15 Items You Should Always Pack With You

Photo credit: Gideon Haden ChomphosySome outdoor gear is specific to a certain activity. You only need a tent if you plan on camping. Rock climbing shoes aren’t useful unless you’re climbing. No one needs an 80-liter backpack for simple day hike. There are, however, many items that are useful no matter what type of outdoor activity you’re getting into. Lightweight items that don’t take up much space. Items that are useful in any situation, and aren’t specific to any one type of activity.

Here are 15 items that you should bring regardless of how you spend your time outdoors. Rain or shine, summer or winter, thru-hiking or car-camping, these are items that you should always pack with you.

Lip balm

Wind, sun, and arid conditions can leave your lips severely chapped. A simple tube of lip balm can make a world of difference.


Preserve your vision, protect your eyes, and look cool while doing it.


Hats are great for keeping the hair out of your face, keeping the sun out of your eyes, keeping the rain from blurring your vision.


Bandanas are incredibly useful. They can be used in first aid, as insulation, as a protective covering, for cleaning, and much more.


Even if you don’t plan on starting a fire, having the means to do so is important in an emergency situation.

Trash bag

Contain your trash and help pick up litter that you come across while on the trail, at the crag, or at the campground. A trash bag can also help protect sensitive items from water and  moisture.


Stumbling through the woods in the dark is how people get hurt, lost, or worse. It’s a good idea to carry a headlamp even if you plan on finishing your trip before dark.

First aid

Certain pursuits require beefier first aid kits. You need more first aid supplies for a week-long trek in the mountains than a day hike around Devil’s Den. However, a few basic first aid items can come in handy in any situation.


Everybody needs water. Carry at least one water bottle with you regardless of how short your trip may be.


While it’s easier to get by without food than without water, it’s still wise to carry food with you on any trip outdoors. Food bars have a long shelf-life, they’re easy to carry, and they are nutritious.


Knives are indispensable survival tools, and you should always pack a knife with you. They can be used for preparing meals, starting fires, building shelters, and more.

Emergency blanket

You won’t need an emergency blanket 99 times out of 100. You will be glad you have one if you ever need it, however. Considering how lightweight, compact, and affordable emergency blankets are, it’s foolish not to pack one with you.

Emergency poncho

Weather isn’t always predictable, and you may find yourself caught in an unexpected rainstorm. Hypothermia is the worst-case scenario, but just being soggy and uncomfortable isn’t fun either. As with emergency blankets, emergency ponchos are too light, compact, and cheap not to carry one, just in case.

Extra layer

While it’s not always necessary, it never hurts to pack an extra layer. This could be a sun shirt in the summer, or maybe a warm base layer or fleece pullover in the winter.

Hand sanitizer

Your hands are going to get dirty when you spend time outdoors. It’s especially important to clean your hands before handling food, or before dressing wounds. Hand sanitizer can help prevent illness or infections.


We can provide for any of your outdoor gear needs! We’re located at Evelyn Hills Shopping Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Stop by and see us before your next adventure!

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