Hiking with the family is a joy. Hiking in Vienna is a luxury. Vienna and its surroundings has plenty of beautiful locations to consider, like the Vienna Woods or the varying difficulties of mountain trails in the Vienna Alps. If you’re interested in waterfalls and gorges, you can opt for a trip to Myrafälle and Steinwandklamm and if you enjoy hiking along vineyards and river landscapes, then you’ll fall in love with Wachau Valley.
No matter where your heart guides you, it’s best to be prepared. This guide is made to help you do that with ease so you can enjoy your journey.
There are some universal essentials for taking hiking trips with your family, but it’s always important that you consider what’s essential for you. This list, like all that we write, are intended to be the framework for your planning stage. There is plenty of flexibility for you to adjust as you see fit.
This list is wonderfully adaptable for trips in a range of seasons, destinations, and weather. This list is meant to satisfy the needs of a day trip for hiking only, and is intended for readers who aren’t interested in camping overnight.
You may need extras, or you may not need anything, but we hope that the following guideline will be enough to get you started on your outing with confidence.
Clothes & Footwear
Family Hiking Packing List
What you wear on a hike is a major factor in ensuring you’re prepared to enjoy the time. For a short easy hike a cotton shirt will do just fine, but for anything more challenging or longer, a proper hiking shirt from functional materials is highly recommended. Keep an eye for products that are specially designed to be breathable, sweat-wicking, or quick drying, like Icebreaker, Salewa, Bergfreunde, or Nike Drifit clothing.
2. Middle Layer
Having several layers is a key factor in staying in charge of your body temperature. By the time the sun is high and the heat is following suit, the option to strip down to something a little more breathable will seem very enticing. When a chill starts to set in, having an additional layer, like a zip-up hoodie or light sweater, can also help to keep you comfortable. It’s a win-win.
A good hiking jacket will offer you wind stopping abilities and so much more. You’ll be prepared during a change in weather while also getting breathability. Not all windbreakers are created equal, so we rounded up some of our favorites to choose from on this list.
Your legs will do most of the work as you walk, so make sure you treat them well. A favorite option of ours is a type of convertible-style pants (zip-off trousers) that can transform into shorts. Just like with a functional shirt, this will adapt to the changes you encounter in the day and help you stay comfortably on course for your outing.
Socks are always important when you’re lacing up a pair of boots or sneakers. For longer, more gruelling hikes, you’ll want to be sure to have the right type of socks. This means they should be breathable, no-sweat, and suited to keep you warm–or cool, depending on the season. Also remember to make sure they are tall enough to avoid any rubbing at the ankle. Nothing ruins a good hike like a nasty blister!
Once your feet are prepared with socks, they’re ready for shoes. Proper hiking shoes, or boots, is one of the most important elements of your activity. The top things to keep in mind when making your selection are comfort, safety, water-proof, and anti-slip capabilities. More challenging trails will call for the most sturdy, high quality boots you can find. Some of the best mid-cut hiking shoes are from Garmont, Salomon, Scarpa, and La Sportiva. If you’re looking for low-impact, low-cut shoes, Salomon and Adidas make great options.
In winter, you’ll be glad to keep your small digits cozy and warm.
A shirt is an essential element on this packing list. To have an extra will certainly be appreciated in the event of rain or even just an extra sweaty day.
9. Scarf or bandana
Having a scarf or bandana in your hiking arsenal is a major pro-tip. These items can be multipurpose. They can provide you with vital sun protection on your neck or head when it gets hot or protect you from cold, and they can also transform into plenty of other accessories as necessary. Don’t leave home without it!
Just because you checked the weather doesn’t mean you won’t get caught in the rain. Even if you do anticipate a bit of precipitation, it becomes a seamless hassle to tackle if you’re prepared with one of our top picks for raincoats.
If there’s one thing that can ruin a great family hiking trip, it’s working through the day with wet socks. Bring along an extra pair in case of accidental puddles, a rain shower, or any other incidentals.
Need we say more? An extra pair of pants can take a sweat or wet discomfort and restore a feeling of freshness so you can enjoy the trip.
Food and Drink
Family Hiking Packing List
Hydration is of utmost importance while you’re out on a hike. The rule of thumb is to drink 0,5 litres per hour of hiking. Kids won’t need quite as much, but it’s still a good idea to come prepared. Do your best to avoid sweet drinks and stick to mineral or pure water. In colder months, hot tea can also be a great hydrating and comforting drink to bring with you.
Even if you have a lunch destination in mind, bringing along a light lunch will keep you at peak performance power throughout your hike. Opt for a healthy option, like a protein-packed cheese sandwich, a cereal bar, and an apple, so you can keep your energy up while you’re on your way.
In addition to working up a sweat, a family hiking trip will work up an appetite. To stay energized between meals, bring along healthy snacks that will keep your energy levels up.
Family Hiking Packing List
A backpack is an absolute necessity on hikes. It stores all of your belongings while you’re out on the trail, so you can have peace of mind as you wander through the beautiful wilderness.
The wrong backpack will only be a burden for you, so picking the right one is essential. Supportive straps, accessible pockets, and a good distribution of weight make for a perfect backpack selection. Experiences of our community members have helped to create this handy list with some tried-and-true products from brands like Deuter, Vaude, Mammut, Ortovox, Salewa.
Your stuff is important, but your child is more important. For tiny babies or young children, a carrier can be all the difference between a cranky hike or an enjoyable one. Similar to backpacks, choosing how to carry your baby is all about security and comfort. Front-facing carriers are ideal for smaller babies. Making sure the straps are also comfortable for you is also an essential consideration. With the help of our community members, we have created a list of recommendations for this category, too. Check out our picks from Deuter, Osprey, Vaude, and Mammut.
For kids old enough to hold their own, a backpack can help spread the load. These options shouldn’t be too big and heavy, or your child will struggle (and so will you). Brands like Deuter, Lowa, and Vaude have the right idea. They make small backpacks that are kid-friendly. Even the tiniest of your tribe can lighten the load. Lieselotte makes children’s backpacks with cute motifs that will get any kid excited to pack up and hit the trail. The trick is to convince them to keep to the essentials!
Knowing where you’re going will put your mind at ease so you can enjoy the ride. In Vienna, apps like CityHikes make this planning process easy as pie.
Venturing outside of the city? Not to worry, you can still cover your tracks ahead of time with free apps like Wienerwald App, Lower Austria App, and Wiener Alpen App. Other apps, including Bergfex, Outdooractive, Ortovox Alpine Touring and Komoot, will have you covered no matter where you go in the country.
Make sure you stay on track and on the grid with a GPS. Some of the best models out are from Garmin, TomTom, and Polar. Investing in a great model affords more than just mapping, and can allow you to use geo-fencing to initiate perimeters, allow those who aren’t on your trip to track you, and plenty of other capabilities for staying safe and on track.
If you like to keep it old-school with a paper map, then there’s one more essential thing you need to consider. A compass will allow you to keep your sense of space on course and assure you that the trails you’re taking lead where you want to go.
Hands-free is helpful unless you have a tired or weighed-down back. In that case, trekking poles become an extension of your arms, helping you stay upright and energized. This is completely optional, of course, but essential for those who often like to take a seat, but want to stay committed to the journey while they’re out on the trail.
If you intend on having a long or even overnight trip through the wilderness, a headlamp will make all the difference. The key with all of your hiking essentials is to be hands-free. A headlamp will keep the light ahead of you so you can keep yourself agile.
Another essential for overnight or winter trips is fire power. Bringing along matches or a lighter ensures that you’ll be able to create some warmth for you and your family. It may even serve as an essential way to cook. Either way, it’s a modern convenience that will be very appreciated in necessity or emergency while you are out hiking.
Out in the wilderness, you might be surprised when you need a little extra muscle. A jack knife can help make sure that happens with ease.
You should always have a first aid kit in your back-pack when you take your kids for a family hiking tour. Gather the supplies yourself–bandages, plasters, antibacterial ointment, sunburn spray, etc.–or buy a kit that’s ready made. You’ll be glad you have it.
Family Hiking Packing List
In today’s world, almost everyone has a camera on them at all times. Though a smart-phone camera is an exceptional option, bringing along a proper camera could help to really preserve some of those once-in-a-lifetime moments when you travel to once-in-a-lifetime amazing destinations. Keep in mind that this is a heavy additional to your baggage, but can really turn your hiking pictures from oooh to ahhh!
Even if you want to get off the grid, your mobile phone will keep you connected in case of emergency.
Nothing worse in an emergency or during a perfect photo opp than having a dead phone. Bring along a phone charger so you can connect when there’s power and always be sure to have full battery.
No one wants to anticipate an emergency, but you also don’t want to be unprepared in case of one. Austrian e-card or other social and health insurance card for both kids and adults should always be on hand if you’re out on a hiking trip. If you have travel insurance, make sure you have that information handy as well.
Your wallet is necessary for obvious reasons. Make sure you have it packed.
Shield your and your kids’ eyes so you can keep your eye on the trail and the beautiful surrounding nature of Vienna–or wherever else your hiking route takes you.
Tissues are something that is always on hand when you’re home, so why not bring them for the very same reasons out on the trail?
Wet wipes bring tissues up a notch. To clean your hands before a snack or just to wipe off some sweat and dirt from your travels, bring along wet wipes.
If you are hiking with a baby or toddler, they’ll need their specific provisions as well. To be sure you have everything you need on hand, check out our handy Nappy Bag Packing List.
Enjoying nature’s beauty is a true treasure that comes with its own expense. Insects are an essential, albeit annoying, part of spending time outdoors. We recommend bringing repellent with you so you can reserve your energy for hiking instead of swatting. This is an especially important item to remember if you’re visiting areas near lakes and rivers, as flying insects tend to flock to–and reproduce in–these areas.
Family Hiking Packing List
Taking a hike with your family is a truly joyous occasion, and having proper preparation ensures everyone can enjoy it without a fuss. This packing list was made exactly for that reason: so you can plan a wonderful trip with children and without a headache.
If you’re prepared to hike but don’t know where, we have you covered on that, too. Take a look at our extensive directory of hiking locations in and around Vienna to find the one that excites you and your family the most.
No matter which trail you decide to take, there are plenty of opportunities to do what you love. Whether it’s cycling, picnicking, or swimming, there are options in Vienna for you to enjoy. What’s more, we even created specific packlists for all of these niche trails, so you’ll always be well-prepared to enjoy the outing (check our family cycling packing list, family picknick packing list, or a bathing and beach day packing list).
This truly is a choose your own adventure style of exercise. Browse our site for all the information and inspiration you could hope for, print out a pack list to ensure you have it on hand, and enjoy the wondrous scenery Vienna has to offer.