Karsten Don - Wed, 23 Jan 2019 - 2 Comments

How to do hike planning for 1 day?

Is it really necessary to plan out all your hikes? The short answer is yes, but let me explain. Most hike planning lacks structure so it will take you way longer than needed.

The steps for hike planning :

  1. Hiking goals.
  2. General destination.
  3. Packing for a hike.
  4. Last minute adaptions.

Don’t forget in the long run you will get better and faster, so make it a routine and it won't be a long process at all.

Setting a goal in hike planning is essential, even if you are just going for a sunday walk. Knowing why you go on a hike helps you in preparing for your hike.
It is important to have a clear goal

1. Set a Goal.

You should start by analyzing what your main hiking goal is, it makes your hike planning a lot easier. For example: Are you training for longer hikes? Or maybe discovering a new terrain? Or is it just for a nice Sunday walk? Each of these walks has a different timeframe and thus another way to plan. Having a global distance for yourself will also help a lot.

One thing you should keep in mind when making “the plan” is how many members are going with you. And are they all equally strong hikers? As the saying goes: You are as strong as the weakest (slowest) link. It is not a competition, make it a fun & nice experience for everybody.

The destination is important when planning your hike
The destination of your hike will determine what you need to bring with you and what you need to wear

2. Destination.

Next step is picking the Destination.

When you have picked the general destination you can start planning, a short description:

  • Use a map or an App.
  • Plan your hiking route. (we use wandermap a lot)
  • Check if the terrain is viable for the hike you want.
  • How is the wildlife? (do you need protection, bear spray)
  • Do you need a permit?
  • Is there any fire regulation? (when you want a warm meal in your breaks)

All these things can be easily found by doing a quick Google search

Quick tip: If you are hiking in a new location, you should inform somebody where you are going. Tbh it’s generally a good idea to tell someone, even in places you have been before. Better to be safe than sorry.

Packing you bag is part of the hike planning, you do this in advance.
Make sure you carry all the essentials in your backpack

3. Pack your Backpack.

After all the general points it’s time to pack

For most day hikes a small 25/35l backpack should be enough.  

You should at least bring the 10 Hiking Essentials.

We will release a day-pack checklist soon (February 2019), we will send all our subscribers a copy as soon as we release it.

Weather: Cold / Warm / Wet.

Look at the weather report for the day you are hiking and adjust your clothing, and bring warm layers for the coldest moments of the day.

General rule: always pack for the worst. When it comes to clothing the weather report will dictate most of it.

Nutrition: Always Hungry.

Food prep is really important because: walking makes you hungry :). When you hike you will burn a lot more calories than normal. So it is understandable that you are more hungry than normal. That's why it’s smart to bring dense high-calorie food with you. Something that doesn’t weigh much but does pack a punch (chocolate /nuts). Food prepping beforehand is a perfect solution, make sure you include it in your next hike plkanning.

General rule: A couple of examples: 72kg-430/440 calories per hour. 90kg - 550 calories per hour


On longer hikes, a water purifier is not a bad idea. Just to prevent you from being a mule carrying all that water.

The general rule is:

Adults: 1L for every hour / Children: 0.5-1L every hour

Hiking Hacks.

A couple of Tips:

  • Bring a whistle. (in case of emergencies)
  • Go double and bring a map and phone. (just in case)
  • Download the map on your phone so no cell service will not make a difference.
  • Bring extra batteries for your phone (external battery).  
Hike planning involves last minutes check, so be prepared to adapt to changes.
Be prepared to adapt to changes

4. Last minute adaptions.

Just before you leave check the weather report for the last time, it won't be the first time that there are changes in the forecast. It's best to be as prepared as you can be. It will always be an adventure but it is better to be prepared for it.

Hike Planning will change everytime you start over, because the weather & location dictates what to do and what to wear. Just be prepared for the worst and you will never be surprised.

And I want to leave you with this quote:

An hour of Hike Planning can save you 10 hours of doing!

Read On: Hiking Blogs

Let us know if this helped you in any way or if you have additional tips.

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Kaelin S.

4 years ago

Well thought out and descriptive!

Karsten Don

4 years ago

Thank you Kaelin, really appreciate that.