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A Complete Day Hiking Checklist

August 24th, 2022
a group of people walking up the mountain outside during summer
A Complete Day Hiking Checklist

A day hike is an activity that ticks a lot of boxes; you get fresh air, vitamin D, exercise, and if you are hiking at Lake Mountain, plenty of great views! We encourage people to hike and explore nature in summer with friends and family at Lake Mountain; hiking can also be done in winter, just remember to bring a pair of snowshoes and make sure you wear the right gear!

We’ve put together a hiking packing list to help you ensure you have everything you need for an enjoyable day outdoors. Always consider the weather and the distance you plan to hike, adapting the hiking checklist below to suit as required. Once you are packed and ready to go, the exploration can begin!

a group of people walking up the mountain outside during summer

We’ll dive into all of these things a bit deeper below, but these are the main items that should be on your day hiking essentials checklist:

  • A backpack
  • Weather-appropriate clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Food and water
  • Navigation tools
  • First-aid kit
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Hygiene products

The specific items you bring may vary from the above list based on the hike’s difficulty, but as the scouts say, always be prepared!

Backpack and hiking boots in forest


A backpack is essentially non-negotiable when day hiking. Anywhere between 11–20 litres should be enough to carry everything you need, but feel free to go bigger. Aim to strike the right balance between being large enough to hold the things you need while still being light enough, so you are unencumbered.

Your backpack should feel comfortable, with a strap size that is secure, but not so tight that you lose circulation in your arms during the hike.

Weather appropriate clothing

It’s always a good idea to check the forecast before hiking, even in the middle of summer. While we don’t need to tell you Melbournites this, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for changing weather. Pack an extra layer and consider the level of protection your clothing will offer from ultraviolet rays.

Your footwear choice is also very important when considering what to wear hiking. Consider the terrain as sneakers or running shoes will be fine on smooth trails. However, if you are tackling rocky, rugged trails, some sturdy hiking boots will offer a greater level of support.

Consider the following as part of your hiking outfit:

  • Moisture-wicking undergarments (including t-shirt)
  • Quick-drying pants or shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirt for sun protection
  • Lightweight shell
  • Boots or shoes
  • A pair of snowshoes in winter
  • Synthetic socks
  • Spare clothing

Your clothing accessories should also be functional, such as a hat for sun protection or a bandana to help clear any sweat.

Three People Hiking

Food and water

Let’s be honest; the snacks are a big part of the fun of hiking! From scroggin to energy bars, the food you bring should be nutritious and something you can eat easily while hiking without the need for utensils. A sandwich is an easy way to have something a little more hearty for lunch.

Water is incredibly important, and you should always pack a little more than you need. As a rough guide, a minimum of two litres per person should cover the day, but your age, sweat rate and the length of the hike will be determining factors.

For food and water, be sure to pack:

  • Water bottles
  • Trail snacks
  • Something significant for lunch
  • Extra supply

Try to aim for food with little to no packaging, as it is very important that you always take all of your rubbish with you while hiking to protect our stunning environment.

A Person Wrapping Their Friends Injured Arm In Gauze

First aid kit

You don’t have to go overboard with a day hiking first aid kit. It should be something that can provide a quick fix if an accident happens while out on the trail.

Some items you should consider as part of your day hiking first aid kit can include:

  • Medical tape/gauze
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Ibuprofen
  • Benadryl (for allergic reactions)
  • A safety pin
  • Tweezers

You should also consider carrying some hygiene products as part of your kit or general pack, including hand sanitiser, toilet paper, menstrual products and other care items like sunscreen and insect repellent.

Extra items

The following are not necessities but may be helpful if you have some spare room in your pack. Consider these day hiking extras:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Camera
  • A journal
  • Binoculars
  • Two-way radios

It is always a good idea to carry your ID, mobile phone and some cash. While the point of your day hike may be to get away from these things, they may be useful and will take up very little room.

The Tip Of Hiking Poles With Rings

Do you need trekking poles?

If you are someone with sensitive knees, trekking poles, which are essentially a lightweight and sturdy set of sticks, can be very helpful. By creating two more points of contact with the ground, trekking poles will help ease the pressure your knees feel during the hike.

Trekking poles are a personal preference but a very worthy consideration for anyone with chronic knee pain or those less confident on tricky terrain. When choosing trekking poles, look for options with comfortable grips, length adjusters and hand straps. You can even find options that fold away so you can easily put them in your pack when you feel you can go without them.

What about water purification?

If you happen across water sources on your trail, you may like to consider a lightweight water purification system to access extra water without having to pre-pack it. Filtering water as you go is more suitable on longer treks but can be done with a purification system or iodine tablets. This means you can carry less water weight while accessing more clean water sources (which can be helpful in an emergency).

While few day hikes are ambitious enough to warrant a water filtration or purification solution, the classic pump-style filter or newer straw filter can be helpful and fun to try.

Enjoy some fun day hiking at Lake Mountain

Lake Mountain offers plenty of great day hiking and bushwalking options nice and close to Melbourne. Our well-marked and well-maintained hiking trails make it easy to explore Victoria’s alpine landscape with spectacular views and plenty of spots to stop for a snack or lunch.

Some of our wonderful hiking trails include:

The Summit Walk
Great for young families, you’ll head through snow gum woodland and look out north to the Alps and south to Marysville/Melbourne.

Echo Flat Walk
Walk along the ski trails until you arrive at the Snow Gauge, looking out across the headwaters of the Taggerty River.

Leadbeaters’ Walk
See the regrown Alpine Ash trees growing since the 2009 fires firsthand.

Summit Loop Walk
A gentle incline to the summit predominantly through snow gum woodland, including a short detour to the Marysville Lookout before reaching the Alps Lookout and Sherlock Lookout, stopping by the Taggerty Valley Lookout on the way back. Plenty of views on this trail!

Boundary Hut Ruin
A longer walk that descends quite steeply in parts but offers spectacular views out towards Mt Margaret.
Bjarne K Dahl Memorial Boardwalk
Perfect for visitors of all ages and abilities that will teach you more about the history of the local area.

Bjarne K Dahl Memorial Boardwalk
Perfect for visitors of all ages and abilities that will teach you more about the history of the local area.

Snowy Hill Walk
Climb gently up to Snowy Hill past relics from an old ski trail until you reach the top of the ridge and begin the descent to Arnold Gap with Myrtle Beech on your left.

Mt Arnold
This walk is a must for the ‘tunnel’ section that has the canopy of Mountain Bitter-pea forming an enclosure around the track before it descends steeply to join the Lake Mountain Road.

Take one, or combine a few of the above trails to create a fun day hike that is super close to Melbourne CBD! Lake Mountain has your summer hiking trails covered, so be sure to visit us with your well-packed hiking backpack the next time you feel like an in-depth stroll.

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Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
The resort is staffed from 8am to 4pm year round.
Winter: Open Thursday-Monday 8am-4pm
Summer: Open 24/7