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Essential Items for a Successful Hiking Trip: Your Trail Packing List

Updated: May 8

At Snowbeast, we share a passion to get out and stay out on the mountain with our friends, families, clients, and patients alike. This is a year-round priority for us no matter what the trails look like, but as the activities and seasons change, so does our preparation for our time on the trail. This goes for our physical training, our travel to the trailheads, our outerwear and protection, and our packing list for our time on the mountain. 


Dad carrying child in back pack on trail run in Essex Junction Vermont
Trail Running, Hiking, and Backpacking Essentials

This blog serves as a baseline packing list for a few of our favorite summer adventures.  It should provide a good starting point for your trail prep but of course, your exact list will require some modifications/additions based on weather and other environmental factors (bugs, mud, etc.), duration of your trip/activity, proximity to civilization and extra resources, familiarity with the local geography, and other personal needs or preferences.  


Trail Running (0-3 hrs)

  • Cell phone

  • GPS (with altimeter) and/or compass & map

  • Water bottle or reservoir (may not be necessary on shorter runs, but plan for ~.5-1L/hr after 60-90min on the trail)

  • Performance chews/drink mixes (electrolytes and energy)

  • First-Aid kit basics

  • Moleskin/tape/bandage/butterfly 

  • Antiseptic wipes/antibiotic ointment

  • Safety pin/tweezers

  • Misc… gauze, ibuprofen, anti-chafing cream, whistle, sunscreen, bugspray, emergency contact/allergies/medications info 

  • Extra clothing considerations

  • Hat

  • Buff

  • Sunglasses 

  • Running jacket/long sleeves


Trail running checklist for runs under 3 hours in Vermont

Day Hiking (3-12+ hrs)

Image of hiking and trail running gear for longer day hikes from 3-12 hours in New England
Day Hiking Necessities for your Outdoor Adventures
  • Cell phone

  • GPS (with altimeter) and/or compass & map

  • Water bottle or reservoir (~1+L/hr, more in hot weather)

  • Water filtration/sanitization system (for longer (6+hr) hikes)

  • Performance chews/drink mixes (electrolytes and energy)

  • Fire starter (waterproof lighter/matches, dry tinder)

  • Headlamp (fresh batteries???)

  • Sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, buff, other protective clothing)

  • Knife/multitool 

  • Emergency bivy/blanket

  • Extra food (plan for an extra ~1 day’s worth)

  • Extra clothing (assume you’ll get wet/cold)... at least bring a shell and some extra socks!

  • First-Aid kit basics

  • Moleskin/tape/bandage/butterflies 

  • Antiseptic wipes/antibiotic ointment

  • Safety pin/tweezers

  • Medications

  • Aspirin

  • Ibuprofen

  • Antacid

  • Allergy relief 

  • Misc… gauze, anti-chafing cream, whistle, sunscreen, bugspray, emergency contact/allergies/medications info 


Continuation of day hiking and trail running checklist for longer adventures


Backpacking (1+ overnights)


Hiking dinner on the mountain top viewing peaks in Vermont
Eating and Drinking for Your Long Hikes

  • Cell phone

  • GPS (with altimeter) and/or compass & map

  • Portable charger

  • Water bottle or reservoir (~1+L/hr, more in hot weather)

  • Water filtration/sanitization system

  • Performance chews/drink mixes (electrolytes and energy)

  • Fire starter (waterproof lighter/matches, dry tinder)

  • Headlamp

  • Extra batteries

  • Sun protection (Sunscreen and lip balm, sunglasses, protective clothing)

  • Bug repellent

  • Knife/multitool 

  • Paracord

  • Duct tape strips

  • Emergency bivy/blanket

  • Tent

  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad 

  • Camp stove and fuel

  • Cookware (minimally a pot to boil water, utensils)

  • Bear can/sack (check local regulations)

  • Toiletries

  • Biodegradable castile soap

  • Toothbrush and paste

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Prescription meds

  • Toilet paper and sealable plastic bag (to pack out!)

  • Menstrual products

  • Extra food (plan for an extra ~1+ day’s worth)

  • Extra clothing (assume you’ll get wet/cold)

  • Shell

  • Socks

  • Sandals/crocs 

  • First-Aid kit basics

  • Moleskin/tape/bandage/butterflies 

  • Antiseptic wipes/antibiotic ointment

  • Safety pin/tweezers

  • Medications

  • Gauze

  • ACE bandage/compression wrap

  • Whistle

  • Anti-chafing cream

  • Aspirin

  • Ibuprofen

  • Antacid

  • Allergy relief 


  • Misc…, tent footprint, backpack rain cover, camp pillow, bear spray, lantern, gaiters, day pack, emergency contact/allergies/medications info, binoculars, cards/games, camera, field guides/journal, trekking poles, patch kit


Overnight backpack list for hiking or trail running in Northern Vermont

We always find it helpful to gather and lay everything out first, then pack it away for your outing.  This way, you can double check your list and more thoughtfully pack your bag with consideration for what items you’ll need along the way to keep them accessible, and what items are heavier/bulkier and should be packed more strategically (how exactly to pack and load your bag could be a whole other blog post!).  


Drop us a line if we’re missing any of your “must-haves” for the mountain and happy trails!


If you are looking for more content to make your trail run and hiking season amazing, we have a bunch of other blogs available. From preparing for all your trail running adventures to fueling with proper hydration and recovery, we've got the info you need. We also created an awesome program called Trail Run Prep that you can access right from your phone. It's a 3 week program that will have you springing up and bounding down the mountain all season long.


Preparing your Body for Spring Adventure: This is a guide to common trail running injuries we see this time of year. You probably will recognize a few of them.


Exploring Northern Vermont Trail Running: This is a list of local trail run events that we want to run in and bring our friends to. It's got links to every signup to make it easy for you.


Spring Trail Running Hydration and Recovery: If you're looking for tips on what to eat and drink so you don't bonk on the journey, then look no further. We've got them here for you.


Trail Run Prep: Finally, if you're serious about having your best season, then you need a training program that builds you up and makes you a better runner. Whether you're running once a week, or running more days than not, this program builds the muscles and movements needed to keep you running strong and long from mud season to leaf peeping.


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