My 9 Urban Hiking Tips & Gear for a Day

Urban hiking has turned into a bit of a thing for me in the last couple of years. Most of the time, I'll walk about a maximum of four hours. In that time, I can explore some areas of my city, the river valleys, and parks. I usually get into urban hiking in the summertime when all the walking paths and trails are dry. Below are a few tips and urban hiking gear I've used over the years. 

A Urban hiking - Cityscape during the sunset.
Urban hiking - Cityscape by Ryan C

Tip 1 - I Like to Be Home Before Dark when Urban Hiking

Sometimes, I would start my urban hikes later in the day to avoid the hot sun. In doing this, I would start heading back home in the evening time. Usually, the street lights would light up down the main road, but that's not the case around my parks and river valleys. It's usually dark and not the best time for me to walk around. So, I plan my urban hikes so I get home before dark. 

Tip 2 - I Plan Routes With Public Bathrooms in Mind

I like to plan my urban hikes with a route that has public bathrooms around. Especially around the parks and river valleys. Usually, I'll plan the route where every hour on the hour I'm near some public bathrooms.  

Tip 3 - When It Comes to Urban Hiking Gear, I Try to Keep Things Organised by Using a Packing Cube in My Backpack. Check Out the Video Below. 

My Additional Urban Hiking Gear for a Day

I always urban hike with a slim backpack with all the essentials. The longer I urban hike, the heavier my backpack starts to get. Here is most of the urban hiking gear I bring along in my backpack.

  • First aid kit
  • Food
  • Water
  • Water bottle 
  • A packing cube 
  • Smaller Towel 
  • Poncho 
  • Pen
  • Bus Tickets
  • Scarf or Duff
  • Gloves
  • Safety pins
  • Hand cream
  • Allergy Meds (Over the counter) 
  • Tissue
  • Protein bars
  • Advil
  • Electrolytes 
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Charging cords
  • Mosquito repellent

Also, check out my walking gear post for more urban hiking gear ideas. 

A Sunrise overlooking a river
Sunrise river by Ryan C

Tip 4 - I Choose the Walking Shoes Wisely 

When planning my route, I look at how much concreate I'll be walking on vs trails. If the route has hills, gravel roads, and dirt roads, I'll take my water-resistant trail shoes. If the urban hike is mostly sidewalks, I'll take my running shoes

Tip 5 - I Keep My Smartphone Camera Close By

I like to keep my smartphone camera close by to take photos of passing landscapes, sunrises, and sunsets. To make things easy, I carry my smartphone in my back pocket or zippered windbreaker.

Tip 6 - I Use an Activity Tracker to Count Steps

I recently added the Fitbit Inspire 2 activity tracker to all my city walking. To save battery life, I don't use GPS on the activity tracker itself. I use my smartphone as a safety device for communication and GPS. I find it satisfying to see my total steps after each urban hike, very fun.   

Tip 7 - I Use Google Maps to Find More Walking Trails while Urban Hiking

Google Maps is a great tool to use when I'm urban hiking because it finds additional walking trails that I may not have known about prior. I love this because it keeps the walk adventurous. For example, I was urban hiking in a residential neighborhood on the good old sidewalks. I fired up my Google Maps and found a crazy beautiful walking trail with awesome trees and hidden bridges in the same direction. Totally unexpected and beats the sidewalks. Of course, safety first. I try not to look down at my smartphone all the time looking a Google Maps though, That's no fun.

Tip 8 - If I Discover an Amazing Landmark, I Take Photos of the Historical Plaque

I have gone on many urban hikes and found beautiful statues, public art, and landmarks only to forget about the fine details a week later. It's always the same conversation, "Man, I was downtown and I discovered this crazy site, but I can't remember the name." To counter this issue once and for all, I take photos of any public information about the site on the plaques or signs. The photo also saves the date and time I was there, which is also great. 

Tip 9 - I Carry Bus Tickets on Me, Just in Case I Get Too Tired

Sometimes, I walk out and "over urban hike." This happens once in a while if my body just doesn't want to cooperate. Instead of dreading the long walk back home, I carry bus tickets on me so I can conserve energy. It's a great backup plan because usually, there is a bus stop somewhere. 

You can check out some of my walking gear on my Amazon shop.

I became an Amazon affiliate in May 2022. If you click through the link above and purchase items on Amazon, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.