Getting into hiking doesn’t mean you need to break the bank or spend months accumulating gear – Mia shares her top ten suggestions for the essentials you need to get out on the trails fast.

Mother Nature and I go way back. We’ve had our fair share of moments – slips, trips, tears, grazed hands, and a whole lot of shouting ‘I’m good!’ to surroundings that don’t answer back.

Being out in nature and tackling something tough isn’t always about finding that picture-perfect or awe-inspiring spot, it’s about continuing on even when you don’t want to, when you think for just a second – it would’ve been easier to stay home. It’s about the moments when the view you’ve been struggling towards becomes clear, the endorphins kick in, and you realise holy crap, this is that elusive ‘IT’.

Never once have I regretted a day out in nature, whether it’s a big trek or a small stroll. As tough as it can be during so many moments I always drive home with a smile on my face and, somehow, an even bigger respect for nature.

This is my ultimate gear list to just get you out there. You don’t need the flashiest or priciest, the lightest or the newest stuff to enjoy Mother Nature. So, let’s keep it simple, fun, and focus on the adventure.

1. Osprey Tempest 20 Women’s Hiking Backpack

Osprey can do no wrong for me: their packs are comfy, practical, lightweight, and inclusive! I always find myself reaching for my Tempest 20L when I’m hitting the trails. It’s got a bunch of handy pockets and hits the perfect sweet spot between too big and too small. The Tempest is suited to the female form and comes in a standard and an extended fit so we can all get outdoors. The equivalent pack for guys is the Talon.


2. Osprey Hydraulics 2L Hydration Bladder

I hiked for quite a while before I committed to getting this Osprey Hydraulics 2L Hydration Bladder, and let me tell you, I wish I got one sooner. Stopping every 20 or so minutes to pull out a water bottle and then cram it back into your pack just doesn’t cut it. This bladder has a hard spine so you can easily slide it into your pack (this is way more important than you might think), and the 2L size will fit perfectly into your 20L Tempest. Remember that larger bladders often won’t fit into smaller packs!


3. The North Face Vectiv Exploris Mid Futurelight Leather Women’s Hiking Boots

The North Face Vectiv Exploris Mid Futurelight Hiking Boots are comfortable, waterproof, and have a great rocker and traction. There’s always been a shoes vs boots debate in the world of hiking, which typically comes down to the question of what’s better for your ankles – but there really isn’t a type that will protect your ankles more than the other. Choosing shoes or boots is just personal preference!


4. Patagonia Endless Run Women’s Running Tights

I much prefer wearing long tights than shorts on a hike, purely for the extra protection it gives me when scrambling up a mountain or sliding down a hill. Pair the Patagonia Endless Run Women’s Running Tights with some crew length socks, and you will also be freed from any pesky sticks or rocks slipping into your shoes.


5. Patagonia Sun Stretch L/S Women’s Hiking Shirt

It’s important to wear the right layers when you’re on a hike. You don’t want to be too sticky and sweaty, clawing your clothes off; you also don’t want to be bare skinned and end the day fried. The Patagonia Sun Stretch L/S Women’s Hiking Shirt is ultra light and breezy. With a 40+ UPF rating this shirt is the perfect protector, blocking at least 97.5% of UV rays.


6. The North Face Antora Women’s Waterproof Jacket

I LOVE my Antora Women’s Waterproof Jacket by The North Face. It’s light, super compact, and the perfect waterproof layer to pop on. You never know when the skies will open up and drench you, and you’d rather have this on hand than walk around damp all day. This one stuffs into its own pocket, taking up barely any space.


7. Opinel Carbon Pocket Knife

Trails can be unpredictable so it’s always handy to have a compact knife on hand! When it comes to knives, people tend to be either all-in or all-out. For those who swear by them, it’s impossible to comprehend life on the trail without one… How will the salami be cut? What if you need to cut a bandage? Or whittle a spoon?

The Opinel Carbon Pocket Knife is cheap, sharp, and small, fitting perfectly into standard-size pockets. It’s so easy to carry that you might as well throw one in your kit – salami emergencies are still emergencies.


8. Companion Personal First Aid Kit

Even the most seasoned hiker or adventurer can have an accident. That’s why it’s always best to be prepared – you’d rather carry around your first aid kit having never opened it, than be caught out needing something, only to remember you decided not to buy it, thinking ‘Nahhhh, I’ll be fine’. This Companion Personal First Aid Kit has everything you need for a day on the trail.


9. Patagonia Airshed Unisex Cap

Although the ozone layer is healing herself, she’s not there yet – so chuck a hat on. Hiking is strenuous, and if you’re out all day, especially in the Aussie heat, you’ll come home dehydrated and looking like Rudolph. The Patagonia Airshed Unisex Cap is quick drying, moisture wicking, and made of odour controlling material, so your hot head will be kept clean and dry all day long.


10. Traverse Collapsible Silicone Dual Lunch Box

Whatever food you’re packing (never forget the food!), I’d take it in the Traverse Collapsible Silicone Dual Lunch Box. It’s affordable, practical, and takes up next to no space. You can easily slide this into your pack once you’re done with all your delicious snacks.


Hungry for more? Have a read of this Packing List for a Day Hike.

Honourable Mentions

Wouldn’t it be great if gear was weightless and we could take it all? Alas, reality.

These are also good options if you have room for some extra weight:

  • PLB: the Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 will ensure you can always call for help. Mums love ’em. Yes, they’re a decent expense, but can you really put a price on safety?
  • Head torch: what if you find a cave? What if you stay out later than expected? Head torches come in handy more often than not and there are way more models out there than you have heads so you’re bound to find one that you like.
  • Phone mount: especially important if you hike alone and want more variety in your photos than close-ups of your own face with slightly different backgrounds. The Joby GorillaPod Starter Kit has everything you need to up your memento game.

Feature photo thanks to @pearce_m

Table of contents photo thanks to @courtlalala

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