Packing lists for day, overnight, and multi day missions rarely include the gear that’ll really take your adventure to the next level of enjoyment. Here are Alissa’s must have items to make your next hike less of a drag.


We all know about the essential kit needed in the bush to ensure survival on a hiking trip. But what about the items that don’t quite fit the necessity category, but can help make or break a trip with extra comforts?

After a few years of slogging my body up, down, and around mountains, these are my favourite comfort items to have close by on an outdoor mission.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

1. Peak Design Clip

If you carry a camera, the Peak Design Clip will change your life! Rather than hanging your camera from its neckstrap, or tucking it safely into your backpack after each shot, making it just that little bit less inaccessible, this clip hooks onto the shoulder straps of your packs and gives you easy access allowing you to help capture more.

They cost around $120 depending on where you buy them from,most camera shops should stock them, but I promise they’re worth the splurge.


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward

2. Peak Finder App

This is the best $6 I’ve ever spent on an app. When traversing through the mountains, there’s so many peaks to stop and look at in the distance and I used to always catch myself thinking, ’I wonder what that peak is?’.

Now, I just scan the Peak Finder app across the peaks on the horizon and all the names and heights pop up on the screen! I always take a screenshot, then when I get home, begin researching these peaks for my next adventure.

Read more: How To Use a PLB


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward

3. Dry Bags

As much as you check the forecast before you set off, you never know when a storm might hit.

The first non-essential thing I always look to protect when the weather takes a turn is my camera, so I always keep a spare dry bag handy in the event that I need to take my camera off of the Peak Design clip and secure it inside my bag.

I also have dry bags for basically everything inside my overnight pack; one for clothes, another for food, one for my sleeping bag, one for my electronics, and another for my toilet kit, so that key safety items never get affected by the rain.

All of these dry bags go inside one extra large plastic liner that doesn’t have a seal that I picked up in New Zealand from a DOC visitor centre for a whopping $7 a few years ago. You can also buy one online!

4. Lollies

Whatever your sugar vice is, chocolate, lollies, biscuits, don’t over think it, just bring them and more than you’d expect to need.

The amount of times I thought camp was only going to be another 1-2km away and it turned out to be 4km+, I was so grateful I had a supply of something to snack on and take my mind off of the distance.

One of my good mates who walks much faster than I will start to leave my favourite colour sour snakes very evidently on the trail, like a little scavenger hunt to keep up with him. Just be mindful you collect them all and no animals are around to snag them before you do! 


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward


On another solo overnighter I passed a family with three disgruntled children all under the ages of seven. I gave the mum and dad a handful of lollies from my stash so they could bribe their kiddos to finish the walk and boost morale. You never know who might need the lollies you packed!

5. Water Bladder And a Nalgene Bottle

Okay, now some people are firm one way or the other on this topic, but I’m pro water bladder AND Nalgene drink bottle for multiple reasons.

Regardless if I’m on a day walk or an overnighter, I ALWAYS have a water bladder. I drink way more when I have a water bladder as it’s so easily accessible.

Oftentimes drink bottle holders on backpacks are awkward to get in and out, meaning you either have to stop and take your pack off each time you want a drink, or ask someone to help you, and I’m just too stubborn for that.

Especially, if you’re a hike guide, I highly recommend a bladder for the times you’re chatting to guests along trips!


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward


When purchasing a water bladder, I swear by Osprey. The even 1, 2, and 3L bladders have a solid back panel, making them easier to slot into a semi-packed backpack. They also seal with a slide across the top, which in my opinion, is much easier to maneuver than bladders that have the screw opening as the screw can be finicky to close properly and before you know it, all of your gear is soaked.

However, I also love a Nalgene drink bottle for overnighters. Specifically, around camp it makes getting water for cooking so much easier. But the real reason I love Nalgene, specifically over other brands, is that the grade of plastic used in Nalgene bottles is strong enough to withstand boiling water.

On those colder nights in the backcountry, you can boil water, pour it into your drink bottle, and pop it in your sleeping bag to warm up your sleeping quarters and then coddle it to sleep. Keeping the bottle close to your stomach will help maintain your body temperature, just make sure the lid is sealed on nice and tight so there’s no leakage!

6. GSI Long Spoon

Definitely leaning on the side of luxury, but I have two GSI Long Spoons. One in my backpacking bag and one in my daypack. These spoons actually reach deep into dehydrated meal sachets without your fingers getting all nasty while stirring your boiling water in and make eating from the sachets more enjoyable.

Plus, if you’re a fan of toasted marshmallows but in a fire ban area, you can shove a marshmallow on the handle end and place it near the flame of your cooking stove for an evening treat!


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward

7. Two Pairs of Hiking Socks and Boots

I used to get blisters alllllll the time. So rather than just accepting my blistering fate, I did a bit of research and came across the double sock method. This helps with the friction that causes blisters, which instead rubs between the extra layer of socks and hopefully minimizes / eliminates your potential blisters.

I typically got blisters on my heel, and learned a new way to tie my boots to help prevent the ‘heel slip’ that was causing them. I now tie my boots using a surgeons knot and it’s been a game changer to help keep my heel locked in and avoid slipping.


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward


If your feet swell, just take one of the pairs of socks off and you should get some relief. If you decide to adopt the two sock option, be sure your boots are fitted with two pairs of socks from the get go, otherwise you might make your boots too tight and cause a different discomfort.

I like to wear a thin, liner pair of socks with a more cushioned pair over the top. On multi day missions, I just bring one other pair of liner socks and rotate between these. Then each pair gets a day to dry and doesn’t get as crunchy throughout the trip (the not so glamorous side of backpacking, right?).

8. Tenacious Tape

There’s no doubt that I try to keep my gear in great shape – I see my pieces as investments, but regardless, sometimes they get bumps and bruises (just like me). When the inevitable happens, Tenacious Tape is a quick and relatively permanent fix for many holes.

I have Tenacious Tape on my tent fly where I found little holes, on the cuffs of my rain jacket from scaling some Tassie dolerites along the Western Arthurs, and on the hood of my sleeping bag where some down feathers were beginning to come through a little too frequently. I keep the tape packed in my first aid kit for when I need to patch something up.


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward

9. A Pre-Stocked Car

I’ve slowly started to realise what foods / snacks I crave post adventure. As I can see the car from the trail, morale instantly improves after a tough mission, knowing I’ve left myself some of my favourite items and I start to get a gallop in my step.


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward


Simple items like a change of clothes, fresh snacks, fruit that won’t go bad, and extra water (stored in a thermos is even better) make the journey home much more enjoyable.

A tarp in the boot also goes a long way to put any and all muddy/sandy/stinky boots, backpacks, bikes, or surf boards, helping future me keep my car somewhat clean when I unpack from my various multi adventure trips.

10. Buffs/ Neck Tube

Buffs are an absolute favourite item of mine, they’re worth their weight in gold if you ask me. If your pack is rubbing, shove the buff wherever the friction is to create an extra layer and help prevent further rubbing. If your ears are cold, pop the buff on your neck and pull it up like a skivvy to cover them.


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward


If your nose is running, keep it wrapped around your wrist for the much-needed wipe. For any number of other reasons, buffs ALWAYS make it on every trip I take.

11. Seat Pad

A newer item to my set-up is a seat pad! Long gone are the days of sitting on the cold ground or using my pack’s rain cover as a thin, near-useless layer of insulation. Seat pads also work as a great door mat if you’re coming in and out of your tent a fair amount.


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward


This lightweight item makes any spot the perfect spot to sit. By being insulated, you never have to worry about getting a chilly bottom while sitting and having a snack during a long day or while cooking up your next meal.

12. Pan

Upgrade your backpacking meals! From pancakes to bacon and eggs or stir-fries galore, having a cooking pan increases the possibility of meals from drab to delicious.

The extra weight will be worth it when fellow campers come swooning to see what scrumptious meal you’re cooking up.


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward

13. Blow Up Pillows

Most people just opt for a dry sack and extra clothes, but I’m a firm believer in an actual pillow for a few reasons.

Mostly because I sleep cold and rarely have extra layers kicking around to stuff into a pillow formation.

Secondly, for how frequently I sleep in a tent versus the space/ weight that they take up in my bag, I think they’re completely worth it. So worth it in fact, that I pack not just one pillow, but TWO. After a car accident a few years back I had to start sleeping with a pillow between my knees to help with some lower back pain and this helps to make all of my trips a little bit comfier.


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward


I figure if I’m going to be putting my body through all kinds of hoops during the day, the least I can do is try to give it some decent comforts for a good night’s sleep before doing it all over again the next day.

14. Lantern

After getting a few gift cards to an outdoor store for my birthday last year, but having already had my gear set up pretty dialled in, I browsed for items that I could still justify bringing and stumbled upon a lantern.

I can’t count how many times the sun has gone down behind the mountains and I just tossed and turned trying to get to sleep. So now I bring a lantern and a book to let myself wind down each night without having to use my headlamp unnecessarily.


14 Items to Make Your Next Hiking Mission Less of a Drag, Alissa Ward


Lanterns work well too if you’re camping with others and want to play card games in the evening but it’s too chilly to be outside. Cram inside a tent, and rather than everyone having their headtorch on and blinding each other, the lantern can be attached to the roof of the tent with a carabiner to illuminate the whole space. Voila!