Hiking and Camping: The Essentials

Hiking and Camping Essentials Checklist

(Image courtesy: urbanstyleguide.wordpress.com)

Preparation is essential while going hiking or camping; and since you won’t usually have easy access to most modern amenities while roughing it out in the great outdoors, it’s necessary to take a few things along, to make sure the trip doesn’t turn into a debacle. Here’s what most campers and hikers would recommend.


Carry suitable tents depending on the weather and the number of people. Nylon pop-up tents require next to no setting up and also leave the least negative impact on the campsite.

Sleeping Bags

If you’re planning to spend nights outdoors, pack a sleeping bag, even if you aren’t sure you’ll use it. Choose one that’s best suited to the weather conditions; choose wadded or down-filled sleeping bags while camping in colder places, and thin waterproof sleeping bags if you’re looking at a warm night.

Waterproof Backpacks or Rucksacks

Which one of the two you choose depends on how much stuff you’ll be carrying. Rucksacks are typically larger and more suited for long treks with multiple halts, while backpacks are typically used on single-day treks. Get one with an additional waterproof cover for heavy rain or snow.

Hiking Poles

These are great for reducing shock on the legs and also help provide better stability on tricky trails. You might or might not need it depending on the trail. But, if you foresee any steep descents, you should take one along.

Appropriate Clothing

For cold weather, you’ll require a thermal inner-layer, a fleece or down mid-layer and a top-layer that’s wind and water proof- a wadded, waterproof jacket is what you’d ideally have on. In hotter climes, you’ll need quick-drying shirts or t-shirts. Modular lowers (trousers that can be converted into shorts by detaching the lower half) usually prove convenient.

Trekking in colder climates requires fleece gloves; get mountaineering gloves if you plan on doing any climbing.

Carry a balaclava (a cap that covers your head entirely, leaving an opening for the eyes) or a beanie or skull cap for cold weather; a bandana, and a cap or hat, for warm weather. If you plan on doing any climbing or mountaineering, wear a specialized mountaineering helmet.

Appropriate footwear

Get hiking shoes or hiking boots that are comfortable and suitable for the terrain you’ll be faced with on the trail. If you plan on doing any climbing or trekking in places with snow or ice, you’ll need snow boots, and crampons or spikes attached to the soles of your footwear (crampons are usually available locally, if you’re heading to a fairly commercial trail that is frequented by trekkers).

Cooking Equipment or Food

Long treks require a small stove, vessels, cutlery and dry food such as Maggi that can be cooked easily. But energy bars, biscuits, meal-supplement biscuits and chocolates are the most convenient rations to carry, especially if there are places where you can buy food close to the trail, at convenient locations along the way.


Carry hydration packs, plenty of water and iodine tablets or a pocket water-purifier. Iodine tablets purify water and make it suitable for drinking, which is useful if you’re in a situation where you need to drink from a natural water source and aren’t sure of how pure the water is. It’s usually safe to drink at places frequented by animals (especially herd animals).

Other things that come in handy are sunglasses, a map, a compass, flashlights (with extra batteries), a first-aid kit, a knife or a multi-tool, insect repellent, matches or a lighter, and personal care and hygiene products such as soap, tissues, sunscreen, lip balm, quick-dry towels, hand-sanitizer and Aloe Vera gel to treat sunburns.

Lastly, make sure you have the permits for all the places you plan to visit.

Explore gear across websites in the hiking and camping section on Junglee.



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