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Water | Bring a minimum of 1L per 5 miles of easy hiking and more for moderate to strenuous hiking. If you don't have a water bottle or enough bottles for that much capacity, buy a 1L or 2L bottle of soda (or "pop" if you are from the Midwest), pour out the soda, and use it as your brand new water bottle. If you frequently do longer hikes in places with water sources, consider getting a water filter and/or using iodine tablets.

Food | Bring snack items or sandwiches. Basically, these items should be easy to grab and eat while you walk. It should not matter if they get crushed accidentally or crammed in a backpack. Granola bars, energy bars, and trail mixes are prime choices. Also, pack by the number of calories if you want to ensure you have enough food but not so much that you end up carrying a lot of extra food on the trail. That is, don't unnecessarily pack food (or things) you won't need. I typically bring about 100 Calories per mile of hiking, which is also equal to about 250 Calories per hour of hiking. These numbers will vary by person. If the drive back is long, leave some food in the car for the return drive.

Attire | Checkout the weather forecast to get a feel for what to wear (including possibly bringing rain gear). Wear layers and do not bring bulky items because you typically end up getting warm and carrying them. If you leave in the early morning and expect it to get warmer, don't wear something that will make you too warm after 10 minutes of hiking, instead start out a little cold, unless you are gaining elevation (in which case, it may get colder as you go up).

Shoes | Comfortable shoes are a must. If your shoes aren't comfortable or don't fit right, blisters often form. Excellent sandals, such as Chacos or Tevas (the non-flip-flop variety), should work as long as they will not cause blisters. For those who are accident-prone, there are instances where a stick is poking out onto the trail and pokes/stabs/etc a person with open-toe footwear, so tread carefully. In regards to boots, they are often unnecessary unless a lot of wet terrain is expected (and even then, shoes will dry out) or need ankle support.

Backpack | Bring a small backpack, if you have one. Don't feel obligated to fill the pack with stuff -- the more you pack, the more there is to carry. Also, put the things needed often at the top of the pack. Things to consider when buying a pack are capacity, comfort, features, and pack weight (the pack with the most features may weight 1 kg more than another sufficient pack, which is 1 kg that will be carried on every trip and mile hiked). Many good day packs are in the price range $25-50 and weight a pound or less.

First Aid Kit | Always carry basic first aid supplies, including Benadryl for unexpected allergic reactions. Bring hand sanitizer. (If you are reading this for a department trip, David will be bringing a first aid kit, so you are not required to do so.)

Toiletries | Bring TP if it is a long hike. See LNT.org for more details. Be sure to use hand sanitizer every time after nature's calling -- one of the top reasons for people getting ill from hiking is poor hygiene.

Misc Items | Don't forget your camera, sunglasses, and sunscreen. A hat to protect from the sun may also be nice, as would be an umbrella if rain is expected. Note that this list is not comprehensive, but it should be adequate for most day hikers.

Travel Light | Every pound packed is carried. Spending 10 minutes taking all unnecessary items out of a pack may save 8-16 ounces from a pack, which won't seem like much immediately, but it matters over 5-15 miles. The truly ambitious light packer will cut unnecessary features off of a backpack (but not cut too much off!). Traveling light also means planning well. Don't bring too much (or too little) food, water, or clothing.

Some Remarks

LNT - Leave No Trace | Follow outdoor ethics and planning. There is much more to say on LNT than there is room for here, so for more information, see LNT.org. See also tips on ecotourism.

Allergies | If you have any severe allergies, such as from bees, food, or medications, notify people in your group at least a couple days ahead of the trip so they are aware of this. This is a precaution for the event that you have an allergic reaction or become injured.