Updated: May 17, 2021
At this point in my life, I would definitely classify myself as a moderate to moderate advanced hiker. My parents got me into hiking at a very young age, and while I kind of strayed away from hiking while I was in college, after graduating I have quickly picked it right back up. Throughout my life, I've hiked different types of mountains, tackled different elevation gains, hiked easy, moderate, and difficult trails, experienced air changes, etc. Whether it's a walk around my local park, or hiking around the mountains of Colorado, I always make sure to pack a backpack full of my essentials. If you've already read my "Airplane Essentials" post, most of this stuff is pretty similar. Of course everybody is different with what they prefer to bring, and the list will vary depending on several different factors such as weather, type, length, and difficulty of the hike, terrain, etc. but these are some of the things I feel are essential that I always try and remember to bring on any day hike I go on. The most important thing is to have any sort of sturdy pack...I used to use a basic black JanSport backpack, but now I use the JanSport Hatchet Outdoor Backpack . So now, let's get on with the list! ( I will try my best to find specific links to items)
Snacks and Water
These might be two of the most important things I always have with me. I almost always use my Nalgene, Hydroflask or some sort of insulated, metal water bottle especially if I'm hiking on a hotter day. Depending on the length, and intensity of the hike and the temperature outside, I typically bring one to two 32oz water bottles, and for more extreme conditions, I'll usually pack a Gatorade or something with electrolytes with me as well. For most hikes I also try and pack some sort of Granola or Protein bar, some of my favorites are Protein One bars, Belvita bars, or Nature Valley granola bars. Some other snacks I typically pack are some sort of fruit like a banana or an apple, or goldfish.
This is also another extremely important thing I always make sure to have with me. At the absolute minimum, I like to have a at least a few bandaids, and usually an extra t-shirt in my bag. I also keep a mini bottle of hand sanitizer on hand. However, I typically keep my first aid kit in my bag with me. You can find these literally anywhere, and there are so many varieties! The one I personally keep with me has bandaids, gauze pads, wraps, different ointments, aspirin/advil, gloves, aluminum blankets, sting relief, burn cream, and so much more! I also keep at least one extra layer and gloves in my pack, especially in the colder months.