On the basic day hike one will likely want to bring along a few essential items. While hiking boots are not absolutely required, they are very helpful and provide good support over uncertain terrain. Your feet are your most important asset any time you’re on the trail so you’ll want to take care of them. Wool socks are also a nice addition to help wick away sweat from your feet and help prevent blisters.
You may have done some research prior to going out for the hike but a map is a very good idea as things can get tricky in the woods at times. A compass or a handheld GPS device are also nice additions if available.
Water bottles with either your traditional H2O or some other nourishing liquid are recommended for proper hydration and to help prevent overheating. Depending on how long you’ll be on the trail, you may want to pack a lunch or at a minimum some snacks such as trail mix or granola bars.
Blue jeans are generally not a good idea if there is any possibility of rain or getting wet. Khaki shorts or pants are a better option or if you don’t mind the swish, swish, swish of nylon, those work as well. If you will be near any water and the temperature allows, I recommend bringing along a pair of sandals so that you can play in the water without risking injury to your feet.
Speaking of water, bringing along a raincoat or small windbreaker is a good idea even in summer months just in case the weather changes quickly.
A small first aid kit is also useful just in case of accidents. Be sure to keep contact information on you and let someone know where you’ll be, especially if you’re hiking alone.
Pocket knives have a tendency to come in handy and can be easily stowed away in a backpack.
Some people like to carry a hiking stick which can be either a fancy store bought graphite composite pole or just a simple stick found on the ground.
Being a day hike implies you’ll be hiking during daylight hours so a flashlight is probably unnecessary but it never hurts just in case you come upon a hidden cave or other place worthy of exploring.
To carry all your equipment, bring along a small backpack or knapsack. A bag with multiple pockets is useful in storing various items during your hike.
Most of all bring along a cheerful heart and a small camera to capture the memories and beautiful scenery you’ll see on your excursion.