10 Essentials to Pack for Your Overnight Hike

10 Essentials to Pack for Your Overnight Hike

There are many benefits to hiking, such as increased mental health and gaining physical strength through exercise. The great thing about hiking is that everyone can do it at the level that’s most comfortable for them.

But what are the essentials that you need to ensure you’re well-prepared for whatever comes on your hike, especially an overnight hike? Daytime hikes are great, but nighttime hikes provide a whole different aesthetic.

If you’re planning a hike at night, here is your ultimate overnight hike checklist!

1. Clothing

Your hiking clothing should be comfortable and breathable during the day. However, at nighttime when it’s a bit cooler, it will need to be comfortable, yet not too bulky to weigh you down.

It’s also important that your clothes keep you warm if you’re hiking in a particularly cold environment. Be sure to research what your environment is like in the evening and find clothes that keep you warm, and layer up in thin but insulating pieces if necessary.

2. Light

Hiking at night means you’ll need the best light possible to see where you’re going and prevent you from injury. Lanterns are a great way to provide light and they’re easy to carry, like a barebones forest lantern.

Be sure you know how to work your lantern before you take it on your hike. Check the battery life to make sure it will last the length of your overnight hike and charge it fully.

3. Food

When you’re hiking it’s important to keep your energy up, especially if your hike is particularly strenuous! Either way, you’ll need the best fuel like proteins and carbohydrates to keep you going.

Ready-to-eat foods are best, like protein bars, nuts, and other snacks work best if you’re going on a shorter hike. If you’re planning an overnight hike, and want to eat dinner, you’ll need to bring cooking supplies and food to prepare. Warmer meals are perfect for nighttime hikes.

Be sure to bring extra storage for leftovers and that they’re properly sealed to keep the animals away!

4. Shelter

If you’re going on an overnight hike and plan on going home afterwords, then shelter isn’t really necessary. But if you’re planning to sleep under the stars, then consider investing in some high-quality shelter.

Items like a sleeping bag or tent are staples for staying outdoors overnight. Staying outside overnight may mean dealing with some unwanted pests like mosquitos, so check and see if you can find a tent that will keep out insects.

5. Cleaning and Cooking Supplies

Cooking outdoors is great, but that often means dirty dishes, utensils, and cookware like an outdoor portable stove or burner. These things can enhance your hiking experience, but they do take time and planning.

If you’re using well-worn but usable utensils, bring cleaning supplies like environmentally-friendly soap and a dishtowel to clean and dry them.

6. Water

Water is another essential item on your hike. You’ll need it for a couple of reasons: to stay hydrated and for cleaning. Be sure to pack enough that will last you overnight and into the morning.

Even when you think you pack enough water, chances are you may run out. Water bottles with filters exist for you to take water from rivers or streams while getting rid of the toxins for you to drink. There are also chemicals you can buy to treat the water to ensure your safety.

7. A Plan

Did you know that up to 41% of people who get lost while hiking do so because they wander off the trail?

Hiking without a plan and without letting anyone know where you’re going is dangerous. If you’re going alone, let someone know where you will be, how long you’ll be gone, and keep communication available and open so you have access to help. Going hiking with others is safer, but it’s still important to have accountability with the people you’re with.

8. Emergency Kit

Accidents happen, and on a hike, they’re more likely to happen because of rocky trails, missteps, or insect and animal bites. Be prepared to treat these wounds with an emergency kit filled with first-aid supplies.

You’ll need:

  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Insect spray or repellant
  • Antibiotic cream or alcohol wipes
  • Splints
  • Firestarter
  • Extra batteries
  • Extra blankets for a chilly night
  • Pain killers
  • Medications you’re taking

These are just some suggested necessary items, so make sure you have all the things you need in case the worst happens.

9. Shoes

Your regular walking tennis shoes may not be enough to keep you steady for a hike, especially if you’re going uphill.

Hiking is different than walking due to the uneven trails and paths you’ll encounter. You’ll want to invest in a pair of hiking shoes or boots that adapt to the terrain and that support you, therefore protecting you from injury.

You’ll have to learn more about the type of environment you plan on hiking in because not all the land is the same, and some shoes will do better than others.

10. Personal Items

If you’re staying overnight outside don’t forget all your personal items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, extra clothes, feminine products, sanitizer, wipes, sunscreen, and other things you think are necessary.

Keep any identification with you in case you become lost and don’t forget a fully-charged cell phone as well. Pack everything in a clear, sealable plastic bag so you can find it quickly.

Are You Ready for an Overnight Hike?

Going on an overnight hike can be an incredible and memorable experience. It’s even better when you plan and pack efficiently. What steps do you need to take to ensure you’re ready for a unique hiking experience?

Do you want to learn more about camping or outdoor living? We can help! Visit us today to learn more about living your best life outdoors.

Image Attribution:
Adobe Stock royalty-free image #103330516, ‘caucasian male hiking in mountains’ uploaded by kurapatka, standard license purchased from ; file retrieved on May 31st, 2019. License details available at – image is licensed under the Adobe Stock Standard License.

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