Thus, having doing it for years, I might or might not found ways of doing it more efficiently and to know the necessary and useful gears to bring on day hikes.
This works for me on major and minor mountains alike, it might work for you as well, or you might found something useful to add to your gear list.
My Day Hike Essential Gears not necessarily in order of their importance.
1. Umbrella - This is very useful for both rainy and sunny condition. It will reduce the amount of heat your body is absorbing on a very sunny day that can save you from being insane from the heat and from having a heat stroke. This is very useful also on rainy days without strong winds. IT blocks the rain from making you too wet and also have the ability to protect your packs if you forgot to water proof your gear. The umbrella also keeps you dry after the climb and to you travel going home.
2. Headlamp / Flashlight - Even the very minor day hike can go wrong. Shit happens out there so it would be useful to have a means to light your way when the darkness creeps in.
3. Nutrition and Hydration - Foods for your energy and water for your hydration. Always research in advance the available water source on the trail for you not to bring too much water. Water is heavy.
If you find the nutrition of trail runners, they dont rely on jelly ace for their fuels , the same should be applied to hikers. And also, do not bring your 1 liter Nalgene bottles on day hikes as it was bulky.
4. First Aid Kit - Basic medicine will do. I always bring loperamide and ibuprofen
5. Disposable poncho - To complement the umbrella if the wind is too strong. Also poncho can keep you warm on a cold dark days.
6. Cellphone with load- I always turn off my phone on a day hike. I just turn it on on breaks. So I do not need to carry an extra weight by bringing a power bank.
7. Lightweight fleece - Depends on the mountain and season- if it is nearby and can be finished in 6 to 10 hours I will not bring it. If the Mountain is on Cordillera Region and in Mindanao I will packed it.
8. Shades - To protect your eyes from the sun.
9. Headwear / Buff - Multiple use. On all my climb day hikes or not, I do not bring a bath towel. Headwear is enough.
10. Slippers - Nothing can give you much comfort after a long and hard day's on the mountain than removing your shoes and socks and slip on your slipper.
11. Plastic Bags / Black bags - Plastic bags can be use to water proof your gears and clothes and for your trash and for your dirty clothes and shoes. Black Bags can also be used as windbreaker.
12. Tissue ( Wet or Dry ) - You never know when you might need to use it, better be ready.
Always use your common sense on what to bring. Research the mountain first and you will enjoy your hike more..