Packing for your first hike can be overwhelming. You don’t want to overpack, but you also want to make sure that you have everything that you need. If you ask hikers, you’ll receive a ton of different answers, so we did the hard work for you and created a comprehensive guide on what you may need for your first trip.

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Base layer

When it comes to hiking, it is necessary to get the proper layers, especially if you’re ascending in cold weather. The base layer refers to the clothing that you wear next to your skin and can be your favorite shirt, or long-sleeved top. The main function for the base layer is to wick away humidity to the other layers so you can stay dry. That said, it is best to get a base layer that’s soft to the touch and odor-resistant such as a top made from polyester or merino wool. Or maybe you can wear your favorite workout top that puts your sweat at bay.

Mid layer

Mid layer is the one that you wear over your base layer and is usually worn in moderate to extremely cold weather. It’s usually for thermal insulation and is usually worn when the base layer can’t provide sufficient warmth. Usual mid layer pieces are fleece jackets and woolen sweaters.

Shell layer

A shell layer is worn over a mid layer or directly over your base layer if in warm weather. It’s used during a windy or rainy weather as protection from the elements. Shell layers are usually waterproof and can be rain jackets, soft-shell jackets, and windbreaker jackets.

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While many prefer shorts when hiking, it is still advisable to wear pants as protection from surroundings that you may encounter along the way. Unless it’s a well-groomed trail, it is best to stay safe by getting a good pair of pants. Good hiking pants are durable and breathable. Depending on the weather, you can opt to get thicker and better-insulated pants, especially if traveling in cold and windy weather.


Headgear is helpful when climbing as it provides thermal insulation in cold weather, while it serves as a protection from the sun during sunny hikes. If traveling in colder weather, you can choose a hat that is made of merino wool or polyester fleece as it has better thermal efficiency compared to other materials. If hiking in summer, you can easily wear a baseball cap or a bandana for protection.


Usually necessary when traveling in cold areas, gloves offer thermal insulation and protection from frostbite. Good gloves are relatively thick and provide protection against elements like rain and wind. If you can’t find the right gloves for you, you can also layer gloves, with the first ones being liner gloves, the second ones fleece, and the last ones waterproof mittens.

Hiking boots

When choosing hiking boots, make sure that you check the following before your purchase: sizing, material, and durability. Make sure that they fit you right — not too tight and not too loose as you’ll need to work with them for hours on end. The material is ideally waterproof and must depend on the conditions that you’re facing. If hiking in mud and dry areas, it’s best to get more breathable boots, while thicker and insulated ones are best when going to colder places with extreme weathers.