon here (print varies slightly).

Other options include: Osprey Hydration Men/Women Backpack ($100, more of a splurge but includes water pack!) or Venture Pal Lightweight Daypack (Amazon Choice at $20).


what to put in your hiking daypack

With all that jazz, let’s dive in! E & I didn’t find ourselves without one thing we needed. The quantity of an item will scale up or down depending on the activity and length, but I’ve included our amounts for reference.

Check out what to put in your hiking daypack below.


Keep in mind you want to pack enough for the day, but also on the ride home when the hunger kicks in! Also, what does it say about me putting these first on the list haha. #priorities

  • Protein bars – We loved the Clif Builders Protein Bars & packed 2 each for the day! Fave flavors: Cookies & Cream + Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Turkey sandwiches – Packed 1 – 2 per day, depending how long we planned to hike
  • Jerky – I’m not a huge jerky person, but I do like the Old Trapper Original. Was a filling snack, 1 pack lasted us a few days of sharing!
  • Nuts – We are obsessed with the Omega 3 Mix from Target, 1 pack lasted us a few days of sharing.
  • Fruit – 1 – 2 apples or clementines were easy to pack
  • Electrolyte packetsGood to add to a water bottle at the end of your hiking if you aren’t packing salty snacks like nuts or jerky

what to put in your hiking daypack

what to put in your hiking daypack


You never want to be without enough. Another REI find notes a general recommendation is about a half liter of water per hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures. You may need to increase how much you drink as the temperature and intensity (ex: altitude) of the activity rise.

Specifics we packed: we each had the below daily, using the water bottles to refill our Camelbaks for easy water access when hiking. We refilled everything at visitor’s centers or water stations whenever we had the chance to be safe.


  • Hand sanitizer + masks – No surprise here, these should basically never leave your side in 2020!
  • First aid, i.e. bandaids, Neosporin, Qtips
  • Sunscreen – Great for face/sensitive skin here, basic spray for body here
  • Ibuprofen + any other personal meds
  • Kleenex – Travel size pack for sniffles…or if the toilet is out of paper!

what to put in your hiking daypack

what to put in your hiking daypack

what to put in your hiking daypack


  • Wallets – You probably don’t need your full set, but ID, credit card and some cash always a good idea.
  • Ziplock bags – A couple a day for any trash you need to pack (no littering, leave no trace!)
  • Sunglasses & cap
  • Bandana – Great to keep neck warm in the morning, or use as a headband!
  • Camera or cell phone for photos – Likely no service FYI
  • Swimsuit if you’re checking out a waterfall, pool, etc.

I bet after reading this, you’re realizing you have a good chunk of what you already need for your adventure. Anything else you can think of to add to your hiking daypack?

Leave a Reply