True North Discovery Outdoor Hiking
Guide & Checklist

This checklist is deliberately comprehensive and intended for day hikes in the backcountry where being self-sufficient is important to your well-being. It includes many more items than you’re likely to need for short treks in or near developed areas, like city parks.

Untethered's Explanation of Hikes:

Hike Ratings


Leisurely – Comfortable walk
Moderate – Steady, comfortable
Vigorous – Brisk, firm pace
Fast – Rigorously, rapidly & steadily moving


Easy – Solid pavement
Average – Soft ground, sand carriage trails
Difficult – Hiking trails & gentle rolling hills
Strenuous – Steep hills, scrambles possible
Very Strenuous – Rough, thick brush
The following information is essential for you to know to prepare yourself for a hike:
Hiking Gear:
  • A backpack is the primary piece of gear for day hiking. One that holds 11–20 liters is about right for short, simple hikes, while something bigger is good for treks where more food, water, clothing, and gear is required.
  • Trekking poles, though optional, are useful depending on the terrain.
Hiking Footwear:
  • Footwear is one of the most important items you need to choose, and it’s a very personal choice. Some hikers prefer supportive over-the-ankle boots, while others enjoy lightweight trail-running shoes. The terrain you’ll be walking on can also affect your decision. Lightweight, low-cut shoes may be fine on well-maintained trails without a lot of obstacles, whereas sturdy boots may serve you better on a rugged trail with rocks, roots, and streams.
  • Whatever you choose, make sure the boots or shoes are well broken-in and comfortable for long distances. And wear wool or synthetic socks, not cotton.
What To Wear Hiking:

Choose clothing made of quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics, such as wool or polyester. Avoid cotton, which takes a long time to dry when wet. You can think of clothing as separate systems:

  • Next-to-skin base layers: Made of wool or polyester, these are most important in cool to cold temperatures.
  • Hiking layers: These include nylon and/or polyester pants, T-shirt, sun shirt, sun hat.
  • Insulation: Depending on the weather, you may need a puffy vest or jacket, lightweight fleece pullover, warm hat and gloves.
  • Rainwear: It’s wise to carry a waterproof jacket no matter the weather forecast. If you’re expecting wet weather, bring the rain pants along, too.
What To Bring Hiking:
  • Water: Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
  • Food: Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
  • Chapstick or lip balm: Not only are chapped, cracked lips painful but being outdoors in the sun all day means sunburnt lips are a real possibility. Keeps your lips healthy and prevent the chances of sun damage.
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent. Please make sure to check for ticks at the end of every hike.
  • Emergency Numbers: Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations—especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
  • Common Sense: Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike—you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)

Heavy Rain & Inclement weather cancels the Hike.
Call Cia the night before or the morning of Hike to confirm: (516) 206-0322.