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What Is Day Hiking?

The packing list for a day hike can be relatively short, depending on the weather and the length of the hike.
Hiking boots.
Day hiking often requires little gear, but a small backpack can be helpful.
A hiking backpack.
Many national parks offer spectacular trails for day hikes.
Day hikes are especially popular with families and hiking groups.
It is important to stay hydrated during a day hike.
Day hikers should always keep an eye out for approaching weather systems.
Day hikers should always include rain jackets in their gear for rainy weather.
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  • Written By: Nicholas K.
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2014
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Day hiking is an outdoor activity where individuals or groups walk on trails during the day without setting up camp for overnight stays. Hikers are able to access more trails and parks by walking during the day rather than planning multi-day trips in one park or area. This approach to hiking is favored by casual hikers as well as outdoor enthusiasts who might be concerned about trail safety. An important issue in day hiking is the excessive heat and glare from the sun. Day hikers can pack lightly for their excursions by eliminating sleeping bags, tents, and flashlights.

Local, regional, and national parks sometimes offer limited access to hiking trails. These limits include no nighttime or weekend hours where hikers might be endangered on the trail. A park might also schedule trail maintenance and repair during off-season weekend hours. Day hiking allows an individual to walk miles through a park generally without limitations. Outdoor lovers can travel to several parks within a region to conduct day hikes instead of focusing on a single park.

Campers and hikers can encounter myriad dangers when walking outdoor trails. These dangers include flooded passes, broken bridges, and falling trees. Hikers passing through unknown terrain might be unfamiliar with insects, spiders, and animals along trails. Day hiking has gained popularity among travelers who want to stay safe while observing nature. This type of hiking also allows an outdoor enthusiast to view forests, canyons, and mountains along a trail.

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The biggest concerns that emerge during day hiking may include sun burn, eye damage, and dehydration. Hikers can eliminate a majority of sunburn by wearing lightweight sweatshirts and long-sleeved shirts as well as pants that cover oft-burned areas. Another way to avoid sunburn while day hiking is to apply sunblock regularly throughout the walk. Sun glasses and a brimmed hat can keep a hiker from confronting glare and sunlight during a daytime excursion. Dehydration created during a day hike can be eliminated with regular breaks for drinks from a water bottle or water pack.

The packing list for day hiking can be relatively short depending on the length of walk and weather. Hikers need to include a first-aid kit and insect repellent necessary to avoid basic health problems. A rain jacket, umbrella, and an extra pair of clothes are helpful in case of a sudden downpour. Day hikers might also need matches, dining utensils, and food to prepare lunch on the trail. Travelers far from home can include cell or satellite phones in their backpacks in case of emergencies on the trail.

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Discuss this Article

backdraft
Post 3

Day hiking boots are not drastically different than normal hiking boots but they are just as important. A lot of people think that since they will only be hiking for one day, maybe even only a few miles, that they can just wear their tennis shoes. They often end up with blistered feet and twisted ankles.

It is always worth it to wear hiking boots when you are walking in the wilderness. A good pair will last you years and you will be doing a huge favor to your feet.

jonrss
Post 2

What is a good size for a day hiking pack? I know that any day hike, regardless of the distance, should include some food and water and probably a knife as the most basic provisions. But I am the kind of person that likes to be prepared and this list could go on and on until I am carrying forty pounds of gear on a five mile hike. If I limit myself to a smaller pack I hope to curb the instinct to bring everything and the kitchen sink.

Ivan83
Post 1

Day hiking can be one of the best ways to appreciate the outdoors because you get all the advantages of hiking without having to carry nearly as much gear. This can facilitate longer more strenuous hikes and it can also increase the enjoyment of the hiker in general. Carrying a huge heavy backpack can get annoying really quickly and can ruin the experience of even the nicest hikes.

Day hiking is one of my wife and I's favorite activities. We live in Arkansas where there are tons of great day hikes scattered around the state. We will set out early in the morning, hike for 10 or fifteen miles and then come home at night exhausted and satisfied.

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