Hiking in Montana - 5 Essentials for your Day Pack

Kim Weaver

Posted on June 28 2019

Hiking in Montana - 5 Essentials for your Day Pack

by Alanis Stallknect

Some of Montana's best features are the hiking trails. These trails, full of fresh mountain air, crystal clear lakes, and an abundance of wildflowers are tourist and locals favorite free time activity. Roughly 3.3. Million people visit Glacier National Park each year and if you’re one of many, we would like to prepare you with five essentials to fit in your daypack; besides plenty of water and food, of course.

Bear Spray:

The #1 essential item to pack when hiking anywhere in Montana is bear spray. It is not uncommon on a hike in Montana to encounter a bear. Incase of an emergency, make sure to carefully read the directions on the side of the bear spray canister and make sure the bear spray is easy to reach. I would double check for this essential item before leaving the house, however, bear spray can be easily bought at a nearby gas station or rented in the park.


Photo from USA Today


As true Montanans know, Montana weather can be extremely bipolar even in the summer months. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, from April to September the UV Index is high enough that sunscreen is recommended. If you plan on climbing mountains on a warm, sunny day, come prepared with this essential item to avoid sunburns.


Photo from Spotlight

Rain Jacket:

If you plan on starting your day early, which you should, to avoid crowds, I would recommend bringing a jacket with you. This way, something like a rain jacket can keep you from shivering in the crisp mornings, but easily be wrapped around your waste by the sunny afternoons. Even better, if it’s small enough, the jacket can easily be thrown in your daypack and brought back out incase of unexpected weather.


Photo from REI

Portable Speaker:

A small, portable speaker can easily be attached to your daypack. Let's be honest, walking up switchbacks and climbing steep mountains can be exhausting. However, the number one rule when it comes to hiking and being prepared for large animals, like Grizzly Bears, is to be LOUD. But, if you’re exhausted, you’re in a small group, and you need to save your breath, the speaker can be a substitute for your noise.


Photo from REI

Map at Entrance:

When entering any park, the park staff will offer you a map of the park. Take it. There won’t always be cell service where you're hiking and in case you get turned around (you should never venture off the trail alone) the paper map could help you find your way back. This essential item is also helpful for viewing all the potential trails you can experience.

Bonus: Camera

Obviously, you should take a moment to breath in the Montana air and enjoy the view. Realistically, we want to take photos to look at later and share with our friends. Make sure to take in the view with your own eyes, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with snapping some photos to look back on; especially when it’s a Montana sunrise/sunset.

Even with these five essential in your day pack, always make sure to ask a park ranger for the most updated information about the park you are visiting. Lastly, enjoy the adventures that await you in Montana’s National and State Parks!

What are your favorite essentials to pack when you go hiking? Let us know in the comments!

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