Hiking Essentials: How to Pack a Backpack for Hiking

The hiking backpack has long since been the best friend of avid adventurers. From camping and climbing to walking and cycling, you can’t leave the house without a reliable and durable daypack.

Whether you’ve just set up camp and you’re ready to venture or you’re treating the kids to a day of Geocaching, read on to discover what to pack in your backpack and what you can’t do without on that hike. Whatever it is that you’ve decided to do, make sure you’ve had a look through our handy list of hiking essentials to get geared-up for adventure.

Hiking Essentials

First Aid Kit

Accidents happen to even the most experienced hikers and climbers. When you’re heading out, make sure to pack a compact first aid kit for emergency situations. You can buy these pre-made from your local pharmacy or even at an outdoors store, including ours. A First Aid Kit should always be kept in your backpack.

The most important items to keep in your first aid kit are plasters. Stock it up with different sizes and shapes, as well as blister plasters. Check out our handy blister treatment guide to prepare for the inevitable. And don’t forget sun cream, either.

Water Bottle

We suggest each member of your party brings a full water bottle with them, as it might be difficult to keep them topped up throughout the day. If you’re worried about your bottle leaking, or if it’s taking up too much space, attach it to the outside of your daypack with a clip or carabineer. You can also buy rucksacks and backpacks with external mesh pockets for water bottle storage, or even ones that come with a built-in hydration pack.


Fill your daysack with high energy food and drinks to keep you going for longer. This is especially important on long walks and hikes, as they require a lot of energy which you will need to top up quickly and efficiently.

Check out our camping snack suggestions to find inspiration for
foods that are great for daypacks, too.

Packaway Jacket

Ever wondered what to wear hiking? Well, we live in Great Britain – not named for its weather – so it will rain, no matter what the forecast. Even during the summer months, you will need to come prepared with a waterproof jacket. Our packaway jackets are the perfect option, as they are lightweight and compact. Plus, you can layer them with other coats to boost their waterproof power if when there’s a downpour.

Rain Cover

Get your rucksack a jacket, too. If you’re planning on a long hike, a rain cover is a smart investment. With all your possessions in one place, you’ll want to keep your backpack as protected as possible from the unpredictable weather. You can store the rain cover in a pocket when it’s not needed.

Spare Layers

It’s always wise to pack a spare layer to avoid spending the day in rain-soaked clothes or to keep warm when the weather takes a chilly turn. We recommend packing a lightweight fleece jacket, which won’t take up much space and is great for warmth. Bring a hat for extra protection, too.

Spare Socks

A spare pair of walking socks are a must-have for your backpack. If it rains and your hiking boots start to leak, you can quickly change into a dry and comfortable pair instead of walking about with soggy feet all day. You have been warned.

Portable Charger

Using your phone for a Maps app all day can be draining – almost as much as the trekking itself. Carry a pre-charged portable phone charger with you, and you’ll never be lost again.

Map and Compass

If you prefer doing things the old fashioned way or are venturing somewhere with little-to-no signal (shock horror), a map and a compass are your next best friends. Remember, you can’t be lost if you always know where you are.


These are great for finding the car keys last thing at night or for when your walk turned into an unexpectedly long hike – whether or not you got lost (we told you to remember a portable charger). No backpack is complete without a handy torch.

A first-time trekker?
Take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Walking and Hiking.