Play Outside - Notice Nature

10 Things You Need for A Day Hike with Teens

The purpose of the Noticing Nature series to spark interest and provide simple activities to be enjoyed by teens.

Originally posted 01/20/2020. Updated 01/14/2024

A new hiking challenge has just begun for me this year! I plan to hike 365 miles in 2024 – I’m glad it’s a leap year, as I’m sure I’ll need an extra day! Facebook started showing me ads from My Adventure Challenge, and I took the bait! It couldn’t have come at a better time, really. I’d like to get in better shape, I want to update the Noticing Nature series on my blog, and I just love the great outdoors! So, here’s to a year of day hikes and 10 things to pack for a day hike (with or without teens)!

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Get ready to notice.

This month, rather than the suggested list of things to notice, I want to focus on getting ready for things to notice. While the weather may be too cold for some, January is a great time to plan out new places to go and what to bring. When those warmer days appear, you will be ready!

The benefits of hiking with teens & tweens

Hiking offers numerous physical and mental health benefits, is educational, and fun for all ages. Hiking is the perfect activity for teens and tweens because you don’t have to be an athlete, form a team, spend hours coming and going to practice for it, and it’s free! Plus, the whole family can be involved! Hiking can be enjoyed by most anyone, no matter the skill level.

Our walks through the woods or along the sandy NC beaches have been one of my favorite things we have participated in fairly regularly in our homeschool. I hope it has been one of their favorites as well. If it’s hard to pry your kid from whatever the comfort of the couch, you may have to take the initiative, and say, “Hey, we’re going on a short hike today, and you get to choose to enjoy yourself or not”. It’s highly likely they will enjoy it, and remember, if you’re looking for an activity that EVERYONE can participate in, hiking is where it’s at! How sad it would be to lose a generation who knows nothing about or can appreciate God’s beautiful creation! I have learned and appreciated creation so much by doing nature walks with my own kiddos.

Pack your bag, we’re going on a hike!

Good shoes and a bottle of water are really the only things you need to enjoy a leisurely walk through the woods. There are a few essentials I like to carry with me on short hikes, and by short hikes, I mean no more than half a day. Check out the 10 things I bring for a day hike, then scroll to the end to grab my free printable checklist!

The 10 things to pack for a day hike

  • Hiking Shoes – I love my Keen shoes! I have had them for a few years now. They are comfortable, roomy, and run true to size.
  • Small Daypack – This bag is perfect! It has several compartments, is a great size, and is reflective as well as water resistant. I love the variety of colors that are available.
  • Water Bottle – I’m not even going to go there! Trends have changed from Yeti, to Hydro Flask, and now Stanley is king. Insulated, leak-proof, and not a lot of parts work for me.
  • First Aid Kit – Better to be prepared. The small size and contents are just right for “just in case”.
  • Rechargeable Hand Warmers – I just purchased a pair for my daughter, who works outside, and accidentally ordered two. I decided to keep the extra set for hiking in cool weather.
  • Paracord Bracelet – These are cool, and come in packs of two! So much more than a paracord bracelet (although the paracord itself has dozens of uses), it is also a compass, fire starter, emergency knife, and a whistle! You really never know when you may need one of these items.
  • Nature Journal – If you’re not sure where to start, I suggest Keeping a Nature Journal. I have had this one. It’s generously sized, and I love the simplicity with areas to fill out date, time, location, and observations. An added bonus is that it is written by a homeschool mom!
  • Personalized Nature Journal – My daughter makes these and I love them! I have switched to using these for myself. They also make a great personalized gift for the outdoorsy type.
  • Reusable Snack Bags – these are perfect for “leaving no trace behind”. Wash in the washing machine or on the top rack of the dishwasher.
  • Bug Spray – I use a homemade spray from a local soap-maker. This one looks like a good choice if you do not already have a favorite.
  • Sunscreen – I’m terrible at remembering this. I haven’t tried this one, but I really like the packaging and the short ingredient list.

There you have it – all you need for an enjoyable day in the great outdoors! Be sure to download a copy of this list below, or in my Free Resource Library, and hit the trails!

13 thoughts on “10 Things You Need for A Day Hike with Teens”

  1. Excellent list – I need to work on including some more of those items in our car for our outings. We don’t really hike but do enjoy being outside at parks so having a first aid kit and the like in the car would be helpful.

  2. All good advice. We get out and about then it seems something happened and we fall out of habit. We are in baby season rig ht now, but I sure am hankering for a camp and hike. If only my body could handle it.

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