What to Pack for a Day Trip - Daysack Essentials

Daysack Essentials Guide

With the rules on lockdown loosening, we’re able to explore and take days out, but you need to have the essentials with you - ready for anything.

We know you’re eager to strike out for the wide-open spaces and places around the UK that you may have overlooked. However, hiking and other activities can be serious business if you get lost, so you need to have everything on you that you could potentially need.

A tip we have is to create a checklist of what you’ll need to take with you in your daysack. These are all the possible essentials you can think of, from water to a lightweight jacket. This will also include your mask! Especially if you need in or are visiting indoors.

So, what are the essentials? What do you need to pack for a day trip? Read on to find out what you need to take with you on your day-long adventures...

What is a daysack?

These types of bags are ideal for short activities and days out, so there’s no need for a chunky rucksack.

Daysacks - or day rucksacks - are all about versatility, practicality and comfort. This makes them ideal for hill walking and cycling or simply heading out on a day trip. You can also use them for school or take them with you on holiday.

Read more: Rucksack & Daysack Buying Guide

Your pack should be strong, light and compact, but with enough room for your essentials, and any items of clothing you may wish to take. Daysacks feature rain covers, multiple storage and drop-in pockets. Available in litre options ranging up to 40L, they can include a hip belt to redistribute the weight from your shoulders to your pelvis for comfort.

Create a day trip and hiking checklist

It may not be for everyone, but creating a checklist - particularly for hiking and activities - can help you be prepared for anything.

Read more: What to bring on a hike in bad weather

We suggest creating a checklist that you can refer to when you go hiking as it’s far too easy to forget something vital. If you’re new to hiking, you may also wish to consider this as a shopping list to prepare you for all conditions and weather.

Tip: A good habit is to pack for a day hike the night before. That gives you a few extra hours to remember that crucial thing you forgot.

While you may be able to build a kit from items you already own, you want this equipment to be lightweight and comfortable to carry. There are many purpose-made items available which are well worth the investment. The absolute essentials can include:

  • Clothing
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Maps
  • Emergency Kit


If you’re going hiking, you’ll likely have sturdy walking boots but you need to be dressed for the weather - including potential changes.

You should check the weather forecast before leaving to make sure you have the right clothing for all eventualities. Pack a lightweight waterproof jacket, an extra layer and a sun hat. These are appropriate for your daysack in most UK weather from spring to autumn.

Read more: Waterproof Jacket Buying Guide

Lightweight clothing is best, including jackets, so even if you take it off, you daysack won’t be weighed down. Likewise, a light thermal layer is always handy to keep in your bag if the weather suddenly changes. You don’t want to be caught or suffer a stitch.

Read more: What are base layers? A guide to thermal wear


You may not be planning to stop for a picnic, but the right sort of snack can boost flagging energy and even sustain your mood.

For walking, think of taking portable calories, such as chocolate bars, energy bars or dried fruit treats. It’s important to keep your appetite at bay. You won’t have enough energy for sightseeing and adventures unless you stop to eat every few hours.

It’s easy to lose track of time or even get lost, so you should always have a backup plan. For day trips where you’ll only be gone a few hours, a piece of fruit should be enough. However, fruit bars and biscuits are also a safe option if you miss a regular meal.


Your water flask could become your best friend on a day trip as you should take more water than you think you’ll need.

Even for a short walk, it’s always important to take some water with you - you may not be sure of changing weather or gradients. On a long walk or hike that can involve scrambling, having plenty of water is absolutely vital. Refill your water bottle whenever you can.

If you’ve drunk a lot of water early into a hike or your day trip, consider taking water purification tablets if you can’t buy water from anywhere. These tablets purify water from a source that could cause you illness due to your body not being immune to bacteria.


While you may think your phone could be enough for this, it’s more than possible you may lose your phone or it could run out of battery.

For short walks, a local guidebook may be more than enough, especially if you plan on exploring an area more. However, for longer hikes away from usual paths, a map and compass are vital. Plus, it’s a great life skill to have! Practise in advance to make sure you can read the map and understand how to use the compass.

Never rely on just your phone. Yes, it’s a good thing to take along but you may lose the signal when you need it most. Furthermore, using a map on your phone can drain the battery quicker and you may need it for phone calls.

Emergency Kit

woman giving first aid outside

This extends to a lot of equipment that you will need to take with you on a day trip or hike, including first aid and torches.

A first aid kit is essential, even if you’re taking in a laid back walk around a village. Trips, sprains and cuts can happen anywhere, so you need to be prepared for anything. This should include blister pads if you haven’t worn in your hiking boots or walking shoes.

Read more: How to Avoid Blisters When Hiking

Beyond your first aid kit, there are more emergency equipment and survival aids to include in your daysack for a day trip:

  • Tissues - if it’s cold or you have hayfever
  • A torch or headlamp
  • An emergency shelter
  • Insect repellant
  • Whistle

Tip: While your phone may be best only for emergency calls, it may even tell you your GPS coordinates.

Take a look at our full range of backpacks and our rucksack and bags collection including:

Rucksacks | Daysacks | Holdalls | Travel Bags & Backpacks

Read more from the Winfields Blog to set you up for 2020...

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Don’t forget to take a look at our camping blog for more posts like these and buying guides

The Best UK Campsites To Stay At in 2020 | The 10 Best Family Camping Tents 2020 | What will Camping in 2020 Look Like?

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