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In this Gear section we will go through a many various combinations of gear that you should think about. One of the most important decision makers about what to wear is the weather. Not just the current weather but a good idea of how the weather has been for the previous nights will help you much easier to have a successful and fulfilling nighthike.

We do not want you to think that if it is raining or snowing that you can not go night hiking. We actually encourage you to.

In this section we will list different types of gear from shoes, boots and pants, to back packs and what you should and shouldn’t carry.

Some general guidelines for the clothes you wear are as follows.

Dress Warm:

Make sure you realize that even if it is cold you will warm up as you hike after about 15 minutes your body will become immune to some of the cold.


Make sure your covering your skin at least with a layer of clothes. This means that you do not want to wear sandals or shorts since they may cause you to brush up against a poison ivy or poison oak plant. Basically remember that there is nothing wrong with getting a little bit sweaty.

Wear Less, Bring More:

You may fall into some water, and if you need to you should carry an extra t-shirt or pants and socks in your backpack with you.



The first thing you should be concerned about is your feet. When you are hiking you want to make sure that you can keep your feet dry, blister-free and at the same time have good traction in a light and comfortable boot or shoe.

For safety purposes we are not going to list off any types of shoes that should be worn while night hiking. The best thing to be wearing at night in the woods is a boot, so that in the case you slip or trip you have a less likely hood of twisting your ankle and at the worst breaking something.

You most likely will step on loose rocks in the dark which can and will create broken and/or sprained ankles.

Boots have a big factor on the survival of a trying night hike, especially one that can get oneself lost for long periods of time in the wilderness.

The major factors in boots are water resistance and ankle support.

Forum supported brands are Vasque, Rocky, and Aslo.

Efficient boots usually have Vibram soles for long lasting tred.

Good Boots will also have Gore-Tex up to the ankle.

Water resistance is necessary because with wet feet in the wilderness, hypothermia is inevitable in time.

Currently some of us use the S.A.S Oakley assault boot which you can see at Oakley’s homepage. The boot comes with a hefty price tag, yet will provide a very light and comfortable boot with great traction. Some of the features of this boot can be found for cheaper at your local sporting good store, yet we recommend that paying the extra money is worth it. Your feet are all you have.

Atom says: What also can help you keep your feet dry is to wrap them in a plastic bag before placing your foot in the boot.

Upper-Body (Shirts, Hats, Bandanas, Gloves):

Even if the weather is hot, having some sort of long sleeve protection will come in handy when night hiking.

It provides both protections from insects as well as protection from poison ivy.

What you have to remember when night hiking is you will not always be on the path, hence you should be fully covered in the instance that you run into a patch of poison ivy.

Krypto says: putting on a bandana to cover your ears and a baseball cap over top is a great way to keep your head warm without making your head sweat too much).

Lower-Body (Pants):

is also important to keep your legs covered; there are different types of material that you can buy. You want to stay warm, yet not too hot when night hiking in the summer.

We recommend a strong pair of jeans and a belt would be sufficient unless traveling in the snow. In the case of a winter night hike, you would want to bring a couple of layers of pants, to eliminate catching a cold.


Since you will be hiking in the woods at night, you will need either a good spotlight flashlight or a head lamp.

These are used somewhat sparingly, most of the time you can see in the woods without a flashlight.

In the winter months, the snow will enlighten your path for you. Also, if you get a lot of light pollution or the moon will help illuminate the path. Also, be aware that with constant flicking on and off of the flashlight you are actually impairing your vision, let your self initially get accustomed to the dark and let your pupils dilate before you decide whether the use of a flashlight is required.

Whether or not you are using a flashlight, having one on you is a must. We recommend a couple of flashlights that have worked with us over the course of 5-10 years. 

The company innovalight came out with the X5 designed and made by the company innova. The light comes with 5 LED lights. You can see the X5 light and other products that the company makes at their website. The flashlight comes with a belt sheath for easy access, as well as provides you different choices of lights to use for visibility. The next option you have is to purchase a head lamp. Having a head lamp is a good option if you are looking for a wider light span instead of a spotlight effect which is what the X5 will give you.



The next item you should be concerned with is having some sort of protection. This concept also depends on your location.

For instance, if you were to go hiking in California, you would not only have to be on the lookout for bears, but also mountain lions may present a challenge if ever faced with one.

Being prepared and having a good weapon will help.

We recommend that you buy a knife.

All nighthikers carry knifes.

There are many different types of knifes. We would recommend a knife that can withstand a beating in weather. Knives can make the difference between life or death. They come in a whole range of prices and the informed buyer can get a stolid knife for a small amount of cash. Most of the time with nighthiking only one blade is needed. Folders are excellent for shaping sticks and cutting small branches to clear a path, and larger knives can be utilized to cut larger branches and logs into kindling.

Forum supported brands are, Benchmade, Spyderco, CRKT, Ontario, SOG, and Al Mar.

Good websites to find your own personal knife are:,,,,,, and


some of the best bags we have run into are made by the company camel bak. The reason we enjoy this company’s back packs, is because they are small and conform to you, alleviating any weight that might make you slip or fall backwards when hiking at night.

You don’t want to bring something too big, and from our experience you won’t be carrying too many items, unless you are out for more than one night. Since you are most likely going to be going out with one or more people, it is not necessary for everyone to have a bag since it weighs you down.

We would suggest getting either a water pack or a combination bag and water pack. You can visit the company’s website at If you are only going out for the night, carrying only a water pack, with maybe a pocket or two should be adequate.


The last items are miscellaneous items that may help you, or just be fun to have with you.


First is a GPS system, these systems will help you locate your position on the globe down to a couple of feet. They are handy when calculating distance traveled and helping aid you in finding your way back. The price ranges for these units can be small or big depending on the features that you will utilize. From our experience getting a GPS system with a digital compass will help you the must.

Bug Spray:

Second, a good bug spray is essential when navigating terrain at night. You will find more bugs swarming up to you in the dark than ever before, but to keep these insects at bay, try to find a bug spray that is 95-100% DEET. DEET is the most active ingredient that is used in most bug-spray or insect repellent. This stuff will work, but make sure to keep it out of your eyes. For more information on this topic be sure to visit,

Here is a list of other items that may want to consider bring with you that you can pick up at your local sporting good stores.


A compass is a good alternative to a GPS system for obvious price reasons and it will provide you the same functionality except give you your latitude and longitude coordinates.

First Aid:

Some first aid tape is a good addition to your collection. You never know when you might need to bind something up, whether you are hurt or just need a binding utility.

Glow Stick:

Having a glow stick can be handy as well. If you were to drop something of value into water at night, having a couple glow sticks to illuminate the bottom the water will help you locate your object easier. Also they can provide some low luminescent light if you decide not to break out your flashlight.


Also, if you are looking for a good watch to carry with you or at anytime you may consider to buy a great durable watch called the Luminox.





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Last Updated: August 8, 2007
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