Most people take their hiking trips as a welcome break from the rest of their lives. But for some, hiking is not just a vacation — it’s also a way to introduce fun and adventure into your kids’ lives.

This is even more so with the COVID pandemic forcing us to stay home and stay safe. In my previous guides, I wrote about How to make hiking fun for kids and what to wear while out hiking with kids which will set you up for going on that family hike.

Now you have some preparation done, the next step is what to take on a family day hike? Well, no stressing as I have some key hiking essentials that you should take with you.

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girl hiker sitting and looking at the snowed mountains. Dolomites, Italy.

 What To Take In Your Hiking Backpack For A Family Hike

Hiking Backpack

A hiking rucksack is great for storing all of your hiking essentials. Depending on how many people go on the hike, the size of your backpack will depend. Even if everyone in your family doesn’t get a backpack, you’ll need one as well to take with you.

Mother and daughter with dog resting on wooden bridge in the mountain forest

Food & Water

The main hiking essentials are food, water, and hiking snacks. Always take enough supplies for everyone who goes on the trip. It’s crucial to start a hike with foods and drinks that don’t spoil until you reach the destination. Take some snacks in the car, which will come in handy when you get back to your car and can give a ‘reward’ when you return from the hike.

Womens outwear, footwear (brown trench jacket, shuede hiking boots), backpack. Outfit for traveling. Autumn winter collection. Fashion Shopping concept. Flat lay, view from above

Spare Clothes

Spare clothes in your hiking day pack will all depend on the weather. A layering system will be best for outdoors in colder weather as it traps the heat between the layers. Some examples of what to take are:

– Spare hiking socks per person

– A fleece or extra layer or some sort

Waterproofs (especially if you are in Scotland)

family reading a map


With the popularity of GPS devices, people are beginning to take these devices for granted. But a GPS or a paper map is also a hiking essential must-have. And therefore, plan on charging your device before you head out on the trails.

A power bank charges a smartphone in a pocket of a black backpack, on a background of grass

Battery Bank/Batteries

Most families now have the tech, so it’s best to be prepared for any situation with a power bank. You can never know when a power outage or emergency might happen! Be sure that chargers are fully charged, and also carry a spare with you.

Map, gps navigator, portable radio, rope and first aid kit on a light background. Set lifeguard.

First Aid Kit

The “just in case” item for the hiking essential is the first aid kit. It’s the item that you don’t like to think about but would be a good one to have on hand. Anyone can possibly trip and fall, even more so the little ones! A whistle and an emergency shelter are also handy items for hikers to have on hand.

Is there a hiking essential that you take out hiking that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments below.

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What to pack on a family day hike