What to pack: Day Hike 

I just got the best new day pack so I decided to give you a run through of what I pack for a day hike and a little tour of my Rei Trail 40 pack and all it’s amazing features.

Compartments, and zippers and pockets oh my! This pack has to have about 10 pockets which is beyond revolutionary in a hiking backpack. I’m used to 2 or 3 that’s including the large main compartment so from the get go I’m already impressed.

So let’s start there with all the pockets and what I keep in them.

There’s a mesh zip pocket on the front, which will come in handy if you have a damp raincoat or extra layer for quick accessibility. But for now I’m storing snack bars and a pad and writing utensil for jotting notes about the trail, which I will probably relocate to the hip belt once on trail.

There is another small stash pocket on the left side of the bag which I’ve decided will be perfect for toilet paper and other personal hygiene items needed quickly on the go.

Next there is another zip pocket that is rather large at the top of the bag which will hold any other items needed often such as sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm, hand sanitizer, maps etc. I also have stowed my hand made fire starting kit that includes some small dense sticks of wood coated in dried sap and some small pencil shavings.

On the inside large pocket there are two mesh pockets one zippable which I decided to store my head lamp, charging cables, Biolite mini-powerlite/charger, and any personal items that may get lost such as keys and cash or wilderness permit. On the other open mesh pocket I Stowed my emergency items such as an emergency blanket, duct tape, paracord + miscellaneous other emergency items that varies due to the season. In the main compartment there is also a synch pouch along the back side which I’ve stored some first aide kit items, but you could use this for a laptop when using your pack during the week or for travel.

Also included with this pack is a raincover and discrete zipper pouch just below the mesh zipper on the front. 2 stretch pouches on each side will serve a large water bottle or camp chair well. There are also two hip belt pockets, one mesh, and a hydration bladder slide-in sleeve behind the back pad. Which I have read is difficult for some users to fit a hydration bladder in but I had no issues getting my Osprey hard backed 2L bladder in.

On to the harware! There are hooks and clasps specifically designed to fasten your hiking poles to your pack, there are daisy chains down both sides of the mesh pocket for connecting carabiners or tying your gear onto. There are two synch ties around the bottom of the pack to compress when carrying a smaller load, but I might even use them to attach a sleeping pad or chair to the bottom.  There are also two straps along the front/top of the bag that can be unhooked and lengthened to attach yet another item of gear to the outside maybe a tent, a tarp or that sleeping pad you couldn’t fit underneath the bag. Last but not least I want to mention how the main enclosure has 4 zippers. Yes, you read that right 4 zippers! so you never have to worry again about what you pack at the bottom of your bag because you can access any item in your bag even at the very bottom.


Since I didn’t show every item in each of my compartments I decided to also include a packing list with detailed gear that I bring along on day hikes and some suggested items based on season.

10 Essentials:


Sun Protection





Repair kit + Tools



Emergency Shelter


Let’s dive in a little deeper to the ins and outs of each category.


  • topo map of specific trail area
  •  Compass
  • Or phone + offline maps

First-Aide Kit

  • Premade kit
  1. Bandaides multiple sizes
  2. Gauze
  3. Adhesive medical tape
  4. Pain medicine
  5. Antiseptic ointment
  6. Adhesive stitches ( we’re prone to accidents)
  • Compact guide for medical emergencies


  • Water purifier/ filter
  • Water bottle + collapsible reservoir ( longer treks)


  • Water proof matches
  • Firestarter

Repair + tools

  • Knife + multi-tool
  • Duct tape

Emergency shelter:

  • Lightweight tarp or bivy
  • Emergency blanket


  • Headlamp or flashlight


Although most packing lists don’t include this section I would advise bringing the following you never know when nature will call.

  • Toilet paper
  • Wet wipe
  • Small hand held shovel
  • Hand sanitizer

Extras/ generic items:

  • Insulating layers
  1. Hat / beanie
  2. Gloves
  3. Rain coat
  • Sunblock / sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Extra food
  • Trekking poles (if desired)
  • Camera

That’s about all I take but just pack acccordingly I don’t always bring every item on this list I judge what I need based off trail and location + weather make sure you do your homework before you head out on the trail.

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