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Beginning Hiker - what to pack?

Hello.  I’m heading to Nova Scotia soon and plan to do some coastal and forest hiking. While I won’t be camping, I’m hoping to trek several hours each day.  


I have my backpack, water bottle, good hiking shoes, bug spray, and even trek poles.  What else should I consider?  Thanks!

8 Replies

A small personal first aid kit, your favorite snacks, appropriate clothing for weather (rain jacket, puffy coat).


Extra pair of socks, always a good idea.


First, make sure you don’t have a pack with too many pockets. Depending on time of year, also depends on how much water you bring. If it’s more than a 3 mile hike please be sure you have more than 1 liter. Keep pack simple. Whistle, water, little first aid, flash light/head lamp, snacks (protein and fruits), sun hat/screen... those are the essentials in a day hike. Remember the more you pack the heavier it gets. For avid hikers 3+ miles who like to really enjoy a hike; sitting pad, monkey mat, and maybe more food. Be sure you have an idea where you’re going and the trail rate (moderate to severe trails may require more essentials like hike sticks). Always be prepared prior to hike. 

All these responses are great. However, day hikers are the most vulnerable in the wilderness.  Plan to stay the night.  Make sure you bring warm clothes, water filtration and treatment tabs (I like the sawyer mini and Aquatabs), and something to make fire.  Bic lighters are great and for a storm proof match get the UCO ones.  They stay lit submerged in water.  Remember two is one and one is none.  Have backups. You can fit all of this stuff in a small daypack or fanny pack if you do it right. Happy hiking 


@Pnorton I totally agree with your recommendation. A simple survival blanket would also be useful as they weigh practically nothing, and can act as cheap Insurance if you are forced to stay the night. I also take a small multi tool with me as well, always comes in handy.


A pair of waterproof socks, a few of the instant heat packs (air activated).


It sounds like your packing is off to a good start! Here are a few more resources that may be helpful as you pack for Nova Scotia!

For any adventure I make sure I do not leave home without the Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Headlamp
  3. Sun protection
  4. First aid
  5. Knife
  6. Fire
  7. Shelter
  8. Extra food
  9. Extra water
  10. Extra clothes has some great resources for beginner hikers in the Expert Advice Tab. For gear specifics, the Day Hiking Checklist is a great place to start! For more general information, Expert Advice: Hiking for Beginners is also an awesome resource. 

Happy Travels! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Rain coat and rain cover for backpack. I don’t know if they have black flys there, you should check. If so possibly a head net. Depending how far you hike a day another pair of socks. It is nice to change socks halfway through the day. Have a fun time!