Top 10 Items Not to Forget on Your Hiking Trip
The exciting adventures of hiking are often filled with the unexpected. A lot of discomfort and mishaps can be avoided by being prepared for the unexpected. That means not heading out empty handed or without a backpack.
Consider taking these essentials on any hike whether you are heading out for a good day hike or on a longer backpacking trek.
1. Food. This might seem obvious but even on a short day hike, many people don't think they'll need to eat anything. The truth is that hiking is a great calorie burner and you should always carry some type of nutritious food with you, even as simple as some granola and dried fruit. Something to give you energy while you're hiking or when you get to the end of your hike.
The other point here is that occasionally a hike doesn't end at the time we planned on or we end up taking the wrong trail and much time passes before we are back on track. Don't let your energy slip away on you, it's very easy to pack along some great energy releasing snacks.
2. Water. This might seem like another obvious one but too often we've seen many hikers reach the top of a steep 6-hour hike and all they've brought with them are a small water bottle and no way to replenish it. We've pumped more water for more ill prepared hikers over the years. Either bring enough water to last the entire trek or if you know there are water sources along the way bring along a water filtration pump and fill your bottles along your route. Your body is going to require more rehydration than normal and you have to be prepared for this.
3. Small first aid kit. You don't expect to encounter any mishaps but even something as small as a blister can ruin a great hike. Take along the bare essentials to cover most minor incidents and you should be alright. Include some spongy small pads in case of blisters forming on your feet.
4. Hiking socks. This also goes for the right hiking boots. Your feet have a lot of work to do and wearing the right socks is going to make a huge difference, trust the experience on this one. I highly recommend a blend of merino wool and synthetics to wick away moisture and keep your feet comfy and dry.
5. Rain gear. You might not be expecting it to rain but when you're out in nature anything can happen. If you are caught with a sudden change of weather you'll want to be prepared. Hiking when you are soaking wet and cold is pretty rough and uncomfortable. Go ultra light if you want and pack a garbage bag but I highly recommend a light rain jacket and rain hat.
6. Backpack rain cover. While you are caring about protecting yourself from wet weather consider bringing along a rain cover for your backpack too. Even if you have a pack that is considered rain resistant, I wouldn't trust it. Zippers are weak points for water to penetrate and unless you aren't bothered if all your gear is soaked, take along a rain cover for your backpack.
7. Utility knife. Those all in one utility knives can come in really handy at a moments notice.
8. Duct tape. This is one of those things that has a million uses. You don't need to bring along the whole roll but some is a very good idea. Used to cover blisters, tape up torn packs, clothes and boots, hold just about anything together and will hold up to bad weather. And along with duct tape, including some string or light rope.
9. Light. Let there be light, of any kind. Waterproof matches (with some dryer lint for fire starter) plus some type of flashlight. I recommend a headlamp just in case you are caught in the dark.
10. Map and compass. Make sure you know how to read a compass and using your map will come in handy if you're not sure that you're on the right track. It can be easy to get lost out in the back country.
Many people don't want to be bothered carrying any gear with them when they head out on a day hike but please take it from experience that things happen, weather changes and it's better to be prepared then learn the hard way. Bring along these top 10 essentials for a safer and more enjoyable hiking experience.