I try to highlight hike-specific points, but these lists are a good base to start from!


Every Single Trip, Every Single Time:

First Aid Kit*
Camera and batteries
Tissue and wipes or gel sanitizer
Poncho or large trash bag
Lip balm
A way to start a fire
A map of the area, or a GPS with your vehicle waypointed

Useful for at least one member of the family to have:
Paracord (the 500lb capacity kind)
Mutlitool with a good knife
Gorilla tape

Cool weather

sock hat
wool socks
sturdy shoes
Blaze Orange somewhere visible
neck gaiter or scarf

NO COTTON, especially underlayers.
Cotton kills. Getting wet in a stream crossing or quick rain in weather as warm as 45 degrees while wearing cotton can (and does) lead to hypothermia. Cotton holds wetness against your skin and pulls away body heat very quickly. You can die..

Warm weather

sun hat or umbrella
bug dope
Chamois (lightweight towel)
Swimsuit! (if there is water, we will get in it!)
Wicking under layer
Lightweight long sleeved shirt and pants for bug/sun/plant protection**
If we are going specifically to wade or swim, water shoes:
I do not recommend going barefoot in any wild water, especially if there is a walk back to the parking area. Broken glass, sticks, pointy rocks, even slick rocks are ever a hazard.

Lounging Hikes

Lounge hikes are when we walk somewhere with a view or water access, then stay put for a few hours to explore and play. And lounge.
So you need something to sit on, like a lightweight blanket or even better-a hammock.
All Day Hikes
extra socks
more nutrient-dense foods***
Water purifier****

A Quick Note

I tore several tendons and damaged most of the nerves in my foot in late summer 2014 and that is taking a LONG time to fully heal. I struggle with climbs and it still hurts.
My confidence and stamina are both low, but every hike gives me another boost!
That being said, I take my time now, so don't expect power walking.
If you are worried you can't keep up-don't. Seriously.

*First Aid Kit
To this very basic list, add what you want/need
Antibiotic ointment, bandages (or gauze and tape), any anti-inflammatory OTC pain med

** cotton is BAD in the woods, but scrub bottoms (in summer) are great for this very thing and can be found at the thrift store for $3 and they roll down small and don't weigh much!)

*** Nutrient-dense foods:
Cheese, dried seaweed or kale chips, dried blueberries, boiled eggs, nuts (almonds, cashews and seeds like flax, chia and hemp are good bets!) Stay away from quick-energy snacks and things with sugar. You need a longer burn. Pick stuff you can snack on through the day to keep your enery levels stable instead of having one big meal which can make you more tired as your body wants to rest and digest!

****Any iodine-based tablet with neutralizer will work. These are around $10 and will likely get your family through the whole season. Just pack some MiO-type water flavor to mask the taste, though the neutralizers work really well for that. Add a coffee filter or even use a bandanna to pre-filter the water going in your bottle to catch sand and other sediment.
Another option that starts around $20 is a water filter that you pass the water through from a 'dirty' bottle into your clean bottle. Good personal options in this range are the LifeStraw brand and Sawyer micro filter. If you are going to filter for a whole family or small group, Katadyn makes a large filter system for under $100. Options and prices go up as the group size gets bigger.